State and federal special education regulations require each school district to provide notice to the community by publishing an annual public notice to parents, in newspapers or by other media, regarding the school district’s identification and screening activities, the location and time of the activities, and also any evaluation activity which takes place in the Eastern Lancaster County School District.
The district is required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities who are determined, through the evaluation process, to need special education and related services under IDEA and 22 Pa. School Code §14. A school age child with a disability, who is determined to be in need of special education and related services, is identified as a child with a disability eligible for special education in need of specially designed instruction. The following are disability categories under IDEA: autism, deafness, deaf/blindness, emotional disturbance, traumatic brain injury, hearing impairment, specific learning disability, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, other health impairment, speech and language impairment, orthopedic impairment, and visual impairment including blindness.
A child is considered mentally gifted when his or her cognitive ability or other factors, as determined
by a multidisciplinary team evaluation, indicate that he or she has outstanding intellectual ability, the
development of which requires special programs and services not ordinarily available in the general
education program. The school entity engages in screening activities during regular classroom
instruction and uses the data thus generated to determine whether a GMDT evaluation is warranted.
In addition, parents may request gifted screening or a GMDT evaluation at any time. Parents are part of the
GMDT and, if their child is determined to be mentally gifted, are part of the development and annual
review and revision of their child’s gifted individualized educational program (“GIEP”) as a member of the
GIEP team. The GIEP describes the present levels, annual goals and measurable objectives, and specially
designed instruction and related services through which the District will provide the enrichment or
acceleration, or both, that is needed to develop the outstanding mental ability of the child. Parents may
request in writing to the building principal that their child be evaluated under the criteria of 22 Pa. School
In Pennsylvania, any child between three years of age and the school district’s age of beginners who
has a developmental delay or one or more of the physical or mental conditions listed above is identified
as an “eligible young child.” Children who are less than the age of beginners and at least three years of
age are considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists: (i) the child’s score,
on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in
months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25% of the child’s chronological age in one or more
developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the
mean on standardized tests. Developmental areas include cognitive, communicative, physical,
social/emotional and self-help.
Eligible young children are afforded the same
rights under IDEA and 22 Pa. School Code §14 as school age children, in order to determine if they are
eligible to receive special education services through the screening and evaluation process. Once a child is
determined to be eligible to receive special education, an individualized education program will be
developed for the child.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing programs and services to
eligible young children under Act 212 of 1990, the Early Intervention System Act. Screening for
preschool children is available through the Lancaster- Lebanon Intermediate Unit. For more information,
please contact the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 Early Intervention Program at (717) 606-1601.
Screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis throughout the school year. Screening is
conducted in the student’s home school unless other arrangements are necessary. Parents can request
screening in writing for their children by contacting the school that their child attends. When screening
indicates that a student may be a child with a disability eligible for special education, the School District will seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation.
Screening activities cannot block the rights of a parent to request, at any time, including prior to or
during instructional support activities, an evaluation for the purpose of determining if the student is a
child with a disability and eligible for special education services.
“Evaluation” is the procedure used to determine whether a child has a disability and if the child’s
disability is of the nature and extent that the child would be eligible for special education and related
services. Evaluation procedures used are determined on an individual basis by a Multi-Disciplinary
Evaluation team, which includes the parents. Parents are asked to provide permission to conduct the
evaluation via a Permission to Evaluate-Consent form. The evaluation team takes into consideration cultural
issues as they determine the assessment tools that will be administered for the student. A single test or
procedure cannot be the sole factor in determining that a child is eligible for special education services.
The initial evaluation shall be completed, and a copy of the evaluation report shall be presented to the
parents no later than 60 days after the agency receives written parental consent. Evaluation for the
purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability eligible for special education does not
include the procedures or basic tests that are administered to all children.
Parents who think their child is a child with a
disability may request, at any time, that the School District conduct an evaluation to determine if the
child is eligible to receive special education and related services. This request must be made in writing
to the building principal or the Director of Special Education and Gifted Services. If a parent makes an
oral request for an evaluation, the school district shall provide the parent with a Permission to Evaluate -
Evaluation Request Form to complete within 10 calendar days of the oral request.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students
In compliance with state and federal law, and 22 Pa. School Code Chapter 15, the District will provide
to each student with a protected handicap, without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those
related aids, services, or accommodations which are needed to provide an equal opportunity to participate
in and obtain the benefits of the school programs and participate in extracurricular activities to the
maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities. In order to qualify as a student with a protected
handicap, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits
one or more major life activities which prohibits participation in, or access to, an aspect of school
programs. These services and protections for “protected handicapped students” are different from
those applicable to all students eligible or thought to be eligible for special education services and must be
designed to meet individual educational needs of the handicapped individual as adequately as the needs of
non-handicapped persons are met.
The school district or parent may at any time initiate an evaluation of a student. Parents who wish
to have a child evaluated should contact their building principal for further information on the
evaluation procedures and provision of services to students with a protected handicap.
The District protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information regarding its
students in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and other
applicable federal and state laws.
Parents have the right to inspect and review their child’s educational record. The District will comply
with a request to inspect and review educational records without unnecessary delay and before any
meeting regarding an IEP or any due process hearing, but no later than 30 days after the written request
has been made. Parents have the right to a response from the School District to reasonable requests for
explanations and interpretations of the records. Parents have the right to request copies of the
records. While the District cannot charge a fee to search for or to retrieve information, it may charge a
copying fee as long as it does not effectively prevent the parent from exercising their right to inspect and
review the records. Parents have the right to appoint a representative to inspect and review their child’s
records. If any educational record contains information on more than one child, parents have
the right only to inspect and review the information relating to their child.
For further information on the rights of parents and children, provision of services, screening and evaluation, and procedural safeguards, please contact: