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Special Education

For information regarding our SELPA and governance, please click on the link below:

Charter SELPA Governance

 If you would prefer a printed copy of the Local Plan rather than the electronic version accessible on the website at the link above, please contact the Special Education Director


ISM believes that every child has the right to an equitable, free, and appropriate education, including the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme. All ISM students have the opportunity to receive inclusion of educational resources, differentiated instruction, guidance, and accommodations to provide opportunities to achieve their highest potential. ISM provides students with the opportunity to achieve academic success as they move through the IB continuum at ISM.

ISM recognizes that students have different educational needs and learning modalities that require varying teaching approaches and learning experiences. ISM believes that all students have the ability to “become conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.” Students utilize the IB Learner Profile attributes to achieve their academic and personal potential in all areas. 

ISM believes in holistically meeting the special educational needs of students across the PYP and MYP from kindergarten to grade eight. ISM believes that inclusion is an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning by identifying and removing barriers for all students. This can only be successfully achieved in a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support, and problem solving. All staff members work collaboratively to incorporate differentiation strategies that meet student learning styles and needs.

SELPA Change

From opening in 2001 through the 2020-2021 school year, ISM operated as "a school of the district for special education purposes." That means that we provided services essentially the same as any Monterey Peninsula Unified School District school based on the philosophies and standards of the district, while relying on the professional expertise of the MPUSD special education leadership and staff to guide and provide services to students.

Rather than operating as a school of their authorizing district, charter schools may become their own local education agency (LEA) for special education. This allows the same level of autonomy for special education as charter schools have for their general education programs. As independent LEAs, charters may join any SELPA (special education local plan area) that accepts charter schools.  

We have applied and been approved for membership in the El Dorado Charter SELPA, the state's largest and most experienced charter SELPA. Thus, starting with the 2021-2022 school year, we now operate as our own local educational agency (LEA) for special education. That means we hire and contract our individual service providers, and refine our special education services to reflect our International Baccalaureate framework and underlying commitments to universal design for learning (UDL), inquiry-based teaching and learning, and project-based learning. At the same time, we rely on the professional expertise of the El Dorado Charter SELPA leadership and staff to guide us.

We saw this move to become our own LEA and join the a Charter SELPA as an exciting opportunity to better integrate our special education program with our IB programs and philosophy, and, most importantly, to better connect special education students within the special school community that makes ISM so successful. 


Information for Parents of ISM Students

The International School of Monterey (ISM), a charter school authorized by the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (District), operates as an independent LEA for special education purposes. Accordingly, students eligible for special education who are enrolled in ISM receive special education services in accordance with their individualized education programs (IEP) and in the same manner as any other student enrolled in the District. The District, as the local education agency for special education purposes, offers a full continuum of special education instruction and related services to ensure that all special education students receive a free appropriate public education. Not every service on the continuum of options is offered at the ISM school site. Accordingly, an ISM student requiring special education services may receive such services at other sites as contracted by ISM.

Special education placements and related services available on site at ISM may include general education inclusion, a resource specialist program, speech and language therapy, and other designated instructional services. ISM offers the full continuum of services and placement options in accordance with IDEA.

ISM shall not discriminate against any student with disabilities in the ISM admissions and enrollment process.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact the ISM Principal or Assistant Principal for School Culture & Community at 831-583-2165.