PHSD provides a free, appropriate, public education to eligible students.
To qualify, the child must be of school age, in need of specially-designed instruction, and meet eligibility criteria for one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities, as set forth in Pennsylvania State Regulations: Specific Learning Disability, Emotionally Disturbed, Autism/Pervasive Development Disorder, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Neurological Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Visual Impairment including Blindness, and Speech or Language Impairment. Information regarding the appropriate developmental milestone descriptors for infants and toddlers may be found at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov or The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) website at nichcy.org.
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services individualized to meet student needs.
At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include group-based data review (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability, and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, physical, and speech/language screening; and Child Study, Pupil Personnel, or Elementary Student Assistant Program (ESAP) Team review. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible for special education services, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation.
Parents who suspect that their child is eligible for special education services may request a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) at any time through a written request to the Building Principal or Director of Special Education.
Services designed to meet the needs of eligible students include the annual development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), bi-annual or tri-annual multidisciplinary re-evaluation, and a full continuum of services, which include Itinerant, Supplemental, or Full-Time Levels of Intervention. The extent of special education services and location for delivery of such services are determined by the IEP team based on the student’s identified needs and abilities, chronological age, and level of intensity of the specified intervention. The District also provides related services, such as transportation and speech, language, physical, and occupational therapy required for the student to benefit from the special education program.
In compliance with state and federal law, PHSD will provide to protected handicapped students services or accommodations needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities. These related services or accommodations are provided without discrimination or cost to the student or family. 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 or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program. Services and safeguards for protected handicapped students are distinct from those applicable to exceptional students enrolled or seeking enrollment in special education programs. Protected handicapped students fall under Pennsylvania Chapter 15, Title 22, Regulations of the State Board of Education (Section 504, 1973 Rehabilitation Act). In contrast, students with disabilities who qualify for special education services are covered by the regulations contained in Chapter 14.