• Except. Picture


    Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Endorsement Tuition Support Program

    The ESE Endorsement Tuition Support Program provides financial assistance to ESE teachers who are teaching students identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or prekindergarten (PreK)/ESE in Florida public schools through a grant sponsored by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services at the FDOE. Please include the announcement of the ESE Endorsements Tuition Support Program in regional notices, listservs and newsletters for teachers. For more information and to download the application, go to https://florida-ese.org/tuition-support. For questions, contact Melanie Morales at Melanie.Morales@fiu.edu.







    As we plan for all students to return for instruction for the 2020-2021 school year, we are still faced with the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these circumstances, Leon County Schools has planned for students to return to school buildings following CDC and Department of Health guidelines while also giving parents the option of having their students receive instruction remotely. 

    Students who are eligible for exceptional student education (ESE) or 504 services and accommodations have identified academic, social emotional, and/or behavioral needs. Whether a student is identified as a student with a disability under IDEA or under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, all services and accommodations indicated on active individual student plans will be provided.  

    Upon return, regardless of the format, consideration for students’ social-emotional well-being will be a priority. When is it appropriate and feasible (i.e., when reliable and relevant data can be collected), student teams will assess what impact school closures and/or instructional format had on a student’s levels of performance, critical skills, needs, and what revisions, if any, are necessary to make the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan. 

    IEP teams will review all progress made towards IEP goals during the time of crisis. Additionally, students will continue to participate in the general benchmark assessments. That information will be used in combination with the progress towards goals, to ensure that there is a clear plan for individual interventions and measuring the students’ response to those interventions. The established Multitiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework is the standard for providing these interventions and measuring student progress. 

    During this period where classroom routines and instructional settings may be different than during a typical school year, student specific educational planning teams (for either Individual Education Plans or 504 plans) may need to convene to review proposed goals, services, and accommodations and address how to best meet student needs during this time. Student case managers may be reaching out to parents to schedule these meetings. Parents may request these meetings as well.  


    For more information and latest updates regarding Leon County Schools’ 2020-2021 instructional options, click here: https://www.leonschools.net/Page/48882 or visit the Leon County Schools Website, COVID19 tab.  


    For information on course information specific to ESE students, click this link: ESE Digital Academy Courses. *ESE specific courses are proposed and recommended through an IEP meeting and are based on student performance data review and individual student needs.  


    If you have questions regarding your child’s individual needs or wish to request an IEP or 504 review meeting, please contact the school your child is enrolled in. And, as always, the district ESE office is here to assist-850-487-7160. 


    Adpating to Wearing a Mask   


    We recognize that some of our students may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask. We also recognize that some of our students may have a difficult time adjusting to new routines related to altered instructional practices and classroom routines/settings related to COVID safety practices.  The IEP team will work with students and families to assist in desensitizing students in their wearing masks and adjusting to their new routines.

    Students will not be denied educational services if they cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to their disability or medical condition.

    In order to assist your child in getting ready to wear a mask and in understanding changes in routine due to COVID-19, below are some tips and resources:


    Wearing a mask for children:



    Tim & Moby Video About the Corona Virus:



    Wear A Mask Song with Dr.’s Bop & Pop



    Wear A Mask & Social Distancing:



    Printable Social Stories:

    Wearing A Mask Social Story: (pdf)



    COVID Related Stories for Students



    I Can Wear A Mask Social Story:



    Website with COVID Social Stories:


    Social Stories are printable and in MSWord format so the stories can be personalized.

    The topics include:

    Understanding the Corona Virus

    Social Distancing

    Wearing Masks (adult & children versions)

    Non-Handshake Greetings

    Change In Schedule


    What Can I Do When I Am Feeling Bored

     Link for more info on the above sessions


    Virtual Coaching  


    Our Mission

    It is the mission of the Exceptional Student Education Department to ensure that schools provide opportunities and programs that encourage students to develop academic and social skills commensurate with their abilities. The commitment of the ESE Department is to assist all school personnel in the appropriate identification, placement, and programming for exceptional students. It is recognized that parent training, community awareness, and services to families are essential to student success. This website is designed to give you an overview of the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department of the Leon County School District in Tallahassee, Florida, and the many services available to students that qualify for ESE programs. If you are new to Leon County, information is included that will facilitate your child's entrance into our district and, if applicable, into an appropriate exceptional program. A brief description of each exceptional program and its eligibility requirements are provided as well as other valuable information regarding your child's Individual Education Plan (IEP).


    The Exceptional Student Education Department is committed to giving exceptional students the means of achieving their annual goals as specified on each student's Individual Education Plan while educating them in the least restrictive environment.


    If you have any questions please contact the counselor at your child's school, the ESE Program Specialist assigned to your child's school (listed in ESE District Staff to the left), or the Exceptional Student Education office at 850-487-7158.


    Please click on link for the FLDOE Tuition Support Program for SLP, ASD, PreK, and Para-to-Teacher

    FLDOE Tuition Support Program




    Virtual Tips

    tips 2

    tips 3



    Special Ed. Connection

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.


  • Telephone: (850) 487-7160
    Fax: (850) 487-7823
    Address: 3955 W. Pensacola Street,
    Tallahassee, FL 32304
    Cathy Shields, Director II
    Compliance, Operations
    and Districtwide Programs
    Brooke Brunner, Director II
    Early Childhood Programs
    K-12 ESE Curriculum
    Melissa Barton, Coordinator for
    Jenni Jenkins, Coordinator
    Behavior Sevices
Last Modified on Monday at 8:40 PM