The Special Programs Department of Faith Family Academy Charter is committed to providing appropriate educational opportunities to all students with special learning needs. Our mission is to provide the supplemental aides and services necessary to assist every FFA student who receives special education, dyslexia, or Section 504 in becoming a life-long learner and model citizen.

Updates in Special Education

An Overview of Special Programs Services

Faith Family Academy Charter is proud of the instructional and related services provided on each campus. There is close collaboration between the campus level and district level on overall programming issues and on the needs of specific students with disabilities.

Faith Family Academy Charter provides specially designed instruction for students with disabilities in a variety of settings or combination of settings. These students are extremely diverse, and within disability categories, this diversity continues. Placements are based largely upon curriculum offerings and where these offerings can best be provided.

Several principles apply when decisions are made by the ARD (Admission Review Dismissal) Committee about services to individual students, including:

• Decisions are always based upon evaluation of the student's current level of functioning and unique needs of the student.

• Students are not grouped by disability but by educational need.

• The educational setting is not defined by the teacher's role but by the student's needs.

• The instructional arrangement is assigned to the student, and special education teachers may provide a variety of services throughout the day with an emphasis on opportunities to interact with age-appropriate non-disabled peers.

The Special Programs Department Can Assist You With the Following:

• Child Find

• Assessment Information

• Referral Process

• Individual Education Plan (IEP)

• Competency Testing

• Instructional Settings

• Content Mastery

• Resource, Speech/Language Therapy, Inclusion

• Homebound, Vision/Deaf Services

• Procedural Safeguards

• Special Olympics- Extracurricular

• Modifications for Classroom & Standardized Testing

IDEA-B Rules and Regulations

• Related Services

If you have questions, please contact Lorie Gassert, Executive Director of Special Programs.

The Texas Transition & Employment Website

Child Find

Child Find is a system used in Faith Family Academy for identifying, locating, and evaluating children with disabilities (birth through 21 years of age) who reside in our district jurisdiction and who may need special education and related services.

More information about Child Find System

Child Find Brochure - English

Child Find Brochure - Spanish


Faith Family Academy Charter supports the educational concept that reading, writing, and spelling skills provide the foundation for overall academic success. Opportunities are provided for students who are experiencing difficulty in acquiring basic language arts skills to maximize their academic development in a regular education setting. This service is providing by a reading specialist on each campus, using intensive small group and individual activities. The intervention incorporates strategies appropriate for struggling readers as well as students identified with dyslexia. Using this method of learning, students are able to grasp skills at a much faster rate and are ready to move into higher levels of application.

Structured intervention is designed for a period of time appropriate for each individual student in kindergarten through grade twelve. Beginning at seventh grade, reading instruction is offered as an elective to those students whose test results show that they could benefit from a multi-sensory and phonetically based approach to reading, writing, and spelling, many connections are made to support classroom instruction in the core classes.

The FFA dyslexia program follows all TEA guidelines as per the TEA guidelines as per the revised Dyslexia Handbook 2014.

TEA Dyslexia Site

Speech Language Therapy

"The limit of my language is the limit of my world." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

What is speech-language therapy?

FFA offers speech therapy to help students whose speech and language skills may inhibit their academic achievement. Problems which might be addressed include:

• Articulation disorders

• Language disorders - Vocabulary development, sentence structures, appropriate use of language, etc.

• Voice disorders

• Fluency disorders - Stuttering

A student may qualify for speech therapy in addition to other special education services, or may receive speech therapy without the need for other services.

How do I ask for this help?

Referrals might originate with parents, physicians, teachers, or a kindergarten screening. The parent always participates in all decisions concerning special education services for a student, beginning with the referral. The parents may need to complete some of the papers at home, and are urged to return them very quickly, because laws dictate a strict timeline for the documentation process.

...for my child who is enrolled in school?

If a student is enrolled in an FFA school, the parents are asked to meet with the classroom teacher to discuss why a speech or language problem is suspected and how it might affect academic progress and to receive the papers to be completed, signed, and returned to the teacher. After the speech-language pathologist assesses the student's skills, the parents are invited to a meeting to discuss the assessment and recommendations (called an "Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee," or "ARDC").

How much time will my child be in speech therapy?

The amount of time designated should be appropriate to the need of the child and his Individual Educational Plan (IEP), which will be developed at the meeting after the assessment.

How will I know if he is making progress?

Parents will be sent reports at the end of each six weeks period, and will be invited to a conference at least once a year (the ARD meeting). Parents may contact the speech-language pathologist by phone during her planning period, or immediately after school to arrange a meeting.

What other services provide language instruction?

All special education programs seek to improve language skills. A child who has severe disabilities might need the instruction available in a self-contained classroom.

If the language problem is the result of learning more than one language, a service such as English as a Second Language (ESL)or Bilingual Education might be more appropriate.

Parent Resources


Lorie Gassert

Executive Director of Special Programs

Educational Diagnostician

Dana Langham

Speech Language Pathologist

Maricarmen De la Cruz

Deborah Pullano

Intervention Specialists

Shunna Baker

Allison Etchison

Shante Lowery

Garnisha Sanford

Dean of Academic Advising

Michael Pullano

Special Education Teachers

Alexis Bernstine

Catherine Greenberg

Zachary Knott

Katrina Ortiz