Succeeding Together: Dothan City Schools' Exceptional Students

The Dothan City School system invests in providing quality learning opportunities to all students, and offers a wide range of programs to support students with physical and learning disabilities. DCEEC Student and Teacher

The city school system serves more than 1,300 students with disabilities covering a wide range of challenges. Some services include assistive technology, audiology services, counseling, early identification, interpreting services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, psychological testing, The goal of these services is to provide students with the opportunity to learn in the least restrictive environment possible.

Some of the resources the city school system uses to support these students include facilities to support students with severe autism, medically fragile students, as well as funding for severely behavioral challenged students. A significant amount of work is also done to work with parents to prepare Individual Education Plans for students with disabilities, plans of instruction to meet the specific needs of these students.

“This is the best way for most students because they learn more incidentally when educated alongside their same-aged peers in general education classes,” Alicia S. Hales,. Exceptional Services Supervisor for the Dothan City Schools, said. “The peers become models for social-emotional skills, as well as academics. In the future, these peers will become their co-workers.”

DCS Exceptional Students Success stories from the various programs the city schools offer to support these students are many. A sixth-grader with severe emotional issues recently was the student with the highest math score at his school. A high school student with a hearing impairment recently went to a state culinary competition after winning a local one at Dothan Technology Center. Everyday instruction is also yielding results in preparing students with instruction in etiquette and independent living skills. 

According to the city schools, much of the system’s support of students with disabilities is insufficiently supported by the state and federal government, leaving the system to fund much of this important work on its own. For example, while the state supplies $3 million to support medically fragile students, the city school system kicks in $7 million to provide adequate services to these students. The city school system employs 26 nurses to accommodate the needs of all students in the system.

The city school system provides the best education opportunities for many students with special needs, as most private schools lack the resources to offer similar support.

“Private schools are not required to provide these services because they do not receive federal funds,” Hales said. “We feel no one really matches the services we provide because we dedicated our experienced and well-trained personnel for these children.

Click the below video to hear more about services and programs offered for our exceptional students.