Quaker Valley School District will not discriminate in its education programs, activities or employment practices, based on race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, ancestry, disability, union membership or any other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordance with state and federal laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Individuals who have an inquiry, complaint of harassment or discrimination, or who need information about accommodations for disabled persons, should contact Mike Lewis, Director of Student Services at 412-749-3618. For non-disability claims, individuals should contact Stefanie McKissic, Title IX Coordinator, at 412-749-3613.
Parents’ Right to Know
As stipulated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA,) parents/guardians may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teacher(s). Specifically, individuals have the right to ask for the following information:
Whether the student’s teacher met state qualifying and licensing criteria for the grade level or subject he/she is teaching;
Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status;
The teacher’s college major, the baccalaureate degree, and/or any advanced degrees earned by the teacher;
Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.
To obtain this information, please submit your request in writing to the district’s assistant superintendent at the address listed below. Each request should include the student’s name, his/her teachers’ names and the school he/she attends. Please be certain to include your name, address and a telephone number at which you can be contacted during the day.
Quaker Valley School District
Attn. Assistant Superintendent
100 Leetsdale Industrial Drive
Leetsdale, PA 15056
Screening and Evaluation
According to state and federal special education regulations, annual public notice to parents of children who reside within the District is required regarding child find responsibilities. The Quaker Valley School District employs the following procedures for locating, identifying and evaluating the needs of school-age students who may require special education programs and/or services. These procedures, as required by state regulation, are as follows:
As prescribed by Section 1402 of the Pennsylvania School Code, the district routinely conducts health screenings for kindergarten (K) through 12th grade students: vision (Gr. K-8, and 10); hearing (Gr. K, 3, and 7) mandated physical exams (Gr. K, 6, and 11) and sports physicals; dental screenings (Gr. K, 1, 3, 7, and 10); scoliosis screening (Gr. 6, 7) and body mass index (BMI) screening (Gr. K-12).
Speech and language skills are screened in kindergarten and on a referral basis by speech clinicians.
Gross-motor and fine-motor skills, academic and social-emotional skills are assessed by the teachers and support staff. Screening activities include: review of group-based data such as cumulative enrollment and health records, report cards and academic skill scores. Identified needs from these screening sources, as well as information obtained from parents and outside agencies, are assessed, noted within the student’s record and discussed with parents.
If appropriate, a referral process is initiated at each building level for the Intervention Team. Assessment data is used by the team to meet the student’s specific needs by recommending modifications or adaptations 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.
If it is determined that a student is in need of further evaluation, the student is referred for a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE), which requires parent permission and includes parent input. After the evaluation is completed, an evaluation report is prepared, which includes specific recommendations for the types of intervention necessary to deal with the needs of the student and determines the child’s eligibility for special education services based upon a disability. When the evaluation report is completed parents are invited to a team meeting to review findings and plan for the student’s needs.
Parents of students who suspect that their child has a disability and is in need of special education may request an intervention team meeting or multidisciplinary team evaluation of their child through a written request to the building principal or Director of Student Services.
Services for School Age Students with Disabilities or Mental Giftedness
The school district provides a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities or mental giftedness according to state and federal rules. To be eligible, the child must be of school age, have a disability or mental giftedness and be in need of specially designed instruction. He/she must meet eligibility criteria for one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities as set forth in the Pennsylvania State Standards: Autism, deaf-blind, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment including deafness, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech/language impairment, traumatic brain injury, or visual impairment including blindness.
Services designed to meet the needs of eligible disabled students include:
The annual development of an individualized education program (IEP or Gifted IEP).
A triennial multidisciplinary re-evaluation for students with disabilities (except for those students with intellectual disability where evaluation remains biennial).
A range of support for students from itinerant level to supplemental level to full-time level special education support within the school district or placement in a full-time special education disabilities class outside of the regular school.
The extent of special education services for disabled or mentally gifted students and the location for the delivery of such services are determined by the parents and the staff at the IEP team meeting and are based on the student’s identified needs and abilities, chronological age and the level of intensity of the specified intervention. The school district also provides related services; such as transportation, physical therapy and occupational therapy if they are required to enable student with disabilities to derive educational benefits.
Prior to initiation of services, parents of a student with disabilities are presented a “Notice of Recommended Educational Placement/Prior Written Notice” (NOREP) and parents of a mentally gifted student with a “Notice of Recommended Assignment” (NORA) with which they agree or disagree. If parents disagree with the program being recommended, they have the right to request IEP facilitation, a pre-hearing conference, mediation and/or a due process hearing.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students
The school district will provide to each protected handicapped student without discrimination or cost to the student or family those related aids, services, or accommodations, which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of school programs and extracurricular activities to the extent appropriate to the student’s abilities. To qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental handicap, which substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program.
Services for protected handicapped students are distinct from those applicable to disabled students enrolled in special education programs. Protected handicapped students fall under Pennsylvania’s Chapter 15, sometimes known by its federal name, Section 504 (of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act). In contrast, students with disabilities who qualify for special education services are covered by regulations contained in Pennsylvania’s Chapter 14. While both Chapter 14 and 15 provide services to students, there are technical differences between the two. Additional information about evaluation procedures and provision of services to protected handicapped students is available by contacting the building principal.
Services for Preschool Age Children
Act 212, the Early Intervention Systems Act, entitles all preschool age children with disabilities to appropriate intervention services. Young children experiencing developmental delay or physical or mental disabilities are eligible for early intervention services if it is determined that they meet eligibility requirements.
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth to three years of age. Contact the Early Learning Institute, 2510 Baldwick Road, Pittsburgh, PA, 15205-4104, 412-922-8322.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool age children from ages three through five. Contact the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Project DART, 425 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120, 412-394-5941.
