Exceptional Children
Programs and Services

Who determines what services are provided and where they are offered?

Individual Education Program (IEP) teams consider service delivery options based on the needs of each student.  Teams may consider regular, resource or separate settings which are available at every school for students participating in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.  

IEP teams may also consider self-contained classes at public separate schools for students with significant behavioral challenges or students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the North Carolina Extended Content Standards.

CMS provides comparable services to students identified with a disability who enroll from another district.  Parents should contact the student's home school to initiate these services.

Programs and Services

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 ensures that all eligible children with a disability who are in need of special education receive a free appropriate public education. IDEA mandates that eligible students receive individualized instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the learner.  To learn about the school-aged programs available in CMS, click HERE. To learn more about the preschool programs available in CMS, click HERE.


Program Locations


Exceptional Children Preschool Special Education Services

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is committed to providing developmentally appropriate practices within high quality early childhood services to preschoolers within the district.  Our Preschool Special Education Program works collaboratively with CMS’ Pre-Kindergarten Program and elementary schools to identify, place, and provide services for eligible children. We partner with families and the community in order to build a strong foundation for the educational future of the young children we serve.

Preschool Special Education Services are designed for children ages 3 to 5 with disabilities (not age eligible to attend Kindergarten) and in need of specially designed instruction. The goal is to provide the support these children need at an early age, so by the time they enter Kindergarten, they have the support, services and skills needed to be successful.

Preschool Special Education Services are based on the Individualized Education Program that is written for each child. Goals and objectives are written according to an educational model. Any related services that the child receives are designed to support the educational goals.

Preschool children with disabilities are served in a variety of settings and natural environments which may include home, child care centers, private child care homes, Head Start, NC Pre-K,  private preschool programs and public school classrooms. 

Starting the referral process for Preschool Special Education Services

If you suspect your child has a disability and may need special education services, and your child is 3-5 years of age, and not age eligible to attend Kindergarten, you may request to start the referral process.  If you have questions regarding your preschool aged child, contact the child find office at (980) 343-2720


Meeting the needs of students with disabilities

Parent Information about Assignments English | Español
Continuum of Programs and Services – Least Restrictive Environment  English | Español
P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.