Our Mission & Vision

Putting Children First Since 1972

Assistant Director
Assistant Director

HPEC Mission Statement

“High Plains Educational Cooperative will assist and support the member districts in providing educational services which will maximize opportunities for all children to live, learn, and work in society.” 


High Plains Educational Cooperative is located in Ulysses, Kansas. The Special Education Cooperative supports seventeen participating unified school districts over twelve counties. HPEC districts cover 10,000 square miles in southwest Kansas. The cooperative provides a range of support services for students with exceptionalities, aged 3 to 21.  

bullet The Cooperative supports member districts in screening and identifying students with exceptionalities and in providing appropriate educational supports in the least restrictive environment.
bullet One hundred ten professionals are employed by HPEC including School Psychologists, Speech Clinicians, Gifted Facilitators, Early Childhood Teachers, Interrelated Teachers, Adapted PE Teachers, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists. One hundred seventy Paraeducators are also employed to help support children with educational needs. 

Approximately one thousand fifty students receive Special Education supports as identified in Individual Education Plans. The student percentage is 12% of the total population of the seventeen school districts.  

The following school districts are members of HPEC:

bullet 476 Copeland 
bullet 216 Deerfield
bullet 218 Elkhart
bullet 363 Holcomb
bullet 210 Hugoton
bullet 452 Johnson
bullet 215 Lakin
bullet 467 Leoti
bullet 371 Montezuma
bullet 209 Moscow
bullet 217 Rolla
bullet 507 Satanta
bullet 466 Scott City
bullet 374 Sublette
bullet 494 Syracuse
bullet 200 Tribune
bullet 214 Ulysses

Guiding Beliefs / Practices of HPEC

bullet  Family Friendly Practices
bullet  Consumer Satisfaction
bullet  Student Progress
bullet  Functional Assessment
bullet  No Labels
bullet  Focus on what children Can Do and their Next Steps
bullet  Students Educated in Least Restrictive Environment
bullet  Early Intervention
bullet  Collaboration and Team Involvement
bullet  Data Driven Decision Making
bullet  Continuous Improvement Focus
bullet  Opportunities for Staff Development
bullet  Solution Focused Problem Solving
bullet  Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) / Response to Intervention (RtI)

HPEC Practices & Inservices

bullet Standards Based Goals
bullet Assistive Technology
bullet Behavior Management
bullet AEPS Training
bullet Routine Based Instruction
bullet Primary Coach/Coaching Model
bullet Least Restrictive Setting
bullet Community Based Instruction
bullet Reading Instruction
bullet Academic Adaptations
bullet Counseling
bullet Intervention Teaming
bullet Formative Assessment
bullet Mandt Training
bullet Conflict Resolution / Mediation
bullet Web-Based IEPs
bullet Summer Academy
bullet Categorical Meetings
bullet Transition Services
bullet New Teacher Academies
bullet Mentor Program for New Staff 

High Plains Supports MTSS General Education Intervention

Kansas supports the use of school wide MTSS for providing general education intervention, (GEI).  The system is designed on a three-tier system or both academic and behavior support. Using the MTSS model, students are provided support at varying levels depending on their needs.  General education intervention places an emphasis on providing the intensity of instructional support in proportion to the presenting needs of children through methods of analyzing child data, implementing scientifically research-based interventions and monitoring child progress.

At any time during GEI, the team responsible for planning and implementing the interventions has three decisions that may be made:

bullet Continue the intervention and monitor child progress
bullet Change or modify the intervention and monitor child progress
bullet Change or modify the intervention, monitor child progress, and carry the child into initial evaluation.

Kansas regulations provide additional information, which describes when a school may refer a child for an initial evaluation.

School has data based documentation that strategies would be inadequate to address the cares of concern for the child.

School has data based documentation that indicates that prior to, or as a part of the referral the follow were met:

bullet The child was provided appropriate instruction that was delivered by qualified personnel
bullet The child's academic achievement was repeatedly assessed at reasonable intervals, which reflected formal assessment of the child's progress during instruction
bullet Assessment results were provided to the child's parents; and
bullet The assessment results indicate an evaluation is appropriate


Response to Intervention Core Principles

bullet We can effectively teach all children
bullet Early intervention is key
bullet Use a multi-tier model of service
bullet Use a problem-solving methodology
bullet Use a research-based, scientifically validated intervention or instruction
bullet Monitor student progress to inform instruction
bullet Use data to make decisions
bullet Use assessments for three different purposes: 1)screening; 2)diagnostic; 3)progress monitoring

HPEC and member districts support a Web-Based Individual Learning Plan (ILP) to be used to formulate a general education intervention plan based on the RtI model.

Initial Evaluation & Eligibility Determination

bullet When an initial evaluation is conducted, special education support staff use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional and developmental information. Information is gathered and analyzed using systematic guidelines for conducting a comprehensive evaluation.
bullet Multiple assessment data from a variety of sources includes data from general education interventions, review of records, interviews, observations, error analysis of student work and more direct student testing.  

Professionals use expert judgment and look for converging data that determine two things from the evaluation (2 prong test):

bullet (1) Whether the student is a student with an exceptionality as defined in federal and state regulations;
bullet (2) Whether the student needs special education and related services. 

