The Online Education Experience

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From compliance to instruction, transition plans to services, online special education students receive the same, if not more, support as traditional brick and mortar students.

Top 10 Facts for Online Special Education Students

By: Veronica Crenshaw, Assistant Director of Special Education and IDEA Compliance

Special education ensures that all students who are identified as having a disability, as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), have access to the general curriculum and a free, appropriate public education.  Under the IDEA and the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) Special Education Rules, here are 10 things you should know about special education at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA):

  1. At GCA, our special education program consists of two departments: compliance and curriculum/instruction.
  2. For children ages 3-21, special education is available.
  3. In order to determine whether a student is found eligible for special education services, a parent or guardian may request an evaluation from GCA.  In addition, other staff or a student support team (SST) may refer a child for an evaluation.
  4. Once a child qualifies for special education, the (Individualized Education Program) IEP Team makes the placement decision in accordance with the IDEA and Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) Special Education Rules. The parent(s), and sometimes the student, are also a part of this team.
  5. Special education is individualized.  Each student is assessed on a case by case basis and an IEP is developed with only that student in mind.
  6. Within a student’s IEP, supports must be documented and consist of accommodations for instruction and testing, supplemental aids and services, and/or supports for GCA personnel.
  7. Transition plans are designed to support students in moving from school to post school settings.  Beginning no later than entering ninth grade or by age 16, whichever comes first, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, these plans include the skills necessary for the student to be successful in education, employment, and independent living after completion of high school.
  8. Not all students are found eligible for special education. In some cases a 504 plan or tiered intervention may meet the needs of the student. 
  9. Through progress monitoring, data is collected to show a child’s progress towards his or her annual goals as determined in his or her IEP.
  10. At GCA, we have a special education parent mentor who supports our special education families with assistance and resources.

This list is not exhaustive, but covers some of the important elements of our program.  For more information regarding special education services or additional resources, feel free to visit our website at: or the GaDOE Department of Special Education Services and Supports at:

Veronica Crenshaw currently serves as the Assistant Director of Special Education and IDEA Compliance. She is dedicated to sharing her love and passion for students through her work in advocacy and dispute resolution formerly with the Georgia Department of Education and currently at Georgia Cyber Academy.  She has worked in education for nearly 10 years.  She is a graduate of Fisk University ('10) and Cumberland School of Law ('13).

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