Special Education

Buchanan Special Education Programs and Services

Buchanan Community Schools provides specialized instruction to children with disabilities. The special education staff provides students with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This includes access to the general education curriculum whenever appropriate, as mandated by Federal statutes and State standards.

Through a variety of learning opportunities, students with disabilities will be provided with targeted and individualized research-based instruction allowing each child to progress both academically and socially.

Buchanan’s special education staff works cooperatively with other educators, parents, community members and local agencies as needed to implement a student’s individualized educational program (IEP).

Specialized Programs

If your child has special educational needs, we offer district and county wide specialized programs to help meet their educational needs. Additionally, if your child is eligible for special education the following services may be provide for qualifying students: occupational and/or physical therapy.

  • Hearing Impaired
  • Visually Impaired
  • Specific Learning Disabled
  • Early Childhood Developmental Delay
  • Severely Multiply Impaired
  • Speech & Language Impaired
  • Physically Impaired
  • Otherwise Health Impaired
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Emotionally Impaired
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Secondary Resource Room


When possible, your child will learn in a regular classroom. We will provide academic assistance in the most challenging core subject areas. However, if it is in your child’s best interest to be in a specialized school, we work with the Berrien RESA to meet your child’s needs.

Speech Language Pathologists (SLP)

Buchanan Community Schools provides speech language pathology services for qualifying district residents, from pre-school age through high school. Our Speech Language Pathologists are fully licensed and certified. All have master’s degrees as required by the State of Michigan. Services are provided at all district school buildings. There are varieties of communication disorders that SLPs work with in the school setting which include: Language, Articulation/Phonology, Voice, and Fluency (stuttering). If you think your child is having difficulty in any of these areas and it is adversely affecting their educational performance, please speak with your child’s classroom teacher or building principal.

Determining Specific Learning Disability

For determining the existence of a Specific Learning Disability in Special Education, our district will use a process of analyzing a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses. For more detailed information on this process, please consult the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency website:

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SLD Guidelines: https://www.berrienresa.org/fs/resource-manager/view/f7ff3b29-56a0-4720-b057-e4c99ecea492

The SLD Guidelines can be found on this page: https://www.berrienresa.org/services/special-education-support/guidelines-resources

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classroom

Ottawa Elementary School
109 Ottawa Street, Buchanan, MI

The ECSE classroom (ages 3-5) focuses on language comprehension, expression and socialization skills so children are prepared for either a traditional classroom or one geared to their learning abilities. Enrollment is available to families in the Buchanan Community Schools system. For more information, please contact the Buchanan Supervisor of Special Education at (269) 695-8442.

Lighthouse Education Center

379 West Glenlord, Saint Joseph, MI
(269) 429-2351

The curriculum offered at this site is for children with severe emotional impairments or autistic spectrum disorder.  Lighthouse Education Center provides a positive learning environment, enabling students to achieve and enhance self-confidence, self-esteem, independence, social acceptance, intellectual and personal growth according to their Individualized Educational Program and Transitional Service Plan. The center emphasizes positive reinforcement, personal responsibility, appropriate decision-making skills and the development of socially acceptable behavior.

Programs are available in the following special education eligibility areas:

  • Severely Emotionally Impaired (SEI) students with severe emotional behavior problems. Classroom programs serve students ages 6 through 25.
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students who typically have severe speech and language delays, behavioral disorders and unusual or repetitive motor movements. The program serves ages 3 through 25.

Blossomland Learning Center

711 St. Joseph Avenue, Berrien Springs, MI
(269) 473-2600

If your child, age 3 through 26 years old, is diagnosed as having severe multiple impairments and students with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, the Blossomland Learning Center offers an upbeat, positive learning environment. The staff helps each child more fully develop his or her intellectual and personal skills, self-confidence, independence and social acceptance in the community. Through a functional curriculum that emphasizes skills, competencies, and orientations that are required for living in a supervised setting, Blossomland Learning Center operates as a separate special education program and serves those students who, as determined by their individualized education plans, require placement in a facility outside of the traditional school setting.

Hearing Impaired Program

1 Sylvester Avenue, Berrien Springs, MI
(269) 471-7724

The Berrien Springs Hearing Impaired Program provides educational services for students with hearing losses from Berrien and Cass and Van Buren counties. This program is operated by the Berrien Springs Public Schools and is funded by the Berrien RESA. Students may receive services in classrooms in Berrien Springs, through teacher consultants who see the students in their local districts, or teachers who see infants and toddlers at home, as determined in the IEP process. The program also has on site audiologists for diagnostics and follow up for students with suspected and verified hearing problems.

Southside Program

1450 Silverbrook Avenue, Niles, MI
(269) 683-0421

Niles operates center-based programs for low-incidence special education students needing full-time placement. Southside School operates two center-based programs for low incidence special needs students and students who are not achieving, primarily due to an inability to control their behavior or below average cognitive abilities. Both programs require a full time placement. Niles serves all of Berrien County with the majority of the students coming from the southern half of the region. Referrals for placement are made to Southside only after the resident district has exhausted all other less restrictive interventions.

A program is available for Pre-Vocational Studies students who have below-average cognitive abilities. Most students follow a curriculum that prepares them for independent living, although some achieve a high school diploma. This program serves ages 16 through 25.

Early On Berrien RESA Infant/Toddler Program

Berrien Regional Educational Service Agency (Berrien RESA)
711 Saint Joseph Avenue, Berrien Springs, MI
(269) 471-7725.

The Berrien RESA Early On service is the name for Michigan’s early intervention system that provides services for infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, with developmental delays and/or disabilities. This service involves both parent and child. An early intervention system includes:

  • activities – things you do day-to-day or programs where your child can play and learn with others
  • supports – can be help, resources or information
  • services – when a trained professional works directly with your child or helps you learn how to support your child.


Early On can help your child with his or her development. A child’s development is their process of growing and learning. It can also help your family to be better able to help your child grow and learn. Early On is not one single “program.” It is a collection of activities, supports, services, and resources provided by many programs such as:

  • Schools
  • Public health
  • Mental health
  • Social services
  • Programs where children play and learn


It is also many people with different skills. These people want to work with you to help your child grow and learn. There is no charge to families for the in-home evaluation, Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, or service coordination.

Early On says… Don’t worry, but don’t wait!

For more Early On information, visit the Berrien RESA web site.

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