• The purpose of the Office of Special Education is to provide effective educational programs to students with disabilities, ages 3-21, who are in need of special education and other services necessary to enable them to benefit from instruction as provided for in the Individuals with Disabilities Act and state law.

    The Revised August 24, 2012 Procedural Safeguards (Your Family's Special Education Rights) document is available for your review on the MDE website. 

    Procedural Safeguards, Revised 2012

    Child Find

    Special Education Departments

    Behavior Specialists

    Occupational Therapists


    Physical Therapists

    School Nurses

    Social Workers

    Speech/Language Pathology Programs

    MTSS- Intervention


    Behavior Specialists

    Behavior Specialist conduct functional behavioral assessments utilizing standardized rating scales along with teacher interviews, student interviews, classroom observations, reviews of cumulative records, parent interviews, and other professional services provided the parents grant permission.

    Behavior specialists network with building teacher support teams to assist in developing school/classroom based behavior implementation plans that address the behavioral needs of students in order to maximize academic success. They monitor the plans for progress and consult with parents and school staff periodically to make necessary adjustments.

    Behavior specialists are team members of the district disciplinary hearings and assist with team decisions by providing information pertaining to the support services which were provided for the student at the school. They also collaborate in designing transition plans if a student needs to exit his home school or to return back to the home school.

    The behavior specialists provide professional training through staff development for the school building staff, related agencies, and other organizations in the community.


    A psychometrist is a licensed professional who conducts educational testing to determine the presence of a disability, which may lead to eligibility for special education services. Principle duties of a psychometrist are to administer, score, and interpret tests and then to communicate the implications of the assessment results to parents and school staff. Additional duties include:

     - Collaborating with the Teacher Support Teams;
        - Evaluating initial referrals;
        - Completing comprehensive reevaluations;
        - Conducting preschool screening assessments;
        - Evaluating students referred for gifted placement;
        - Conducting eligibility meetings;
        - Participating in local survey committee (LSC) meetings;
        - Participating in individual education plan (IEP) meetings;
        - Participating in manifestation determination meetings; and
        - Consulting with school personnel regarding special education inquiries.

    Occupational Therapists

    An occupational therapist focuses on a person's daily occupation. Occupation, as described by an occupational therapist, is anything that a person does during their everyday life that is important and meaningful to them. A child's main occupations are play and school. A school-based occupational therapist must assure that children are functioning at their highest levels in order to reach their maximum potential at school. In a school setting, the occupational therapist may be involved in facilitating any or all of the following areas, which may interfere with a child's educational performance:

        - self-help skills (feeding, dressing, hygiene);
        - fine and visual motor skills (handwriting, keyboarding, cutting);
        - sensory processing and visual processing skills;
        - positional, functional mobility, and transitions;
        - functional communication through alternative methods;
        - adaptive devices/equipment (adapting tools/techniques to ensure success); and
        - educational tools/toys use (working towards developmental milestones).

    Federal law mandates that occupational therapy (OT) in the school system be educationally relevant. School-based occupational therapy services are not designed to satisfy the medical needs of the student, but rather to meet the educational needs of the student. The child's IEP team may determine whether a child qualifies for OT.

    VWSD has two occupational therapists on staff, who provide services to children with special needs, beginning at the age of three and continuing through the age of twenty-one. Some special areas addressed by the occupational therapists include EMR, multi-disabled, autistic, and early education classrooms.

    Occupational therapists in Mississippi must:

        - Obtain a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree in occupational therapy;
        - Be certified by the National Certification Board of Occupational Therapists; and
        - Be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Health.

    Physical Therapists

    Physical therapy (PT) is a related service provided to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. A school physical therapist focuses on a child's ability to move as independently as possible in the school environment. The school physical therapist evaluates the child's ability to move throughout the school and to participate in classroom activities.

    The decision of whether a child with a disability qualifies for school physical therapy is made by the IEP team. This team determines whether the child has a disability, has a need for special education, and requires related services such as PT.

    PT interventions are designed to enable the student to travel throughout the school environment; participate in classroom activities; and maintain and change positions in the classroom, as well as manage stairs, restrooms, and the cafeteria.

    VWSD has one physical therapist and one physical therapist assistant on staff who services children with special needs ages three and above throughout the district. Physical therapists in Mississippi must:

        - Have a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree in physical therapy;
        - Be certified by taking a national board exam; and
        - Be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Health.

    The School Nurses

    The school nurses in the Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) maintain a mission to advance the wellness, academic success and life-long achievement of students in the district. They will accomplish this by implementing strategies, which promote the health and safety of all students and staff members.

