Specific Services Available

Learn about the various specific services that may be available at schools to support your child.

There Are Many Special Services Available

Your child is unique and some children require special services to be fully successful in the school environment. Not all school types are required to provide these services so if your child is in need of these services, they are an important consideration in your school search. It is important to pick a school that offers what your child needs and to include that criteria in your school search.

Gifted Education

  • Gifted education is a style of learning that is accelerated for students showing intelligence levels ahead of their same-age classmates.
  • Gifted education is offered in both a whole school environment (specific magnet schools within SLPS) or as part-time supports offered at certain schools.
  • All gifted testing is done through the St. Louis Public Schools Central Office. To schedule gifted testing, please call the Gifted & Talented Office at 314-345-2435.
  • In order to attend a full-time gifted education school, your child must receive a particular score on the gifted test and be accepted to a gifted school through the magnet school lottery.
  • The gifted testing process must be completed before the application opens in mid-September for the lottery in October of the year prior to enrollment. It is important to start this process early.

Special Education

  • Special education services are provided to students who have special needs written in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  • Public schools are required to offer special education services, private schools are not required to, although some may offer them.
  • These services are legally required to start within 30 days of recognizing a student qualifies for services.
  • If you are transferring from one school to another, it is important to have a hard copy of your child’s IEP to provide during the enrollment process.
  • Special Education Acronyms

English Language Learners (ELL or Limited English Proficient)

  • ELL services are provided for students who speak a language besides English at home as they may need services at school to support learning English. Not all schools offer ELL services.
  • If your child speaks a language other than English and/or if a language other than English is spoken in your child’s home, please contact the ESOL Bilingual Migrant Program at 314-664-1066.
  • ESOL Resource Kit(English) ESOL Resource Kit (Español)

Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program

  • The federal government has a program to reduce the cost of school-based meals (breakfast and lunch) for children who meet specific criteria.
  • All schools within SLPS are part of the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) due to the high levels of poverty across the city and all students attending these schools are eligible for free meals, regardless of their family’s income level.
  • Other school types may require you to fill out a form or demonstrate need in order to provide your child free or reduced-price meals.
  • If you or your family are in need of food services, please see our list of Food Distribution Centers.

Social Workers

  • A school staff member who provides social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families. They work to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children.


  • A school staff member who is assigned specific duties and school time for any of the following activities: counseling with students and parents, consulting with other staff members on learning problems students may have, evaluating student abilities, assisting students in making education and career choices, assisting students in personal and social development, providing referral assistance, and/or working with other staff members in planning and conducting guidance programs for students.
  • At the high school level, counselors play a critical role in scheduling students into specific classes, ensuring a student is on-track to graduation, and supporting a student in making plans for after high school.


  • A school staff member who provides health care coordination, advocates for quality student-centered care, and collaborates to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential.


  • Tutoring is the support given to students who may be struggling with specific subjects at school. It could be offered to a small group of students or in a one-on-one setting.
  • The tutor could be an older or more advanced student, a certified teacher, or another adult in the school.
  • If you are interested in registering your child for tutoring, you should ask the school who runs the tutoring program, how often it occurs, and how students are identified for tutoring.

Special Services Available Recap

  • You’ve learned there are many different kinds of special services available to meet different needs your child may have.
  • You’ve learned all school types are not required to offer all services, so it is important to know which services are critical to your child’s success and use that to guide your school search process.

Immigrant & Refugee Services

Next Steps

  • Make a list of the special services your child needs to be successful in school.
  • Investigate what schools offer the programs your child needs and include that as criteria in your school search.
  • Consider meeting with school staff to discuss your child’s IEP, if applicable, to see if the school offers the services your child needs.
  • Learn about what standardized learning assessments your child will be taking at school.