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ESE Eligibility

The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services supports school districts and others in their efforts to provide exceptional student education programs for students ages 3 - 21 who have disabilities and students who are gifted.

Each school district is responsible for providing services to students who are eligible for the following exceptional student education (ESE) programs.

School districts and schools develop their own programs to serve their students in the most effective way possible. The bureau provides training to school staff, district administrators, and others on important issues and current instructional practices; gives the districts information on state and federal law relating to the education of exceptional students; monitors the districts' compliance with those laws; helps resolve conflicts between school districts and families of exceptional students; and provides any other technical assistance school districts need.

In addition, the bureau's Resource and Information Center provides many materials to help parents understand their child's exceptionality, their child's right to a free appropriate education, and the processes and activities that are involved in exceptional student education. The bureau also supports various activities that encourage parent involvement and parent/professional collaboration. Bureau staff respond to questions from parents and try to help them resolve concerns about their child's ESE programs and services. Parents and school districts may appeal the results of due process hearings to the bureau.

The bureau works to ensure that ESE programs and students are included in important state initiatives such as school reform, dropout prevention, and school safety. The bureau coordinates with other agencies that provide services to children, such as the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

A Legislative History of Florida's Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Program