Parental Rights

The Pennsylvania Department of Education offers a Parent Guide to Special Education. To receive a copy of this guide, please either stop by a principals office or the Services Center. You may also call 610-534-1900 ext 1112 to receive a copy in the mail.

Dispute Resolution

We encourage parents/guardians to come in and assist the staff and administration in planning a student's education program. Parent input is vital in the special education process.

If parents or guardians do not approve of the recommendations or want changes make to a current educational plan, they are encouraged to meet with the team at the building level. Often a Supervisor of Special Education or or Supervisor of Pupil Services attends these meetings to assist in resolving any problems.

Parents or guardians have a right to due process through mediation. A copy of the procedural safeguards can be found in any school building. If parents have a concern and they want to contact an administrator, they can call or write to the Special Education Department at the Ridley Services Center.

Please refer to Annual Notice below:

Noticeof Special Education Services

The public school districts and charter schools of DelawareCounty, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware County Intermediate Unit ("the DelawareCounty school entities"), provide special education and related service to residentchildren with disabilities who are ages three through twenty-one. The purposeof this notice is to describe (1) the types of disabilities that might qualifythe child for such programs and services, (2) the special education programsand related services that are available, (3) the process by which each of theDelaware County School entities screens and evaluates such students todetermine eligibility, and (4) the special rights that pertain to such childrenand their parents or legal guardians.

What types of disabilitymight qualify a child for special education and related services?

Under the Inpiduals withDisabilities Education Act, commonly referred to as the "IDEA," childrenqualify for special education and related services if they have one or more ofthe following disabilities and, as a result, demonstrate a need for specialeducation and related services: (1) mental retardation,(2) hearing impairments,including deafness, (3) speech orlanguage impairments, (4) visualimpairments, including blindness, (5) serious emotional disturbance, (6) orthopedic impairments, (7) autism, including pervasive developmental disorders; (8) traumatic brain injury, (9) other health impairment, (10) specific learning disabilities, (11)multiple disabilities, or (12) for preschool age children, developmental delays. If a child has more than one of theabove-mentioned disabilities, the child could qualify for special education andrelated services as having multipledisabilities. Children agesthree through nine years old may also be eligible if they have developmental delays and, as a result,need special education and related services.

The legal definitions of thesedisabilities, which the public schools are required to apply under the IDEA,may differ from those used in medical or clinical practice. Moreover, the IDEA definitions couldapply to children with disabilities that have very different medical orclinical disorders. A child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, forexample, could qualify for special education and related services as a childwith "other health impairments," "serious emotional disturbance," or "specificlearning disabilities" if the child meets the eligibility criteria under one ormore of these disability categories and if the child needs special educationand related services as a result.

Under Section 504 of theRehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, some schoolage children with disabilities who do not meet the eligibility criteria underthe IDEA might nevertheless be eligible for special protections and foradaptations and accommodations in instruction, facilities, and activities. Children are entitled to suchprotections, adaptations, and accommodations if they have a mental or physical disability that substantially limits or prohibitsparticipation in or access to an aspect of the school program.

Information regarding potentialsigns of developmental delays and other risk factors that could indicatedisabilities can be found in our Handbook and on our website.

What programs andservices are available for children with disabilities?

Each of the Delaware Countyschool entities must ensure that children with disabilities are educated to themaximum extent appropriate in settings with their non-disabled peers, commonlyreferred to as the least restrictive environment. Programs and services available to students withdisabilities, in descending order of preference, are (1) regular class placementwith supplementary aides and services provided as needed in that environment,(2) regular class placement for most of the school day with itinerant serviceby a special education teacher either in or out of the regular classroom, (3)regular class placement for most of the school day with instruction provided bya special education teacher in a resource classroom, (4) part time specialeducation class placement in a regular public school or alternative setting,and (5) special education class placement or special education servicesprovided outside the regular class for most or all of the school day, either ina regular public school or alternative setting.

