• The Department of Exceptional Education and Student Services offers several programs and services to students with special education needs. All services and programs are fully designed to assist with the development and growth of each student.

    The Instructional Specialists from the Office of Exceptional Education and Student Services support the programs in assigned schools by providing on-going and targeted staff development focused on research-based practices, collaborating with teachers and administrators to align instruction with Virginia's SOL, and ensuring that all schools are compliant with federal, state, and division policies and regulations.  Additionally, instructional specialists support families of students with disabilities and attend special education meetings as requested/needed.

    Richmond Public Schools provides a continuum of services to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

    Departmental Snapshots

    • Transition
    • Autism
    • Psychological and Behavioral Support
    • Assistive Technology/Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy
    • Hearing Impaired/Vision Impaired
    • Integrative Services and Preschool
    • Speech/Language Services


    RPS is one of the school divisions in Virginia selected to collaborate with the VCU Autism Center for Excellence Project.  The grant goals focus on student achievement through the implementation of evidence-based practices, parent-outreach through the RPS website and regional family networking meetings, and development of a model social skills program.  RPS engages in strategic and long-range planning in order to meet the needs of staff and families who support this rapidly expanding number of students served in our schools (see autism tab/page).  In recognition of the very diverse abilities and needs of this population, students are served across the continuum including full-time placement in general education settings with support to students who require intensive and systematic instruction in the special education environment.

    Psychological and Behavioral Support
    School psychologists are assigned to every school in the Richmond City Public Schools (RPS).  They regularly consult and collaborate with teachers, families, administrators, and students to help create the most optimal learning environment possible.

    • Provide counseling and mentoring for students struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems. -
    • Consultation with teachers/students/parents/administrators to identify and address learning and behavioral problems that interfere with school success.  
    • Psycho-educational assessments of children from preschool through 12th grade, in order to evaluate the abilities and potentialities of students, as well as address the emotional and social factors that influence learning.
    • Work to increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning.  
    • Prevention/intervention in areas such as problem-solving, self-regulation, anger management, suicide and self-esteem.  
    • In-service trainings for teachers and administrators.
    • Design and implement academic and behavioral supports.
    • Crisis intervention.

    School Psychologist Staff  
    All school psychologists have an advanced graduate degree or doctoral degree   ---Staff includes 18 full-time school psychologists, 2 part-time school psychologists, and 2 Behavioral Specialists – and 1 Supervisor   Resource   National Association of School Psychologists:

    • All school psychologists have an advanced graduate degree or doctoral degree.
    • Staff includes 18 full-time school psychologists, 2 part-time school psychologists, and 2 Behavioral Specialists – and 1 Supervisor.


    Speech/Language Services
    Speech-Language Pathology Speech-language pathology services in the schools focus on the communication abilities of students.  The goal of these services is to facilitate the development and use of effective communication for students with speech-language and related disorders.  Our speech-language pathologists possess the fundamental knowledge and skills essential to provide specialized services required to meet the individualized communication needs of students.  To this end the speech-language pathologist is an integral member of school based teams that make decisions regarding the prevention, identification, evaluation, eligibility, and services for students with speech-language impairments.  The service delivery model is based on the communication and educational needs of the student.  Services incorporate approaches, techniques and practices that prevent, ameliorate, or correct speech-language impairments related to articulation, language, voice, fluency, auditory processing, functional communication and related disorders.