• North Allegheny School District Annual Notices

    Special Education Services

    Services for Pre-School Children

    Act 212, the Early Intervention Services System Act, entitles all preschool children with disabilities to appropriate early intervention services. Young children experiencing developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities and their families are eligible for early intervention services including screening, evaluation, individualized education program planning and provision of appropriate programs and services. Potential signs of developmental delay and other risk factors that could indicate disabilities and the possibility that a child is an “eligible young child” could include: 
    • By the age of 3: not saying many words; not using 2 or 3 word phrases and sentences; not walking; awkward gait (walking); drooling; not answering “show” or “what” questions; and/or not using utensils to feed self;
    • By age of 4 (all of the above included): not toilet trained; difficulty with directional words (in, on, under, out); not playing with other children, not able to draw a circle, cross or imitate a vertical line; not able to understand the child’s speech most of the time; difficulty following simple two-step directions (e.g., pick up the paper and put it in the garbage;
    • By the age of 5 (all of the above included): unable to answer “where” questions; unable to recall details from a story; not drawing a person with at least 6 parts; immature speech patterns (me instead of I), not able to hop forward with one foot without support;
    • Other warning signs at any age: little or no eye contact, over/under sensitivities to pain, light, noise; hand flapping; no awareness of space (always bumping into other people or things); awkward hand or foot positioning; won’t touch or eat certain textures; child no longer can do things he/she used to do; developed normally, then stopped; echoes what is said; plays with toys inappropriately (e.g., watches wheels spin on the car, but does not play with the car).
    The NASD ensures that all students transitioning from early intervention programs to kindergarten or first grade programs within the District are transitioned without disruption of services. Parents of children entering school age programs are notified of the District’s Transition activities, which occur before kindergarten registration of each year. The District secures permission to evaluate, conducts an evaluation, and develops an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)/Individualized Education Program (IEP) in accordance with the timelines required by state mandates.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth through three years of age. For more information, contact Alliance for Infants, 2801 Custer Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15227 • 412-885-6000. 

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool children from ages three through five. For information, contact the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Project DART, 475 E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120 • 412-394-5739. 

    Services for School-Age Students with Disabilities

    NASD provides a free, appropriate, public education 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 one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities, as set forth in Pennsylvania State Regulations: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability (formerly referred to as Mental Retardation), Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Visual Impairment including Blindness. Information regarding the appropriate developmental milestone descriptors for infants and toddlers may be found at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov or The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) website at http://nichcy.org. For additional information regarding the signs of developmental delays or other disabilities, please contact the Coordinator of Special Education at 412-635-4109 or the School Psychologist assigned to your child’s building.

    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 laws 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 on-going basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability, and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, physical, and speech/language screening; and review by a Child Study Team, Pupil Personnel Team, or Elementary Student Assistant Program (ESAP) Team. 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 at any time through a written request to the Building Principal, Coordinator of Special Education or Supervisor of Special Education and Pupil Services.

    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 the location for the delivery of such services are determined by the IEP team and are 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, speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, required for the student to benefit from the special education program. Parents may obtain additional information regarding special education services and programs and parental due process rights by contacting the child’s Building Principal or the Coordinator of Special Education, 412-635-4109. 

    Services for Students who are Mentally Gifted
     
    The definition of giftedness comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education Rules and Regulations under Chapter 16 and states that a student who is mentally gifted demonstrates outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. This term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria, as set forth in Chapter 16 and in Department Guidelines, indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by intellectual ability subtests, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education. A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability. Determination of mentally gifted must include a full assessment by a certified school psychologist.

    Once a student meets the screening requirements, a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) is conducted. The GMDE must be sufficient in scope and depth to investigate information relevant to the student’s suspected giftedness, including academic functioning, learning strengths and educational needs.  The Gifted Written Report (GWR) brings together the findings from the evaluation or reevaluation concerning the student’s educational needs and strengths. The GWR must make recommendations as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction, which are considered by the GMDE Team in the development of the Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP). At the conclusion of the GIEP meeting, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is issued.
    Parents have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation at their own expense to share with the District. The results of the independent evaluation must be considered by the District in any decision made with respect to the provision of a gifted education. 

    Parents of students who are mentally gifted have the right to request a special education due process hearing or to file a compliance complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Details concerning the procedures governing hearing requests may be found on the website of the Office for Dispute Resolution http://odr-pa.org. For additional information, please contact the Supervisor of Special Education and Pupil Services, 412-635-4108.

