This page was created by:
AJ Kise, Supervisor of Special Programs
Contact Mr. Kise: 610-868-2971 ext. 3125, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Special Education Department in partnership with the home and community, is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment in which each student will attain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become a productive citizen and lifelong learner in our technologically demanding and culturally diverse society. The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) is committed to setting high expectations and high supports for all exceptional students in the high school receiving special education services.
What is Special Education?
Special Education refers to “specially designed instruction (SDI)” to meet the needs of an exceptional student. The term “exceptional” includes children with a physical, emotional or mental disability.
Special Education services and supports at Charter Arts include a full continuum of services and are in compliance with federal and state laws. Charter Arts also utilizes resources outside the district including the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, local approved private schools and other state licensed educational programs as needed.
If you suspect your child has a unique need, they may require special education services and supports. Those needs will need to be determined and if needed, a program to meet your child’s needs must be designed and carried out.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that requires states to ensure that all eligible children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education. Schools must provide eligible children with specialized supports and services to address their educational needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
What programs and/or services are available?
A student with a disability, who is in need of specially designed instruction (SDI) within Charter Arts is supported by a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. All student programs are reevaluated every three years per state mandates. Those students with a disability of Intellectually Delayed are reevaluated every two years.
Other students with disabilities who do not qualify for supports and services through special education may be provided for as a Protected Handicapped Student under the requirements of section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Chapter 15 of state regulations Title 22. Students with an identifiable disability, which limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program, can be provided with modifications and adaptations through a Chapter 15 Service Agreement.
What happens if a student is thought to be exceptional?
The law requires a series of procedures to be followed by a school district when assessing potential special education students. Parents have the right to be partners with the school staff in all aspects of that process from the evaluation to the decision over which programs, services and placement procedures are appropriate to meet their child’s needs. The procedure involves a screening process, a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE), Individualized Education Program (IEP), if appropriate, and Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP).
Whom do I contact if I have questions and/or concerns?
If a parent/guardian has questions or concerns regarding their child’s regular or special education program they should contact the school directly and schedule a conference with the classroom or special education teacher. Additionally, the principal and/or guidance counselor at the school are available to assist any parent/guardian with the educational programming of the child.
Parents/Guardians may also contact the Special Education Consult Line through the Pennsylvania Department of Education at 1-800-879-2301 (in state) or (717) 657-5842 (out of state) for information regarding Special Education Regulations.
Further information about Special Education may be accessed through the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site at www.pde.state.pa.us.
Q & A:
How is my Student Eligible? In order for a student to be eligible for special education services, the student must meet two requirements. First, the student must be identifies as having one of the thirteen disabilities listed in the IDEA: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, or visual impairment.
Second, the student must also require specially designed instruction as determined by an evaluation team. Specially designed instruction refers to special methods, equipment, materials, and adaptations that are needed for students to be successful in school and to achieve their IEP goals.
What is the Screening and Evaluation process? The special education process begins when a teacher and/or parent suspects that the child has a disability and refers the child for an evaluation. A school psychologist will evaluate your child to determine if they qualify for special education services and, if so, what services should be provided.
Charter Arts is required to have in place a screening process that identifies students who may need extra support in the general education classroom. Once learning needs are identified, teams of general, remedial, and special education teachers design and implement academic and behavioral interventions to address the needs of at-risk students (some districts refer to this as Response to Instruction and Intervention). Student progress is regularly monitored to determine if the interventions are effective.
Your child may qualify for and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a Chapter 15/504 Service Plan
What is an Individualized Education Programs (IEP) If your child is found to be eligible to receive special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is held, during which the IEP team creates the child’s IEP. The IEP must include, the child’s parent(s), a general education teacher, a special education teacher, a school representative who has the authority to make decisions regarding the provision of services, and someone who can interpret the results of the evaluation. The IEP team determines the types and intensity of special education supports and services to be provided.
What is a Chapter 15/504 Service Plan? Chapter 15 of the school code covers protected handicapped students, as a group. Chapter 15 is sometimes called section 504 plan, which is the federal name for this program. The goal of Chapter 15/504 is to provide protected handicapped students, without discrimination, related services and accommodations that are needed to allow for equal opportunity to participate in the school program. Students must meet the requirements, which include being school age with a physical or mental handicap that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program.
What is the NOPEP/NORA? Once you have developed an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) with the team, you will receive a Notice of Recommended Education Placement (NOREP for Special Education) or a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA for Gifted Education). This document will explain the education placement or class recommended for your child and explains your rights. You must approve the IEP or the GIEP and educational placement in writing for your child’s educational placement. Before the school is allowed to begin implementation.