Child Find Policy

Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs

Revised: 10/1/2020 | Adopted: 10/23/2014

Purpose

Under the federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it is the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Department of Education to ensure that all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of the disability residing in the Commonwealth who are suspected to be in need of special education and related services, are located, evaluated, and identified.

In accordance with IDEA requirements and 22 Pa. School Code §14, Lincoln Charter School will provide notice to the community by publishing an annual public notice to parents, in newspapers and on the school website, regarding the school’s identification and screening activities, the location and time of the activities, and also any evaluation activity which takes place in the school district.

Procedure

Lincoln Charter School (LCS) will provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities who are determined, through the evaluation process, to need special education and related services under IDEA and 22 Pa. School Code §14.  A school age child with a disability, who is determined in need of special education and related services, is identified as a child with a disability eligible for special education in need of specially designed instruction.  The following are disability categories under IDEA:

  • Autism

  • Deaf-Blindness

  • Emotional Disturbance

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Hearing Impairment Including Deafness

  • Specific Learning Disability

  • Intellectual Disability

  • Multiple Disabilities

  • Other Health Impairment

  • Speech and Language Impairment

  • Orthopedic Impairment

  • Visual Impairment Including Blindness

Lincoln Charter School will locate, identify, and evaluate students suspected of being a child with a disability eligible for special education.  Screening activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Review of data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, and report cards)

  • Hearing Screening

  • Vision Screening

  • Motor Screening

  • Speech and Language Screening

  • Pre-referral team: Student and Family Support System (SAFSS)

SAFSS includes parents and members of the LCS staff. The team analyzes information from the screening activities listed above as well as classroom behavior and performance and recommends strategies for the student in the classroom. 

Screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis throughout the school year.  Parents can request screening in writing for their children by contacting the school.  When screening indicates that a student may be a child with a disability eligible for special education, the school district will seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation.

Screening activities and/or SAFSS activities will not block the rights of a parent to request, at any time, including prior to or during the instructional support activities, an evaluation for the purpose of determining if the student is a child with a disability and eligible for special education services.

Evaluation is the procedure used to determine whether a child has a disability and if the child’s disability is of the nature and extent that the child would be eligible for special education and related services.  Evaluation procedures used are determined on an individual basis by an Evaluation team, which includes the parents.  Parents are asked to provide permission to conduct the evaluation via a Permission to Evaluate form.  The Evaluation team takes into consideration cultural issues as they determine the assessment tools that will be administered for the student.  A single test or procedure cannot be the sole factor in determining that a child is eligible for special education services.  The initial evaluation will be completed and a copy of the evaluation report will be presented to the parents no later than 60 days after LCS receives written parental consent. 

Evaluation for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability eligible for special education does not consist of the procedures or basic tests that are administered to all children. Parents who think their child is a child with a disability may request, at any time, that the school district conduct an evaluation to determine if the child is eligible to receive special education and related services.  This request must be made in writing to the Special Education Manager/Director.  If a parent makes an oral request for an evaluation, the Special Education Coordinator will provide the parent with a Permission to Evaluate Request form to complete.  The parent shall also sign the Permission to Evaluate Consent Form.

Educational Placement

After the evaluation team has determined that the student is eligible with a disability for special education, an IEP team will develop an educational program, based on the evaluation that identifies the type of services, the level of intervention, and the location of intervention.  The IEP team must include:

  • the school district representative (LEA),

  • the general education teacher

  • the special education teacher

An IEP describes a student’s current educational levels, goals, and objectives, and the individualized programs and services that the student will receive.  These services include:

  1. Learning Support

  2. Life Skills Support

  3. Emotional Support

  4. Speech and Language Support

  5. Physical Support

  6. Autistic Support

  7. Multiple Disabilities Support

  8. Deaf or Hard of Hearing Support

  9. Blind-Visually Impaired Support

A student’s special education placement will be made in the least restrictive environment in which the student’s educational needs can be addressed.  All students with disabilities must and will be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with students who are not disabled as determined by the IEP team.  The IEP is reviewed on at least an annual basis.

