Special Education

Services for Pre-School Age Children

Services for pre-school age children with disabilities who reside in suburban Allegheny County, are provided through two different systems linked by a transition process. Birth through age two programming is provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare and is coordinated by the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, Inc. Students who are three years old to entry age are serviced through the Pennsylvania Department of Education funding. This preschool program is presently coordinated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Early Childhood and Family Support Services program, DART.

For more information, please contact the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, Inc. at 412-885-6000 or the Allegheny Intermediate Unit/DART Program at 412-394-5736.

The Alliance For Infants and Toddlers

Early Childhood Education - AIU3

Services for School Age Children

Baldwin-Whitehall School District provides a free, appropriate public education for 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 one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities as set forth in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act.

  • Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech and/or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment including Blindness

Students who are eligible for special education are provided with a continuum of services designed to meet their individual needs. These services may include supportive intervention in the regular class, supplemental intervention in the special education class in a regular school, or placement in a 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 intensity of the specified intervention. The school district also provides related services, such as transportation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy which are required to enable the student to derive educational benefits. Special education services within the school district include: learning support, emotional support, life skills support, speech and language support, vision support and hearing support.

Please follow click here for the most recent demographic data regarding the special education student population in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

Parent Guide to Special Education Extended School Year Services Special Education Plan

Individualized Education Plan

The “Individualized Education Program” (IEP) is a written plan for the appropriate education of students with disabilities. It is a document that assures a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for eligible students and is based on the education needs of that student in the general education curriculum. As such, it is a management tool, not a detailed instructional plan. The completed IEP will clearly reflect the student’s educational needs in relationship to his/her interests, abilities, and aptitudes.

Components of the IEP are as follows:

  1. Demographics
  2. IEP Team/Signatures
  3. Special Considerations the IEP Team Must Consider Before Developing the IEP
  4. Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance
  5. Transition Services
  6. Participation in State and Local Assessments
  7. Goals and Objectives including academic and functional goals including:
  8. Special Education/Related Services/Supplemental Aids and Services/Program Modifications
  9. Educational Placement
  10. 10. Penn Data Reporting—Educational Environment

IEP Team

  1. Parents
  2. Not less than one regular education teacher when the student is or may be participating in the regular education environment
  3. Not less than one special education teacher
  4. LEA representative
  5. Someone who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results (role may be filled by another IEP team member)
  6. Others (e.g., community agencies)
  7. Student, when appropriate
  8. A teacher of the gifted is required when an IEP is being developed for a student with a disability who is also gifted

Timelines

The following timelines govern the development and implementation of an IEP:

  1. An IEP shall be developed within 30 calendar days after the completion of an Evaluation Report (ER) or Reevaluation Report (RR)
  2. The IEP shall be implemented as soon as possible after the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) is signed, but no later than 10 school days after it is written
  3. The IEP team shall be convened at least annually or more frequently if warranted.
  4. An IEP team meeting shall be convened at the request of any member of the team.

Sections of an IEP

  1. Demographics Page – The first page of the IEP which includes all of the student information and relevant dates including the IEP Meeting and Duration.
  1. Signature Page - All IEP team members sign the IEP Team Signatures Section at the beginning of the IEP meeting. This signature indicates attendance, not agreement. Also included in this section are the names of the team members who have been excused and, if required, have provided written input.
  1. Procedural Safeguards Signature – Parent signature indicating that a they have received a copy of the “Procedural Safeguards Notice” sometime during the school year.
  1. Special Considerations the IEP Team Must Consider Before Developing the IEP. Refer to the Annotated IEP for a list of questions to be considered by the IEP team as each area is addressed.
  1. Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. This section provides a summary of the student’s performance in his/her current educational program and indicates the student’s instructional and functional levels. It includes information regarding classroom performance and the results of any academic achievement or functional performance assessments that have been administered. Information contained in this section provides baseline data for developing the IEP and writing measurable annual goals. The information in this section should consider the most recent results of the initial Evaluation Report or Reevaluation Report, results of curriculum based assessments, concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, and results of ongoing progress monitoring. The information should be stated in clear and concrete terminology. Any special considerations identified in "Special Considerations the IEP Team Must Consider Before Developing the IEP" of the IEP must be addressed in this section.
  1. Transition Services. Transition services must begin not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 14 or older, if determined appropriate by the IEP team, and updated annually.

The student's IEP must contain appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills. Postsecondary goals are a vital part of the IEP. The transition section of the IEP must contain courses of study needed to assist the student in reaching postsecondary goals.

