Annual Notice of Special Education Services and Programs

2015-2016 Annual Notice of Special Education Services and Programs

Berwick Area School District

 

Child Find

 

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 related services because of their disabilities (Chapter 14, Pennsylvania Regulations 14.121; Part 300 Federal Regulations 300.125). The public awareness effort must include information regarding potential signs of developmental delays and other risk factors that could indicate disabilities. Furthermore, Federal Regulations under Individuals with Disability Education Act require child find from birth to 21 years of age. This notice is to help find these children, offer assistance to parents and describes the parents' rights with regard to confidentiality of information that will be obtained during this process.

 

The content of this notice has been written in English. Those who require content to be provided in a language other than English should contact Georgene Ferguson at (570) 759-6400, ext. 3538.

 

Identification Activity

 

Child find refers to activities undertaken by public education agencies to locate and identify children residing in the state, including children attending private schools, charter schools and county jails, 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 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, and in the case of a child that is of preschool age, developmental delay. Each school district shall provide annual public notification, adequate to notify parents throughout the school district of child identification activities and of the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of information pertaining to students with disabilities or eligible young children in accordance with this chapter. 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. Each school district shall establish a system of screening, which may include early intervening services. 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 not before parents give permission for their child to be evaluated.

 

Confidentiality of Student Records

Notification of Rights under FERPA for Elementary and Secondary Schools

 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford parents and students over 18 years of age ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records.

 

These rights are:

 

 (1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the School receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the School principal [or appropriate school official] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The School official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

 

(2)  The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate. Parents or eligible students may ask the School to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the School principal [or appropriate school official], clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the School will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.

(3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the School has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. 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. [Optional] Upon request, the School discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [NOTE: FERPA requires a school district to make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or student of the records request unless it states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.]

 

(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

 

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-5901