Depending on the nature andseverity of the disability, a Delaware County School entity can provide specialeducation programs and services in (1) the public school the child would attendif not disabled, (2) an alternative regular public school either in or outsidethe school district of residence, (3) a special education center operated by apublic school entity, (4) an approved private school or other private facilitylicensed to serve children with disabilities, (5) a residential school, (6)approved out-of-state program, or (7) the home.

Special education services areprovided according to the primary educational needs of the child, not thecategory of disability. The typesof service available are (1) learning support, for students who primarily needassistance with the acquisition of academic skills, (2) life skills support,for students who primarily need assistance with development of skills forindependent living, (3) emotional support, for students who primarily needassistance with social or emotional development, (4) deaf or hearing impairedsupport, for students who primarily need assistance with deafness, (5) blind orvisually impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance withblindness, (6) physical support,for students who primarily requirephysical assistance in the learning environment, (7) autistic support, forstudents who primarily need assistance in the areas affected by autism spectrumdisorders, and (8) multiple disabilities support, for student who primarilyneed assistance in multiple areas affected by their disabilities.

Related services are designed toenable the child to participate in or access his or her program of specialeducation. Examples of relatedservices are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physicaltherapy, nursing services, audiologist services, counseling, and family training.

Children of preschool age areserved by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in a variety of home andschool-based settings that take into account the chronological anddevelopmental age and primary needs of the child. As with school age programs, preschool programs mustensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities areeducated with non-disabled peers.

Each Delaware County Schoolentity, in conjunction with the parents of each identified child, determinesthe type and intensity of special education and related services that aparticular child needs based exclusively on the unique program of specialeducation and related services that the school develops for that child. The child's program is described inwriting in an inpidualized education program, commonly referred to as an"IEP," which is developed by an IEP team consisting of educators, parents, andother persons with special expertise or familiarity the child. The parents of the child have the rightto be notified of and to participate in all meetings of their child's IEPteam. The IEP is revised as oftenas circumstances warrant but at least annually. The law requires that the program and placement of thechild, as described in the IEP, be reasonably calculated to ensure meaningfuleducational progress to the student at all times. IEPs contain, at a minimum, the projected start date andduration for the IEP, a statement of the child's present levels of educationaland functional performance, an enumeration of annual goals, a description ofhow the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured andreported, a statement of the special education, program modifications, andrelated services to be provided, an explanation of the extent, if any, to whichthe child will not participate with non-disabled children, the anticipatedfrequency and location of the services and a statement of any accommodationsnecessary to measure academic achievement and functional performance of thechild on state and district wide assessments. For children aged sixteen andolder, the IEP must also include a transition plan to assist in the attainmentof post-secondary objectives. Thepublic school must invite the child to the IEP team meeting if a purpose of themeeting will be the consideration of the post-secondary goals and transitionservices needed for the child.

All Delaware County Schoolentities are required to allow parents of children with disabilities reasonableaccess to their child's classrooms, subject to the provisions of each entity'sschool visitation policy or guidelines.

How do the publicschools screen and evaluate children to determine eligibility for specialeducation and related services?

Multidisciplinary teamevaluation

Delaware County School entitiesmust conduct a multidisciplinary team evaluation of every child who is thoughtto have a disability. The multidisciplinary team is a group of professionalswho are trained in and experienced with the testing, assessment, andobservation of children to determine whether they have disabilities and, if so,to identify their primary educational strengths and needs. Parents are members of themultidisciplinary team. DelawareCounty School entities must reevaluate school-age students receiving specialeducation services every three years and must reevaluate children with mentalretardation and pre-school-age children receiving special education servicesevery two years.

Parents may request amultidisciplinary team evaluation of their children at any time. They must do so in writing. Every public school has a procedure inplace by which parents can request an evaluation. For information about each Delaware County School entity'sprocedures applicable to your child, contact the elementary, middle, or highschool which your child attends. Telephone numbers and addresses for theseschools can be found in the blue pages section of the telephone book under theheading "Schools." Parents of preschool age children, age three through five,may request an evaluation in writing by addressing a letter as follows:Delaware County Intermediate Unit, Early Intervention Services, 200 YaleAvenue, Morton, Pennsylvania 19070, (610) 938-9000. The telephone number forthe Early Intervention Program is (610) 565-0618.

