Special Populations 

The mission of the Franklin Special School District Special Populations Department is to meet the unique needs of all certified and eligible special education students and students with a 504 plan. The Special Populations Department serves students who receive special education services as well as those who receive accelerated learning services.
Accelerated Learning
The FSSD recognizes the unique needs of both accelerated learners and students who meet the Tennessee state eligibility standards for intellectually gifted.  Delivery of instruction is based on individual student need.  FSSD has an Accelerated Learning Specialist (ALS) in each school. These specialists work with students and/or consult with teachers to differentiate instruction for advanced learners.
  • Intellectually Gifted:  According to the State of Tennessee, “Intellectually Gifted” describes a child whose intellectual abilities and potential for achievement are so outstanding that the child’s educational performance is adversely affected. “Adverse affect” means the general curriculum alone is inadequate to appropriately meet the student’s educational needs. If a parent or teacher makes a formal request for gifted eligibility testing, the general education teacher, Accelerated Learning Specialist, building administrator, and others, as appropriate, will schedule a review meeting.  It is recommended that the student begin the Academic Support Team (AST) process to gather and review data. All testing decisions are based on data.
  • Honors Program:  FSSD offers a general education honors curriculum beginning in 5th grade.  Meeting the state standards for intellectually gifted eligibility does not automatically qualify a student for the Honors Program. In addition, students who are served by the Accelerated Learning Specialist in elementary school are also not automatically placed into the Honors Program in 5th grade. The FSSD Honors Program has specific eligibility criteria for placement. For more information visit the Honors Program online.
Special Education Preschool

The FSSD Special Education Preschool program serves the needs of three- to five-year-old children who have developmental delays. The service delivery model is a school-based program and includes positive peer role models in each Special Education Preschool class. Eligible students must be 4 years old by August 15 and reside in or have a parent employed in the Franklin Special School District. The school day is 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday.

The inclusion model provides a wide range of learning opportunities and the least restrictive environment that is both stimulating and challenging for both groups of children. The program also promotes belonging, friendships, understanding and acceptance of others who are different.

Acceptance into the Program (Peer Role Models)

Some enrollment applications for typically developing positive peer role models are also accepted on a tuition basis ($300 per month). This setting provides typically developing children an opportunity to interact with same age children who are receiving specialized instruction in a language-rich, developmentally appropriate environment. The peer role models demonstrate appropriate communication and behavior skills and help students with disabilities grow in both character development and socialization through cooperative play. All students applying for the class must be interviewed by the FSSD Preschool staff.  Acceptance is determined by the preschool team.

Peer model students serve an educational role within the classroom. Teachers have specific expectations for each typically developing positive peer model.

The positive peer model student should:

    • Exhibit age appropriate developmental skills based on teacher assessment
    • Use the bathroom independently – toilet trained
    • Participate in an activity when invited by a peer or an adult
    • Interact verbally with peers in play situations
    • Follow simple directions and some multiple step directions
    • Respond to simple questions
    • Work and attend in small group settings for at least 10 minutes
    • Share toys and plays cooperatively with peers
    • Take turns with minimal assistance
    • Use toys and classroom materials appropriately
    • Listen attentively to a story
    • Make age appropriate comments or asks age appropriate questions about a story
    • Separate easily from parent and demonstrates easy entrance into new settings and subsequent transitions
    • Help with simple tasks when asked (i.e. cleaning up)
    • Follow safety rules when reminded
    • Eat and drink independently
    • Remove small articles of clothing
    • Dress self – except shoes
    • Demonstrate the ability to pick up small toys
    • Be at least four years of age by August 15 and ineligible for kindergarten

Please complete the application and bring or mail to FSSD Central Office – Attention: Special Populations Supervisor. When a child is selected as a potential positive peer role model, the preschool teacher will contact parents to set up a time to interview the child.  Applications will be processed on a first come – first served basis.

Transportation & Meals

Transportation is the sole responsibility of the parent. No transportation will be provided by Franklin Special School District for typically developing peer role models. All meals will be provided by the parent or purchased through the school.

Daily Communications 

It is necessary for parents to provide staff with information which may affect the child’s behavior on any given day. Additionally, it is essential for parents to share with the teacher any activities and items of special interest to the child.

Parent Activities/Meetings 

Parents of the peer model students are required to attend any required parent meetings as requested by the teacher.

Health Issues 

A child may not attend school if he/she is running a temperature of 100 degrees or more and cannot return to school until he/she has been fever free for 24 hours. It is important that parents provide the school with an emergency contact person who will be able to pick up the child if parents cannot be reached.

Calling to report non-attendance 

If a child will not be attending school for any reason, parents must notify the child’s school. The school will need to know the reason for non-attendance since schools are required to report certain communicable diseases. All schools have a voice mail system in place in order to leave attendance messages outside of the regular school hours.

Special Education Services
As mandated by the federal government through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the special education program is diverse and attempts to meet the academic, behavioral, social, physical and adaptive needs of students. Services may begin at age three, depending on eligibility, and continue until students exit the program or complete the 8th grade. At that time, students enter the Williamson County School System and continue special education services as the IEP (Individual Education Program) team determines.
Service options include a continuum of services as required by IDEA and are determined by the IEP team. Related services include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physical therapy. Franklin Special School District provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students who qualify for services through special education in the “least restrictive environment.”
Section 504
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law which ensures that all individuals with disabilities have equal access to education. Students with a 504 plan have the right to receive appropriate and necessary accommodations as determined by the 504 team.
Child Find

The FSSD Child Find program identifies preschool through eighth grade children with special education needs. The purpose of Child Find is to locate children who have an educational disability and may require special education services. Public school districts, such as Franklin Special School District, are required to provide a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) to qualified students with disabilities enrolled in public schools who reside in their jurisdiction.  The provision of FAPE ensures through procedures pertaining to educational setting, evaluation, placement, and procedural safeguards that the individual educational needs of students with disabilities or impairments are provided as adequately as the educational needs of students without disabilities or impairments.  Students in private or home school settings located within the FSSD boundaries may receive services by way of a Service Plan as determined by the district’s analysis of the needs of private and home schooled students in the district. FSSD is required to spend a proportionate share of federal funds on eligible students with disabilities enrolled in private school or home school settings.​

Printable Brochure
Click below for a printable brochure. This information is also included in text below.

The Franklin Special School District Child Find program identifies preschool through eighth-grade children with special education needs including intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism, specific learning disabilities, serious emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, intellectual giftedness, traumatic brain injury, blindness, and the following impairments: speech, language, hearing, orthopedic, and visual.

Educational needs are determined through parent interviews and child evaluations. Areas evaluated may include, but are not limited to vision, hearing, academic delays in reading, math and written expression, speech, language, motor, cognitive and adaptive development.

Following the evaluation, if a child meets the Tennessee State Eligibility Standards and their needs cannot be met in the general education setting, an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed and an appropriate program offered to meet the child’s unique educational needs.

  • If you suspect your K-8 child needs additional support to receive a free and appropriate education, please contact the FSSD at 615-794-6624.
  • If you suspect your preschool child (ages 3 to 5) needs additional support to receive a free and appropriate education, please contact Dr. Mary Kate Boston at 615-794-4837.


Available Support Services

  • Assistive Technology
  • Audiological Services
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Counseling Services
  • Homebound Instruction
  • Intense intervention in reading, math and/or written expression
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychological Services
  • School Health Services
  • Speech Therapy
  • Language Therapy
  • Vision Therapy
Special Populations Department
Cheryl Robey, Ed.D., Supervisor
Joy Crunk, Secretary
507 New Hwy 96 West
Franklin, TN  37064


Follow Us on Twitter