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Prescott Unified School District #1 provides special education programs for children with disabilities, within the boundaries of the district, including homeless children or wards of the State, children attending private schools or who are home schooled, those who are in need of special education and related services are identified, located and evaluated.

The District also provides transition planning and services to assist children with disabilities entering the world of work or college.  Anyone interested in receiving information about these services is encouraged to contact Prescott Unified School District, Exceptional Student Services at 717-3236 or email the Director of Special Education, Terry Gorman at 

For more information: AZ Find

Special Education

“Exceptional Student Services”

926 S. Hinman Dr. | Prescott AZ 86305 | 928-717-3236

Dear Families,
Beginning on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 through December 18th, 2020 all PK-12 special education services for students with IEPs will be delivered virtually.  This includes students who are in our P K-12 self-contained programs.  This is a change from the previous self-contained schedule where students were on campus 4 days per week.  This decision has been made to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students and aligns with PUSD’s decision to move into full Distance Learning.

Dear Families,
Welcome back to the 2020-2021 school year.  Though it looks different than a usual school year, as a district we are devoted to providing the best instruction possible for every child in our district.

In regards to our students with IEPs we have a very solid plan for ensuring that students continue to receive services as delineated within their IEPs. They will continue to receive their Specially Designed Instruction, Related Services and Accommodations to ensure a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Student service minutes will be met as outlined within their IEP. On the right side of our ESS page and the left side of the district website, you will find our Special Education Instructional Framework, which outlines what special education services will look like based on the 3 risk levels. In addition, on the PUSD main page you will find a myriad of information about districts processes and procedures in place during COVID-19.

In regards to Special Education here is a summary for our programs:

K-12 Resource Programs, Extended Resource Programs and our 4-12 BRIDGES, ALPS and PATHWAYS program:

  • Will follow the general education framework, in regards to In-Person, Hybrid and Distance Learning plans based on risk levels
  • Students log on from home and join live instruction with their Special Education Teacher.
  • Related Services: Speech, OT, PT, and Counseling Services will be provided through In-Person and Teletherapy.

Self-Contained Program: K-12 BEST; Lincoln Bridges; PHS RISE Programs:

  • Will begin In-Person Learning on August 17.  
  • Students will attend via a 5-half day am or pm schedule OR 5-full days
  • Teachers will communicate the schedule with families
    The schedule is dependent upon class size
  • If a parent declines in-person instruction then their student(s) will  login from home and join live instruction with their Special Education Teacher.
  • Transportation will be provided if a Related Service in the student’s IEP
    OR if the student received General Education transportation during the 2019-2020 SY
    OR if the student is new to PUSD and qualifies for  transportation.
    PUSD Transportation Department will reach out to families in regards to the bus schedule
  • Breakfast and Lunch will be provided
  • ALL Health and Safety Protocols as outlined in the district document will be strictly followed
    Please see the District Document on the PUSD main webpage
  • Masks will be worn by all  staff and students.
  • Related Services: Speech, OT, PT, and Counseling Services will be provided through In-Person and Teletherapy.

For families who request the district’s PREP program for their student(s) with an IEP, an  IEP meeting will be held.  Parents will not be denied access to PREP for their student(s), the purpose of the meeting is to discuss student educational needs.

We are all very excited to begin this new school year, even with the challenges it presents.  We have missed our students and families and are so glad we are back together, no matter what that looks like.

Thank you in advance for your support and partnership.  I am always here to answer any questions that you may have or support your students in any way I can. You can also reach out to your child’s teacher and/or building principal. We are all in this together and we continue to serve Every Child, Everyday, Everywhere.  

Take care,

Terry Gorman
Director of Special Education
Prescott Unified School District 

Philosophy and Objectives

Prescott Unified School District seeks to provide free appropriate public education for students of all abilities. To implement this philosophy, the Special Education Program has the following major objectives:

  • To educate all students to the extent appropriate within the regular education environment.
  • To identify, assess, and diagnose the individual needs of children with disabilities.
  • To provide adaptations and interventions to children with disabilities in order to attain optimum learning.
  • To help children receiving special education services learn the social, pre-vocational, and vocational skills necessary to live as independently and successfully as possible.


Request for Assistance

Every school has a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Team (MTSS) that meets to assist classroom teachers in responding to students who are experiencing difficulties at school.

A request for this assistance may come from school staff, a family member, or the student. The MTSS Team develops, implements, and evaluates interventions designed to remedy the problem(s).


