Exceptional Children

Exceptional Children

Director of EC and Federal Programs: Dr. Richard Griffin

Administrative Assistant: Renee Banner

Our Mission

Avery County Schools, through supportive relationships with students, parents and community, will provide specially designed instruction to children with a broad spectrum of abilities and disabilities, striving to promote their cognitive, physical, social/emotional, and vocational development.


Our Vision    

Avery County Schools will become a national model of rural education.


Goal Statement

The goal of the Avery County Schools Exceptional Children's Department is to educate children with disabilities and foster their independence, enabling them to become contributing and productive citizens.


Avery County Schools exceptional children’s teachers are dedicated to providing all students with a disability access to the knowledge and skills necessary to live productive lives.

Our goal is to provide appropriate educational opportunities to all children in our schools who have a disability and are in need of special education services. We provide the full continuum of services to students with disabilities, based on individual needs. Related services are provided when required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.

The Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards are used throughout Avery County Schools. Exceptional Children teachers use a variety of strategies to help students make progress in the curriculum, including co-teaching with general education teachers. At the high school level, students with disabilities may participate in the Occupational Course of Study, a pathway leading to a North Carolina diploma.

Students with significant cognitive disabilities participate in the Extensions of the Common Core Standards. This curriculum teaches the essential elements of the traditional course of study while also emphasizing the acquisition of functional skills.

Discipline Procedures for Students with Disabilities

(Excerpt from Board Policy 4304)

Discipline Suspensions of Students with Disabilities

When a student with disabilities violates the Code and warrants suspension from school for ten (10) school days or less in a given school year, the school may follow its normal disciplinary procedures. School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether suspension is appropriate. Circumstances considered should include area of disability, functioning level of the student, intent of the behavior and other relevant factors.

After a student with a disability has been removed from his/her current placement for ten (10) school days in the same school year, during any subsequent days of removal, the school must provide services to the extent required by law. ISS and assignment does not count in the ten (10) day total as long as the student receives his/her special education and related services, as set forth in the child’s individualized education plan ("IEP").

Suspension from bus transportation is counted as any other suspension if the bus suspension results in the student not being able to get to school by other means. 

Dispute Resolution

Any person who has a concern about the education of a student with a disability can raise the issue in one of several ways. It is always appropriate to discuss the matter with the student's teacher or principal at the local school, or it is also helpful to contact the Director of Exceptional Children Program in the central office.

The Exceptional Children Division's consultants for dispute resolution and consultants for instructional support and related services are also able to offer consultation to assist parents, advocates, or school system, charter school, or state operated programs personnel who request help with problem-solving.

Consultants at the Department of Public Instruction are neutral and refrain from taking sides when there is a disagreement, but consistently advocate for appropriate services for children with disabilities. They are committed to the protection of rights for children with disabilities and their parents.

An informal means of problem solving is provided through the Exceptional Children Division's Facilitated IEP Program for school systems, charter schools, state operated programs, and parents.
For more information on Dispute Resolution and our governing polices follow the link to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's webpage.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and Article 9 of North Carolina state law require that the Department of Public Instruction monitor local education agencies (LEAs) on a regular basis to ensure compliance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations that govern the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities. The purpose of this monitoring is to focus federal, state, and local resources on improved results for children with disabilities and their families.

The Exceptional Children Division is responsible for conducting all monitoring activities through the Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System. The following documents are provided for LEA use in reporting to the State Education Agency (SEA).

DPI Compliance Checklist

Directions for Using the Compliance Checklist

DPI Compliance Record Review Protocol