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Special Education » Special Education / Annual Public notice

Special Education / Annual Public notice

Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs

Services for School Age Children with Disabilities
 
Each school district, as outlined in IDEA ’04 and 22 Pa. Code Chapter 14, must establish and implement procedures to identify, locate and evaluate all children who need special education programs and services because of the child’s disability. This notice is to help find these children, offer assistance to parents and describe the parent’s rights with regard to confidentiality of information that will be obtained during the process.

IDENTIFICATION ACTIVITY

Child Find refers to activities undertaken by public education agencies to identify, locate, and evaluate children residing in the State, including children attending private schools, who are suspected of having disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, and determine the child’s need for special education and related services. The purpose is to locate these children so that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) can be made available.

The District engages in “child find” activities or screenings in order to identify and ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet the student's needs. These services are provided in compliance with state and federal laws in order to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. Various screening activities are conducted on a regular basis. Parents may request a screening or a multi-disciplinary evaluation through a written request to the school principal or the Supervisor of Special Services.

Purchase Line School District provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible students. To qualify as an eligible student, the child must be of school age, in need of specially-designed instruction and meet eligibility criteria for mentally gifted and/or one of the following physical or mental disorders: Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multi-Handicapped, Neurological Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Physical Disability, Emotional Disturbance, Specific Learning Disability, and Speech/Language Impairment.

EARLY INTERVENTION

The IDEA ’04 also requires the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education to children with disabilities between three years of age and the school district’s age of beginners. In Pennsylvania, a child between three years of age and the school district’s age of beginners who has a developmental delay or one or more of the physical or mental disabilities listed above may be identified as an “eligible young child.”

Eligible young children are afforded the rights of school-age children with disabilities, including screening, evaluation, individualized education program planning, and provision of appropriate programs and services. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing programs and services to eligible young children under Act 212 of 1990, The Early Intervention Services System Act. The ARIN Intermediate Unit provides programs and services to eligible young children on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Except as indicated above or otherwise announced publicly, screening activities take place throughout the school year. For more information or to schedule an evaluation, contact ARIN Early Intervention Service Coordinator at 724-463-5300,or at 1-800-272-2746.

SCREENING

Ongoing screening activities help identify students of diverse needs. Purchase Line School District has established and implemented procedures to locate, identify, and evaluate children suspected of having disabilities. These procedures involve screening activities which include but are not limited to: yearly review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, and report cards); hearing screening (in kindergarten, first, second, third, seventh, and eleventh grades and all learning support students); vision screening (every grade level); motor screening; and, speech and language screening in first and third grades, and individually as referred.

Screenings are conducted in the student's home school unless other arrangements are necessary. Parents can request screening for their children by contacting the school principal or supervisor of special education. When screening indicates that a student may be a child with a disability eligible for special education, the school district will seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation.

Screening activities cannot block the rights of a parent to request, at any time, including prior to or during the instructional support activities, an evaluation for the purpose of determining if the student is a child with a disability and eligible for special education services. To request an evaluation for your child, contact your child's guidance counselor, building principal or the supervisor of special education.

EVALUATION

Evaluation is the procedures used in the determination of whether a child has a disability and is in need of specially designed instruction. In Pennsylvania, this evaluation is conducted by qualified professionals. The evaluation process must be completed no later than sixty school days after the district receives written parental consent. Tests and procedures used as part of the multidisciplinary evaluation process may not be racially or culturally biased. Information for the evaluation will be obtained from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior scales. Upon completion of the evaluation, the MDT will determine whether the child is a child with a disability and in need of specially designed instruction. If a determination is made that a child has a disability and needs special education and related services an individualized education program (IEP) will be developed for the child.

IDENTIFICATION ACTIVITIES

Parents who think their child has a disability may request, at any time, that the school district conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. This request should be made in writing to the building principal or guidance counselor. If a parent makes an oral request for a multidisciplinary evaluation, the school district shall provide the parent with a form for that purpose.

Parents also have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation if they disagree with the school district's evaluation. Purchase Line School District will provide to parents on request, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained.

EDUCATIONAL PLACEMENT

Once the evaluation process is complete, and if the student is identified as a child with a disability and in need of specially designed instruction, the team will develop the individualized education program and determine the educational placement. A student's special education placement must be made in the least restrictive environment in which the student's educational needs can be addressed. Student's IEPS are reviewed on an annual basis. The school district will issue a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement/Prior written Notice, which will require parental consent. The parent has the right to revoke consent after placement.

PROTECTED HANDICAPPED STUDENTS

In compliance with state and federal law, The Purchase Line School District also provides protected handicapped student services or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain benefit from school programs and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities. These accommodations are provided without discrimination or cost to the student and family. In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age and present with a documented mental or physical disability, which substantially limits or prohibits participation or access to a school program. Protected handicapped students are distinct from those that are identified under 22 Pa. Code Chapter 14 and are enrolled in special education programming. For further information, regarding protected handicapped students, contact the building principal or the supervisor of special education.

GIFTED SERVICES

As outline by Pa. Code § 16.21, Purchase Line School District provides a systematic screening and evaluation process to identify and determine the needs of gifted students. The screening process may result in a gifted evaluation (GMDE) and a Gifted Written Report (GWR). Should a student meet the requirements, a Gifted Individual Education Plan (GIEP) will be developed. At the conclusion of the GIEP meeting, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is issued.

CONFIDENTIALITY

The School District maintains records concerning children enrolled in the school district, including students with disabilities. All records are maintained in the strictest confidentiality. Your consent, or consent of an eligible child who has reached the age of majority under State law, must be obtained before

personally identifiable information is released, except as permitted under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The age of majority in Pennsylvania is 21. Each participating agency must protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction states. One official at each participating agency must assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information. Each participating agency must maintain, for public inspection, a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the agency who have access to personally identifiable information. For additional information related to student records, the parent can refer to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).This notice is only a summary of the Special Education services, evaluation and screening activities, and rights and protections pertaining to children with disabilities, children thought to be disabled, and their parents. For more information or to request evaluation or screening of a public or private school child, contact Purchase Line School District, Office of Special Education at 724 254-4312 extension 4048.

A parent may file a written complaint alleging that the rights described in this notice were not provided:
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Special Education
Division of Compliance
333 Market Street
Harrisburg , PA 17126-0333

The Department of Education will investigate the matter; issue a report of findings and necessary corrective action within 60 days. The Department will take necessary action to ensure compliance is achieved.

Complaints alleging failures of the school district with regard to confidentiality of personally identifiable information may also be filed with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington , DC 20202-4605

MODE OF COMMUNICATION

If a person does not understand any of this notice, he or she should contact the school's guidance counselor and request an explanation. The school district will arrange for an interpreter for parents with limited English proficiency. If a parent is deaf or blind or has no written language, the school district will arrange for communication of this notice in the mode normally used by the parent (e.g., sign language, Braille, or oral communication).