Special Programs

Providing our kids with the proper attention

Special Programs

The Special Programs team provides resources, training, and support for all campuses that service students who are English Language Learners (ELL) and/or receive 504, Homebound, Dyslexia, or Special Education services. Additionally, we provide resources, training, and support for the Response to Intervention (RtI) process and for campuses that service students who receive a specialized remedial curriculum for additional academic support.


The Special Programs team is dedicated to providing every student with the accommodations and modifications they need to succeed at IDEA, in post-secondary programs, and beyond. With innovative and progressive service delivery models, ongoing and specialized professional development, and excellent supervision and support, we are committed to offering not only appropriate educational services, but services of the highest in quality.

Our Mission

The Special Programs team’s mission is to train and support campuses in extending and improving learning opportunities for diverse learners and/or students with disabilities in accordance with state, federal, and local policies and procedures. As a result of these efforts, students are able to participate in a broader number of activities and achieve the highest of expectations.

Special Programs collaborates with district and campus staff and parents to develop and implement programs and activities that will meet the needs of all students and ensure that all students receiving special services are fully included in campuses’ instructional and extracurricular programs in accordance with least restrictive environment (LRE).


Students identified with special needs are serviced via their IEP (Individualized Education Plan). More specifically, IDEA Public Schools initiates a service delivery approach that offers intervention to all students who need extra help to reach grade level academic proficiency. Here are more details: 

  • K, 1st and 2nd grade- Direct Instruction (“DI”) is the curriculum that is utilized at each campus for PreK-2nd grade students.  Every student in DI is receiving instruction at their individual level in Reading, Writing, and Math
  • 3rd through 12th grade- IDEA always seeks to provide students instruction in the Least Restrictive Environment, but support services are offered along continuum from being fully mainstreamed into general education classrooms to a self-contained classroom with low student/teacher ratio based on each student’s individual needs per their IEP.

IDEA Public Schools will offer comparable support services for any child based on their need. In the case of a student who requires behavioral support, the comparable service will be provided through the child’s behavior intervention plan developed through the ARD process.  The student’s ARD Committee will determine the student’s placement based on the Least Restrictive Environment. 

A student’s 504 accommodation plan will be followed according to the child’s documented needs.  If intervention is needed based on the criteria established by the district, the child will be placed in an intervention class. This includes services for dyslexia via our Direct Instruction Decoding program. 

IDEA Public Schools dyslexia support for students’ vision is to prevent, intervene, and identify. Prevent: We aim to prevent reading difficulties in K-2 students by fortifying our core instructional reading program (Reading Mastery Transformations) with evidence-based reading practices, both rooted in the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy and increasing teacher knowledge via our professional development plan. Intervene: We aim to intervene in a timely manner and in an appropriate manner when quantitative and qualitative data demonstrates that a student might be at risk of dyslexia or other reading difficulties. Through Response to Intervention, students grade K-12 are supported through a multi-sensory approach. Identify: We aim to fulfill our Child Find obligations of identifying students with dyslexia or related disorders early. We will utilize quantitative and qualitative intervention data to move through the identification pathways.

Although the self-contained classrooms are not at every IDEA campus, we have strategically placed these campuses in our regions so that if a student requires this setting, they are able to attend to a campus nearby to receive the support they need.  The centralized locations allow IDEA to focus its resources towards helping students in these environments.  Assignment to one of these classrooms will be made by the ARD Committee as appropriate and per IEP. 

IDEA Public Schools will provide related services (ex. Speech, OT, PT, AI, VI) as noted in a child’s IEP through their employees or a contract company that is employed through the school district.

IDEA identifies students who are English Language Learners within 20 days of entry into our schools so that we can offer them the type of instructional supports that the Texas Education Agency recommends for students at different level of English language acquisition.  We offer targeted language acquisition support programs such as Imagine Learning, Español to English, Direct Instruction for Spoken English, and Rosetta Stone for our students during their intervention blocks. 

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Special Program Staff

Tricia A. Lopez

VP of Special Programs
Phone: 956-377-8056

Belinda Garcia

Director of Special Program Compliance
Phone: 956-998-9688

Heather Arratia

Director of Special Programs Instruction
Phone: 956-314-8661

Tricia A. Lopez

VP of Special Programs
Phone: 956-377-8056

Destiny Jones

Director of English Learner Program

Heather Arratia

Director of Special Programs Instruction
Phone: 956-314-8661

Student Transitional Services

Please reference this link for a Secondary Transition Guide prepared by the TEA: tea.texas.gov

This site also has useful transition assistance information: Transition in Texas

For Questions on IEP Records

Please reach out to Agustina Montes, Special Programs Administrator Agustina.montes@ideapublicschools.org, or
Jackie Rivas, Lead Special Programs Clerk Jackie.rivas@ideapublicschools.org


The Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex) provides resources and interactive features for increasing family awareness of disabilities and special education processes, with the goal of improving partnerships between schools and families.

SPEDTex Contact information:

Phone: 1-855-773-3839

Email: inquire@spedtex.org

Live Chat: www.spedtex.org