If a student continues to experience difficulties, the MTSS Team may request that a more in-depth evaluation be conducted by additional school personnel. One of the purposes for this evaluation is to determine possible eligibility for special education services. Referral for special education evaluation generally occurs after alternatives have been tried and have been determined unsuccessful in the regular classroom.

Full and Individual Evaluation

Comprehensive evaluations assess intellect, achievement, learning styles, social/emotional development and Speech/Language. Decisions are made with parents in a multi-disciplinary evaluation team meeting concerning eligibility. Students placed in a special education program are re-evaluated at least every three years.

Parent Participation

Parents are an integral part of their child’s special education program and it is necessary that they understand the procedures and information discussed. We encourage parents to present questions and concerns and be actively engaged in the process. Various support and educational groups for parents/ students are available for those who wish to participate.

It is our goal to provide equal access and learning opportunities for every child. We encourage the support of parents and patrons in realizing this goal.

Please click here for more information


Resource K-12:
This program serves students who spend the majority of their school day within the general education setting and who require minimal specially designed special education instruction.

Extended Support K-4:
This is a flexible attendance classroom which serves students who need specialized behavior and/or academic support and require a setting with fewer distractions, less stimulation, and increased structure. Students transition in and out of the classroom into the general education setting based on individual needs and goals.

Explicitly taught social skills instruction is provided in order for students to develop the skills required to manage their own behaviors. Motor lab activities are provided to students on a regular/daily basis to address sensorimotor needs.

Extended Support 5-8:
This class serves students who need specialized behavior and/or academic support (English and Math) in a setting with fewer distractions. Students receive (based on individual needs) core standards instruction in a small class setting at a slower pace.  Specially designed instruction as indicated by the IEP may be provided within Extended Support or in Resource, dependent upon individual student need.

BEST K-12:
This program serves students who require core standards, Life Skills (in some instances) and specially designed instruction within the special education setting with inclusion into the general education setting.

BRIDGES/ALPS/Pathways K-12:
This program serves students who require both core standards and specially designed instruction within the special education setting, with a focus on pro-social skills. Students have the opportunity to return to the general education setting as they develop their pro-social skills.

RISE 9-12:
This program serves students who are significantly impacted by Autism.  Students receive the majority of their instruction within the special education setting.

Severe and Profound BEST 9-12:
This program serves students who are significantly, cognitively impacted.  Students receive the majority of their instruction within the special education setting and are included in general education based on individual student strengths and needs.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) provides support for teachers and staff in responding to students who have challenging behaviors using Positive Behavior Support strategies. This includes conducting observations and Functional Behavior Assessments, writing Behavior Intervention Plans, and providing training.

Sensory Impaired (Hearing Impaired and Visually Impaired) students are served by school staff as well as personnel from the North Central Regional cooperative (affiliated with Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind).

Speech and Language Pathologists serve students with communicative disorders and speaking/listening problems. This service may be provided as a related service or as a primary disability.

Physical or Occupational Therapy is provided as a related service when necessary for students’ success and progress in special education. An adaptive physical education program, PEOPEL, is also available.

Extended School Year (ESY) program during the summer months is provided for students to prevent skill loss or regression.

Transition Services for all disabled students, ages 14-21, are offered, including a vocational assessment, along with transition programs provided to help prepare for successful life experiences beyond the school setting.

Each of these programs may be provided only after an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) has been designed as a result of a Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) meeting.

Families with children ages 3-5 who may be concerned regarding their child’s development can contact Discovery Gardens Early Childhood Center at (928) 717-3281 for a free “child find” screening.

ESS Staff

Summary of “Child Find” Procedures for Parents
SPED Instructional Framework


Terry Gorman – Director of Special Education
Education: Masters of Science in Educational Leadership, Drake University; Bachelor of Science, with Endorsements in Elementary Education and Special Education, Mount Mercy University; Special Education Consultant Endorsement, Morningside College


Andrea Johnson – Admin Asst to Sped Director

Cyndy Reyes – Sped Secretary

Angela Rey – Medicaid Coordinator

Jennifer Barnes – Compliance/Instructional Coach

Elle Hughes – AT Coordinator

Danae Potts – Behavior Specialist

Daniel Bullara


Rachel Covey – Lead Psychologist

Georgia Benyk

Lisa Sonnefeldt

Janet Flores

Jean Powers

Phil Reynolds

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