Student working in classroom.

Special Education and Related Services

The Portsmouth School Department recognizes that some students require specialized instruction and/or services to achieve success in school. In order to provide appropriate educational opportunities designed to meet each student’s unique learning needs, we offer a continuum of special program options.

The school district provides services to identify and evaluate potential disabilities in children from age 3 to 22. For children ages 3-5, we offer screening clinics that provide parents with information about their child’s academic, vision, hearing, language, cognitive, and motor skill development.

Students who do not have a disability but are having difficulty in school may receive additional academic or behavioral supports in general education through the district’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Our staff are committed to helping families identify appropriate programs and services for each child. Visit the Teaching & Learning page for more information. 

What is Special Education? 

Special Education services are offered to students from ages 3 through 22 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the State of Rhode Island Board of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education’s Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Special Education, by definition, is "specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.”

A student may qualify for Special Education services in one of fourteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These are:

Autism Spectrum Disorder • Deafness • Deaf-Blindness • Developmentally Delayed • Emotional Disturbance • Hearing Impaired • Intellectual Disability • Multiple Disabilities • Orthopedically Impaired • Other Health Impaired • Specific Learning Disability • Speech-Language Impaired • Traumatic Brain Injury • Visually Impaired

This site provides resources for families and staff related to Special Education services:

RIDE School Support System Report: The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) conducts focused monitoring visits to all district, charter, and non-public special education schools every five years. The purpose of the visit is to determine if the schools are compliant with regulations that govern educating children with disabilities and the effects of programs and services on outcomes for students with disabilities.

School Support System Report and Support Plan - Portsmouth School Department, 2020-2021