• We recognize that some of our students with disabilities 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 COVID safety practices. IEP and 504 teams will work with students and families to assist in desensitizing students so that they may be able to tolerate wearing a mask and in adjusting to new school year routines. 

    Students will not be denied educational services if they cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to their disability as addressed by the IEP or 504 teams or due to medical exemption according to LCS policy.


    Inclusion Parent University

    colored pencils

    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 850-487-7160.


    Nondiscrimination Notification and Contact Information

    “No person shall on the basis of sex (including transgender, gender nonconforming and  gender identity), marital status, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, color, pregnancy, disability, military status or genetic information be denied employment, receipt of services, access to or participation in school activities or programs if qualified to receive such services, or otherwise be discriminated against or placed in a hostile environment in any educational program or activity including those receiving federal financial assistance, except as provided by law.” No person shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society.


    An employee, student, parent or applicant alleging discrimination with respect to employment, or any educational program or activity may contact:

    Dr. Kathleen L. Rodgers, Assistant Superintendent

    Equity Coordinator (Students) and

    Title IX Compliance Officer

    Leon County School District

    2757 West Pensacola Street

    Tallahassee, Florida 32304

    (850) 487-7306


    Deana McAllister, Assistant Superintendent

    Labor and Employee Relations

    Equity Coordinator (Employees)

    (850) 487-7193


    A student or parent alleging discrimination as it relates to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act may contact:

    Karin Gerold, 504 Specialist

     (850) 487-7160



    Stay connected with what is happening in the ESE world and connect with other parents of students with disabilities to share resources and engage in supportive dialogue through the LCS DAC website and Facebook page. See links below.

     ESE DAC Logo

    LCS ESE District Advisory Council Website


    LCS ESE District Advisory Council Facebook Page 



    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 For questions, contact Melanie Morales at




    Special Ed. Connection

  • Para-to-Teacher Tuition Support Program Live Recruitment Zoom Session If you are a paraprofessional working with students with disabilities, now is the time to follow your passion for the classroom and earn a bachelor’s degree in exceptional student education (ESE). If you already have an Associate in Arts degree or equivalent college coursework, you can join a live recruitment Zoom session and learn more. Please join Dr. Keri Fogle and Russell Gremillion, co-directors of the state-funded Para-to-Teacher Tuition Support Program, on June 29, 2021, at 4 p.m. EDT. They will discuss the program’s requirements and the application process and then answer questions on earning your bachelor’s degree in ESE, deaf education or visual disabilities. For program information on the Para-to-Teacher Tuition Support Program, go to To receive a link to join the session, contact Dr. Keri Fogle at or Russell Gremillion at

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  • The Special Education Innovation Network The Special Education Innovation Network is a newly formed national group of special education researchers, nonprofit organizations and assistive technology software developers. Each member of the network has developed an education technology tool with an award from the Small Business Innovation Research programs at the United States Department of Education’s (USDOE’s) Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, and programs at the National Center for Special Education Research at IES and the Office of Special Education Programs at the USDOE. To view the directory of the tools titled, “READY NOW: Education Technology Resources to Support Special Education Practitioners and Children and Students with or At Risk for Disabilities,” go to n%202020.pdf. For more information or questions, contact Peg Sullivan, director, Florida’s State Personnel Development Grant, and director, Working with the Experts for Occupational and Physical Therapists, at; or Mary Walsh, program specialist, Bureau of Exceptional Student Education, at 

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  • Summer Training Institute on Autism Registration is open for the 2021 Florida State University Summer Training Institute on Autism, which will be on June 15-17, 2021. This three-day online training institute is presented at no cost and will focus on issues surrounding individuals with autism across a lifespan. Each day has a different topic and consists of three informational segments delivered synchronously via Zoom. Topics covered include decreasing the stigma of autism, managing grief and trauma, racial disparity, and literacy strategies for multilingual students with disabilities.

    To register and view the agenda, go to For additional information and inquiries regarding For additional information and inquiries regarding the Summer Training Institute, contact Catherine Zenko at

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  • 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 Tuesday at 8:52 PM