Director's Message

Dear Parents of our Students with Disabilities,

As you know, we are embarking on a school year like no other, and I know that you have many questions and concerns regarding your children. Let me start by saying that I took this position for one reason and one reason only….to help kids with disabilities. Anyone who knows me knows that each of these students have a very special place in my heart and they are the reason I get up every morning and come to work. I love them each like they are my own and I share your worries and concerns.

While I do not have specific information at this point, I will assure you of one thing, your student will receive the services that they require to be successful in school as well as in everyday life, if the Etowah County Department of Special Education has anything to say about it.

I am currently working on a very general plan of action for our department, but we will not have a one plan fits all students. Each student is unique and has strengths and needs specific to them. Therefore, we will be looking at each student on an individual basis with the help of the IEP or 504 team to come up with the best plan for each one. Whether you make the choice to send your student to traditional school or choose the virtual option, we will have a plan in place to ensure that your child receives everything that he/she needs. This manner in which educational services will be provided will be based on what is best for each individual student.

I do ask that you be patient in the coming weeks while we make some decisions. Your individual schools will be getting in touch with you to schedule IEP and 504 meetings. If you have any questions or concerns for me, please feel free to email me at or call The Learning Center at (256) 442-1050.


Allison Stevens Director of Special Education and 504 Etowah County Schools

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

FAPE must be available to all disabled children residing in the State of Alabama/confines of the Etowah County School School System between the ages of 3 and 21, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school.

The Etowah County School System will ensure that FAPE is available to any individual child with a disability who needs special education and related services, even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade.

The determination that a child is eligible under the law must be made on an individual basis by the IEP Team which is responsible for making eligibility determinations.

Gifted Services

The Etowah County School System directly serves gifted studentes at The Gifted Center located at the Career Technical Center for students in grades 3-6. Indirect services are provided in the individual schools for grades K-2 and grades 7-12.

Effective Dates for IEPs

For preschool children, an IEP must be in effect no later than the child’s third birthday unless otherwise specified by the IEP Team. For all other children, this system will have an IEP in effect for each child with a disability within its jurisdiction at the beginning of each school year. A meeting to develop an IEP must be conducted within 30 calendar days of the initial determination that the child qualifies for special education and related services. The IEP must be in effect before special education and related services are provided to a student as well as written permission from the parent to provide the services. Parents receive prior notice before an IEP Meeting occurs.

To Contact the Special Education Department:

The Learning Center 209A Grand Ave., West Rainbow City, AL 35906

256-442-1050 Main Office 256-442-1077 (fax)

256-538-6264 The Gifted Center (located at the Career Technical School)