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Special Education

Special Education Services Staff

Director - Megan de Nobriga
Secretary/Bookkeeper - Kerri Malcolm
Secretary - Alisha Pickel
School Psychologist - Rhonda McCoy
School Psychologist - Grayson Byrd
Parent Resource Center Liaison - Vicie Dotson
Coordinator of Student Services - Tim Duncan
Foster Care/Homeless Liaison - Tim Duncan 

JLARC’s K-12 Special Education Study and Parent Survey

Through December 2020, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), the non-partisan research and oversight agency of the Virginia state legislature, is conducting a study of Virginia’s K-12 special education services. In addition to other topics, the study team is reviewing Virginia’s special education identification and eligibility determination processes, inclusion of students with disabilities in academic and extracurricular experiences, individualized education program (IEP) development and implementation, and the state’s special education dispute resolution services, such as due process hearings and state complaint services.

As part of this research, the JLARC researchers are seeking input from many different stakeholders, including parents of K-12 students with disabilities, special education teachers, representatives of local special education advisory committees, division-level special education administrators, state-level special education administrators, and special education staff in other states, and national experts.

To ensure that our researchers are able to obtain input from parents of K-12 students with disabilities across the state—who are key stakeholders for the study—we have developed an online survey. The survey is designed for parents, foster parents, and legal guardians of students who have received K-12 special education services at any time over the past three years.

The survey will be available through Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

In English:

To complete the survey, please use the following link: JLARC Survey - English Version

If you have questions, please contact JLARC staff at

En Español:

La encuesta de JLARC para los padres de los alumnos en Virginia que reciben los servicios de educación especial está disponible en español. Para acceder a más información y completar la encuesta, visite Encuesta JLARC - Versión española

Para preguntas acerca de la encuesta, por favor comuníquese con


If you would prefer to access the survey from the JLARC’s website, you can follow this link: JLARC Website

Parents of Students Receiving Special Education Services…we need your help!

Please click the link below to complete a short survey about your satisfaction with special education services in Bristol Virginia Public Schools.  If you would rather complete a hard copy of this survey, your student should be bringing one home when school resumes.  You only need to complete it once, either hard copy or on-line.  We appreciate your help on this!


English Version ----- English Version of 2019-2020 Indicator 8 Parent Survey


Spanish Version ---- Spanish Version of 2019-2020 Indicator 8 Parent Survey


If you are the parent of a student who attends private school in our district and has a student with a disability, please click the below link and take this short survey.  If you student is old enough to participate, there is a survey for students as well.  Thank you!


The online surveys are currently opened and will be available for completion at the following links until October 30, 2020:


Parent Survey ----- Private School Survey for Parent


Student Survey ---- Private School Student Perspective Survey SY 2020

What Is Special Education?

Special Education means instruction, specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, which is offered at no cost to the parent or guardian.  Bristol Virginia Public Schools offer a wide variety of services to students ages 2 through 21, who are determined to have a disabling condition.  Also, evaluation and referral to early educational intervention (help) for children with disabilities is very important and can improve the quality of life a child with disabilities.

Disability Determination Categories
  • Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Developmental Delays
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impaired/Deaf
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Intellectually Disabled
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Other Health Impairment           

Please remember, not every child who is experiencing difficulty in school has a disability.  Not every child who has a disability will need Special Education Services.  A child must have a disability which negatively affects his/her educational or developmental progress and he or she must be formally evaluated before eligibility for Special Education Services can be determined. 

Services for Students Identified as Hearing or Visually Impaired

“The Department of Education shall annually prepare and distribute to local school boards packets of information describing the educational and other services available through the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired. Local school boards shall annually post this information on the school division's website and inform the parents of those students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired of its availability. School boards shall ensure that packets of such information are available in an accessible format for review by parents who do not have Internet access.”


Child Find is the federally mandated process designed to identify, locate and evaluate children who are birth to age 21, inclusive, who are in need of special education and related services as defined in the Virginia Regulations.  This includes children who are home-schooled or home-tutored, children who are mobile, including those who are homeless or migrant, and who are wards of the state; children who are under 18, who are suspected of having a disability who need special education and related services, and who are incarcerated in a regional or local jail for 10 or more days; and children who are suspected of being children with disabilities, even though they are advancing from grade to grade. 
Bristol Virginia Public Schools provides special education and related services for children who will be at least two years old on or by September 30th of the current school year.
Bristol Virginia Public Schools conducts public awareness activities on an ongoing basis.  Child Find is the required process of locating children in need of referral.  Brochures are distributed to local public agencies and private schools as well as physicians’ offices and other locations in the community to inform the public of referral services.  Newspaper announcements are also used for the Child Find Campaign.  The Parent-Teacher Resource Center assists with notifying and collaborating with parents and community members.
BVPS is also required to identify children who are parentally placed in private schools located within Bristol Virginia City, even if they reside outside of Bristol City.


The Code of Virginia  and The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia  has specific screening requirements for all students in public schools.
Screening results must be documented on a screening form and filed in a confidential manner in each student’s scholastic record.  Parents must be informed of the results of the screening.Screening timelines are as follows:
  • Hearing & Vision – within 60 administrative days of the opening of the school year for all children in grades K, 3, 7, & 10.
  • Speech, Voice, Language, and Fine & Gross Motor – within 60 administrative days of the opening of school for all new enrollees including those in kindergarten and those who transfer in the school division for the first time.
The screening may take place up to 60 business days prior to the start of school or 60 days from the start of the school year.  Screenings reported as part of the student’s pre-school physical examination may be recognized as fulfilling this requirement. Written notice to parents must be provided to parents within 30 days of the screening.
Children who fail any of the above screenings may be rescreened if the original results are not considered valid.  Results from screening(s) may suggest that a referral for evaluation for special education and related services is indicated.
BVPS offers free developmental screenings for preschool-aged children (ages 2-5) suspected of  possible developmental delays.  Depending upon screening results, some children are referred to the preschool child study team.  Parents and school professionals discuss screening results and determine if an evaluation for possible special education services are warranted.


Referrals to the Child Study Team can be made in writing, electronically, or verbally to a principal or Child Study Chair (special education designee) regardless of whether the child is enrolled in public school.  Anyone can make a referral, including parents, school staff, the Child Study Team, the VDOE or any other state agency, or other individual.  (Please note that if the referral comes from someone other than a parent or school staff, the parent must provide written consent for the exchange of information between the individual and school staff.) The Child Study Chair (special education designee) will schedule the Child Study meeting, ensuring that the parent and all required team members receive written notification of the meeting.
The Child Study Team must convene within 10 business days to consider the referral.  Please contact the Child Study Chair at your child's school (see below):
Van Pelt Elementary – Melanie Young
Stonewall Jackson Elementary- Tracey Mercier
Highland View Elementary – Ted Shannon
Washington Lee Elementary – Vida Diehl
Virginia Middle – Curtis Price
Virginia High – Mitzy Graham
Any student – Dr. Megan de Nobriga, Director of Special Education 276-821-5635