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The Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative is driven by the belief that all children can learn and achieve through our dedication, knowledge, creativity, and compassion. We are committed partners with parents, educational professionals and communities.

Special Ed

Special Education is a specially designed individual plan on education developed from an extensive evaluation and in consultation with the parents, the student’s teacher(s), and appropriate special education staff.

Child Find

The Individuals with Disabilities Act, (IDEA Part C and Part B) provides for the early identification and interventions for children ages birth to twenty-one years of age. This means your school district is required to locate, evaluate and identify all children that may have a disability and need special education or related services.

Welcome to Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative

Co-op-er-a-tive:  1. Involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal; 2. An organization run jointly by its members to share in benefits.

Did you know that nearly eighty-two percent of Montana public school districts are members of a special education cooperative? The purpose of a cooperative is to provide through, cooperative efforts, special education, and related services within the member public school districts for children and youth with identified disability or developmental delay that significantly impacts their ability to access, participate and benefit from their education and who need specialized instruction or services.

The Cooperative is created by Montana State Statute and is funded through a combination of local, state, and federal funds earmarked for special education. An Inter-Local agreement outlines operations of the Cooperative and the eleven GMSEC member-school Superintendents comprise the Cooperative Management Board, (i.e., The Gallatin County Superintendent represents our four county, “one-room”, school districts).

The GMSEC assists schools in the fulfillment of their Child Find responsibilities through the provision of developmental screenings, hearing screenings, support of integrated programs such as Multiple Tiered Systems of Support, (MTSS), targeted pre-referral interventions, and comprehensive educational evaluations. Educational evaluations consider special education eligibility and need for special education and related services. Technical assistance is provided and designed to support member schools in understanding and meeting the compliance standards associated with state and federal rules and regulation associated with special education, specifically, with the requirements of federal law entitled the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The GMSEC employs an exceptional group of professionals that are dedicated to work collaboratively with member school administrators, special educators, and general educators to share in the responsibility for ensuring that students with identified disabilities will meet with success. GMSEC employees include a Special Education Director, an Executive Assistant, Business Manager/Clerk, Speech-Language Pathologists, School Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, a Physical Therapist, an itinerant Special Education Teacher, as well as contracted employees as needed.

As provided within the Constitution of Montana (Article X), “It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state.” Special education is an integral part of public education and not separate. In any public school, special education is a means of increasing the capacity of the school to serve the educational needs of ALL children. Therefore, in cooperation with member schools the GMSEC strives to reach and teach ALL students through sufficient opportunities to learn, and instruction geared to their strengths.

Lani Smith
GMSEC Special Education Director