Parentsof children in private schools may request a multidisciplinary team evaluationof their children without enrolling in their public schools. However, while some services might beavailable to some private school children who are found eligible by theresponsible Delaware County School entity, that entity is not required toprovide all or any of the special education and related services those childrenwould receive if enrolled in the public schools. If, after an evaluation, the multidisciplinary teamdetermines that the child is eligible for special education and relatedservices, the responsible Delaware County School entity must offer the parentsan IEP and a public school-sponsored placement, unless the parents of the childare not interested in such an offer. If parents wish to take advantage of such an offer,they may have to enroll or re-enroll their child in the responsible DelawareCounty School entity to do so.

Before a Delaware County Schoolentity can proceed with an evaluation, it must notify the parents in writing ofthe specific types of testing and assessment it proposes to conduct, of thedate and time of the evaluation, and of the parents' rights. The evaluation cannot begin until theparent has signed the written notice indicating that he or she consents to theproposed testing and assessments and has returned the notice to the publicschool.

Screening

All Delaware County Schoolentities undertake screening activities before referring students for amultidisciplinary team evaluation. Screening activities could involve an instructionalsupport team, commonly referred to as the "IST," or an alternative screeningprocess. Regardless of the particular screening method employed, the screeningprocess must include (1) periodic vision and hearing assessments by the schoolnurse as mandated by the School Code and (2) screening at reasonable intervalsto determine whether all students are performing based on grade-appropriatestandards in core academic subjects.

If screening activities produce little or noimprovement within sixty (60) school days, the child will then be referred fora multidisciplinary team evaluation.

For information about the datesof various screening activities in your child's school or to request screeningactivities for a particular child, contact the local public school directly.Telephone numbers and addresses for these schools can be found in the bluepages section of the telephone book under the heading "Schools." Parents ofpreschool age children, age three through five, may obtain information about screeningactivities, or may request a screening of their children, by calling or writingthe Delaware County Intermediate Unit, Early Intervention Services, 200 YaleAvenue, Morton, Pennsylvania 19070, (610) 938-9000. The telephone number forthe Early Intervention Program is (610) 565-0618.

Private school administrators,teachers, and parent groups, or inpidual parents of students in privateschools, who are interested in establishing systems in those schools forlocating and identifying children with disabilities who might need amultidisciplinary team evaluation may contact the Delaware County IntermediateUnit, Early Intervention Services, 200 Yale Avenue, Morton, Pennsylvania 19070,(610) 938-9000. The telephone number for the Early Intervention Program is(610) 565-0618.

What special rights andprotections do children with disabilities and their parents have?

State and federal law affordsmany rights and protections to children with disabilities and theirparents. A summary of those rightsand protections follows. Interested persons may obtain a complete writtensummary of the rights and protections afforded by the law, together withinformation about free or low cost legal services and advice, by contactingtheir school district's special education or student services department at theaddress and telephone number listed in the blue pages section of the telephonebook under the heading "Schools." The written summary is also available through the Delaware CountyIntermediate Unit, 200 Yale Avenue, Morton, Pennsylvania 19070, (610) 938-9000.

Rights and Protections

Prior Written Notice. Theresponsible Delaware County School entity must notify you in writing wheneverit proposes to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation,educational program or placement of a child or whenever it refuses to initiateor make a change in the identification, evaluation, educational program orplacement requested by a parent. Such notice must be accompanied by a written description of the actionproposed or rejected, the reasons for the proposal or refusal, a description ofthe evaluation information and other relevant factors used as a basis for thedecision, the other options considered, if any, the reasons why such optionswere rejected and a statement that the parent has the right to proceduralsafeguards.

Consent. DelawareCounty School entities cannot proceed with an evaluation or reevaluation, orwith the initial provision of special education and related services, withoutthe written consent of the parents. However, a Delaware County School entitymay attempt to override the lack of consent for an initial evaluation orreevaluation by requesting the approval of an impartial hearing officer byfiling a due process request. Additionally, in the case of a parent's failure to respond to a requestto conduct a reevaluation, a Delaware County School entity may proceed with theproposed reevaluation without parental consent if it can show that it made areasonable effort to obtain parental consent and that the parent failed torespond. A public school may notseek a hearing to override the refusal of a parent to consent to an initialplacement in special education.

