Early Childhood Special Education

What is Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)?

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is specialized instruction and services provided to students with disabilities who are identified through the public school system as requiring special education in order to learn at the rate of their typically developing peers.

Students who are eligible for ECSE must be 2-5 years old by September 30 and reside in Albemarle County.


Parents or other sources representing a parent who have concerns about a child's development or ability to learn may contact the Central Preschool Team in the Department of Special Services at 434-973-2490 to make a referral. Parents will be asked to provide preliminary registration information about their child at this time.

School Based Intervention Team (SBIT)

School Based Intervention Team (SBIT) meeting will be scheduled within 10 days of the referral. The SBIT team includes the parent, referring source, and appropriate school personnel. The SBIT team will decide whether to recommend informal interventions or a screening, proceed to evaluation for special education if a disability is suspected, or exit the child from the SBIT process.

Evaluation and Eligibility

If it is suspected that a child has a disability that interferes with the child's learning and permission for evaluation is obtained from the parent, the child is evaluated by members of the Central Preschool Team in the areas of concern identified by the school team and parent. Within 65 business days an eligibility meeting is held to determine if the child has an educational disability and is eligible for special education services.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) and Placement

When a child is found eligible for special education, a parent is asked to complete on-line registration for their child in order to be served by Albemarle County Public Schools, through InfoSnap in English or InfoSnap in Spanish. Once completed, a meeting to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is scheduled within 30 calendar days. The team members who participate in this meeting include the parent and appropriate school personnel.

The type of placement required to meet the needs of the student is determined by the IEP team. Albemarle County Public Schools assigns the location where the IEP services will be offered, with priority given to placing the student as close as possible to his/her home school.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Programs in Albemarle County Public Schools

Preschoolers who are identified for special education have services and placements available to them from a continuum of options. The IEP team determines the services and type of placement that will be provided to meet the student's educational needs. Early Childhood Special Education services are provided in the community and in some elementary schools:

Community-Based Services

Community-Based Services are delivered at existing preschool programs, in which students are served by an itinerant ECSE teacher. The office is at the Albemarle County Office Building (401 McInitre Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22902).

Center-Based ECSE Classes

Center-Based ECSE classes provide specialized instruction for up to eight students with disabilities who receive services in one classroom. This classroom may also have several typically developing students who participate as "reverse inclusion" class members. Center-Based programs are located at the following schools:

  • Baker-Butler Elementary School
  • Broadus Wood Elementary School
  • Brownsville Elementary School
  • Hollymead Elementary School
  • Murray Elementary School
  • Stone Robinson Elementary School

Kevin Kirst
Director of Special Education and Student Services

Albemarle County Public Schools
401 McIntire Road, 3rd Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Phone: 434-296-5885
E-mail: kkirst@k12albemarle.org