The Department of Exceptional Education meets the individual needs of students ages three through twenty-one who are eligible for special education and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The department assists in the assessment process for determining special education eligibility.

A full continuum of services is available, ranging from the least restrictive to more restrictive environments, depending on the specific needs of the student. The department also supports schools in ensuring students with disabilities appropriately access the Georgia Performance Standards and provides specialized instruction as determined necessary by the individualized education plan (IEP).

In collaboration with students, schools, families, and the community, the Department of Exceptional Education assists students with disabilities in increasing academic performance and enhancing post-secondary options.

ltse directory

wdt_ID LVL Title I School Name School Ph LTSE LTSE Office Phone # Coordinator Coordinator Phone # Asst Principal for Special Ed
1 ES x Allgood ES 6-676-5102 Allen, Karen 678-676-2073 Crystal Roberts 678-676-1898 Gwendolyn Kinsey
2 HS x Arabia Mtn HS 6-875-3602 Walker, Starlin 678-875-3647 Donielle Howard-Thomas 678-676-1920 Rheanolia Wynn
3 ES Ashford Park ES 6-676-6702 Wright, Jessica 678-676-2036 Crystal Roberts 678-676-1898 Tonya Edwards
4 ES x Austin ES 6-874-8102 Meade, Sarah 678-676-2087 Diane Williams-Shirley 678-676-1898 Angie Smith
5 ES x Avondale ES 6-676-5202 Dixon, Denise 678-676-2074 Diane Williams-Shirley 678-676-1898 Candace Sagers
6 ES x Barack Obama ES 6-874-4402 Robbins, Sabrina 678-676-2050 Jizel Alexis 678-676-1898 Pamela Wooley
7 MS x Bethune MS 6-875-0302 Atkins, Meshalette 678-875-0355 Deborah Mitchell 678-676-1894 Monica Black
8 ES x Bob Mathis ES 6-874-5802 Easley, Yolanda 678-676-1872 Diane Williams-Shirley 678-676-1898 Kesha Hill
9 ES x Bouie ES Theme 6-676-8202 Easley, Yolanda 678-676-1872 Diane Williams-Shirley 678-676-1898 Michele Alford
10 ES x Briar Vista ES 6-874-5902 Ennis, Jasmine 678-676-2059 Jizel Alexis 678-676-2069 April McCarthy
LVL Title I School Name School Ph LTSE LTSE Office Phone # Coordinator Coordinator Phone # Asst Principal for Special Ed

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program

Senate Bill 10, as signed into law on May 18, 2007, created the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program. It allows parents of students who receive special education services to choose to transfer their child to another school, public school system, state school, or authorized participating private school. As long as it is authorized in State law and funded by the Georgia General Assembly, the GSNS Program will be available.

Parents/guardians can find out more about the program by visiting the GSNS webpage at http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/Special-Needs-Scholarship-Program.aspx. Scholarship amounts for the 2018-2019 school year will be available on the Georgia Department of Education web page by mid-July 2018.

A student must meet the following eligibility requirements to participate in the GSNS Program during the school year:

  • Student Eligibility Criteria 1: A student must have a parent/guardian who currently lives in Georgia and has been a resident for at least one calendar year.
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 2: A student was enrolled and completed the prior school year in a Georgia public school in grades kindergarten through twelfth.
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 3: A student was reported attending a Georgia public school by a school district(s) during mandatory student counts conducted in October and March.
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 4: A student does not need to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the entire school year to qualify for the GSNS Program. A student must have received special education services at some point during the prior school year through an IEP. A student must be reported by a school district(s) in either the October OR March student counts of that year OR in final student record as a student receiving special education services by the end of that school year.
If a student meets the eligibility criteria for the GSNS Program, the parent(s)/guardian(s) has the right to request a transfer from a student’s current public school to:

  • Another public school within their school system; or
  • Another public school outside their school system; or
  • One of the three State schools for the blind or deaf; or
  • A private school authorized to participate in the GSNS Program.
Yes, students who meet the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship eligibility criteria in law, now have greater public choice options available to them. Parent(s)/guardian(s) may request a public school within or outside their local school system.