Protection in EvaluationProcedures. Evaluations to determine eligibility and the current needfor special education and related services must be administered in a mannerthat is free of racial, cultural, or linguistic bias and in the native languageof the child. The evaluation mustassess the child in all areas related to the suspected disability and includevariety of technically sound instruments, assessment tools and strategies. The assessments and evaluationmaterials must be used for the purposes for which the assessments or measureare valid and reliable, must be administered by trained and knowledgeablepersonnel in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of theassessment and must be talked to assess special areas of need. Moreover, evaluation determinationscannot be based upon any single measure or assessment.

Independent EducationalEvaluation. If parents disagree with the evaluation conducted by theresponsible Delaware County School entity, they may request in writing anindependent educational evaluation, commonly referred as an "IEE," at publicexpense. If an IEE is provided atpublic expense, the criteria under which the IEE is privately obtained must bethe same as the criteria that the responsible Delaware County School entityuses when it initiates an evaluation. Information concerning each school entity's evaluation criteria can beobtained through the Office of Special Education or Student Services of thatentity. If the Delaware County School entity refuses to pay for the IEE, itmust immediately request a special education due process hearing to defend theappropriateness of its evaluation.

Due Process HearingProcedures

The parent or local educationalagency, commonly referred to as the "LEA," may request a due process hearingwith respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, oreducational placement of the child or the provision of a free appropriatepublic education, commonly referred to as "FAPE". The party requesting the hearing must submit a "Due ProcessHearing Request" form to the Office for Dispute Resolution, 6340 Flank Drive,Suite 600, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112; telephone (800) 222-3353; TTY (800)654-5984. A due process hearing will not proceed until all required informationis provided and procedures followed.

Timeline for requesting DueProcess. The parent or LEA must request a due process hearing byfiling a Due Process Hearing Request within two (2) years of the date parent orthe LEA knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basisof the request. There are limited exceptions to this timeline. This timelinewill not apply to the parent if the parent was prevented from filing a DueProcess Hearing Request due to either (1) specific misrepresentations by theLEA that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the hearing request,or (2) the LEA's withholding of information from the parent that the LEA wasrequired provide.

Filing and Service of the DueProcess Hearing Request. The party requesting the hearing must send a copy of theDue Process Hearing Request to the other party and, at the same time, to theOffice for Dispute Resolution by mail addressed to the Office for DisputeResolution, 6340 Flank Drive, Suite 600, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112, or byelectronic mail addressed to ODR.pattan.net, or by facsimile at (717) 657-5983.

Contents of Due ProcessHearing Request. The Due Process Hearing Request must contain the followinginformation:

  1. The name of the child, the address where the child lives, and thename of the school the child is attending or, if the child is homeless,available contact information for the child and the name of the school thechild is attending;
  1. A description of the nature of the problem, including facts relatingto such problem; and
  1. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known andavailable to the party filing the Due Process Hearing Request.

Challenging Sufficiency ofthe Due Process Hearing Request. The Due Process Hearing Request will be considered to besufficient unless the party receiving it notifies the Hearing Officer and theother party in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt that the receivingparty believes the Request does not meet the requirements listed above.

Response to Request. Ifthe LEA has not sent a prior written notice, such as a Notice of RecommendedEducational Placement, commonly referred to as a "NOREP", to the parentregarding the subject matter contained in the parent's Due Process HearingRequest, the LEA must send to the parent, within ten (10) days of receiving theDue Process Hearing Request, a response including the following Information:(1) an explanation of why the LEA proposed or refused to take the action raisedin the Hearing Request, (2) a description of other options the InpidualizedEducation Program ("IEP") Team considered, if any, (3) and the reasons whythose options were rejected, (4) a description of each evaluation procedure,assessment, record, or report the LEA used as the basis for the proposed orrefused action and (5) a description of the factors that are relevant to theproposal or refusal. Filing thisresponse to the parent's Due Process Hearing Request does not prevent the LEAfrom challenging the sufficiency of the Due Process Hearing Request. If it isthe parent receiving the Due Process Hearing Request, then a response to theDue Process Hearing Request must be sent to the other side within ten (10) daysof receipt of the request. The response should specifically address the issuesraised in the Due Process Hearing Request.

