• Bellefonte Area School District
    Special Education Public Awareness

    Pennsylvania State Law and the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act entitles each exceptional child the right to a free and appropriate public education. In Pennsylvania, the term exceptional includes children with physical or mental disabilities who are determined by an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team to need specially designed instruction. In order to insure that all children suspected of being exceptional are located, the Bellefonte Area School District conducts ongoing screening and identification activities.
    The Bellefonte Area School Districts comprehensive screening effort includes three levels of activities: 1) Level I Screening includes group-based data such as a review of cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, and report cards; 2) Level II Screening includes hearing screening conducted in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 7, 11, vision screening conducted in all grades, motor screening which is accomplished through the observation of the students motor skills by the students regular teacher and physical education teacher, and speech and language screening conducted by a speech and language clinician for students about whom there is a concern in speech and language skills; and 3) Level III Child Study Team Screening, the Child Study Team process is composed of assessment and intervention procedures that are used to assure that students receive an effective instructional program, with appropriate support services when necessary, that will meet their learning needs.
    Following applicable screening activities, a child may be referred for a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) to help determine eligibility for special education services. Parents may refer a child for an MDE at any time, and are encouraged to participate in the evaluation process. A multidisciplinary team, of which parents are members, will review the results of the evaluation team, to determine if the child has a disability and to determine educational programming and placement.
    The Bellefonte Area School District along with the Central Intermediate Unit #10 provides specially designed instruction as determined by an IEP team to meet the needs of any student who meets eligibility criteria in the following exceptionality categories: a) autism, b) deaf-blindness, c) deafness, d) emotional disturbance, e) hearing impairment, f) mental retardation, g) multiple disabilities, h) orthopedic impairment, i) other health impairment, j) specific learning disability, k) speech or language impairment, l) traumatic brain injury and m) visual impairment including blindness . Related services such as transportation and any developmental, corrective, and support service needed to assist an exceptional student is benefitting from special education are also provided. In addition, extended school year programming is available for those eligible students with severe disabilities, when an IEP team determines that regression will occur in the areas of self-sufficiency and independence, due to an interruption in educational programming and limited recoupment capacity.

    If you believe that your school-age child (age 5-21) may be in need of special education services and related programs, or that your young child (age 3 to school-age) may be in need of early intervention services, please note that screening and evaluation processes designed to assess the needs of the child and his/her eligibility are available to you at no cost, upon written request. You may request screening and evaluation at any time, whether or not your child is enrolled in the Districts public school program. Requests for evaluation and screening are to be made in writing to the Building Principal of your childs residence area or to the Director of Special Education in the Administrative Offices.
    As the Central Counties Youth Center and the Centre County Prison are located within the Bellefonte Area School District, the district is required to comply fully with the requirements of the IDEA and Chapters 14 and 342 regarding the identification, evaluation, placement and provision of special education services to all eligible school-age individuals housed therein. Eligible students are entitled to receive special education both when they are charged with a criminal offense and are awaiting trial and after they have been convicted of a criminal offense.
    In compliance with state and federal law, the Bellefonte Area 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 the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the students abilities. In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program. These services and protection for protected handicapped students are distinct from those applicable to all eligible or exceptional students enrolled (or seeking enrollment) in special education programs.
    Confidentiality : All information gathered about your child is subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in federal and state law. Only appropriate school personnel are permitted to see a students file. Any other persons or agencies must have written parental consent before they can see the file or receive copies of information in the file. A parent or a student eighteen (18) years of age can review the students file and challenge the validity of any record, report or the maintenance of any information in the file.
    An individual may contact the building principal or central office administration to request that the Bellefonte Area School District initiate screening and evaluation activities for a child. The request must be in writing and requires parental consent. A form will be provided by the school district for that purpose. Kindergarten registration is planned at each of the elementary schools in the Spring. Parents should call the office staff at the building where the child will attend for a registration appointment by the middle of May.