Special Education

Special Education Director


Important information about the following topics:

Child Find

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)

Building Level Assistance Team (BLAT)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act


Ongoing efforts are made by the Champion Local School District to locate and evaluate children ages birth through 21 years of age, who reside within the district and have a confirmed or suspected disability in accordance with federal and state standards.

Parents, relatives, agency personnel, and concerned citizens may refer any child (birth through 21) who may qualify for special education and related services.

Anyone aware of a child who may have special needs living within the district is asked to call Student Services at (330)847-2302.


The cornerstone Federal legislation for the education of students with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. IDEIA ensures the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for every student who qualifies under the Federal Law and corresponding federal and state regulations.

Our goal is to work with parents/guardians to help ensure that every child experiences success in the Champion Local School System. The District encourages parents to call the office of Student Services, at 330-847-2302 if they suspect their child has a handicap that may interfere with their child's ability to progress in the general education environment.

Special educational services are available to students with disabilities (SWD) from age 3 through 21 years of age. Champion promotes inclusion practices whenever appropriate, and provides support to the general education teacher and/or the SWD participating in the general education setting. The District employs intervention specialists serving grades K-12 and contracts with the Trumbull County Educational Service Center for various related services in order to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.


Champion Local Schools utilizes the Response to Intervention Model (RTI), for at risk learners, and makes every effort to work with any student having difficulty in the general education classroom. This process includes the utilization of a Building Level Assistance Team (BLAT), composed of the following: the teacher, parent, guidance counselor and any other specialist who may help the team to problem solve. Any individual may make a referral to this team on behalf of a struggling student. The purpose of the meeting is to develop strategies and interventions designed to help the struggling student become successful in the classroom. Assessment data is then reviewed to determine if the student is progressing.

Any parent who believes their child is having difficulty within the general education setting should first make contact with their child's teacher. The guidance counselor is available in each building for additional consultation.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (hereinafter "Section 504"), is Congress' directive to schools receiving any Federal funding to eliminate discrimination based on disability from all aspects of their school operations. It states: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Since the School District is a recipient of Federal dollars, its administrators and staff are required to provide eligible disabled students with equal access (both physical and academic) to services, programs, and activities offered by its schools. Section 504 is a civil rights statute and not a special education statute.

How can I refer my child to determine 504 eligibility?

If you suspect that your child is "disable under Section 504/ADA, contact your child's teacher, school counselor, or building principal. You will be asked to complete a referral form and grant consent for a 504 evaluation. After the evaluation is complete, a meeting will be scheduled to determine if your child has a "disability." You have the right to meaningfully participate in the process and provide input, even if you cannot attend the meeting in person.

What criteria are used to determine 504 eligibility?

A student qualifies for Section 504 protection if s/he is determined to be an individual with a disability as defined by the statue. Specifically, the student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or have a record of such an impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment. Only those students with an actual impairment, however, are entitled to accommodations/modifications/interventions pursuant to Section 504. Those students with a record of an impairment or who are regarded as having an impairment are entitled to protection from discrimination based upon disability.

What is the difference between section 504 and the IDEIA?

Section 504 prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities and requires school districts to provide students with disabilities regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met. Any necessary accommodations/modifications/interventions must be delineated in a Section 504 Plan.

IDEIA requires districts to provide disabled students (ages 3 through 21) with special education and related services and supplementary aids and services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. The special education and related services must be delineated in an Individualized Education Program (IEP).