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Special Education

Special Education at John Hay

The Special Education department at John Hay Elementary has long been considered one of the very best in the district. Our experienced staff works collaboratively with school and district leaders, teachers, students, and families to provide the tools, guidance, supports, and services needed to ensure access and success for students with disabilities.

At John Hay, we are adopting a Continuum program of services. With our new Focus program , we are able to offer a range of supports and environments for students to learn. This flexible approach allows our team of teachers to share skills and resources, and create opportunities that only a team-based delivery can provide. Rarely are a student’s needs a perfect fit in one instructional specialty, and these needs flex and change over time. The Continuum approach allows us to serve students throughout the program that best fits their academic or behavioral needs.

Descriptions of Service Models

Resource: 1 Teacher – 22 Students
Provides specially designed instruction to students with mild to moderate intensity in their special education instructional needs. 

Access: 1 Teacher & 3 IA’s – 10 Students
Provides instruction to students with academic functional needs who spend most of their instructional time in the general education setting, able to access grade-level curriculum with targeted supports. 

Focus: 1 Teacher & 2 IA’s – 10 Students
Provides instruction to students with more intensive academic needs. The student needs are such that instruction will be delivered in a small group setting and at a different pace or level than the general education setting. 

Service Location

Together, the IEP team will select the primary placement that best aligns with the student’s IEP needs for the upcoming year. While placement defines the case manager for each student, it does not limit the supports to one specific program. The student will receive services throughout the continuum that best support the IEP goals. 

Communication Only

Our Speech-Language Pathologist provides services to students who require communication only services, such as articulation, fluency, or language. (SLP also provides specially designed instruction and related services for students in other programs.)

Other Services

Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Audiology

Inclusion and Support

In addition to our exceptional programs, the school’s administration and staff have made significant progress in the past few years to create a thoroughly inclusive environment school wide. In 2016, a leadership position was created on the parent board to represent the interests of the Special Education students and staff. Working together, school events have been madetruly accessible, featuring sensory friendly modifications for all students who require them. Our administration and staff have fully embraced this issue and the progress has been inspiring.

In the fall of 2017, a group of dedicated Special Education parents foundedJohn Hay Special Education Parents. This support/social group will give parents the opportunity to chat about our children and their needs, recommend services, ask questions, get support, learn from professionals in the field with targeted workshops, and just get to know each other and have a great time with other adults. Please be on the lookout for emails from your child’s case manager for upcoming meeting dates. You can also contact the group leaders at

For more information on Special Education district wide, please visit Seattle Public Schools Special Education website

Upcoming Meetings of Interest

Seattle Public Schools Special Education PTSA

General Membership Meetings for 2019-2020 will be held on Tuesdays from 7 – 9 PM  at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

  • September 24: Special Ed Directors Nicole Fitch and Trish Campbell will be presenting the “State of Special Education” There will also be a Meet and Greet Dr. Concie Pedroza Chief of Student Supports SPS.
  • October 22
  • November 19
  • January 21 (election of Nominating Committee)
  • March 10
  • April 21
  • May 19

For more information, visit:


Resource teacher &
Department Lead:
Misa Nakamura

Access K-2
Kimberly Cook

Access 3-5
Anthony Williams

Justin Ellenson

Handy Glossary

AT – AssistiveTechnology

FAPE – Free & Appropriate Public Education

FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

IA – Instructional Assistant

IEP – Individualized Educational Plan

LRE – Least Restrictive Environment

OT/PT – Occupational/Physical Therapy

SLP – Speech Language Pathologist

SPED – Special Education