Screening & Evaluation
The Keystone Oaks School District employs the following procedures for locating, identifying and evaluating the needs of school age students requiring special education programs and/or services. These procedures, as required by state regulations, are as follows:
As prescribed by section 1402 of the school code, the District routinely conducts screening of a child's hearing and visual acuity. Initial screening for speech and language skills are on a referral basis to the therapist.
Gross-motor and fine-motor skills, academic and social-emotional skills are assessed by the teachers and support staff on an on-going basis. Various screening activities on an ongoing basis 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 and outside agencies, are assessed, noted within the student's record, and discussed with parents.
If appropriate, a referral process is initiated at each building level and the assessment data is used by the student's school to meet one's specific needs by recommending modifications or adaptations to the regular education program or to document the need for further evaluation.
If it is determined that a student may be eligible for special education services, the student is referred for a multidisciplinary team evaluation. After the evaluation is completed, a comprehensive evaluation report is prepared with parent involvement and includes specific recommendations for the types of intervention necessary to deal with the needs of the student.
When the comprehensive evaluation report is completed and in accordance with state regulations, an IEP team meeting with parent involvement is scheduled to develop an appropriate individualized education program plan (IEP) for the student.
Parents of students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of special education may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of their child through a written request to the building principal, Supervisor of Pupil Personnel or Supervisor of Special Education.
Services for School Age Exceptional Students
The 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: autism/pervasive developmental disorder, blindness/visual impairment, deafness/hearing impairment, mental retardation, multihandicap, neurological impairment, physical disability, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disability and speech/language impairment.
Services designed to meet the needs of eligible student include the annual development of an individualized education program plan (IEP), biennial multidisciplinary reevaluation, supportive intervention in the regular class, supplemental intervention in the regular class or in a special education resource program, placement in a part-time or full-time special education class outside of the regular school. The extent of special education services and the location for the delivery of such services are determined by the parents and staff at the IEP team meeting and is based on the student's identified needs and abilities, chronological age, and the level of intensity of the specified intervention. The 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 are presented a "Notice of Recommended Assignment" (NORA) with which they may agree or disagree. If parents disagree with the program being recommended, they have the right to request a pre-hearing conference, mediation and/or a due process hearing.
Services for Students in Nonpublic Schools
Public special education is accessible to resident students attending nonpublic schools by permitting the nonpublic school students to enroll on a part-time dual enrollment basis in a special education program operated in a public school.
Special education programs are accessible to nonpublic school students through dual enrollment following the multidisciplinary team evaluation and development of an individualized education program plan (IEP).
Parents of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of special education may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of their child through a written request to the Supervisor of Pupil Services.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students
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 equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school programs and extracurricular activities to the maximum 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 provisions of services to protected and handicapped students is available by contacting the Supervisor of Pupil Personnel or Supervisor of Special Education.
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 Public Welfare is responsible for providing services to infant and toddlers, defined as children from birth through two years of age. Contact the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, 2100 Wharton Street, Birmingham Towers, Suite 705, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, (412) 431-1905.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool age children from ages three through five. Contact Project DART, 200 Commerce Court Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1178, (412) 394-5736.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The privacy rights of parents and students is mandated by federal legislation known as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment), state regulations (Chapter 14-Special Education Services and Programs, Chapter 12-Student Rights and Responsibilities) and District policy.
The different categories of information maintained by the District are as follows: educational and health records, personally identifiable information and directory information. With the exception of receiving school districts, educational and health records and personally identifiable information cannot be disclosed or released without parent consent, or if a student is eighteen or older, with their consent. Information known as directory information can be released without consent. Directory information means information which would be considered not harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. This information includes the following: student's name, address, date and place of birth, courses taken, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.
A written request by a parent, or a student age eighteen or older, is required for the disclosure of educational and health records and personally identifiable information. The consent must: specify the records that may be disclosed, purpose of the disclosure, identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made. A written record of the disclosure must be maintained by the District.
Informational access and school records are available to parents, their representative and to students eighteen years of age or older.
It is the policy of the Keystone Oaks School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, handicpa or limited English proficiency in its educational programs, services, facilities, activiies, or employment policies as required by Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Section 504 Regulations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 204 Regulations of the 1984 Carl D. Perkins Act or any applicable Federal statute.
For information regarding programs, services, activities and facilities that are accessible to and usable by handicapped persons; or for inquiries regarding civil rights compliance, contact:
Keystone Oaks School District
1000 Kelton Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
or contact the Director of the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington D.C.