Special Education Information

It is the right of all children with disabilities in the United States to have Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This is guaranteed by the federal government under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).


FAPE and IDEA mean that all public schools (both district and charter) must create a specialized academic plan, referred to as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), for children with special needs. They must do this within 30 calendar days after the child is determined eligible. However, it is important to remember that just because a child has a disability or impairment, he or she may not automatically qualify for special education services. The IEP process must be followed in order to qualify and receive services.

Facilitated IEP (FIEP) meetings are now available by request through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website. Parents and school personnel are finding that the use of an independent facilitator can assist in the IEP team process. A facilitator is a neutral person who helps guide the student-centered focus of the meeting.

Teacher Reading to Child

504 PLAN

Some students with disabilities may not require an IEP under the IDEA, however, they may qualify for a 504 plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A 504 plan is a blueprint or plan for how a child will have access to learning at school. It provides services and changes to the learning environment to meet the needs of the child as adequately as other students.

To qualify for a 504 plan, there are two requirements:

  1. A child has any disability, which can include many learning or attention issues.
  2. The disability must interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom.

Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA. It says a disability must substantially limit one or more basic life activities, such as learning. Therefore, a child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP might still be able to get a 504 plan.

Schools for Exceptional Learners

Cornerstones of Care – Gillis School

Ages Served: 6-19
Grades Served: K-12

8150 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
Phone: (816) 508-3500

Focus: Intensive combination of special education and therapy services

KVC – Niles

Grades Served: K-12

1911 E. 23rd St.
Kansas City, M0 64127
Phone: (866) 582-2273
Admissions: (913) 890-7468

Focus: Trauma-Focused Care and on-site therapeutic services

Sherwood Autism Center

Ages Served: 5-21
Grades Served: K-12

8030 Ward Parkway Plaza
Kansas City, MO 64114
Phone: (816) 333-3344

Focus: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Horizon Academy

Grades Served: 1-12

4901 Reinhardt Drive
Roland Park, KS 66205
Phone: (913) 789-9443

Focus: Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dysgraphia, Receptive Language Disorder, Dyscalculia, ADHD

Plaza Academy

Grades Served: 7-12

3930 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 561-0770

Focus: Gifted and talented students who have advanced developmentally beyond their peers and who require a more adult academic and social environment.

Teenagers with learning disabilities who require a specially designed curriculum and daily individual attention.

Teenagers who are dissatisfied with their peer and family relationships which accompany problems at school.

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) & Charter Schools

Both KCPS and charter schools offer many special education services to students who live in the KCPS boundaries.

  • KCPS: Call (816) 418-8941 or visit them at kcpublicschools.org
  • Charters: Contact individual charter schools for information about their special education services

Private Schools

Some private schools in the KCPS boundaries also serve children with special needs. Please check with individual private schools to confirm which schools provide services appropriate for your child.

Help us improve the school selection process for students with special needs.

Please take 10 minutes to answer a few questions about your experience selecting a school:

·       The results will be shared with school district personnel

·       All responses are anonymous

·       Survey open until November 22

Click the link to make sure your voice is heard.


Missouri Parents Act (MPACT): MPACT’s staff is made up of parents of children with disabilities, therapists and educators who can help to answer some of your questions. Find out about the services offered at MPACT at 1-800-743-7634.

Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education (FIRE): Several local Catholic schools welcome students with special needs into classrooms through the FIRE Foundation. The FIRE Foundation, an independent, non-pro t organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools to hire special educators and paraprofessionals and to acquire learning materials and technology that create successful learning experiences for all children. You can learn more about their services and their school partners at firefoundation.org.

For More Information

Contact Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

Office of Special Education
Phone: 573-751-5739
Fax: 573-526-4404
Email: specialeducation@dese.mo.gov

Office of Special Education Compliance
Phone: 573-751-06990
Email: secompliance@dese.mo.gov

Karly Scholl SMCKS Parent

Our School Navigator Special Needs Specialist is available to help you identify a school that is a good fit for your unique child.

Need Help?

Our team can guide you through the process. Contact us and a School Navigator will be in touch to schedule a free consultation.