Special Education Services
All special education professional and paraprofessional staff are highly qualified. IASD is committed to ongoing professional development for all staff members. Training in differentiation has been presented to teachers and a differentiated curriculum is taught in all settings targeting differing readiness levels of students. IASD has been involved in PROJECT MAX for 4 years with the support of PDE through PaTTAN and ARIN IU 28. We are also the recipients of the OIP (Optimizing Inclusive Practices) Grant which will allow us to focus on planning and programming needs for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
IASD delivers a wide range of in-service programs to staff members. All Paraprofessionals must acure 20 hours of training a year. IASD continues to provide implement research-based reading, language arts and math programs, and integrated assistive technology into its classrooms. In order to promote independence and gain access to the general education curriculum, the district promotes the use of all types of supportive tools and equipment. Assistive technology is an important part of the special education support system.
In order to assure that all students are college and career ready, IASD has made a commitment to have successful postsecondary transitions for special education students. Special education teams work with families, students and outside agency providers in order to ensure that options are presented and explored. The Indiana County local businesses have been instrumental in supporting work experiences, job shadowing, and Pre-employment opportunities for students within our community.
Various screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis to identify students who may be eligible for these special education programs and services. These include: review of individual and 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 the building level Instructional Support Team, when appropriate, to assist students in benefiting from regular educational programs to the fullest extent possible. In the event that a student’s degree of need is such that specially designed instruction is required on an on-going basis, referral procedures exist to ensure that students with special educational needs and strengths may be served appropriately.
Parents are also an important part of the process of identifying disabled students. Parents are asked to be involved in all steps in developing a program to meet the needs of individual students. If you think that your child has a disability and needs specially designed instruction, you may contact the building principal or guidance counselor for further information or to discuss your child’s needs.
The following information can serve as a guide to help you understand the screening and identification process for special education. Referrals for preschool children thought to be exceptional may be made to the ARIN IU28 by calling 724-463-5300.
I.E.P. (Individualized Educational Plan): If a student has been found eligible for special education services, an I.E.P. team meeting will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. At the conference, the I.E.P. team decides if specially designed instruction is required and what that instruction will look like. The I.E.P. is developed from information regarding the child’s needs and strengths presented at the I.E.P. conference. Special education, related services, and any regular education programs or activities in which a child participates are described in the I.E.P. To ensure that your child’s I.E.P. is appropriate for continued growth, the plan is reviewed when major changes must be made, but at least once a year.
N.O.R.E.P.: A Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (N.O.R.E.P.) may be given to you during the I.E.P. conference, or mailed to you later, to reflect the program that has been determined appropriate for your child. This legal document notes the type of program in which your child is to be enrolled (i.e. regular education, special education, or a combination). If it has been determined at the I.E.P. conference that your child requires some type of special education, your child’s N.O.R.E.P. will be reviewed whenever there are major changes in the type of program your child receives or in the amount of time that your child is in the program. Keep the N.O.R.E.P. with your child’s I.E.P. in a safe place.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires Pennsylvania to ensure that the total number of students assessed in each subject using the PASA does not exceed one percent of the total number of all students in the state assessed on the statewide assessments. Each local educational agency (LEA) must complete and submit the PASA 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification to BSE if it anticipates that more than 1.0 % of its students enrolled in grades 3-8 and 11 will be assessed using the PASA. A list of LEAs who anticipate exceeding the threshold will be made publicly available on the PDE website, in accordance with 34 CFR 200.6 (c)(3) regulations. LEAs must also make the document publicly available upon request, removing any personally identifiable information. The Indiana Area School District anticipates exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold for PASA participation for the 2019-20 testing cycle. The necessary justification information has been submitted to the Bureau of Special Education. Questions on the Indiana Area School District participation rates should be directed to:
Justin Zahorchak, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services