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Special Education

hand with test Vernon Parish School Board

Department of Special Education


Welcome to the Special Education Department of the Vernon Parish School Board.  We believe every student can learn … just not all in the same way.  Our school district may be able to help a child who has a learning problem or disability.  With parental permission, services could include: 


  • Free Screening to learn if the child should be tested.
  • If screening indicates, an evaluation to see what type of help the child may need.learn differently graphic
  • If the evaluation finds the child to need services, services may include free special education instruction, speech services, occupational services, physical therapy services, and /or social work services.

        For more information call 337-239-1689.



Special Education

The Vernon Parish School System provides a continuum of direct, related and support services to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities. Educational opportunities are provided for students ages 3-21 at schools throughout the district. Services include, but are not limited to, gifted, talented, speech, OT, PT, health care, and counseling.

Vernon Parish Public Schools (VPSB) assures that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to all children with disabilities residing within the jurisdiction of Vernon Parish between the ages of 3 and 21. Students that are identified as a child with an exceptionality in Headstart or LA 4 settings will receive Special Education services as outlined on their IEP.

matrix of special education wordsVPSB assures that all procedures for the development and implementation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process are followed.

Special Education services offered in a variety of settings to include: Inclusion, resource room, and self-contained class. Paraprofessionals are also available for students with more significant cognitive disabilities.

In order to initially receive services through the Vernon Parish Special Education Department, a child must first be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine which services the child needs and is eligible to receive and evaluation of activities/services for students who are suspected of being disabled and for the provision of FAPE to students with disabilities within the jurisdiction of Vernon Parish Public Schools.

Placement and services flow from the needs of the students identified through a referral process that includes a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) which provides the foundation for the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) prior to making a placement decision for participation in one or more of the  Special Education programs. A wide range of special education services are available to elementary and secondary school-age children. Programs are offered for students with the following exceptionalities:

  • Autism
  • Developmental Delay
  • Specific  Learning Disabilityflow chart of evaluation process
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Deaf/Blind
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple  Disability
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Gifted and Talented
  • Speech and/or Language Impairment

Elementary and secondary programs utilize various organizational structures, including Inclusion services, Resource Room Support, Self-Contained settings and itinerant services. Each self-contained class has one teacher and one or more assistants. Placement depends upon the disability and needs of the students.

As stated in Louisiana's Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities, "A student with a disability is entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE)". Our department works diligently with parish staff to ensure FAPE by providing student programs and services, many of which are listed below:

  • Adaptive Physical Education
  • Assistive Technology
  • Educational Interpreter Services
  • Extended School Year
  • IEP  Individualized Education Program
  • Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in the Educational Setting
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Speech/Language Pathology Services
  • Transition Services
  • Homebound Services


Vernon Parish School District honors the Military Compact Agreement. Students of military families who transition into the school district that previously received special education services will receive comparable services as they did in their previous educational setting.



All special education teachers have computers or Chromeboxes in their classrooms. Students also have access to iPads and other devices with applications to enhance their learning. Technical assistance with computers and software is available to all special education teachers and related service personnel. The provision of this service assists special education personnel and related service providers in planning for students, teaching students and assessing students more effectively via the computer


Special Programs

  • Related services, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, interpreter, audiological services, counseling, and special transportation are provided to Vernon Parish students who meet eligibility requirements. In addition, medical needs are supervised by nurses.
  • Adapted physical education (APE) is provided for students exhibiting motor problems who require special, individualized instruction. To receive APE students must meet specific eligibility requirements.


Gifted Program

The Vernon Parish Gifted Program offers services to students in grades K-12 who have been identified as having special learning needs due to exceptionally high academic abilities. To qualify for services in this field of special education, students are referred for testing in reading and math achievement as well as intellectual ability.  Referrals can be made by teachers, parents, or administrators who have evidence of the child’s high abilities.  All gifted testing is handled by the Pupil Appraisal Department.

Once a child has been identified by meeting the Louisiana State Department’s criteria, parents meet with the gifted program staff to discuss the individual child’s needs and how they might be best met through a variety of program options. At this meeting, called an I.E.P. conference, an Individual Educational Plan is designed.  Services are implemented by teachers of the gifted.

Students identified as Gifted in Grades K-8 are served in an enrichment setting(pull out)
Other students’ needs are best met by an accelerated academic program in the content areas. Students work with materials which are advanced for their grade level. 


Talented Program

 The Talented Arts Program is an educational program for students identified as talented in visual arts, music, or theatre in grades K-12 in the Vernon Parish Schools.  Classes provided in these disciplines are designed to provide experiences that enable the talented student to further develop demonstrated skills, increase discipline knowledge, and grow as an artist.


Special Education Staff:

Leslie Ortiz, Director of Special Education

Office #: 337-239-1689picture of human form

Fax#: 337-392-0368

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Contact Information

Vernon Parish School Board
201 Belview Road
Leesville, Louisiana 71446
Phone: (337) 239-3401