ANNUAL PUBLIC NOTICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES AND PROGRAMS, SERVICES FOR GIFTED STUDENTS, AND SERVICES FOR PROTECTED HANDICAPPED STUDENTS
State and federal special education regulations require each school district to provide notice to the community by publishing an annual public notice to parents, in newspapers or by other media, regarding the school district's identification and screening activities, the location and time of the activities, and also any evaluation activity which takes place in the Pequea Valley School District.
The district is required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities who are determined, through the evaluation process, to need special education and related services under IDEA and 22 Pa. School Code §14. A school age child with a disability, who is determined to be in need of special education and related services, is identified as a child with a disability eligible for special education in need of specially designed instruction. The following are disability categories under IDEA:
•Traumatic Brain Injury
•Specific Learning Disability
•Other Health Impairment
•Speech and Language Impairment
•Visual Impairment including Blindness
A child is considered mentally gifted when his or her cognitive ability or other factors, as determined by a multidisciplinary team evaluation, indicate that he or she has outstanding intellectual ability, the development of which requires special programs and services not ordinarily available in the general education program. The school entity engages in screening activities during regular classroom instruction and uses the data thus generated to determine whether a GMDT evaluation is warranted. In addition, parents may request gifted screening or a GMDT evaluation at any time.
Parents are part of the GMDT and, if their child is determined to be mentally gifted, are part of the development and annual review and revision of their child’s gifted individualized educational program (“GIEP”) as a member of the GIEP team. The GIEP describes the present levels, annual goals and measurable objectives, and specially designed instruction and related services through which the District will provide the enrichment or acceleration, or both, that is needed to develop the outstanding mental ability of the child.
Parents who suspect that their child is in need of specially designed instruction beyond that required in 22 Pa. School Code §4 (relating to academic standards and assessments) may request in writing that their child be evaluated under the criteria of 22 Pa.School Code §16.22.
In Pennsylvania, any 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 conditions listed above is identified as an "eligible young child." Children who are less than the age of beginners and at least three years of age are considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists: (i) the child's score, on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25% of the child's chronological age in one or more developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on standardizedt ests. Developmental areas include cognitive, communicative, physical,social/emotional and self-help.
Eligible young children are afforded the same rights under IDEA and 22 Pa. School Code §14 as school-age children, in order to determine if they are eligible to receive special education services through the screening and evaluation process. Once a child is determined to be eligible to receive special education, an individualized education program will be developed for the child.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing programs and services to eligible young children under Act 212 of 1990, the Early Intervention System Act. Screening for preschool children is available through the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit. For additional information please contact the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 at 717-606-1601.
Screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis throughout the school year. Screening is conducted in the student's home school unless other arrangements are necessary.Parents can request screening in writing for their children by contacting the school that their child attends. 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 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.
"Evaluation" is the procedure used to determine whether a child has a disability and if the child's disability is of the nature and extent that the child would be eligible for special education and related services. Evaluation procedures used are determined on an individual basis by a Multi-disciplinary Evaluation team,which includes the parents. Parents are asked to provide permission to conduct the evaluation via a Permission to Evaluate form. The evaluation team takes into consideration cultural issues as they determine the assessment tools that will be administered for the student. A single test or procedure cannot be the sole factor in determining that a child is eligible for special education services.The initial evaluation shall be completed and a copy of the evaluation report shall be presented to the parents no later than 60 days after the agency receives written parental consent. Evaluation for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability eligible for special education does not include the procedures or basic tests that are administered to all children.
Parents who think their child is a child with a disability may request, at any time, that the school district conduct an evaluation to determine if the child is eligible to receive special education and related services. This request must be made in writing to the Special Education Supervisor. If a parent makes an oral request for an evaluation, the school district shall provide the parent with a Permission to Evaluate - Evaluation Request Form to complete.
Independent Educational Evaluation
If parents disagree with the evaluation conducted by the School District, they may request in writing an independent educational evaluation, commonly referred as an “IEE,” at public expense. If an IEE is provided at public expense, the criteria under which the IEE is privately obtained must be the same as the criteria that the Pequea Valley School District uses when it initiates an evaluation.
