Special Education Programs for Eligible or Protected Handicapped Students
The U.S. Congress enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to assure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education designed to meet their unique needs in the least restrictive environment. In accordance with this law and Pennsylvania School Code (Chapter 14), Colonial School District provides, without cost to parents, screenings and evaluations, appropriate programs and services to all students thought to be exceptional and in need of specially designed instruction and related services. Services are provided for the full range of disabilities listed below:
- Autism (including Pervasive Developmental Disorder)
- Deafness/Hearing Impaired
- Emotional Disturbance
- Mental Retardation
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairments
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment including Blindness
Every effort is made to serve students at their home schools using an inclusive approach toward instructional delivery. For those children whose educational needs cannot be met in a District program, placements are made in Montgomery County Intermediate Unit classes or alternative/approved private schools.
Special education instruction is aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards, and students fully participate, with testing accommodations when appropriate, in all District and state-wide assessment programs. A guiding principle in the delivery of instruction to students with special needs is that standards-based instruction provides a solid foundation for all students to master the academic content, skills and competencies for lifelong learning, independence and professional growth. Students participate in all school activities including vocational education programs which may be provided through the Central Montgomery Technical High School, community based programs or through the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.
Eligibility for Special Education Services
The Colonial School District conducts ongoing Child-Find activities for the purpose of identifying students who may be in need of special education and related services. Additionally, teachers who suspect a child may need services can make a referral to the Student Support or Child Study Team to explore regular education supports and classroom modifications. Multidisciplinary evaluations (MDE) follow for those not making sufficient progress with those supports. All information gathered under this process is confidential and may be available to the parent on request.
Parents can also request an evaluation regardless of whether their child attends public, private or parochial school. Parents who have concerns about the development of their three to five year old child can call the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Early Intervention Office at 610-539-8500 to request a screening or an evaluation.
For further information on the screening, evaluation procedures and provision of services to exceptional students, parents can contact the Supervisors of Special Education at 610-834-1670.
In compliance with Pennsylvania School Code (Chapter 16), services designed to meet the unique needs of gifted students are provided. Students are identified individually based on guidelines and regulations embodied in state law under Chapter 16. Students who possess superior intelligence scores or who meet the multiple eligibility criteria indicating gifted ability by the gifted Multidisciplinary Team are provided with a program of specially designed instruction to meet the outstanding intellectual and creative abilities of the student. Gifted instructional services for eligible students are delineated on a Gifted Individualized Education Plan and address areas of demonstrated gifted achievement. The Colonial School District conducts screenings and evaluations to identify students who are gifted and in need of specially designed instruction. Universal screening of all students takes place in second grade. For older students, teachers may make individual recommendations for screening of students showing high academic potential and a need for enrichment instruction. Parents may also make requests to their child’s guidance counselor for an individual screening or evaluation.
For further information on the evaluation procedures and provision of services to mentally gifted students, parents can contact the Supervisors of Special Education at 610-834-1670.
Services for Protected Handicapped Students
In compliance with state law (Chapter 15) and federal law (Section 504), Colonial School District provides services, related aids and/or reasonable accommodations needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the school program and extracurricular activities. In order to qualify, a student must have a physical or mental disability which substantially limits a major life activity. If an evaluation and subsequent parent/school team determine that a child is eligible, a service agreement noting reasonable accommodations in regular education is developed. These services are distinct from those applicable to students in special education.
For further information on the evaluation procedures and provision of services to protected handicapped students, parents can contact the Director of Pupil Services and Special Education at 610-834-1670.
Confidentiality: All information gathered about your child is subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in federal and state law.
The District has policies and procedures in effect governing the collection, maintenance, destruction and disclosure to third parties of this information. For information about these policies and procedures, as well as rights pertaining to confidentiality and access to educational records, you may contact, in writing, the Supervisors of Special Education or any building principal.