The authority to allow or deny transfer requests belongs to a school system. School systems can create their own forms and set deadlines for transfer requests. Parents/guardians must contact a school system directly regarding the process the school system uses for public school transfer requests available through the GSNS Program. Many school systems have policies in place not to accept students from outside its system which is allowable through state law.

IDEA is a federal law that requires public schools to provide all children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). If you choose to remove your child from the public school—even if the state is providing some funds for the private school— then you are refusing parental consent to services under IDEA. Therefore, a private school is not required to provide the same services required of public schools. If you decide to return your child to a public school, your child would again be entitled to all rights and services pursuant to IDEA as long as the child remains eligible to receive services through an IEP.
  • English | Translations To Be Posted

Families of Children with Special Needs Reimbursement

Governor Brian P. Kemp has issued a press release regarding Applications for Families of Children with Special Needs Reimbursement. You may access the press release below.

For additional information, you may watch a brief training video.

Please click on the link below to access the application. Applications for the Families of Children with Special Needs Reimbursement are open through May 14.

Parent Resources

Parent Mentors

Alexandra Wright, Parent Mentor
(678) 676-2105

Demetra Williams, Parent Mentor
(678) 676-2106

Free Resources for Monitoring the Development of Children

Dear DeKalb County Families:

As the Interim Executive Director of Exceptional Education, I want to welcome you to the DeKalb County School District. Please know that the Exceptional Education Department is committed to providing the most appropriate educational programs for your child.

We have a dedicated team of professionals to assist you. As part of this dedicated team, I am pleased to introduce you to our Parent Mentors: Alexandra Wright and Demetra Williams. Their contact information is found on the website and on the Parent Mentor website. Select Our Mentors, Find a Mentor and choose DeKalb County.

Parent mentors work to build effective family, school, and community partnerships that lead to greater achievement for students, especially those with disabilities. At the school, district and state levels, these partnerships are essential to the success of parent mentors and ultimately to the enhanced outcomes for students and their families.

Parent mentors partner with parents to support them in becoming more engaged in their children’s educational programs. They share information, encourage participation in IEP meetings, and help identify needed resources and services. In schools, parent mentors partner with teachers, administrators, and other school staff to integrate family engagement into school and district. They are here to help and encourage you to reach out.

Thank you in advance for your continued support and interest.


Mrs. Michele Summerlin
Interim Executive Director

The mission of parent mentors is to provide information, support, and encouragement to the families of children who receive special education services and to the professionals who serve them.

Who are Parents Mentors?

Parents of children with disabilities, who are employed on a part-time basis by the school system.

What do Parent Mentors do?

  • assist families and educators in locating information and resources
  • provide workshops for parents and educators
  • provide confidential support for parental concerns and questions
  • provide a parent’s perspective to educators
Parent Mentor Brochure

Parents Rights

Summer Learning Resources Guide: English Language Arts

Free Resources for Monitoring the Development of Children

State-Defined Alternate Diploma FAQ for Families

State-Defined Alternate Diploma FAQ for Families – Spanish

Special Education Services and Supports: The GaDOE Division for Special Education Services and Supports includes programs and services that support local school districts in their efforts to provide special education and related services to students with disabilities.

Parents’ Rights: GaDOE webpage containing Parents’ Rights, Parents’ Rights videos (in English and Spanish), and Parent Information Fact Sheets.

Parent Information Fact Sheets: GaDOE webpage containing fact sheets on a variety of topics, from assistive technology and discipline to making sure your preschooler starts on a path towards high school graduation. These fact sheets are also available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish Vietnamese.

Parent to Parent of Georgia: Parent to Parent of Georgia offers a variety of services to Georgia families impacted by disabilities or special healthcare needs.

Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership: The Parent Mentor Partnership was founded in 2002 when six school districts partnered with the Georgia Department of Education Division for Special Education Services and Supports to hire parent mentors to infuse family engagement into school and district activities. Mentors provide information to parents of students with disabilities to assist them in navigating the special education system and in identifying activities that could help improve outcomes for their children.

