• Services for Exceptional Students

    Services for Disabled Preschool Age Children

    Services for special needs children, below school age, 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 funding 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.

    Services for School Age Exceptional Students

    The school district provides a free, appropriate public education to
    exceptional 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 mentally gifted and/or
    one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities as set
    forth in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act which was
    re-authorized in 1997 (IDEA –97):



    • Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder

    • Blindness/Visual Impairment

    • Deaf Blindness

    • Deafness/Hearing Impairment

    • Physical Disability

    • Emotional Disturbance

    • Specific Learning Disability

    • Speech and Language Impairment

    • Intellectual Disability

    • Multiple Disabilities

    • Orthopedic Impairment

    • Traumatic Brain Injury

    • Other Health Impairment


    Identified students are provided with a continuum of services designed to meet the individual
    needs of eligible students. These services may include supportive
    intervention in the regular class, supplemental intervention in the
    regular class or in a special education resource program, placement, in a
    part-time or full-time special education class in a regular school or
    placement in a full-time 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, that is
    required to enable the student to derive educational benefits.

    Parents of public school students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need of
    special education may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of
    their child through a written request to the district Director of Pupil
    Personnel.

    Screening and Evaluation

    South Fayette Township School District has a three-part screening
    process in place that identifies any student who may need special
    education.

    Level 1: Review of group-based data

    The building level guidance counselors review report cards, health
    records and local assessments, and Pennsylvania State
    Assessment results. For incoming kindergarten students, results from the
    Early Screening Profile are examined. Data gathered through a thorough
    review of these records may prompt a referral for screening a child for
    special education.

    Level 2: Review of hearing, vision, motor, speech and language

    The District routinely conducts screenings of a child’s hearing acuity
    each year in kindergarten, first, second, third, seventh, and eleventh
    grade, vision acuity each year, kindergarten through Grade 12, and
    speech and language mid-year in kindergarten. Gross motor and fine motor
    skills are assessed by the classroom teacher on an on-going basis.
    Specified needs from all of these screening sources are noted within the
    child’s official file.

    Level 3: Pre-Referral Support System

    South Fayette Township School District has intervention/prevention teams in place to support students as a pre-referral system.  At the elementary school (K-2) and the Intermediate school (3-4-5), a child study team has been established as part of the pre-referral intervention process.  The team consists of principals, guidance counselors, regular education teachers, reading specialists, school psychologist when needed and special education staff when needed.  Parents are also a part of this process and are contacted and strongly encouraged to participate in all phases of the child study team process.  The Child Study Team assists teachers and parents with supporting students who are experiencing academic, behavioral, medical, emotional and social skill difficulities.  In the Middle School, the Academic Intervention Model (AIM) is utilized as the pre-referral intervention process for students who are in need of academic assistance.  The AIM process is a team based intervention model.  There are collaborative intervention team meetings with the parents to identify targeted interventions related to specific academic skill areas that need to be addressed for the student.  Research-based intervention strategies are implemented for a period of time in the regular classroom setting to assist the student in an attempt to foster academic success.  An implementation plan is developed and monitored by the student's team of teachers and reviewed and revised if necessary.  If is it determined by the team that the interventions are not working and the student is not meeting success, the student may be referred for a mulit-disiplanary team evaluation.  The South Fayette Student Assistance Team (SAP) provide additional support used by the district to identify at-risk students.  SAP teams are currently in place at the middle and high school levels.  SAP is a cooperative effort with parents in utilizing the support staff, students, and community through contracted services with Chartiers MH/MR.  It is a proactive prevention/intervention program that attempts to provide intervention before school performance is seriously compromised.  The SAP Core Team of individuals are trainined in the SAP Model and focus on screening/intervention for student who may be experiencing academic needs/issues, drug and alcohol dependency, mental health needs, and/or family issues, referral to appropriate agencies or treatment facilitites, aftercare for those returning from treatment, and crisis intervention as needed.  If appropriate, a referral process is initiated at each building level through the Child Study Teams, Academic Intervention Model Team (AIM), Student Assistance Team (SAP), guidance departments, principals or the Department of Pupil Personnel Services.  Assessment data is used by the team to meet the student's specific needs by recommending modifications or adaptions to the regular education program, creating interventions to address the problem and monitoring the student's response to intervention, or to document the need for further evaluation.


    The Multidisciplinary Evaluation (MDE)

    The MDE is a process to gather information that will be used to find
    out if children really do need special education and if so, the types of
    services needed.

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

    Evaluations are conducted by a certified school psychologist. Additional information is provided
    by the parents, classroom teacher,  and  other pertinent individuals that work with the student. All of this
    information is compiled into an Evaluation Report (ER). This report will
    recommend whether a child has one or more disabilities. It also recommends 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 make the
    child more successful. All members of the MDT, including the parents,
    are entitled to review the ER.



    Individualized Education Plan

    Children who are regarded to be exceptional by the MDT team are
    entitled to receive special education services. The document that
    specifically addresses these services is called an Individual Education
    Plan (IEP). Required members of the IEP team include:


    • The child’s parents

    • At least one of your child’s regular education teachers

    • At least one special education teacher

    • A representative from the school district who:

    (1) Is qualified to provide or supervise special education programs

    (2) Knows about the general curriculum

    (3) Knows what resources the Local Education Agency (LEA) can offer

    • Someone who can interpret the evaluation results, who may already be a member of the team

    • At your request or that of the school, other people who know your child well or who have worked with your child

    • Your child (at age 16 when planning will be done for life after
    graduation or any time before that age when you want your child to be
    present)

    • A representative from a vocational-technical school if a vocational-technical school is being considered for your child


    The IEP will review all of the evaluation material and will determine how your child is performing
    in school now. The IEP team will write annual goals and short term
    learning objectives that can be measured and which meet the needs of
    your child.

    IEPs for eligible students are developed on an annual basis, or sooner, if requested by one or more members of the IEP team.

    Notice of Recommended Educational Placement

    Once the IEP has been developed with the IEP team, you will receive a
    Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP). The NOREP explains
    the placement or class recommended for your child and explains your
    rights. You must approve the NOREP in writing for your child’s first
    special education placement if you want it to go into effect.

    South Fayette Township School District offers a continuum of educational services designed to
    meet the needs of eligible students including varying degrees of gifted,
    learning, and speech and language support. In additional, related
    services such as transportation, occupational therapy, physical therapy,
    vision support, and deaf and hearing support are available to those
    students that qualify.

    Detailed information regarding special education procedures may be obtained by calling the
    Special Education Department at South Fayette Schools, (412) 221-4542,
    ext. 404, 415 or 429.

    Services for Protected Handicapped Students

    There are instances in which students are identified as handicapped or
    disabled, but may not qualify for Special Education services. If it is
    determined necessary, the school district will provide these students,
    without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related
    aids, services or accommodations which are needed to ensure equal
    opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school
    programs and extracurricular activities. These services are outlined in a
    Chapter 15 Service Agreement. Questions regarding Chapter 15 should be
    directed to the Special Education Department at (412) 221-4542, ext.
    404, 415 or 429.

    Services for Students in Nonpublic Schools

    Public special education is accessible to resident students attending
    nonpublic schools by permitting the nonpublic school student to enroll
    on a part-time, duel enrollment basis in a special education program
    operated in a public school. Students in a non-public school that are
    suspected of having a disability will need to be referred for an MDE.

    Parents of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child is exceptional and in need
    of special education may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of
    their child through a written request to the district Director of Pupil
    services.