Procedural Safeguards

LCS will provide the parent with a copy of the procedural safeguards which protect the rights of parents and student.  These safeguards include the following:

      Parental consent is always required prior to:

  1. conducting an initial (for the first time) evaluation;

  2. conducting a reevaluation;

  3. initially placing an exceptional or eligible young child in a special education program; and

  4. disclosing to unauthorized persons personally identifiable information.

      Parental consent may be revoked at any time.

LCS will notify parents whenever it wants to begin, change, or discontinue special education and related services.  Along with this notification, the school district will provide the parents with a comprehensive, written description of their rights.  Specifically, parents must be notified in writing if the school district proposes to or refuses to:

  •   conduct an evaluation or reevaluation, or

  •   initiate or change the identification or placement of a         student.

Also, parents will be notified in writing if the school district refuses to:

  •     provide an independent educational evaluation at public expense

  •    conduct an evaluation that the parent requests, or

  •    make changes to an IEP when requested by parents.

Parents who disagree with actions, proposed or refused by the school district, have the right to request mediation, prehearing conference or a due process hearing, which is a hearing, conducted by impartial third party, or file a complaint as outlined in IDEA.  Parents may request either mediation by checking their choice on the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement or by letter.  Each of the dispute resolution mechanisms available to parents the school are described below.

Mediation

Pennsylvania has mediation services available throughout the Commonwealth at Commonwealth expense.  Mediation services help parents and agencies, involved in a dispute over special education, to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable settlement with the assistance of an impartial mediator.  Mediation does not deny or delay a party’s right to a due process hearing.

Prehearing Conference

A prehearing conference is between the school district and the parents, although either party may waive the right to a prehearing conference.  The school district, parents, and the attorneys representing each, attempt to resolve the dispute.  If a prehearing conference does not resolve the dispute, the parent may request an impartial due process hearing with an independent hearing officer, or if a hearing has been scheduled, move to the due process hearing.

Due Process Hearing

Parents requesting a due process hearing must notify the school in writing of the nature of the problem with the school’s proposed or existing program, placement, evaluation, or identification; the facts relating to such problem; and a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the parents at the time.  This notice is mandatory, and the failure to provide it to the school district can diminish or extinguish a claim for attorney’s fees and costs if counsel represents the parents.

Due process hearings are oral, personal hearings open to the public, unless the parents request a closed hearing.  The decision of the hearing officer shall include findings of fact, a discussion, and conclusions of law.  The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed to a three-member panel of hearing officers.  The panel’s decision may be appealed to the appropriate court.

During a due process procedure, a student must remain in the last agreed upon educational placement (a status called pendency).  Due process procedures are governed by timelines and procedures in IDEA.

LCS will make available, upon request, printed information regarding special education programs and services, procedural safeguards, and due process rights.  This printed information is available from the appropriate administrator in the school.  Information regarding the award of or prohibition of attorney’s fee is included as well.  A section is included regarding guidelines of parental claims for tuition reimbursement.  The section on rights regarding discipline and suspension more clearly specifies procedures to be followed with the intention of disciplinary exclusion of an eligible student.  It also delineates the procedure to be followed when a referral to, and action by, law enforcement and judicial authorities is pursued.

Complaint with the Bureau of Special Education - Pennsylvania Department of Education

Parents who believe that special education procedures as outlined in regulations have not been adhered to regarding the identification, evaluation, educational plan development, and/or the implementation of the IEP may file a written complaint with the Bureau of Special Education.  The Bureau has staff assigned to each Intermediate Unit that will investigate the accusations of the complaint.  If parents want to file a written complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a complaint packet is available by calling the Special Education Consult Line at 1-800-879-2301.

Mode of Communication

If a person has questions regarding the contents of any of this notice, he or she should contact their school and request an explanation.  If the parent needs an interpreter or support for assistive technology for communication purposes, the school district will arrange for the services for the parent.  If a parent is deaf or blind or has no written language, the school district will arrange for communication of this notice in the mode normally used by the parent (e.g., sign language, Braille, or oral communication)