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Special Education

The Montrose Area School District has developed policies in accord with federal and state regulations and guidelines to insure the provision of a free appropriate public education to all school-age children, including those with disabilities.

The Montrose Area School District provides appropriate special education programs and related services, and early intervention programs that are:

  • Provided at no cost to parents.
  • Provided under the authority of a school entity, directly by referral or by contact.
  • Individualized to meet the educational or early intervention needs of the child.
  • Reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational or early education benefits and progress.
  • Designed to conform to an Individual Education Program (IEP).

Special Education is designed to meet the needs of each exceptional student including "specially designed instruction conducted in the classroom, home, community setting, hospitals, institutions or other settings. Instruction also is provided in skill areas such as physical education, speech and vocational education".

Early Intervention programs are "appropriate programs of educational development, specially designed to meet the needs of eligible young children and address the strengths and needs of the family". Programs are provided to children with needs in any of the following developmental areas: physical, sensory, cognitive, language and speech, social/emotional and self-help. Early Intervention information, screenings and evaluations requested may be obtained by contacting the Intermediate Unit:

NEIU 19/ Ms. Mary Ann Cartegna (570) 876-9255
NEIU 19 Early Intervention/ Ms. Kelly Dickey (570) 876-9255
NEIU 19 Non-Public/ Ms. Eliza Vagni (570) 876-9220

Related services available to students include transportation and developmental, corrective and other supportive services that help an exceptional student benefit from special education. Examples include: speech pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, social work service, school health services, early identification and assessment, medical services for diagnosis or evaluation, parent counseling and education, recreation, counseling services, rehabilitation counseling services and assistive technology services.

Special education services are available to children who have one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities:

  • Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Serious Emotional Disturbance
  • Neurological Impairment
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairments
  • Physical Disability
  • Speech and Language Impairment
  • Blindness/Visual Impairment
  • Who have been determined by an IEP team, based upon recommendation in a multi-disciplinary evaluation, to need special education
  • Who have been identified as gifted

Early Intervention services are available to children who are at least three years of age, but less than the age for beginning school, and who have one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities:

  • Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Serious Emotional Disturbance
  • Neurological Impairment
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairments
  • Physical Disability
  • Speech and Language Impairment
  • Blindness/visual Impairment
  • Developmental Delay

There are procedures to identify children needing special education. Those procedures are "screening" and "evaluation". If a disability is suspected, teachers, other school personnel or parents may refer a child for screening or evaluation.

Parents suspecting that a child may have a disability and need special education or early intervention services can request a screening or an evaluation by contacting the Special Education Director or the building Principal.

Screening of children "using immediately available data services such as health records and report cards", is conducted for hearing, vision, motor skills, and speech and language. Screening may lead to intervention by the Instructional Support Team (IST), made up of the building principal, regular classroom teacher, support teacher and others as appropriate. The IST will communicate with the parents about the child's needs and the instructional support services that will meet those needs.

Before evaluation, parents are provided the following information:

  • Who referred the child for evaluation.
  • Why the child was referred.
  • How to review the child's school records.
  • What procedures and types of evaluation will be used.
  • That parental involvement in any testing procedure is encouraged.
  • The schedule for the evaluation process.
  • The rights of the parent regarding consent for evaluation.

Evaluations are conducted by a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) to determine such things as the child's learning ability, behavior patterns, physical abilities and communication skills. The team is made up of the parents, a teacher, school principal and school psychologist. The team may include a special education teacher, supervisor, speech therapist, counselor and other staff as necessary. Methods used in the evaluation include observation, review of records, and group and individual testing. Information is gathered from school personnel, medical personnel and parents.

Results of the evaluation are reviewed by the team to determine if special education services are needed. If special education placement is recommended, parents are part of the team that determines exceptionality and develops an Individual Education Program (IEP) for the child.

No evaluation may be conducted without written parental permission. Parents who do not consent to an evaluation may be asked to attend a conference with the teacher, principal, psychologist and possibly other special education staff.

The Montrose Area School District is required by law to keep records of all students receiving special education and early intervention services. Included in these records are:

  • Birth date, address, telephone number and other general information
  • Achievement test results
  • Teacher progress reports
  • Comprehensive evaluation reports
  • Routine medical records

As a child is reevaluated every three years (or every two years if the child attends an Approved Private School (APS) or has a primary or secondary exceptionality of Intellectual Disabilities)information is added to his or her file. All records are confidential. Only school personnel are permitted to see the child's file. Anyone else must have written approval of the parent to see the file or to receive copies of information in the file.

Parents can review the child's file and challenge the validity of any record or report, or challenge the maintenance of information on file. All records are reviewed every summer by school personnel, and any no longer needed to plan the child's education program are destroyed.

However, parents are notified first and permitted to review or copy this information. Federal regulations give both natural parents access to their child's education records unless there is a court order, state statute or legally binding document prohibiting access.

Detailed printed information about available special education services and programs and school district policies is available from all school districts upon request. Anyone interested should contact the Special Education Director or the building Principal.

Information and communications are in English, but will be provided in the native language or other mode of communication used by parents, if appropriate.