Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs
Each school district, along with other public agencies in the Commonwealth, must establish and implement procedures to identify, locate and evaluate all children who need special education programs and services because of the child's disability. This notice is to help find these children, offer assistance to parents and describes the parent's rights with regard to confidentiality of information that will be obtained during this process.
The content of this notice has been written in English and Spanish. If a person does not understand any of this notice, he or she should contact Washington School District (see contact information) and request an explanation.
Child Find refers to activities undertaken by public education agencies to identify, locate, and evaluate children residing in Pennsylvania, including children attending private schools, who are suspected of having disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, and determine the child's need for special education and related services. The purpose is to locate these children so that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) can be made available. The types of disabilities that if found to cause a child to need services are: Autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment due to chronic or acute health problems, specific learning disabilities, speech or language, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment including blindness. In the case of a child that is of preschool age, developmental delay. In addition, Washington School District supports students who need Gifted Education (Chapter 16) and/or 504 Service Agreements (Chapter 15).
Each school district is required to annually provide notice describing the identification activities and the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of personally identifiable information. This notice is intended to meet this requirement.
Identification activities are performed to find a child who is suspected as having a disability that would interfere with his or her learning unless special education programs and services are made available. These activities are sometimes called screening activities. The activities include: Review of group data, conducting hearing and vision screening, assessment of student's academic functioning, observation of the student displaying difficulty in behavior and determining the student's response to attempted remediation. Input from parents is also an information source for identification. After a child is identified as a suspected child with a disability, he or she is evaluated, but is not evaluated before parents give permission for their child to be evaluated.
If after screening and a disability is identified, upon your permission your child will be evaluated. A written record of the results is called an education record, which is directly related to your child and is maintained by the school districts. These records are personally identifiable to your child. Personally identifiable information includes the child's name, the name of the child's parents or other family member, the address of the child or their family, a personal identifier such as social security number, a list of characteristics that would make the child's identity easily traceable or other information that would make the child's identity easily traceable.
Washington School District will gather information regarding your child's physical, mental, emotional and health functioning through testing and assessment, observation of your child, as well as through review of any records made available to the school district through your physician and other providers of services such as day care agencies.
Washington School District protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information by one school official being responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of the records; training being provided to all persons using the information and; maintaining for public inspection a current list of employees’ names and positions who may have access to the information. Washington School District will inform you when this information is no longer needed to provide educational services to your child and will destroy the information at the request of the parent, except general information such as your child's name, address, phone number, grades, attendance record and classes attended, grade level completed, may be maintained without time limitation.
As the parent of the child you have a number of rights regarding the confidentiality of your child's records. You have the right to inspect and review any education records related to your child with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child, the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child, which are collected, maintained, or used by the school district. The school district will comply with a request for you to review the records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding planning for your child's special education program (called an IEP meeting), before a hearing should you and your school district disagree about how to educate your child who needs special education, and in no case, take more than 45 days to furnish you the opportunity to inspect and review your child's records.
You have the right to an explanation and interpretations of the records; to be provided copies of the records if failure to provide the copies would effectively prevent you from exercising your right to inspect and review the records and; the right to have a representative inspect and review the records.
Upon your request, the school district will provide you a list of the types and location of education records collected, maintained, or used by the agency. Additionally, the school district may charge a fee for copies of records made in response to your request for copies except it will not charge a fee if doing so will prevent you from inspecting and reviewing your child's records. The district will not charge a fee to search or retrieve information.
You have the right to request the amendment of your child's education records that you believe are inaccurate or misleading or violate the privacy or other rights of your child. The school district will decide whether to amend the records within a reasonable time of receipt of your request. If the school district refuses to amend the records, you will be notified of the refusal and your right to a hearing. You will be given at that time, additional information regarding the hearing procedures and; upon request, the district will provide you a record hearing to challenge information in your child's education files.
Parent consent is required before personally identifiable information contained in your child's education records is disclosed to anyone other than officials of the school district collecting or using the information for purposes of identification of your child, locating your child and evaluating your child or for any other purpose of making available a free appropriate public education to your child. 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. Additionally, the school district, upon request, discloses records without consent to officials of another school district in which your child seeks or intends to enroll.
When a child reaches age 18, the rights of the parent with regard to confidentiality of personally identifiable information is transferred to the student.