Hearing Officer Determinationof Sufficiency of the Due Process Hearing Request. Within five(5) days of receiving a party's challenge to the sufficiency of the Due ProcessHearing Request, the Hearing Officer must make a determination based solely onthe information contained within the Request whether the Request meets contentrequirements listed above. The Hearing Officer must immediately notify bothparties in writing of his or her determination.

Subject Matter of theHearing. The party requesting the due process hearing is notpermitted to raise issues at the due process hearing that were not raised inthe Due Process Hearing Request (or Amended Due Process Hearing Request) unlessthe other party agrees otherwise.

Resolution Session. Before a dueprocess hearing can take place, the LEA must convene a preliminary meeting withthe parent and the relevant member or members of the IEP Team who have specificknowledge of the facts identified in the Due Process Hearing Request in anattempt to resolve those issues without the need to proceed to a due processhearing. This preliminary meeting must be convened within fifteen (15) days ofthe receipt of the Due Process Hearing Request. A representative of the LEA whohas decision-making authority must be present at this meeting. The LEA may nothave an attorney attend the meeting unless the parent is also accompanied by anattorney. Parent advocates mayattend the meeting. At the meeting, the parent will discuss the Due ProcessHearing Request, and the LEA will be provided the opportunity to resolve theDue Process Hearing Request unless the parent and the LEA agree, in writing, towaive this meeting, or agree to use the mediation process. If the parent andLEA resolve the issues in the Due Process Hearing Request at the preliminary meeting,they must put the agreement terms in writing, and both the parent and arepresentative of the LEA who has the authority to bind the LEA must sign theagreement. The agreement is a legally-binding document and may be enforced by acourt. Either the parent or LEA may void the agreement within three (3)business days of the date of the agreement. After three (3) business days, theagreement is binding on both parties.

Amended Due Process HearingRequest. Either the parent or a LEA may amend its Due Process HearingRequest only if the other party consents in writing to the amendment and isgiven the opportunity to resolve the issues raised in the Due Process HearingRequest through a resolution session, or the Hearing Officer grants permissionfor the party to amend the Due Process Hearing Request. However, the Hearing Officer may grantthis permission not later than five (5) days before a due process hearingoccurs.

Timeline for Completion ofDue Process Hearing. If the LEA has not resolved the Due ProcessHearing Request within thirty (30) days of receiving it, or within thirty (30)days of receiving the Amended Due Process Hearing Request the due processhearing may proceed and applicable timelines commence. The timeline forcompletion of due process hearings is forty-five (45) days, unless the HearingOfficer grants specific extensions of time at the request of either party.

Disclosure of Evaluations andRecommendations. Not less than five (5) business days prior to a due processhearing, each party must disclose to all other parties all evaluationscompleted by that date, and recommendations based on the offering party'sevaluations that the party intends to use at the due process hearing. Failureto disclose this information may result in a Hearing Officer prohibiting theparty from introducing the information at the hearing unless the other partyconsents to its introduction.

Due Process Hearing Rights. The hearingfor a child with a disability or thought to have a disability must be conductedand held in the LEA at a place and time reasonably convenient to the parent andchild involved. The hearing must be an oral, personal hearing and must beclosed the public unless the parent requests an open hearing. If the hearing isopen, the decision issued in the case, and only the decision, will be availableto the public. If the hearing is closed, the decision will be treated as arecord of the child and may not be available to the public. The decision of theHearing Officer must include findings of fact, discussion, and conclusions oflaw. Although technical rules of evidence will not be followed, the decisionmust be based upon substantial evidence presented at the hearing. A written or,at the option of the parent, electronic verbatim record of the hearing will beprovided to the parent at no cost. Parents may be represented by legal counseland accompanied and advised by inpiduals with special knowledge or trainingwith respect to the problems of children with disabilities. Parents or parentrepresentatives must be given access to educational records, including anytests or reports upon which the proposed action is based. A party has the rightto compel the attendance of and question witnesses who may have evidence uponwhich the proposed action might be based. A party has the right to presentevidence and confront and cross-exam witnesses. A party has the right topresent evidence and testimony, including expert medical, psychological, oreducational testimony.