    The school nurse serves as the health professional expert for the school community and provides the following:

        - Assesses, monitors and implements the nursing protocol for student and/or staff with illness, injury, and communicable disease.
        - Conducts health screening for factors that may impact students' learning and well being, such as vision and hearing screening. They conduct a district-wide screening program for vision on all 1st and 4th-grade students and scoliosis screening on all 6th-grade students. Any other student may be screened upon request.
        - Provides nursing procedures such as gastrostomy feedings or catheterization care for students with disabilities and/or health conditions in the school setting.
        - Works as a team member to identify and evaluate health and safety issues, which could be detrimental to school students and staff.
        - Provides health counseling and interventions for nutritional issues, chronic illness, disease prevention, and positive lifestyle such as information on tobacco cessation.
        - Implements activities and education to promote health regarding normal development and prevention of tobacco and alcohol use, substance abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases for students.
        - Coordinates and provides health education (a wellness program) and flu vaccines for the teachers and other school staff.
        - Administers medication, when applicable. Conducts training for designated school staff on administrating medications in schools without a full-time school nurse.
        - Acts as a liaison between home, school, health care providers, the community, and community resources.


    There are six school nurses serving the Vicksburg Warren School District. Please feel free to contact them via phone or e-mail with any questions or comments.

    Cynthia Nash, R.N.,B.S.N.,N.C.S.N
    serves as the school nurse coordinator and serves:

        Bowmar Elementary
        Warrenton Elementary
        Vicksburg High School

    Phone: 601-636-4371
    Email:  cash@vwsd.org

    Dru N. Holdiness, R.N.,B.S.N.,N.C.S.N.
    serves as a school nurse for:

        Beechwood Elementary
        Warren Central High School

    Phone: 601-636-4371
    Email:  dholdiness@vwsd.org

    Karie Lynch, R.N.,B.S.N.
    serves as a school nurse for:

        Bovina Elementary
        Redwood Elementary
        South Park Elementary

    Phone: 601-638-3874
    Email:  klynch@vwsd.org

    Cici Jordan, R.N.,C.
    serves as a school nurse for:

        Dana Road Elementary
        Vicksburg Intermediate School

    Phone: 601-638-4199
    Email:  cjordan@vwsd.org

    Trina Lassiter, R.N.
    serves as a school nurse for:

        Sherman Avenue Elementary
        Warren Central Intermediate
        Academy of Innovation

    Phone: 601-638-5656
    Email:  tlassiter@vwsd.org
    Sharon Caldwell, R.N., B.S.N
    serves as a school nurse for:

        Warren Central Junior High
        Vicksburg Junior High

    Phone: 601-638-3981
    Email:  scaldwell@vwsd.org

    Speech / Language Pathology Program

    The speech/language pathology program for the Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) includes identification and remediation of speech disorders in communicatively handicapped children of all ages. The school district employs eleven full-time speech/language pathologists, who serve children ranging in ages from three to twenty-one. A referral process exists to identify children with speech, language, and hearing problems, and the speech pathologists are responsible for evaluation and treatment of designated problems. The following are the most common types of language disorders seen in the public schools:

    Speech disorders
        - Articulation includes any disorder of the production of sounds, such as:
            - Substitutions - use of one standard sound for another (tat for cat);
            - Omissions - leaving out a sound (do_ for dog); or
            - Distortions - use of a nonstandard sound for a sound (thun for sun).
        - Fluency includes stuttering sounds.
        - Voice disorders include:
            - Intensity - loudness/softness;
            - Pitch - high pitch/low pitch; and
            - Quality - hoarseness, raspy, and/or nasal quality.

        - Language delay includes a delay in the acquisition of spoken language.
        - Language impairment includes the difficulty with syntax (grammar), semantics (word meaning), morphology (word forms i.e. plurals, past tense), or pragmatics (using language in social contexts).

    Swallowing disorders

    Hard of Hearing

    Hearing screenings of all first and fourth grade students are conducted annually.

    Individualized education plans (IEPs) are written at the beginning of therapy and reviewed/revised annually. Students are re-evaluated every three years until they are dismissed from therapy. Parents and classroom teachers are integral parts of the program; thus all meetings concerning a student involve the speech pathologist, parent, and teacher. The speech therapy sessions are scheduled with the classroom teacher to ensure that no child is pulled for therapy during instruction of an academic subject.

    If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the speech program, feel free to contact your child's school and speak to the school speech pathologist.


    The Office of Special Education will destroy special education records ten years after the school year in which the student withdrew from school or graduated from high school.