Early Childhood Special Education

The IEP Meeting and Process

A child’s eligibility for Special Education services is determined at an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. Eligibility is based on the federally-mandated categories under which a student can qualify for special education services. Eligibility will be discussed and determined at the meeting, as well as assessment findings and recommendations. Parent(s)/guardians are considered the leaders of the team and central to the decision-making process. Parent(s)/guardians, evaluators, the preschool Program Supervisor and a general education teacher all attend the meeting, as well as any other service providers who may be involved in the child’s care or services or other individuals that parent(s)/guardians feel are appropriate to invite.

From this meeting a legal document, also referred to as the Individual Education Plan (IEP), is generated and agreed-upon classroom placement and/or other services are reflected on this document.


The child development centers within Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) offer a full continuum of classroom settings for students who are determined via the IEP process to need special education classroom placements. We currently have four integrated classrooms (one at King Preschool, two at Hopkins, and one at Franklin Preschool), and six full inclusion classrooms (four at Franklin and two at King Preschool), though the type, location, and quantity of classrooms may change based on student needs.

Integrated Classes

The Integrated classes are made up of roughly half typically developing students and half students with IEPs, with a maximum of 15 students. Students who benefit from this type of classroom are those whose IEP goals are best implemented in a setting with typical peers. A higher adult-to-child ratio allows for more individualized attention within the classroom. The staff include a Special Education Preschool Teacher and two Special Education Instructional Aides.

Full Inclusion Classes

Full Inclusion classes are typical preschool classrooms with slots for up to three children with IEPs. Students placed in this classroom setting are those that can maneuver and navigate through most of the daily routines of the classroom independently, but may need a minor level of adult support at certain times. The staff includes a General Education Preschool Teacher, two General Education Instructional Assistants, a Full Inclusion Special Education Preschool Teacher (part time), and one Special Education Instructional Assistant. The student number in this class is 24, with 3 slots for children with IEPs.

Note: Designated Instructional Services (those that are determined by the IEP) are carried out by various providers (speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, etc.) Depending on a child’s needs and circumstances, providers may see a child within a BUSD classroom setting, it may be a mix of seeing them in a BUSD classroom and pulling them out for 1:1 services, or a child may be transported to a BUSD location to receive services.