Decision of Hearing Officer. A decisionmade by a Hearing Officer must be made on substantive grounds, based upon adetermination of whether the child received a FAPE. In disputes allegingprocedural violations, a Hearing Officer may award remedies only if theprocedural inadequacies impeded the child's right to a FAPE; significantlyimpeded the parents opportunity to participate in the decision-making processregarding the provision of a FAPE to the child; or caused a deprivation ofeducational benefits. A Hearing Officer may still order a LEA to comply withprocedural requirements even if the Hearing Officer determines that the childreceived a FAPE. The parent may still file a Complaint with the Bureau ofSpecial Education within the Pennsylvania Department of Education regardingprocedural violations.

Civil Action. A party thatdisagrees with the findings and decision of the Hearing Officer has the rightto file an appeal in state or federal court. In notifying the parties of the decision, the Hearingofficer shall indicate the courts to which an appeal may be taken. The partyfiling an appeal is encouraged to seek legal counsel to determine theappropriate court with which to file an appeal. A party filing an appeal tostate or federal court has ninety (90) days from the date of the decision to doso.

Attorney's Fees. A court, inits discretion, may award reasonable attorney's fees to the parent of a childwho is a prevailing party or to a State Educational Agency or LEA against theattorney of the parent who files a Due Process Hearing Request or subsequentcause of action that is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation, oragainst the attorney of the parent who continued to litigate after thelitigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation; or toa prevailing State Educational Agency or LEA against the attorney of theparent, or against the parent, if the parent's Due Process Hearing Request orsubsequent cause of action was presented for any improper purpose, such as toharass, to cause unnecessary delay, or to needlessly increase the cost oflitigation. Fees awarded will be based on rates prevailing in the community inwhich the action or proceeding arose for the kind and quantity of attorneyservices furnished.

The federal law imposes certainrequirements upon the parent and LEA and in some circumstances may limitattorney fee awards. Parents should consult with their legal counsel regardingthese matters. The following rules apply: Attorney's fees may not be awardedand related costs may not be reimbursed in any action or proceeding forservices performed subsequent to the time of a written offer of settlement tothe parent if the offer is made within the time prescribed by Rule 68 of theFederal Rules of Civil Procedures, or, in the case of an administrativehearing, at any time more than ten (10) days before the proceeding begins; theoffer is not accepted within ten (10) days; and the court finds that the relieffinally obtained by the parent is not more favorable to the parent than theoffer of settlement. Attorney's fees may not be awarded for time spentattending any meeting of the IEP team unless the meeting is convened as aresult of an administrative proceeding or judicial action. A due processresolution session is not considered to be a meeting convened as a result of anadministrative hearing or judicial action, nor an administrative hearing orjudicial action for purposes of reimbursing attorney's fees. The Court mayreduce the amount of any attorney's fee award when: (a) the parent, or the parent'sattorney, during the course of the action or proceeding unreasonably protractedthe final resolution of the controversy; (b) the amount of the attorney's feesotherwise authorized to be awarded unreasonably exceeds the hourly rateprevailing in the community for similar services by attorneys of reasonablycomparable skill, reputation, and experience; (c) the time spent and legalservices furnished were excessive considering the nature of the action orproceeding; or (d) the attorney representing the parent did not provide to LEAthe appropriate information in the Due Process Hearing Request. These reductions do not apply in anyaction or proceeding if the court finds that the State or LEA unreasonablyprotracted the final resolution of the action or proceeding.

