All students in the Allegheny Valley School District have access to the following services which address students’ needs throughout their district enrollment; school counseling, psychological services, health services, home and school visitor services, and social work services to support students in addressing academic, behavioral, health, personal, career and social development issues.
Services for School Age Exceptional Children
Allegheny Valley School District provides a free, appropriate, public education to exceptional students according to state and federal mandates. To be eligible, the child must be of school age, need specially designed instruction, and meet eligibility criteria for mentally, gifted and/or one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities as set forth in the Pennsylvania State Standards:
• Multiple disabilities
• Emotional disturbance
• Orthopedic impairment
• Speech or language impairment
• Other health impairment
• Hearing impairment
• Developmental delay
• Specific learning disability
• Visual impairment, including blindness
• Intellectual disability
• Traumatic brain injury
Services designed to meet the needs of eligible students include: annual development of an IEP, multidisciplinary re-evaluation, supportive intervention in the regular class, supplemental intervention in the regular school. The extent of special education services and the location of the delivery of such services are determined by the parents/guardians and staff at the IEP team meeting and are based on the student’s identified needs and abilities, chronological age, and level of intensity of the specified intervention. The school district also provides related services such as transportation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy that are required to enable the student to derive educational benefits. Prior to the initiation of services, parents/guardians are presented a “Notice of Recommended Educational Placement” (NOREP) with which they may agree or disagree. If parents/guardians disagree with the program being recommended, they have the right to request a pre-hearing conference, mediation, and/or due process hearing.
Screening & Evaluation
Allegheny Valley School District employs the following procedures for locating, identifying, and evaluating specific needs of school age students requiring special programs and services. These procedures, as required by law, are as follows:
The district, as prescribed by section 1402 of the School Code, routinely conducts screenings of a child’s hearing acuity (Kindergarten - Grade 3, 7, and 11); visual acuity (Kindergarten - Grade 12); and speech and language skills (Kindergarten - Grade 12). Gross motor and fine motor skills, academic skills, and social and emotional skills are assessed by teachers and support staff on an ongoing basis. Screening activities include review of group-based data such as cumulative enrollment and health records, report cards, ability, and achievement test scores. Identified needs from these screening sources as well as information obtained from parents/guardians and outside agencies, are assessed, noted within student records, and discussed with parents/guardians. These school records are always open and available to parents/guardians and only to school officials who have a legitimate “need to know” about the child.
Information from records is released to other persons or agencies only with appropriate authorization, which involves written permission by parents/guardians.
If a parent/guardian or the school team feels more comprehensive assessment of a student is necessary, an evaluation may be recommended. Parental consent is required before a comprehensive evaluation may take place. Evaluations may include review of the student’s records, classroom observations, gathering of parent/guardian and teacher input, individually administered assessments of achievement and ability and other assessments as necessary.
After all of the assessments are completed, an Evaluation Report that includes specific recommendations for the types of intervention necessary to deal with the child’s specific needs is prepared and shared with parents/guardians. In accordance with state regulations, an Individualized Education Program (EIP) team meeting, with parent/guardian involvement, may be scheduled to develop an appropriate IEP for the student. Parents/Guardians are then notified of a proposed placement and services with a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP). Parents/Guardians of students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of special education services may request multidisciplinary evaluations of their child through a written request to the building principal or Special Education Director.
Independent Educational Evaluations
Parents/guardians have the right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense if there is disagreement with an evaluation obtained by a district (34 CFR 300.503). However, the district may initiate a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the final decision is that the evaluation is appropriate, parents/guardians still have the right to an IEE, but not at public expense.
Admission of Service Animals to Schools A student or an employee with a disability may submit a request to bring a service animal to school for educational or employment purposes. However, there is no automatic right to be accompanied by a service animal in the school setting.
Parents/Guardians of students with disabilities who believe the student needs to bring a service animal to school in order to receive a free and appropriate public education shall notify the building principal or the Section 504 or IEP team. The appropriate team shall evaluate the request to use the service animal in school, gather necessary information and determine whether the student requires the service animal during the school day or at school activities. Any service animal accompanying a student with a disability to school or school activities shall be handled and cared for in a manner detailed in the student’s IEP or Section 504 Service Agreement.
Services for Students in Nonpublic Schools
Public special education is accessible to resident students attending nonpublic schools by permitting the nonpublic school student to enroll on a part-time basis in a special education program operated in a public school. Special education programs are accessible to nonpublic school students through a dual enrollment following multidisciplinary evaluations and development of an IEP. Parents/Guardians of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of special education may request multidisciplinary evaluations and development of an IEP. Parents/Guardians of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of special education may request multidisciplinary evaluations of their child through a written request to the Director of Student Services.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students/504 Plans
Allegheny Valley School District will provide to each protected handicapped student, without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related aides, services, or accommodations, which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school programs and extracurricular activities to the extent appropriate to the student’s abilities. 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 protections for protected handicapped students are different from those applicable to all eligible students enrolled in special education programs. Additional information about the evaluation procedures and provision of services to protected handicapped students are available by contacting the school guidance counselor.
Services for Preschool Age Children
Act 212, the Early Intervention System Act, entitles all preschool age children with disabilities to appropriate early intervention services. Young children experiencing developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities are eligible for early intervention services. The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth through two years of age. For additional information, please contact the Early Learning Institute, 2500 Baldwich Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, or call (412) 837-1502. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool age children from age three through five. For additional information, contact Project DART, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 475 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120, or call (412) 394-5816.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:
(1) The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the Allegheny Valley School District receives a request for access. Parents of eligible students should submit to the building principal, or appropriate Allegheny Valley official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The School official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
(2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Parents or eligible students who wish to ask Allegheny Valley to amend a record should write the school principal, or appropriate school official, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If Allegheny Valley decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
(3) The right to privacy of personally identifiable information in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel): a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the School has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use its own employees to perform (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the Allegheny Valley School District discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled, if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.
(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-8520
With concerns or to register a complaint, please contact: Allegheny Valley School District, Ms. Melissa Holler, Special Education Director, 724-274-6500.
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