• Welcome to Phoenix Union High School District

     The Continuum of Special Education Services within ESS


    For students with disabilities eligible to receive special education and related services, PUHSD welcomes the input of the student, parent/guardian and other members of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team to come together on an annual basis, or more frequently if needed. It is always important to remember that special education is a service, not a “place.” The IEP Team considers the unique individual strengths, needs, and post-secondary goals when determining the appropriate service needs of each student. 

    We provide a continuum of services (listed below) to students, along with a variety of service delivery options. Teams must always begin program planning with the belief and expectation that students receive services in the general education setting. Data is used to identify if a student needs more intensive instruction or self – contained services. Options before considering this must include reasonable accommodations and/or modifications, supplementary aids and services, and/or assistive technology in general education classes.

    Special education services might include instruction in accessing the general education classes, literacy and academic strategies, social/emotional/affective skills, transition service needs and/or independent living skills. In addition, related services are available, such as counseling, nursing services, orientation and mobility skills training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and transportation.

    Self-advocacy of students is critical in high school. The IEP Team, with input directly from the student and well as parents, will work together to develop an individualized, comprehensive educational plan, determine the types of services and supports the student requires, and determine the location and setting for the student to access all required services as described in the IEP.


    Continuum of Services in PUHSD

    Inclusive Practices
    Inclusive practices allow for students with disabilities to be educated in the general education classroom to the furthest extent possible. In the PUHSD, we provide a co-teaching service delivery model so that highly qualified content specialists and exceptional learner experts co-plan, co-assess and co-instruct.

    Co-teaching is available in all traditional comprehensive high schools.

    Learning Strategies

    Students who require additional assistance in study skills strategies, organizational strategies and content literacy who are enrolled in general education classes may take Learning Strategies for additional support. Through direct instruction and mastery learning, students learn a variety of reading, writing, math and memory
    strategies to apply towards tasks, assignments, and tests in content classes.  Activities will also include transition from school to work, discussion of appropriate behavior or any other area appropriate to a particular student’s needs.

    This program is available at all traditional comprehensive high schools.


    The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Seminar course teaches students to recognize appropriate and inappropriate behavior as it relates to others. Students will (a) gain personal insights and discover how inappropriate behavior affects their lives and others, (b) gain better control over their lives and become more responsible for their actions, (c) learn to communicate more effectively, (d) become better decision makers, and
    (e) gain a better self-image.

    This program is available at all traditional comprehensive high schools.

    Practical Skills Program

    Our Practical Skills program allows students who have mild to moderate disabilities to access academic content standards through modified curriculum. Students work on increasing reading, writing and math skills across all curricular areas while also accessing functional daily living curriculum and activities. Students also have general education elective opportunities. They have a focus on preparing for independent adult living and job skills.

    This program is available at all traditional comprehensive high schools.

    Community Based Training
    Our Community Based Training (CBT) allows students who have moderate to severe disabilities to access academic content standards through modified curriculum. Students are exposed to reading, writing and math skills while also accessing functional daily living curriculum and activities.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics, Best Buddies and other school and community activities. Pre-vocational opportunities built in to the curriculum. The CBT is designed to help students perform as independently and productively as possible in their home, school, and community environment.

    This program is available at all traditional comprehensive high schools.

    Medically Fragile

    The medically fragile program is designed for students who have both extensive learning and medical needs. The program includes a teacher, a full time nurse as well as paraprofessional staff. 

    This program serves the district and is available at Camelback High School and Cesar Chavez.

    ACCEL at South Mountain
    The ACCEL program at South Mountain provides evidenced-based practices in applied behavior analysis, structured teaching and assistive technology integrated into the classroom programs. A functional academic as well as life skills curriculum focuses on dignity, independence and community skills. The program prepares students to function as independently and productively as possible in their present and future domestic, school, vocational, recreational and community environment.

    This collaborative program is available at South Mountain High School. 

     Educational Rehabilitation Program
    Educational Rehabilitation Center {ERC} is a program for students that have sustained some kind of injury or illness that has altered their ability to function in a typical academic setting. Resources are needed that are often are not available on most campuses. The goal of the ERC program is to facilitate independence, by reacquiring functional skills that may have been lost during their trauma. We individualized the school day to meet the students’ needs and tailor learning to assure optimal success.
    This program is located at Alhambra High School. 

    Desiderata serves students with needs that are more effectively addressed in a small school environment. Students are referred to Desiderata by their home school campuses. The Desiderata program emphasizes academic achievements as well as the social, emotional and behavioral growth of students. All students are taught District curriculum which aligns to the academic content standards. Classroom activities stress student acquisition of literacy skills. Desiderata, named after the poem by Max Ehrmann, is housed in a 30,000-square foot facility that opened in 2006. Designed to be functional and supportive, it has 11 classrooms,  library, fitness center, group therapy room, an instructional kitchen, assistive technology and an outdoor recreational area.

    Transition Services

    All comprehensive campuses have career and technical education courses available as electives as well as pre-vocational activities in their campus programs. In addition, the district employs job developers to help students identify their post secondary goals. Job developers work with IEP case managers to determine if age appropriate transition assessments are needed above and beyond what school counselors do with students through the ECAP. Job developers work to connect students to post secondary training programs, community colleges, and institutes of higher education as well as take students to job fairs and employers to learn more about the world of work.

    PUHSD offers specific courses and transition based opportunities that help further support students’ transition service needs.

    Metro Tech High School specifically offers the following special education vocational courses.

    General Technologies                                                        START
    Horticulture                                                                        ENTERPRISE
    Commercial Building Maintenance                                   Jobs In Industry
    Business Prep

    Camelback High School and South Mountain High School host the PUHSD Upward and Onward program. Competencies in the areas of Employment, Self Determination and Interpersonal Skills, and Daily Living Skills are addressed throughout this one year program designed for students 18 – 21 years of age. The goal is for students to be more prepared to obtain and retain a job; complete chores, home repair and life a healthy balanced life; and enter the adult world with more skills from where they had started the program.

    PUHSD also has a partnership with Phoenix College for students to learn more about life on a college campus and explore what taking a college course would feel like.