Special Education

Special Education programming is designed to meet the instructional needs of those students whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of  the general instruction programs and those related services which are needed so children can benefit from their specially designed instruction  following assessments for eligibility.


Over 10 years ago, Piedmont Unified Schools adopted a philosophy of inclusion for all special needs students. It’s our goal to include special needs students in general education as much as possible. While it depends on the individual student, the inclusion program is one of the most powerful ways to support kids who are in special education. None of our students spend their entire day in a special education classroom. If we do have a child that needs a full time special education classroom, we partner with schools in the Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda and Albany school districts to provide the necessary programming.

Fourteen percent of the Piedmont Unified student population benefits from the Special Education program. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 established 14 disability categories. From pre-k to 12th grade, Piedmont schools offer a wide range of help for all 14 categories: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment including blindness

If a child is not achieving at an appropriate academic level, interventions are mandated by the state of California. Our first approach is to employ strategies in the classroom and a progressive level of intervention through general education programming such as Reading and Math resource. If eligibility for Special Education services are determined, our district has many specialists at the ready, including speech pathologists, occupational therapists, Adaptive Physical Education specialists, and resource specialists for grades K-12. Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) have specific goals to help them progress toward grade level standards.

We also have inclusion specialists that ensure that children with special needs are reaching their academic goals and making the most of their time in the classroom.

In grades 3-5, a special education center called “Home Base”  is available at Beach School. This terminology is used through middle school and high school, to help students feel at home in each new setting.

If you have a child that you feel may need special education support services, please contact the school principal Carol Cramer at 594-2780 or ccramer@piedmont.k12.ca.us.  For preschoolers, please contact the Director of Special Education Services, Hillary Chrissinger at 594-2733 or hchrissinger@piedmont.k12.ca.us.