Florence Unified School District

Special Education

Description of Special Education Services

Resource Program – All Florence Schools

All school sites have programming serving children with specific learning disabilities. Depending on the student’s individual education plan services are provided either in the general education classroom or in a resource room in a small group setting.


A Computerized Reading Program – Fast Forward, SRA Corrective Reading and SRA Corrective Math are used as the base for highly intensive intervention curriculum in the resource setting for children who demonstrate a need and will show progress. All children receive access to the general education curriculum, as well.   


Students at the high school are dually instructed in the general education classroom with a general education teacher and a special education teacher. For the students requiring more intensive instruction a small group resource setting with direct instruction from a highly qualified special education is provided.


Transition services are numerous and include many opportunities to visit college campuses, Maricopa Skills Center as well as, vocational opportunities while they are enrolled in school.  

Pathways– Anthem, Florence & Poston Butte High School

Students in the Pathways Program are students identified with mild and moderate cognitive delays.The focus of the programs is to provide students, through individually designed educational plans, opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to become independent members of the community. The younger students have a strong communication based program involving a coordinated teaching effort between the classroom teacher and speech therapist. Students participate in centers emphasizing language, math reading, science and hygiene. In addition to the centers, students have computer opportunities which emphasize learning basic vocabulary and simple numerical operations. All students have inclusion opportunities with their typical peers. Older students participate in community based activities including grocery shopping, participating at the YMCA, attending plays and restaurants, visiting the zoo, and more. The high school students are involved in the Florence Workbridge Program which involves vocational activities either in the community or in the district such as bar coding text books, work in the libraries, FRYS, and the YMCA. Students are connected with Vocational Rehabilitation and Department of Developmental Disabilities to support life after high school.  Academics continue to be a part of all students’ individualized programs.     

The Apollo Program – Walker Butte

The Apollo Program serves children with autism and is designed to be a highly organized visual classroom. This is accomplished through the use of individual student schedules, work systems, and work jobs. The instruction focuses on areas of receptive and expressive language, sequential memory,  organization of their own behavior, social skills, social relatedness and perception skills. Every student receives inclusion opportunities with typical peers. Occupational therapy and speech therapy are primary components of the student’s curriculum.  Music therapy is also provided for students.

Functional Skills – Anthem – Poston Butte High School

The Functional Skills Program services children who function significantly lower (severe and profound range) than their peers. They may also have additional or secondary handicapping conditions which may include medical conditions. The purpose of the program is to provide appropriate support to enable students to function as independently as possible throughout their school years and transition to adult life. These students have a language based program that encourages expressive and receptive language through assistive technology and computer based programs. Both classes use a picture exchange communication system which includes a highly structured individualized schedule. The high school students use the PLATO computer program which provides fundamental concepts and general knowledge skills. Students additionally enjoy cooking and art as part of their schedule.


Children identified as having emotional disabilities receive services based on their individual education plan that emphasizes social and emotional behaviors. These students require a more comprehensive program than regular education can provide based on behaviors that are disruptive to the learning environment. The program is based on a highly structured level system emphasizing positive behavior support plans. Students have opportunities to earn points by making appropriate choices. The four levels include increased opportunities for students to have additional privileges that include more time in the general education classroom with the ultimate goal of returning to the general education classroom permanently.

Students receive access to the general education through an integrated curriculum.

Florence Unified Special Education Staffing




The District is committed to providing highly qualified special education teachers, paraprofessionals and related service staff.


Below is the list of staff employed by the District serving special needs students as determined by their Individual Educational Program:


  • Psychologists
  • Speech Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA)
  • Physical Therapists
  • Music Therapist
  • Transition Specialist
  • Adaptive Physical Education Teacher
  • Teacher for the Visually Impaired
  • Orientation and Mobility Specialist
  • Teacher for the Hearing Impaired
  • Highly qualified special education teachers
  • Compliance monitors (HQ teachers to review IEP paper work)
  • Highly qualified paraprofessionals
  • Health Aides
  • Medicaid Manager
  • Records Clerk/State Reporter
  • Special Needs Secretary
  • Coordinator
  • Director

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology refers to any item that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples of assistive technology are augmentative communication devices, computers and peripheral hardware, adapted access to school routines, adaptation for mobility and modified recreational items. All students have access to computers in their classrooms or in a lab and have opportunities to receive additional instructional time in this capacity.


FUSD has an assistive technology team consisting of professionals in these areas:


·        speech therapist

·        occupational therapist

·        teacher of the visually impaired

·        teacher for severe and profound students


This team attends on going professional development and strives to build capacity throughout the District through educating teachers and all staff in the use of assistive technology to better improve the lives of all students.