Student Success: Imagine the Possibilities: The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has required that each State Educational Agency (SEA) develop a State Systemic Improvement Plan that includes a comprehensive, multi-year focus on improving results for Students with Disabilities! Each state must develop a plan that will outline the development of strategies to increase state capacity to structure and lead meaningful change in Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). While the primary focus of the plan is on improvement for Students with Disabilities, the State must also address in its SSIP how the State will use its general supervision systems to improve implementation of the requirements of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Georgia will implement a systemic plan, “Student Success,” in FY16 to improve graduation outcomes for Students with Disabilities.

Dispute Resolution: There are several ways to come to a resolution in a dispute with the district over the rights and services afforded to students with disabilities and their families. The quickest and most efficient method is to contact the Executive Director for Special Education. The Executive Director can often assist a family to work out the differences with minimal time and conflict. When a resolution cannot be worked out locally, there are processes guaranteed to families of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These include (1) formal complaints, (2) mediation and/or (3) a due process hearing.

Metro East GLRS » Resources for Learning at Home: The Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS) is a network of 17 regional programs that provide training and resources to school system personnel, parents of students with disabilities, and other interested individuals to support the achievement, graduation rate, and post-secondary success of students with disabilities.

IEP Team Meeting Facilitation is an optional process, not required by the IDEA that state educational agencies (SEA) or school districts may provide to parents and schools. A facilitated IEP Team meeting is the same as any other IEP Team meeting, except that a facilitator joins the meeting.

What is IEP Team Meeting Facilitation?
IEP Team Meeting Facilitation is a collaborative dispute prevention and resolution process used when members of an IEP Team agree that the presence of a third party would help facilitate communication and problem solving. IEP Team Meeting Facilitation can be especially useful when there is a history of communication challenges or a meeting is expected to be particularly complex or controversial.

In a facilitated IEP Team meeting, an impartial facilitator helps to keep members of the IEP Team focused on the development of the IEP while addressing conflicts and disagreements that may arise during the meeting. At the meeting, the facilitator will use communication skills that create an environment in which the IEP Team members can listen to each member’s point of view and work together to complete the development of a high quality IEP.

2021 Parent Satisfaction Survey

Parent Letter

Dear Parent and/or Guardian

In collaboration with the Georgia State Department of Education, the DeKalb County School District Department of Exceptional Education will conduct a 2020-2021 parent satisfaction survey for parents and guardians of students with disabilities. As always, our goal is to partner with families to raise the achievement and graduation rates for students with disabilities.

The Parent Satisfaction Survey helps the District and the State to measure and determine parent/family needs and perceptions of the success of parent engagement with the local schools. I am excited to inform you that the survey is again a short 10 questions and will be open to all families of students with disabilities.

The 2021 Parent Satisfaction Survey will be available until May 31, 2021. The link to the survey is included in this letter and is also available on the Parent-to-Parent of Georgia and DCSD websites.

If a survey is needed in a language other than English, please reach out to your school’s Lead Teacher for Special Education. We appreciate your assistance by completing this survey to help us achieve our goal of 100% participation.

Student Records

To receive a copy of the student’s record, a written request with the signature of the parent(s), legal guardian(s), or student (if eighteen years or older) is needed to release records. A trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may also sign the request. The request should include the address and phone number of the person requesting the record. The request should be forwarded to the special education records office by mail or fax.

Special Education Records Office
East DeKalb Campus
5839 Memorial Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
678.676.2027 (fax)

Request for Special Education Records Scheduled for Destruction
Destruction of Special Education Records

Parent/guardian consent is not required prior to disclosing student records/information to the following:

  • parent(s)/guardian(s), or eligible students
  • other school officials, including teachers within the Local School System (LSS) or legally constituted cooperating agencies (e.g., psycho educational programs, regional education service agencies (RESAs), or shared services) when access has legitimate educational purposes
  • in connection with a student’s application for or receipt of financial aid
  • to organizations, with the written approval of the Superintendent, conducting a study on behalf of an education agency to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests, to administer student aid, or to improve instruction (information will only be available to those conducting the study with all personally-identifiable data destroyed when they are no longer needed for the purpose of the study)
  • to accreditation agencies
  • in compliance with a judicial order
  • to authorized state or federal representatives evaluating or auditing federally supported educational programs
  • to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights
  • to officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or is eligible to enroll, upon condition that the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) (1) be notified of the transfer, (2) receive a copy of the record if desired, and (3) have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record
  • to a department of human resources (DHR), department of corrections (DOC), department of juvenile justice (DJJ), or department of labor (DOL) for the purpose of making appropriate education decisions
  • for any use or purpose other than meeting a requirement under this part