Child Development Milestones
As parents, each of us undoubtedly asks this question of ourselves at times. And while on the one hand, we do not want to be overly anxious parents and create problems where none exist, on the other hand, research shows that if there is a problem the earlier the specialized help is provided, the better the chance for remediation. So, how do we really know if we should be concerned? The following table will give you some guidance:
6 months - rolls from stomach, reaches for toy, transfers toy from one hand to the other, looks for noise made near him/her, makes sounds for specific reasons (hunger, wet), helps hold bottle while drinking, plays with toes, pats mirror image, puts everything in his/her mouth, watches toys held in front of him/her and moved slowly
1 Year - sits without support, pulls self to stand, crawls on all fours, understands the meaning of No and Bye-bye, repeats sounds made by others, feeds self cookies or crackers (may not be neat), plays “pat-a-cake or “peek-a-boo.” Turns pages of a magazine or book (more than one at a time), picks up small objects with thumb and index finger
2 Years - walks well, walks up steps, two feet on a step, speaks several words which are understandable and meaningful, refers to self by name, recognizes self in mirror, feeds self with spoon, drinks from a cup, occupies self in play, plays with an adult (rolls ball to adult), builds a tower of four blocks, puts two words together, shows body parts (eyes, nose, toes) when asked
3 Years - walks up steps, one foot for each step, walks on tiptoes, runs easily, unbuttons, unwraps candy, uses words to make needs known, speaks in three-word sentences: “Mommy go home”, undresses self, is toilet trained, helps adults by putting away toys and clothes, turns pages one at a time, recites nursery rhymes, imitates adults doing simple tasks
4 Years - tells stories, speaks clearly and can be understood by non-family members, dresses self with help, feeds self with fork, washes lace and hands, gets along with other children, balances on one foot, builds a tower of ten blocks, copies a circle, matches some objects and colors
5 Years - hops on one foot, marches in time, catches a ball with his hands, brushes his teeth, cares for all toilet needs, follows two step directions, points to shapes, names five colors, copies a square, circle and cross, counts to four, shares and takes turns.
Parents who have questions about their child’s development or disability may talk with their family physician or health care provider, school districts, and Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Project DART, 425 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120, 412-394-5941.
Title I Program
Title I allocates federal funds to school districts across the United States for the purpose of equalizing the effects poverty may have on the educational opportunities of low-performing children. Using this funding, districts are able to offer additional services to those students who demonstrate a need for assistance beyond the normal classroom. Quaker Valley provides such services to students in kindergarten through grade 5. Parents may request additional information about Title I services, teacher professional qualifications, or accessing services for their child by contacting their building principal.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The privacy rights of parents and students are mandated by federal legislation known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA - C.F.R. Part 99), most recently amended in November 1996; state regulations (Chapter 14-Special Education Services and Programs, Chapter 12-Student Rights and Responsibilities); and district policy.
The different categories of information maintained by the school district are as follows: educational and health records, personally identifiable information, and directory information. Information known as directory information can be released without consent. Parents may opt out of this by requesting in writing to the school principal that some or all directory information not be released. In addition, photographs and/or videos may be used in newspaper articles highlighting various school activities or television coverage of school events. If you do not wish your child to be photographed or videotaped for these purposes, you must inform the district in writing.
Directory information refers to information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information includes, but is not limited to, the student’s name, address, telephone listing, email address, photograph, date and place of birth, courses taken, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received; and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.
Written parental or adult student permission is required for the disclosure of educational and health records and personally identifiable information. The consent must specify the records that may be disclosed, purpose of the disclosure; and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made. A written record of the disclosure must be maintained by the school district. An agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
FERPA also affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s educational records. These rights include:
The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 30 days of the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The school will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that a parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate. Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record they believe is inaccurate. They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want to be 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 they are notified of the right to a hearing.
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 has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
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 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.
Student records may also be disclosed to a court without consent and without a court order or subpoena, if a parent or student over eighteen years of age initiates legal action against a school entity.
In accordance with 34 CFR § 300.624, please be advised of the following retention/destruction schedule for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), and Keystone Exam related materials:
PSSA, Keystone Exam, and PASA test booklets will be destroyed one year after student reports are delivered for the administration associated with the test booklets.
PSSA and Keystone Exam answer booklets and PASA media recordings will be destroyed three years after completion of the assessment.
Complaints asserting FERPA violations are filed with and reviewed and investigated by the U.S. Department of Education, Family Compliance Office, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-5901. Phone: 202-260-3882. Informal inquiries may be sent to: [email protected] or [email protected] The web site address is: www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guide/fpcd.
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
PPRA affords parents certain rights regarding the conducting of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes and certain physical exams. These include the right to:
Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED):
Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent.
Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family.
Sexual behavior or attitudes.
Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior.
Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships.
Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors or ministers.
Religious practices, affiliations or beliefs of the student or parents.
Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of:
Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding.
Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, scoliosis screenings or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under state law.
Activities involving collection, disclosure or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
Inspect, upon request and before administration use:
Protected information surveys of students.
Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales or other distribution purposes.
Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law.
Disclosure of Information
The requirements concerning activities involving the collection and disclosure of personal information from students for marketing purposes do not apply to the collection, disclosure or use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating or providing educational products or services for or to students or educational institutions, such as the following:
College or other post-secondary educational recruitment, or military recruitment.
Book clubs, magazines and programs providing access to low-cost literary products.
Curriculum and instructional materials used by elementary and secondary schools.
Tests and assessments used by elementary and secondary schools to provide cognitive, evaluative, diagnostic, clinical, aptitude or achievement information about students.
The sale by students of products or services to raise funds for school-related or education-related activities.
Student recognition programs.