Providing the best education and support systems to students with special needs, while staying within budget and complying with state and federal regulations, is a tall order. For smaller, rural districts where resources and dollars are stretched to the limit and services are harder to access, the task can be overwhelming. That’s where ESD 112’s Special Education ESA comes in. The ESA currently serves small districts across the state, it’s members becoming more like one large district, to provide comprehensive special education services for students.

The partnership is the only Education Service Agency (ESA) in the state of Washington, serving more than 2,200 students stretching from Southwest Washington to the eastern corners of the state and north to Methow Valley. The ESA is governed by an Executive Advisory Committee, consisting of member district superintendents who provide input and guidance to ESA staff.

The ESA provides service and support in three key areas: instruction, finance and administration, and compliance with special education laws. Members receive consistent and uniform services across all districts.

We can offer services that one district might not have access to on its own.

Invaluable to member districts are the host of instructional resources – special education curriculum and instructional materials, specialized equipment and technology, school psychology services, risk management, teachers, classified staff, therapists, access to behavior and autism support, and TPEP and professional development services for staff.

“A small district might have only one student needing special education services,” said Michelle Murer, Director of the ESA.  “It’s a much more efficient use of their resources to partner with the ESA to manage their special education process, and ensure compliance.”

Districts know that special education requires compliance with a myriad of legal and procedural requirements. A district that joins the ESA no longer has to worry about paperwork and forms. As a member district, the ESA works in partnership with ESD 112 to ensure that all aspects of special education are in compliance.

“We are one strong group,” said Murer. “By joining together, these districts are able to more efficiently access special education resources that students need. We can offer services that one district might not have access to on its own.”