After gathering all the evaluation data, the team, including the parent, convene at a meeting

bullet The information is considered and the team determines if a student is eligible for special education by answering the following four questions:
bullet Question 1: Does the response of the presenting concern to general education interventions indicate the need for intense or sustained resources?
bullet Question 2: Are the resources needed to support the student to participate and progress in the general education curriculum beyond those available through general education or other resources?
bullet Question 3: Is there evidence of a severe discrepancy between the performance of the student and his/her peers or evidence of a severe discrepancy between the student’s ability and performance in the area(s) of concern?
bullet Question 4: Is the presence of an exceptionality substantiated by convergent data from multiple sources? If all four eligibility questions are answered in the affirmative, the student is eligible for special education. 

Examples of Sources of Data

bullet 1. General Education Interventions or Results of Screening:  Record of interventions attempted and data collected during monitoring and evaluation of interventions, data collected through screening measures.
bullet 2. Record Review:  Reports from outside agencies, cumulative file, health records, portfolio, performance in relationship to curriculum standards.
bullet 3. Interview:  (Parent and other caregivers, Student, Teacher) Instructional history, social history, medical information and developmental history.
bullet 4. Observation:  Structured observations, rating scales, observation checklists, instructional environment, ecological devices, behavioral interventions, achievement in classroom, functional analysis of behavior and instruction.
bullet 5. Tests:  Individual and group measures of ability or aptitude, performance based assessments and achievement measures (Individual Reading Inventories, Formative Assessments, State Assessments); local benchmark assessments; other standardized tools such as: self concept measures, adaptive Behavior Scales, tests of motor functioning, measures of speech and language skills. 

Continuum of Support Services

bullet Consulting Supports
bullet Inclusive Supports
bullet Resource Room Supports  

HPEC Support Services

bullet Speech/Language Clinician:

Provides a related service through the identification of students with speech and language disorders; the diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech and language disorders; the provisions of speech and language services for the therapy or prevention of communicative disorders; and the counseling and guidance of parents, students, and teachers regarding speech and language disorders.

bullet Audiologist:

Provides a related service which identifies children with a hearing loss, determines the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss, including referral for medical or other professional attention for the habilitation of hearing; provides habilitative activities and hearing evaluations; and creates and administers programs for prevention of hearing loss.

bullet Early Childhood Special Education Teacher:

Provides a special education service through the identification of children with special needs at the early childhood level; the provision of early childhood special education services; and the counseling and guidance of parents, teachers, administrators and other EC service providers regarding early childhood special education services.

bullet Occupational Therapist:

 Provide a related service for the remediation, restoration, or compensation for functions lost through illness or injury; the adaptation or modification of materials or equipment to give a student increased independence; the prevention of initial or additional deformity or disability through early intervention and programming; and the improvement of ability to perform tasks for independent functioning when functions are impaired or lost.

bullet Physical Therapist:

Provides a related service for the assessment of children and youth whose physical disability, motor deficit, and or developmental delay interfere with the learning processes and physical management of the school environment; the consultation and treatment of identified children and youth which may include training of developmental motor skills, ambulation and gait training, postural awareness, use of wheelchair, orthoses (braces), and other assistive devices.

bullet Motor Specialist:

Provides special education services to exceptional children. The major role of the specialist is to provide assessment; consultation for program planning and progress monitoring; and some direct service for instruction or case management purposes.

bullet Interrelated Teacher:

Provides special education services to exceptional children. The major role of the teacher shall be to support the student in the least restrictive environment by collaborating in providing instruction and to provide consultation to the regular education teachers.

bullet Paraeducator:

Assists in the provision of special education and related services. Although paraeducators are employed and assigned to a professional, paraeducators are expected to work with teams of educators to provide support services for students.

bullet Gifted Facilitator:

Provides individual or small group instruction for students identified as gifted.  Gifted Facilitators support children with exceptionalities in the general education curriculum in consultation to support students in the least restrictive environment.  Facilitators assess students to assist in determining student performance and appropriate services. 


Empowers educators and support professionals to concentrate their efforts on students by reducing time spent on paperwork.  The netIEP reduces the training and learning curve for users. Because the netIEP is based on familiar tools such as a web browser, staff are able to easily adapt to the new tool.  


bullet Real-time issue reporting & tracking  
bullet Collaborative approach
bullet Single point of access
bullet Up-to-date student
bullet Simple and easy to use
bullet Easy access
bullet Secure information
bullet Parent Access


Tuition Reimbursement


HPEC Tuition Options Prior to Professional Employment 

Individuals working on a BS degree and teaching endorsement in education - HPEC will provide reimbursement for an individual’s last semester of tuition if the individual will 1) complete a degree, 2) be eligible for a teaching license and 3) begin work in special education.  A plan will be developed in which tuition reimbursement will be traded for years of service. 

Teachers with a BS or MS degree in education or related field working towards a teaching endorsement in special education - HPEC will provide reimbursement for tuition for students who have a plan of study that results in a teaching license with endorsement in special education. A plan will be developed in which tuition reimbursement will be traded for years of service. 


Employee Reimbursement for College Hours Earned 

The Board of Directors will reimburse certified employees for approved college hours who are currently under contract and will continue under contract for the following school year.  Reimbursement will be provided for tuition up to $240 per semester credit hour for graduate hours and $50 for HPEC approved under-graduate hours, not to exceed nine hours per year. 

Why work at HPEC?

bullet We support family friendly practices.
bullet Students are not labeled BD, LD, MR.
bullet Teams use functional assessments and rely on professional judgment.
bullet Teams use problem solving approaches to intervention.
bullet Our goal is to keep students out of special education and to support all kids.
bullet We focus on what students “can do” and identify what their “next steps” are