Exceptional Children

Lisa Swanson
Special Ed Director





If you need information, please call 859-292-3040




Newport Welcome Center, Fourth Floor

30 West 8th Street, Newport, KY 41071
859-292-3040      Fax 859-292-2818


 Lisa Swanson, Special Education Director       
                            859-292-3040    Ext. 1239                                                  

        Dr. Terry Miller, School Psychologist                
                             859-292-3040   Ext: 1240                          

Morgan Brown, School Psychologist
859-292-3040.  Ext:

Kerri John-Neimann, Diagnostician
859-292-3040    Ext: 1238


Kelly Grayson, Administrative Assistant
859-292-3040   Ext: 1241


Special Education School Department Heads

               Amanda Zimmerman, Newport Primary School                   

                Teresa Smolilo, Newport Intermediate School                   

                        Joe Bramlage, Newport High School                                  

 KDE Letter to Parents
news letter




Exceptional Learners

Newport Special Education is a team of professionals dedicated to providing services for students who need specially designed instruction and to offering support for their teachers and service providers. Our mission is to educate students in appropriate learning environments through instruction that enables them to demonstrate, to their fullest, the knowledge and skills essential for lifelong learning, social well-being, and active, responsible citizenship.

Our Special Education Program serves eligible students ages 3 through 21. Services are available for students with the following disabilities: Speech and language, intellectual, orthopedic, other health impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, specific learning disability, hearing imparied, visually impaired, deaf-blind, emotional and behavioral disorders and significant developmental delay. Identification procedures include initial screening and further educational and psychological testing to determine if the student meets the State eligibility criteria. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for each eligible student. IEP Teams review student strengths and weaknesses and consider factors such as parent concerns, learning style, need for specialized materials and adaptations, communication, fine and gross motor skills, sensory functioning, emotional and behavioral needs and motivation factors. The IEP Team, which includes the student’s parents, develops goals and objectives to address the identified learning needs and recommends services for the student.

Students may be served through a variety of delivery models based on the IEP Team’s recommendations. The IEP Team considers many options when making a recommendation for services for a student. A student's IEP must be delivered as much as is appropriate in an environment that includes non-disabled students. Personnel in the program for students with disabilities work collaboratively with school staff and with parents to assure that students with disabilities are provided with appropriate learning experiences and opportunities.

Related services such as physical therapy, transportation, occupational therapy, mental health therapy, and orientation and mobility are available in every school for students whose IEPs recommend these services.


             These educational terms will help you
              become a better advocate for your child.


Parent - In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) Related to Exceptional Children parent means "a parent, a guardian, a person acting as a parent of a child or youth, a permanent foster parent, or a surrogate parent appointed by the local education agency as required. The term does not include a guardian who is an employee of the Commonwealth if the child or youth is a ward of the state."

Youth - When a child reaches the age of twelve (12), he or she will be known as a youth. When a young person reaches the age of eighteen (18), he or she will be considered an adult with full rights unless the parent provides evidence that a court order or legal document proves the parent is the guardian or youth's representative in educational matters.

Special Education - In the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) special education means "specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents or guardians, to meet the unique needs of a child or youth with a disability."

Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) - The Admissions and Release Committee is responsible for making all decisions about the identification, evaluation, placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education for a child or youth. THE PARENT OF THE CHILD OR YOUTH IS ALWAYS A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE. In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) as Related to Exceptional Children, the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) includes the following participants: parent; child or youth, where appropriate; regular education teacher of the child or youth; teacher of exceptional children who is knowledgeable of the disability or suspected disability; administrator or designee; and others as requested by any member of the ARC. For preschool children who are or have been in other early childhood programs, a representative of their program is also included.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - Free appropriate public education means specially designed instruction and related services are provided for a child or youth with an educational disability at no cost to parents. The school may charge incidental fees which are normally charged to children and youth without disabilities or their parents as part of the regular education program (e.g. locker fees, laboratory fees, etc.).

Individual Education Program (IEP) - An Individual Education Program (IEP) is a written plan of action developed by an Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) to meet the specially designed instruction and related service needs of a child or youth with a disability.

Specially Designed Instruction - In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) Related to Exceptional Children, specially designed instruction means modifications or alterations in instructional methods, techniques, materials, media, or content, including physical and environmental adaptations. Specially designed instruction is unique or different to what is used with most or all children or youth of the same or similar age who do not have a disability specially designed instruction is required for a child or youth with a disability to meet the Individual Education Program (IEP) goals and objectives. The term includes instructional services and community experiences needed to meet transition needs and assistive technology devices and services.

Related Services - Related services are those additional services that a child or youth with a disability may need to benefit from specially designed instruction. Related services may include, but are not limited to the following: transportation; medical evaluations; speech therapy; school health services; occupational therapy; physical therapy; parent counseling and training; rehabilitation counseling; assistive technology and services; and recreation services. Related services for preschool children may also include parent education and service coordination.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - The least restrictive environment (LRE) means the educational setting in which the child or youth with a disability can learn effectively, based upon unique needs and capabilities, and interact with similar age peers who are not disabled.


                     Parent Partners for Exceptional Children

1. Participate in their children’s education. Parent involvement helps students learn, improves schools and makes the teacher’s job easier.
2. Provide resources at home for reading and learning. Supply books and magazines for children and read with them each day.
3. Set a good example. Show your children that you believe reading is enjoyable and useful.
4. Encourage children to do their best in school. Help them set obtainable goals and monitor involvement in other activities.
5. Concern themselves first with academic progress, next with students’ preparation to assume adult responsibilities (work, etc.), then finally, involvement in athletics and other extracurricular activities.
6. Support school rules, discipline policies, and achievement goals.
7. Call teachers as soon as a problem becomes apparent so that prompt action can be taken.
8. Teach basic self-discipline, good manners and other social skills that children need throughout their lives.
9. Understand that alcohol, tobacco and excessive partying are problems as serious as drug abuse. All of these can cause both a student’s health and classroom performance to suffer.
10. Remember that teachers are people, too. Many are parents, and share your parent challenges. Teachers want your child to succeed: help them.


Parents are always welcome to speak with teachers

 As a parent or guardian, it will be helpful to you and your child to get to know his or her teacher. Ask the teacher how and when he or she prefers to be contacted. Via e-mail? Telephone? Handwritten note? Typically, the beginning and end of the school day, as well as lunchtime, are hectic for teachers meaning that arranging a more private conference would be more beneficial. Many teachers make themselves available to talk to parents during their daily planning time during which they are free for conversation. Of course, personal conferences, which many teachers actively seek with parents, are an excellent time to discuss your child’s progress face-to-face with her or her teacher. Whichever communication vehicle you use, the Kentucky Department of Education and Newport Independent Schools encourages you to maintain a positive, ongoing relationship with your child’s teacher. Don’t just call when there is a problem or to express concerns or complain. Teachers will be most receptive to your concerns when your communication with them also includes positive feedback.


The Newport School District has an ongoing “Child Find” system, which is designed to locate, identify and evaluate any child residing in a home, facility, or residence within its geographical boundaries, age three (3) to twenty-one (21) years, who may have a disability and be in need of special education or 504 services. This includes children who are not in school; those who are in public, private, or home school; those who are highly mobile such as children who are migrant or homeless; and those who are advancing from grade to grade, who may need, but are not receiving, special education or 504 services. Call 859-292-3040 for more information.