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Special Education

Special Education Services Staff

Director - Megan de Nobriga  [email protected]
Secretary/Bookkeeper - Kerri Malcolm  [email protected]
Secretary - Alisha Pickel  [email protected]
School Psychologist - Grayson Byrd  [email protected]
Parent Resource Center Liaison -
Coordinator of Student Services - Sara DeBusk  [email protected]
Foster Care/Homeless Liaison - Sara DeBusk  [email protected]

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. 

Annual Resources for Serving Students with Sensory Disabilities


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 deaf or hard of hearing 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 deaf or hard of hearing 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 – Brittanie Abel
Virginia Middle – Curtis Price
Virginia High – Mitzie White
Any student – Dr. Megan de Nobriga, Director of Special Education 276-821-5635