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Special Education

Harford County Public Schools – Department of Special Education believes that individuals with disabilities achieve their full potential in a comprehensive and coordinated birth to 21 system of services emphasizing high expectations for all.


Harford County Public Schools – Department of Special Education provides leadership, supports, and accountability for results to all stakeholders by way of a seamless, comprehensive system of coordinated services to children, students and youth with disabilities, birth to 21, and their families.

Special Education at a Glance

Special Education in Harford County Public Schools is a collaborative effort involving schools, families and community agencies working together to ensure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities, birth through age 21. Special education is defined as specially designed instruction, provided at no cost to parents, in order to meet the unique needs of a child with an educational or developmental disability. Services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), to the maximum extent possible.

A Child with a Disability or Student with a Disability means a child, birth to age 21, evaluated in accordance with IDEA or COMAR having any of the following disabilities, causing an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance resulting in the need of special education and related services:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment (including Blindness)

Special education services are available in all Harford County Public Schools and across a range of learning environments.The district’s processes and procedures for disability determination, placement and service delivery align with federal and State regulations. Harford County Public Schools utilizes the Statewide IEP Process Guide as the framework for student educational planning and compliance with the Requirements of the 2004 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Special Education Service Delivery Models

Harford County Public Schools seeks to improve the performance of all children with disabilities and assist in narrowing achievement gaps by ensuring equal access to curriculum and differentiated instruction in the least restrictive environment. The service delivery continuum includes: consultative supports; inclusion utilizing a co-teaching model; resource or related services provision outside of the general education setting; self-contained learning environments; regional programs or a separate day school placement. Programming options include:

  • Infants and Toddlers: Services provided to children with disabilities and their families, birth through age 4, in home, community or center-based settings.

  • Preschool Services: A continuum of services provided to children with disabilities, ages 3 to 5, in community or school-based settings.

  • School-age Kindergarten through Grade 12: A continuum of services provided to children and youth with disabilities in comprehensive schools, regional programs and a public separate day school.

  • Post-Secondary Services: Services provided to youth with disabilities ages 18 to 21 in comprehensive high-schools, community settings and a public separate day school.

  • Non-public and Interagency Placements: Services provided to children and youth with disabilities in accordance with COMAR 13A.09.09 and 13A.09.10: “Placement of a child with a disability in a nonpublic educational program”.

* Upon request, HCPS will provide a written copy of the Special Education Service Delivery Models. For assistance, please contact the Department of Special Education at (410) 588 – 5246.