If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the District may ask for the parent's reason why he or she objects to the District's evaluation. However, the explanation by the parent is not required, and the District may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or initiating a due process hearing to defend the District's evaluation.
Parent Initiated Evaluations
If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at private expense, the results of the evaluation must be considered by the district, if it meets the district's criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the child. In addition the independent educational evaluation may be presented as evidence at a Due Process hearing.
If the evaluation team has determined that the student is eligible for special education, an IEP team develops an educational program, based on the evaluation, which identifies the type of services, the level of intervention, and the location of intervention. The IEP team must include:
• a school district representative (LEA),
• the general education teacher,
• the special education teacher,
• the child's parents and the student when 16 years of age.
An IEP describes a student's current educational levels, goals, and objectives, and the individualized programs and services necessary to provide the student with FAPE. These services may include:
· Learning Support
· Life Skills Support
· Emotional Support
· Sensory Support
· Deaf or Hard of Hearing Support
· Blind or Visually Impaired Support
· Speech and Language Support
· Physical Support
· Autistic Support
· Multiple Disabilities Support
A student's special education placement must be made in the least restrictive environment in which the student's educational needs can be addressed. All students with disabilities must be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with their non-disabled peers. A student's IEP is reviewed on at least an annual basis.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students
In compliance with state and federal law, and 22 Pa. School Code Chapter 15, the district will provide to each protected handicapped student, without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related aids, services, or accommodations which are needed to provide an equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school programs and participate in extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities.
In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits one or more major life activities which prohibits participation in, or access to, an aspect of school programs. These services and protections for "protected handicapped students" are different from those applicable to all students eligible or thought to be eligible for special education services and must be designed to meet individual educational needs of the handicapped individual as adequately as the needs of non-handicapped persons are met.
The school district or parent may at any time initiate an evaluation of a student. Parents who wish to have a child evaluated should contact their building principal or guidance counselor for further information on the evaluation procedures and provision of services to protected handicapped students.
The district protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information regarding its students in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and other applicable federal and state laws.
Parents have the right to inspect and review their child's educational record. The district will comply with a request to inspect and review educational records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP or any due process hearing, but no later than 30 days after the written request has been made.Parents have the right to a response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records. Parents have the right to request copies of the records. While the district cannot charge a fee to search for or to retrieve information, it may charge a copying fee as long as it does not effectively prevent the parent from exercising their right to inspect and review the records. Parents have the right to appoint a representative to inspect and review their child's records. If any educational record contains information on more than one child, parents have the right only to inspect and review the information relating to their child.
"Educational records" means records, files, documents, and other materials that are directly related to the student which are maintained by an educational agency or by a party acting for the agency. "Education agency", for purposes of this notice, means the local school district. For all students, the District maintains educational records, which include but are not limited to personally identifiable and confidential information, as well as, directory information.
Please take notice that the District may destroy educational records, including electronically stored information, when they are no longer necessary to provide educational services to a student. Additionally, the School District will inform parents when personally identifiable information is no longer needed to provide educational services to a child. Such information must be destroyed at the request of the parents. However, a permanent record of a student's name, address, and telephone number, grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed may be maintained without time limitation.
In accordance with 34 CFR § 300.624, please be advised of the following retention/destruction schedule for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), and Keystone Exam related materials:
- PSSA, Keystone Exam, and PASA test booklets will be destroyed one year after student reports are delivered for the administration associated with the test booklets.
- PSSA and Keystone Exam answer booklets and PASA media recordings will be destroyed three years after completion of the assessment.
Consent means the parents have been fully informed regarding the activity requiring consent, in their native language or other mode of communication; they understand and agree in writing to the activity, and they understand that consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time.
The School District must obtain parental consent before disclosing personally identifiable information to anyone not entitled to see it under law. (Student consent takes the place of parent consent if the student is 18 years old or attending a postsecondary institution.)
For more information regarding any of the above services, please contact:
Pequea Valley School District
Cathy Koenig, Director of Student Services and Special Education
166 S. New Holland Road
P.O. Box 130
Kinzers, PA 17535