Exceptional Children

Department Overview 


The goal of the Exceptional Children’s Department is to support students with disabilities while they are in school and ensure that they are prepared for adulthood, including higher education, competitive employment, and independent living.


We provide specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of the learner with a full continuum of services which may include consultation, co-teaching, small group instruction, adapted curriculum programs, as well as a public separate school. We also provide related services that include, but are not limited to speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Students follow the North Carolina Standard Course of Study or the North Carolina Extended Content Standards.

The Davidson County Schools EC department strives to work as a collaborative team to serve and advocate for students with disabilities through the provision of individualized instruction in the least restrictive environment in order for students to grow academically, socially, emotionally, and vocationally.



Davidson County Schools offer a variety of academic and support programs to challenge students to be prepared for the 21st century.


All schools in the Davidson County system provide services to students identified as having special needs. As of April 2020, Davidson County Schools had a total enrollment of 18,857 students of which 2,501 students were identified with special needs. Students with disabilities are served in the least restrictive environment (LRE) by certified professionals and paraprofessional teachers. To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated in their home school. Reassignment of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment only occurs if the nature and/or severity of the disability is such that the student is unable to access the general curriculum even with the use of supplementary aids and services.


Davidson County School System is committed to providing a free and appropriate public education designed to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Programming for exceptional learners provides the support and related services necessary to implement the student’s educational plan and assure that students' and parents' rights are followed in the process.


What curriculum is used in classes for students with disabilities?


The North Carolina Standard Course of Study is taught throughout Davidson County Schools. Exceptional Children teachers use a variety of strategies to help students make progress toward grade-level standards which may include co-teaching with general education teachers.


At the high school level, students with disabilities may participate in the Occupational Course of Study, which leads to a North Carolina diploma while also providing work experience so that students following this pathway graduate with marketable skills to enter the workforce. Participation in OCS is determined by the student’s IEP team.


Students with significant intellectual disabilities participate in the NC Extended Content Standards. This curriculum teaches the essential elements of the traditional course of study while also emphasizing the acquisition of daily living skills for students.


What is special about special education in Davidson County Schools?


Individualized instruction and student achievement are valued in Davidson County Schools. This is evident through the services that are available, including: 

  • Specially designed instruction to meet the needs of all students with disabilities 
  • Access to the general curriculum and intervention programs designed to provide maximum opportunities for instruction in the general education setting 
  • Full continuum of service, including:  consultation, co-teaching, small group classes per core area, self-contained settings and public separate schools
  • Curriculum-driven instruction: North Carolina Standard Course of Study and North Carolina Extended Content Standards
  • Related services that include but are not limited to speech, occupational and physical therapy
  • Modified materials, including but not limited to books on tape, large-print materials, and specialized equipment and furniture
  • Accessible space in schools to meet the needs of students with physical disabilities 
  • Assistive technology


Who determines what services are provided for students with disabilities?


Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams consider service delivery options based on the needs of each student.   Teams may consider regular, resource, or separate settings which are available at every school for students participating in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Teams may also consider self-contained classes for students with significant behavioral challenges or students with significant intellectual disabilities who participate in the North Carolina Extended Content Standards.


Where are services provided for students with disabilities?


Special education is designed to be a continuum of services that support student's acquisition of skills within the regular or adapted curriculum. Whenever possible, students are served in schools within their home district with support from special education personnel and related service providers.  For those students who require a specialized setting or more intensive services in order to benefit from their special education, classes are based on school campuses that house age-appropriate peers.


Eligibility for Special Services


The Public Schools of North Carolina, Exceptional Children Division provides local units with detailed procedures for the delivery of special education services. These rules and regulations are detailed in Policies Governing Services for Students with Disabilities

Services are provided under the following areas of identification:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Deaf/Blindness
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Developmental Delay
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Serious Emotional Disability
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech/Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment


Exceptional Children’s Program Personnel


All of our staff members are here to assist students as they learn and progress.  If you have questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact your student’s teacher or central office staff member. We are happy to consult with parents who need information about specific disabilities, community resources, or have concerns about their child’s education.