COVID-19 School Closure and Special Education
The Neshannock Township School District provides all services, such as, nursing, guidance, psychology, social work, gifted education, special education, related services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, assistive technology, etc.), and ADA and Chapter 504 Student Service Plans that are legally required to enable students to benefit from instructional programs. The Office of the Director of Special Education identifies and provides services for special education, psychology, gifted education and ADA students.
Special Education Staff
Director of Special Education
724-658-4793 Ext. 5107
Neshannock Township School District is proud to share information about our Special Education Department and the delivery of a full continuum of services and programs our students. Our District’s goal is to provide appropriate programs and services for students with disabilities by facilitating collaborative efforts among parents, teachers, students, therapists, administrators, and other support personnel. The IEP teams make decisions about levels of intervention; goals, accommodations, modifications and specially designed instruction based on each student’s individual needs. We follow federal and state regulations and the assertion that students will be provided supports and services in a least restrictive environment. Our staff including teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals delivers these services in typical settings with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent appropriate.
To receive special education supports and services in Pennsylvania, a child must meet two criteria. First, the child must qualify for one of 13 categories of disabilities (autism; deaf-blindness; deafness; emotional disturbance; hearing impairment; intellectual disability; multiple disabilities; orthopedic impairment; other health impairment; specific learning disability; speech or language impairment; traumatic brain injury; or visual impairment (including blindness) eligible for special education service. Second, the child must need specially designed instruction – they need to be taught in a different way or with different supports than other children in order to learn.
NTSD provides programs, supports and services for students in all of the 13 categories of disabilities. When a program is not available within the walls of our district, the Director of Pupil Services along with the IEP team will investigate appropriate programs in other local school districts, Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4, or APS, and private schools where FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) can be provided. The programs and services that are provided within our district are:
- Speech and Language Support (K-12, Itinerant)
- Learning Support (K-12, Itinerant and Supplemental)
- Itinerant Autistic Support (K-12)
- Itinerant Emotional Support (K-12)
- Vision Support (provided by Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4)
- Hearing Support (provided by Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4)
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Orientation and Mobility (provided by Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4)
All special education professional and para educator staff is highly qualified. Neshannock is committed to provide ongoing professional development for all staff members. NTSD has delivered a wide range of in-service programs to staff members, para educators and parents. In the past two years, professional development focus has been technology, research-based reading programs and strategies, language arts and math programs. 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. Classroom audio systems have been implemented in all elementary and middle school aged classrooms ensuring the teachers and students’ voices can be heard and better understood throughout the classroom. The district understands that hearing is the primary channel for learning especially in the elementary classrooms. The FM systems provide a high level of speech intelligibility and sounds that are necessary for early learners to hear when learning to read and speak.
In order to make informed decisions about IEP goals and specially designed instruction, special education teachers collect and analyze a variety of assessment data. In addition to addressing academic needs, the district offers a variety of individual and group counseling services including social skills within the regular education curriculum.
The NTSD recognizes the importance of transition activities and assessments to gather information to determine the needs and prepare our high school students with disabilities that will help them reach their ambitions. The Transition Coordinator works with families and students to ensure a meaningful and successful process is used to prepare students to transition from high school to the community including employment, post secondary education, and independent living. Our district’s graduation rate for students with IEPs over the past 4 years has been greater than 92% with more than 90% of those students entering post secondary education.
Forms and Links
- Special Education Plan 2020-2023
- Special Education Plan 2016-2019
- Pennsylvania Department of Education
- Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network
- Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV
- Federal Office of Special Education Programs
- PA ABLE Program
- PA ABLE Brochure
- Special Education Data Reports