Questions and Answers

Parent(s), legal guardian(s), the student (if eighteen years or older), or a trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may obtain a copy of the student’s record at no cost.
Parent(s), legal guardian(s), the student (if eighteen years or older), or a trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may sign the “Authorization to Release” form.
Any and all records collected, maintained, and/or used in providing a free appropriate public education. This typically includes the individualized education plan (IEP), eligibility report(s), and assessment information if applicable.
Special education records are maintained until the records are no longer needed for educational planning purposes (i.e., student graduates with a high school diploma, reaches maximum age, etc.) and are destroyed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) procedures.
Requests for records are usually processed within a week.

Child Find Requirements

Do you know a child who may have a disability? Can The Child Find help?

Have you heard of the Child Find mandate? It’s a legal requirement for our District to find children who have disabilities, or who may be suspected of having disabilities, and are in need of special education services.

Child Find is a federally established, comprehensive system designed to ensure that all children with a disability receive a free appropriate public education.
The DeKalb County School District maintains an active and continuing Child Find program designed to identify, locate and evaluate those children residing within the District’s boundaries who may be in need of special education and related services.

Children with disabilities from birth through age 21 are covered by Child Find. These children may be enrolled in a DeKalb County school, attend a preschool, Head Start or day care center, or attend a private or parochial school located within the District’s boundaries. Children who are home schooled, highly mobile, migrant, or homeless are also covered by Child Find.
The DeKalb County School District offers comprehensive special education services to eligible students ages three through 21 years. Children from birth to age three with developmental delays or disabilities will be referred to Babies Can’t Wait, Georgia’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers.
A referral can be made by anyone who has a concern about a child’s development. All referrals are considered confidential and the parent retains the right to refuse to provide consent for an evaluation.

Public school services include screening in the area of suspected disabilities, such as hearing, motor skills, communication, and general development. Evaluations target the “whole child,” including learning disabilities, speech and language development, physical impairments, vision or hearing problems, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, autism/pervasive developmental disorders, traumatic brain injuries or other health problems.

We offer a full continuum of services for all eligible students enrolled in the DeKalb County School District and for those students who are home schooled or enrolled in a private or parochial school located within the District’s boundaries. Services are provided at no cost to the family.

If you know of a child you suspect may have a disability, please urge his or her parents to contact:
The local school for school-aged children,
The Preschool Diagnostics Team at 678-874-6024 for three- and four-year-old children, or
The Special Education Department at 678-676-1809.



The Department of Exceptional Education Directory

Office/Programs Phone Number
Mrs. Michele Summerlin
Interim, Executive Director
Exceptional Education Department
Dr. Prudencia Jacobs
Coordinator III,
Budget & Human Capital Management
Mrs. Watina April
Coordinator III, 504
Mrs. Kiana King
Coordinator III, Professional Learning & Specialized Instruction
Dr. Darnell Logan
Coordinator III, Behavior Support
Ms. Jizel Alexis Coordinator II, Elementary School 678.676.2069
Coordinator II, Hospital Homebound (HHB) 678.676.1817
Dr. Erin Broyard-Baptiste
Coordinator II, Low Incidence Programs & Intellectual Disabilities
Dr. Linda Buck
Coordinator II, High School & Special Programs
Dr. Donnielle Howard-Thomas
Coordinator II, High School
Ms. Rolanda Johnson
Coordinator II, Preschool Programs
Ms. Kimberly Jones
Coordinator II, Student Records
Dr. Deborah Mitchell
Coordinator II, Middle School
Dr. Tamara Carter
Coordinator II, Speech-Language & Related Services
Ms. Diane Williams-Shirley
Coordinator II, Elementary School
Dr. Crystal Roberts
Coordinator II, Elementary School


DeKalb County School District
East DeKalb Campus
5839 Memorial Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Main Line: