Special Education

We take great pride in our Special Education Department. We work together to identify and meet the needs of all of our students. Please use this page to find out more about our team and specific ways that we can help both you and your child. You can find specific information about our department, forms you may need, and important dates. 


Special Education Philosophy

The Special Education Department here at Riverside Elementary School District believes that all children can learn. All children have the right to a free appropriate public education, (regardless of disability) that helps them maximize their potential.

Please read more about our special education program in either English or Español


Child Find Program

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requires that public school agencies identify, locate, and evaluate all children (from birth through age 21) with delays or developmental disabilities to receive the supports and services they need. This includes all children living within the geographic boundaries of the school district, those who are homeless or wards of the state, are attending private schools, or are home schooled. 

Public schools and the Arizona Early Intervention Program are responsible for “finding” eligible children and providing services needed for them to reach their developmental milestones or meet their educational needs. 

  • Early intervention supports and services assists families of eligible children by helping children ages birth to three years develop to their full potential. In Arizona, children receive early intervention services the Early Intervention Program (AzEIP).
  • Preschool special education services for children three to five years provide special strategies to help eligible children reach their developmental milestones.
  • Special education services for school-aged children in kindergarten through age twenty-one provide specialized instruction and services to assist children in the educational environment. 

For additional information about child find, please contact the following agencies: 

Screening Dates

As part of our efforts to locate, evaluate, and serve all disabled children, the Riverside Elementary School District offers free developmental preschool screenings by appointment only. Preschool screening dates are:

  • Thursday, August 24, 2017
  • Thursday, September 14, 2017
  • Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • Thursday, November 16, 2017
  • Thursday, December 7, 2017
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018
  • Thursday, February 8, 2018
  • Thursday, March 8, 2018
  • Thursday, April 12, 2018

For additional screening information, please read the screening flyer in English or Español. For appointments, please contact the Special Education Department at (602) 477-8900 ext. 1337.

Prior to attending your scheduled screening appointment, please make sure to print and fill out the child find pre-screening form and the parent input form located on the right side of this page. 


New Horizons Academy

New Horizons Academy’s mission is to help children to acquire and use functional coping strategies to manage dysregulated emotions and mismanaged behavior more effectively and appropriately, so they can return to a less restrictive setting in a one-nine month period.

The school is comprised of five full days classroom designed to work with one-ten students. Students participate in a full day academic program that embeds daily therapeutic and behavioral services. The special education director and principal who work collaboratively with concerned parents make all referrals to New Horizons Academy.

Please read more about the New Horizons Academy online.


Section 504/ADA Nondiscrimination Policy

Riverside Elementary School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to handle inquiries regarding Section 504, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and/or the nondiscrimination policies:

Dr. Stephen Neal
Special Education Director/School Psychologist
1414 South 51st Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85043
(602) 477-8900, ext. 1338

Please view our forms below for more information regarding 504/ADA information:


Contact Our Department

Dr. Neal   Ms. Olazava
Dr. Stephen Neal
Special Education Director/School Psychologist
Phone: (602) 477-8900 ext. 1338
Fax: (602) 272-8378
  Mrs. Maria Olazava
Special Education Administrative Assistant
Phone: (602) 477-8900 ext. 1337
Fax: (602) 272-8378

Please fax or e-mail your completed forms and any medical records to Maria Olazava.


Special Education Records Request

In an effort to keep everything paperless we request that all school districts and/or charter schools include their e-mail address on their fax sheet. Please send all records requests to Ms. Maria Olazava.


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