A parent may file a written complaint alleging that the rights described in this notice were not provided:
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Special Education Division of Compliance
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
The Department of Education will investigate the matter, issue a report of findings and necessary corrective action within 60 days. The Department will take necessary action to ensure compliance is achieved. Complaints alleging failures of the school district with regard to confidentiality of personally identifiable information may also be filed with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
Gaskin Settlement The parties in the class action case of Gaskin et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education, et al. No. 94-CV-4048 (E.D.Pa.) (Judge Robreno) have reached a proposed settlement. A complete copy of this proposed settlement agreement may be reviewed at the following web sites: 1. www.pilcop.org 2. www.pde.state.pa.us The School District will provide ongoing screening services. If you wish to learn more, have questions, or believe your child may need to be identified, please contact:
Identification of Special Needs Children
According to state and federal special education regulations, annual public notice to parents of children who reside within the school district is required according to child find responsibilities. The Washington School District is responsible for locating, identifying, and educating children who are in need of special education. This notice shall inform all parents throughout the Washington School District of the child identification activities and of the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of information pertaining to students with disabilities and eligible young children. If a parent believes that their child may be eligible for special education, the parent should contact the Special Education Office at 724-223-5055. If anyone in the community is aware of a child with a disability such as Intellectual Disabilities, Blindness, Deafness, or a physical disability who is not attending school, please notify the Special Education Office.
It is the policy of the Washington School District that every child shall be provided with the opportunity for a free, public, and appropriate education. To the maximum extent possible, exceptional children shall be educated in the most appropriate physical, social, and academic environment available. Exceptional children shall be, as deemed individually appropriate, included in regular programs, placed in itinerant programs, and/or placed in part-time or full-time special classes as determined by the IEP Team.
To qualify as an exceptional student, a child must be of school age, in need of 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 Pennsylvania Department of Education standards: Autism, Deaf/Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disabilities, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment.
The district provides identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services individualized to meet specific needs. These services are provided at no cost to parents in compliance with state and federal law and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefits.
To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis. These screening activities include: a 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 building-level Multi-Tiered System of Support teams. When screening results suggest that a student might be exceptional, the district will seek parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE). Parents who suspect that their child is exceptional may request a multidisciplinary evaluation at any time by a written request to the school principal or the Director of Special Education.
Services designed to meet the needs of exceptional students include the annual development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), tri-annual multidisciplinary re-evaluation, supportive intervention in the regular class, supplemental intervention in the regular class, or in a special education itinerant, supplemental, and full-time special education class in a regular school, or placement in a full-time special education class at a location other than the regular school.
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 provides related services, such as specialized transportation, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision services, hearing services, social work services, etc. that may be required for the student to benefit from the special education program.
Parents of exceptional students should know that their children have the same rights to participate in extracurricular activities as do non-exceptional children.
Chapter 15 – Section 504
The Washington School District shall provide each protected, handicapped student enrolled in the district, without cost to the student or family, those related aids, services or accommodations which are needed to afford the student equal opportunity to participate in, and obtain the benefits of, the school program and extracurricular activities, without discrimination, and to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities.
To receive services under a Chapter 15/ Section 504 Service Agreement, a student must be of school age and have a disability that impedes his or her learning. For more information, please go to PA Department of Education Implementation of Chapter 15: https://www.pacodeandbulletin.gov/Display/pacode?file=/secure/pacode/data/022/chapter15/chap15toc.html
If you believe that your child may qualify for services, please contact your child’s guidance counselor.
Chapter 16: Gifted Education
In accordance with Washington School District’s mission statement: WSD is committed to educating ALL students under the guidance of our dedicated staff members. Learners are provided with lifelong tools to navigate a course toward growth and advancement while collectively supporting and celebrating student, staff, and community achievements. WSD offers a relevant, rigorous, and disciplined academic environment through a customized educational delivery. We cultivate learners who are engaged in pursuing a productive academic and social path. WSD‘s learning community achieves progress by empowering members to reach their full potential.
“Mentally-Gifted” refers to 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 (per PA Code). Gifted education for identified gifted students enables them to participate in acceleration or enrichment programs, or both, as appropriate, and to receive services according to their intellectual and academic abilities and needs. The Washington School District is committed to providing quality, gifted education services to all identified students throughout the district. All gifted support services operate under the guidelines of state (Chapter 16) regulations.
Other Mandated Annual Notices for the following appear on the district’s website:
- FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
- HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Access Act)
- The McKinney-Vento Act (Services for families experiencing homelessness)
Director of Special Education