  1. Participation in State and Local Assessments. The IEP team must first determine if the student can participate without accommodations. The team may decide the assessment is appropriate for the student to take, but that certain accommodations used in the classroom during instruction and/or assessment are needed. These accommodations must be listed on the IEP. These accommodations must be allowable for the assessment and should not be something that would alter the validity of the instrument (test).

If the IEP team determines that the student is unable to take the assessment even with accommodations, the reason for this decision must be indicated on the IEP. In addition, an alternate assessment must be indicated. The PASA is the state’s alternate assessment. For students taking the PASA, the team must indicate if the performance will be documented via videotape or written narrative

  1. Goals and Objectives. Annual goals are designed to meet the student’s needs that result from his/her disability to enable him/her to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. Annual goals are designed to meet each of the student’s other education needs that result from his/her disability.

Annual goals, including academic and functional goals, are statement in measurable terms that describe what reasonable expectations can be accomplished within a twelve-month period.

  1. Special Education/Related Services/Supplemental Aids and Services/Program Modifications. If the IEP team determines that a student has an educational need for a service in order to benefit from a free appropriate public education, then it must be provided. For each service, the team must list the location and the frequency of the service to be provided. This section also includes the determination for eligibility for Extended School Year (ESY) services.

Extended School Year (ESY): At each IEP meeting for a student with disabilities, the LEA must determine whether the student is eligible for ESY services and if so, make subsequent determinations about the services to be provided. The IEP team must indicate whether the student is eligible or is not eligible for ESY, and the basis for the determination. This determination must be made even if the student’s parents have not specifically requested that their child be evaluated for ESY programming.

  1. Educational Placement. This section documents the educational placement for a child. The team documents the Amount of Special Education Supports, Type of Special Education Supports, Location of Student’s Program and the explanation of the extent, if any the child will not participate with students without disabilities in the regular education class and regular education curriculum. Amount of special education supports documents how much special education the child is receiving. These include itinerant, supplemental, and full-time. It is the responsibility of the LEA to ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled.
  1. Penn Data Reporting. Every state is required to provide an annual report of specific data related to the education of students with disabilities to the US Department of Education. In Pennsylvania, these data are gathered through the Penn Data reporting system. The IEP team must document the total number of hours per week the student receives special education services.

For students being educated in regular buildings with non-disabled peers, the IEP team must document the percentage of time the student receives special education services outside the regular classroom. The options include:

  • INSIDE the Regular Classroom 80% or More of the Day
  • INSIDE the Regular Classroom 79-40% of the Day
  • INSIDE the Regular Classroom Less Than 40% of the Day

IEP Development Process Web Version Annotated Invitation to Participate Annotated IEP

Multidisciplinary Evaluation

The Multidisciplinary Evaluation (MDE) is a process to gather information to determine if a child has a disability and needs special education and, if so, the types of services needed.

Prior to an MDE, the District must obtain permission via the Permission to Evaluate form. Before an evaluation can occur, the form must be signed by the parent or legal guardian.

Multidisciplinary evaluations are coordinated by a certified school psychologist. Team members including the parents, classroom teacher, principal, social worker, school psychologist, persons familiar with the student's educational experience and cultural background, and other pertinent individuals that work with the student provide information as a part of the evaluation. The evaluation must be sufficient in scope and depth to provide information about the student's academic functioning, adaptive and social behavior, weaknesses, strengths, and response to intervention. All this information is compiled into an Evaluation Report (ER) which recommends whether a child has one or more disabilities, whether or not the child requires special education, and the type of program and services that the child needs. The ER may recommend that a child is not exceptional and, therefore, does not need special education services. If this is recommended, the report will list changes that may be made in the regular classroom to maximize the child's success. All members of the MDT, including the parents, are entitled to review the ER.

Parents who suspect that their child is eligible and in need of special education may request screening or a multidisciplinary team evaluation of their child through a written request to the building principal. Communication with parents and students shall be in English or the native language of the parent.

Reevaluations for students who are eligible for special education services are completed as necessary when requested by one or more members of the IEP team and in compliance with the requirements of IDEA. Reevaluations for students with mental retardation are completed every two years.

Evaluation Referral Process

Parent Request Process

PTE Parent Request

PTRE Parent Request

Notice of Recommended Educational Placement

Once the IEP has been developed, a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) is issued to the parent. The NOREP explains the placement or class recommended for your child and explains the rights of parents. Parents must approve the NOREP in writing for the child's initial special education placement. The Baldwin-Whitehall School District offers a continuum of educational services designed to meet the needs of eligible students. In addition, related services such as transportation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision support, deaf and hearing support, and speech and language support are available to those students who qualify.

Detailed information regarding special education procedures may be obtained by calling the Pupil Services Department at 412-885-7583.


Procedural Safeguards