    Services for Students in Nonpublic Schools

    Parents of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child has a disability and is in need of special education may request a multidisciplinary evaluation through a written request to the Coordinator of Special Education, 412-635-4109.

    In order to receive special education services and programs, a student must (1) qualify through the two pronged evaluation concerning the existence of an exceptionality and a consequent need for specially designed instruction and (2) be enrolled in the school district. In the event that a student in a nonpublic school qualifies for special education services and the parent does not wish to enroll them in the district full time, through dual enrollment, the student can access these services during the scheduled times when the services are available in the district. However, transportation to and from those services is the responsibility of the parent. 

    Services for Protected Handicapped Students

    In compliance with the state and federal law, NASD will provide to protected handicapped students services or accommodations that are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extra-curricular 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 of Title 22 of the Regulations of the State Board of Education, sometimes known by its federal name Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. In contrast, students with disabilities who qualify for special education services are covered by the regulations contained in Chapter 14. For further information about the evaluation procedures and provisions of services to protected handicapped students, contact the child’s Building Principal.

    Pupil Services

    Confidentiality of Student Records

    NASD protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information for all students in accordance with state and federal law and the District’s student records policy.

    Student Records

    School records are an important part of a student’s formal educational file in a public school setting. They are confidential and privileged; so a policy regarding the collection, maintenance, and dissemination of records has been adopted by the NASD School Board. As a parent of an eligible/non-eligible child, you have rights guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. §1232 g; 34 CFR Part 99). This notice outlines your rights. 

    You have the right to inspect your child’s records within forty-five days from the date of a written request. You may make a written request for copies of your child’s records at a fee not to exceed duplicating costs. Requests for review, inspection, or duplication should be submitted to the staff person designated as having responsibility for the records. (Refer to ‘Location of Records’ below.) If you believe that any information in the records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy, you may request a change in records or have a hearing if the request is refused.

    Release of Information

    Your child’s records cannot be released without your written consent except for directory information, incidents specified in the policy, or as otherwise stated herein. Directory information may consist of name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, honors won and offices held, recognition for achievements, post high school endeavors, recognition of graduating seniors, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height (for members of athletic teams), dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees and awards received, and the last educational agency or institution attended by the student. If you do not want directory information about your child transferred, you may prevent its release by contacting the District in writing within thirty days from the receipt of this notice. Please address such requests to the building principal. 

    Additional Exceptions

    Your child’s records may be moved to another school or school system in which you plan to enroll your child, or in which your child is already enrolled, if you notify the responsible staff person at NASD, or if the enrolling school system submits written notification of enrollment and the disclosure of information requested is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. The following is a list of examples:
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest.
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring.
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes.
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student.
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school.
    • Accrediting organizations.
    • Compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and state and local authorities within a juvenile system, pursuant to specific state law.
    Maintenance of Records

    Records will be maintained on a child until no longer necessary. Special Education Records must be retained for six years. Permanent records will be kept for 100 years beyond the date the student attains the age of 21. The permanent records may contain such information as the student’s name, birth date, address, enrollment date, class rank, grades, and academic and non-academic awards. Parents have certain rights with respect to their child’s records that are transferred to a student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends an institution of post secondary education unless the student is dependent upon the parent, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

    Should your primary language not be English, you may write for assistance in understanding the records policy and your child’s records.

    If you wish to review the policy regarding records for eligible and non-eligible students, the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education and Pupil Services may be contacted. Should you feel that the District is not providing the rights as guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, you may file a letter with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.

    Location of Records
    • Directory Information - Principal’s Office
    • Cumulative or Permanent Records - Principal’s or School Counselor’s Office
    • Discipline Records - Principal’s Office
    • Principal’s File - Principal’s Office
    • Health Records - Nurse’s Office
    • Annual Attendance Records - District Office
    • Psychological Reports/Special Education Files -
    • Special Education & Pupil Services Office 
      • North Allegheny School District
      • 200 Hillvue Lane
      • Pittsburgh, PA 15237, 412-635-4109
    Mode of Communication
     
    The content of this notice has been written in straightforward, simple language. If a person does not understand any of this notice, he or she should contact the Building Principal or Coordinator of Special Education, 412-635-4109.

    The 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 District will arrange for communication of this notice in the mode normally used by the parent (e.g., sign language, Braille, or oral communication).

    Revised January 2015