Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

Exceptional Student Services

Exceptional Student Services ensures specially designed learning is provided to students with disabilities from ages 3 through 21. Special education supports and services are planned and provided in collaboration with the student, parents, classroom teachers, community agencies, and other school staff to encourage each student to learn more at higher levels.

The goal of our Exceptional Student Services team is to ensure that all students with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the general education classroom as much as possible each day to prepare each student to graduate with a diploma and transition to employment and independent living. Disabilities served include:

  • Autism
  • Deaf/Blind
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairments
  • Other Health Impairments
  • Significant Developmental Delays (ages 3-9)
  • Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Speech-Language Impairments
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Visually Impairments

Students with severe emotional disorders are served by teachers trained to work with this area of disability. Some students may be served in a separate public school to provide a higher intensity service.

Technology has had an impact on the functional communication, independence, and access to general education instruction in our schools. The use of assistive technology has provided opportunities to students who previously had great difficulty communicating their wants and needs to others. We use various communication systems, eye gaze technology, and specialized hardware and software to support our students’ engagement and independence throughout their school day, at home, and in our community.

Related services such as special transportation, physical and occupational therapy, and orientation and mobility training are provided to those students who require them to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).


Dalton Public Schools provides a bilingual Coordinator of Parent Involvement to encourage the engagement of parents who have children with disabilities. The parent involvement coordinator works with school staff to develop partnerships between home and school. The ultimate responsibility of the parent mentor is to support parents with children receiving special education supports and services obtain information about various disabilities, provide support in IEP meetings (when needed), locate community resources, and encourage parents to take an active role in their child’s education. To contact our Coordinator of Parent Involvement, please call the Exceptional Student Services office at (706) 876-4023.

Individuals desiring information about a child’s services in the summer, please contact the Exceptional Student Services office at (706) 876-4023 or call Parent to Parent of Georgia at 1-800-229-2038.


The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) program is a parent choice program for students with disabilities that have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in Georgia public schools. Information regarding eligibility and the different choice options is available at the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship website.


In compliance with the State of Georgia Records Retention Schedules for Local Government Paper & Electronic Records, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations on destruction of data collected, maintained, or used in the provision of a free and appropriate public education of students with disabilities in Dalton Public Schools, the Exceptional Student Services office announces its intention to destroy special education records on July 1, 2021. The destruction of records will affect students born in 1998.

The Records Retention Schedule for Local Government Paper & Electronic Records provides, "that records may be destroyed when they are no longer needed to provide educational services to the child." Dalton Public Schools does not have student special education records for individuals born in or before 1997.

A student or parent may need special education records for Social Security purposes or other reasons. If you are a former special education student or parent of a former special education student and wish to obtain records prior to destruction, please call the Dalton Public Schools Exceptional Student Services office at (706) 876-4023 or visit at the 101 Building at 101 N. Thornton Avenue. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Anyone obtaining records will be required to produce identification that contains both a picture and signature before the records can be released. All unclaimed files of individuals born in 1998 will be destroyed on July 1, 2021.

Section 504 Regulations

The department also works with staff to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, when the disability substantially limits a major life activity. When necessary a Section 504 plan may be developed in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The Georgia Department of Education provides information about Section 504 regulations, and procedural safeguards and impartial hearing procedures are provided.

You may reach the program director Pam Wiles at (706) 876-4023 with questions.

Child Find

Students are referred for specially designed learning through a process known as Child Find. Dalton Public Schools seeks to identify all children in need of special education supports and services.

  • For children from birth through age 2 who might need these services, please contact Babies Can't Wait at (706) 529-5763. This referral can be made by a variety of sources, including family members, doctors, and community agencies.
  • For children ages 3 through 21 who might need special education services, please call the Exceptional Student Services Director at (706) 876-4023. Please fill out the referral form below and submit to the Dalton Public Schools ESS Office.
  • School-aged children are referred to the Student Support Team (SST) at the local school by parents, teachers, or other persons knowledgeable of the student. The SST may include school staff, the referring teacher, and the student's parents. The SST may refer a student for special education consideration after other alternatives have been attempted and proven unsuccessful in helping the child in the general education classroom setting.

Referral to Special Education