Special Education Department

  • Our Mission

    It is the mission of the Peoria Unified School District's Special Education Department to achieve the highest standards of excellence for students with disabilities based upon their individual strengths and needs. Every student is provided with sound academic opportunities to facilitate their physical, emotional, social and vocational potential. It is our responsibility to provide demanding programs appropriate for all levels of ability and to implement this philosophy into practice for all students. 


    Educational Services for All Children

    It is our goal to serve every school-aged child with a disability who resides in our district. If you are aware of a student who resides in the district and meets one or more of the following disabling conditions or if you suspect that your child has a disability that has not yet been identified, please contact our district office or your local school:

    Autism, Deaf-Blind, Deaf, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disability, Multiple Disability with Severe Sensory Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Preschool Severe Delay, Specific Learning Disability, Speech and Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injured, Visual Impairment.

    The Peoria Unified School District provides a full continuum of special education services for each individual student in the least restrictive environment. Each level of service is available for consideration by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) team for all eligible Peoria Unified students. 


    Itinerant Instruction

    Students requiring minimal special education services may benefit from Itinerant Instruction. This level of service provides the student with intermittent instruction, consultation, and/or materials provided by district-wide special education teachers. 


    Resource Instruction

    Eligible students may receive resource instruction in a separate classroom for part of their school day. This level of service supplements or replaces regular class instruction depending on the student's needs. Resource teachers typically work with students in skill deficits in core subjects, and provide individual or small group instruction as determined by the IEP team. All of our schools provide resource special education services. 


    Self-Contained Classrooms

    At this level of service, students with needs that cannot be met by itinerant or resource level services receive instruction in a separate classroom for the majority of the school day. These specialized programs offer the environmental changes needed to ensure educational success. One teacher is in charge for most of the school day and provides the majority of instruction. An instructional assistant works with the teacher and students. Class sizes are kept smaller than the general education classroom to provide the educational support needed by the students.


    Private Day Schools

    Students whose IEP needs exceed those of a self-contained program may need the support of a private day school. All students placed into a private day school are considered Peoria Unified students. Students and their families are assigned a case manager to ensure that the students' progress is monitored and, when exit criteria are met, that the student is reintegrated into Peoria Unified schools.

    Residential Treatment Center

    The Peoria Unified School District may place a student in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in order to provide special education and related services when all other placement options have been exhausted. Students who reside in a state-approved Residential Treatment Center are educated in a  classroom located at the treatment center. Whether the student is placed in the RTC by the IEP team or the courts, Peoria Unified assigns a case manager to students whose families reside in the Peoria Unified District to provide representation at all meetings, to ensure the student's progress and determine reintegration plan to a less restrictive environment. 


    Homebound Instruction

    Homebound instruction is provided for special education students who, because of medical problems documented by a physician, are either:
    unable to attend regular classes for a period of not less than three school months; or capable of learning at school but are unable to attend classes for intermittent periods of time totaling three school months during a school year.

    Service Plans 

    When a student is parentally placed in private, parochial or home-schooled, not due to FAPE, the district is responsible for child find and evaluation of these students. Following evaluation and identification, the district team will report recommendations of service should the student enroll in the district. 


    Related Services

    Related services include transportation and other support services, such as speech or physical therapy, required for students with disabilities to benefit from special education. Speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are available at all of our district schools.


    Extended School Year Services

    Extended school year (ESY) services are offered to eligible special education students during summer vacation. ESY is for students who lose critical skills during regular breaks in instruction and who require an excessive amount of time to regain those skills. Other factors may be considered. Skills appropriate for ESY consideration include those related to self-sufficiency, behavior, socialization, communication and academics. A student's need and eligibility for ESY instruction is determined by the IEP team.


    Developmental Preschool

    Parents of children, who are at least three years of age, but who have not reached the required age for kindergarten, may request evaluation for special education preschool services directly from Peoria Unified School District. The assessment will assess the child’s vision and hearing, language fluency, communication skills, medical history, cognitive development, gross/fine motor skills, and social-emotional development. If eligible, an IEP (Individual Education Plan) will be developed. The IEP team may determine that they need services while in their current setting or while attending a developmental preschool program at one of our elementary schools for no cost. Developmental preschools are not available at every Peoria Unified school. 


    Transition Services

    Transition services are provided for students who are at least sixteen years old. These services, which are based on each student's strengths, interests and preferences, help students make the transition from school to post-school activities, including college education, vocational training, employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living and community participation.

  • Annual Public Notice of Nondiscrimination

    Peoria Unified School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in admission to its programs, services, or activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The Peoria Unified School District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) department does not discriminate in enrollment or access to any of the CTE programs available, such as Business, Marketing & Management, Communication & Information Systems, Environmental & Agriculture Systems, Health Services, Human Services & Resources, and Industrial, Manufacturing & Engineering Systems. For more information on program prerequisites. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Peoria Unified School District also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies:

    Notificación Pύblica Annual de No Discriminación 

    El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Peoria no discrimina en base a raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, edad o discapacidad en la admisión a sus programas, servicios o actividades y proporciona igual acceso a los Boy Scouts y otros grupos juveniles designados. El Departamento de Educación Profesional y Técnica (CTE) del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Peoria no discrimina en la inscripción o el acceso a cualquiera de los programas de CTE disponibles, tales como Negocios, Marketing y Gestión, Sistemas de Comunicación e Información, Sistemas Ambientales y de Agricultura, Servicios de Salud, Servicios y Recursos, y Sistemas Industriales, de Manufactura e Ingeniería. Para obtener más información sobre los prerrequisitos del programa, consulte la Guía de descripción del curso aquí. La falta de habilidades en el idioma inglés no será una barrera para la admisión o participación en las actividades y programas del distrito. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Peoria tampoco discrimina en sus prácticas de contratación o empleo. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para manejar las consultas relacionadas con las políticas de no discriminación:


Special Education Records

Special Education District Contact

  • You can reach our Special Education Department by phone at 623-487-5192 or by email at annavarro@pusd11.net

    Lori Garcia
    Executive Director of Exceptional Student Services

    Megan Burbank
    Assistant Director of Special Education

Preschool Contact Info

  • Our Preschool Assessment Center is available to assist you in answering any questions you may have regarding the special education process for preschool age students.

    PS Assessment Team
    Ira A. Murphy Elementary
    7231 W. North Lane
    Peoria, AZ  85345


adult and child