Child's Status DuringAdministrative Proceedings. Except for discipline cases, which havespecific rules, while the due process case, including appeal to a court ofcompetent jurisdiction, is pending, the child must remain in his or her presenteducational placement unless the parent and LEA or State agree otherwise. Ifthe due process hearing involves an application for initial admission to publicschool, the child, with parental consent, must be placed in the public schoolprogram until completion of all the proceedings, unless the parent and LEAagree otherwise.

Private School TuitionReimbursement. In some cases, parents of children who were identified bythe public school as eligible for special education and related services andwho received such services can recover in a due process hearing or from a courtan award of private school tuition reimbursement. Parents can also receive such awards if their child was inneed of special education and related services but were not offered such servicesin a timely manner. To obtain anaward of tuition reimbursement, parents must notify their public school oftheir intent to enroll their child in a private school either verbally at thelast IEP team meeting prior to withdrawing their child or in writing receivedby the public school at least ten days prior to the date on which the child iswithdrawn from public school. Parents can obtain tuition only when they canprove at a special education due process hearing that (1) the public schoolfailed to offer an appropriate program or placement to the child, (2) theparents therefore placed their child in a private school, and (3) the privateschool placement was proper. Tuition reimbursement awards can be denied or reduced if the parents'behavior was improper or if the parents delay unreasonably in asserting a claimagainst the public school in a due process hearing. Such awards can also be denied or reduced if the parentsfail to do one of the following: (1) notify the public school of their intentto place the child in a private school at the last IEP team meeting prior tothe planned placement or (2) notify the public school in writing of theirintent to place the student in a private school at least ten days beforewithdrawing the student for that purpose.

Mediation. Parties mayagree to submit their dispute to the mediation process by requesting mediationfrom the Office for Dispute Resolution. Mediation may be requested in place of or in addition to a due processhearing. If a hearing is also requested,mediation cannot delay the scheduling of the due process hearing, unless theHearing Officer grants a continuance for that purpose at the request of aparty. An impartial, trainedmediator facilitates the mediation process, which is scheduled at a time andlocation convenient to the parties. The parties are not permitted to have attorneys participate in theprocess. Any resolution reachedthrough mediation must be reduced to writing, which will be binding on theparties.

Rights under Section 504 ofthe Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As noted above, some students withdisabilities who are not in need of special education and related services arenevertheless entitled to adaptations and accommodations in their school programor in the physical environment of school buildings, grounds, vehicles, andequipment, when such adaptations or accommodations are required to enable thestudent to access and participate meaningfully in educational programming andextracurricular activities. Parents are entitled to a written description of the adaptations andaccommodations that the public school is willing to offer. This written description is called a"service agreement" or "accommodation plan." The rights and protections described above under theheadings "Notice," "Consent,""Protection in Evaluation Procedures," and "Maintenance of Placement" apply tostudents receiving adaptations and accommodations under Section 504. Parents who have complaints concerningthe evaluation, program, placement, or provision of services to a student mayrequest either an informal conference with the public school or a due processhearing. The hearing must be held before an impartial hearing officer at a timeand location convenient to the parents. Parents have the right to request afree written or electronic transcript or recording of the proceedings, topresent evidence and witnesses disclosed to the public school, to confrontevidence and testimony presented by the public school, to review their child'scomplete educational record on request before the hearing, to receive a writtendecision from the hearing officer, and to be represented by counsel or anadvocate of their choice. Anappeal may be taken from the decision of the hearing officer to a court ofcompetent jurisdiction.

Compliance Complaints. In additionto the above hearing rights, parents and others with complaints concerning theeducation of a child with disabilities or violations of rights guaranteed byeither the IDEA or Section 504 may file complaints with the PennsylvaniaDepartment of Education, which must investigate such complaints and issuewritten findings and conclusions. Information concerning such complaints can be obtained at the followingaddress:

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Bureau of Special Education

Division of Compliance Monitoring and Planning
333 Market Street, 7th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333

(800) 879-2301

Students Who are Mentally Gifted

All Delaware County Schoolentities, except charter schools, also offer special education services, in theform of acceleration or enrichment, for students who are identified by a giftedmultidisciplinary team ("GMDT") as "mentally gifted." A child is considered mentally gifted when his or hercognitive ability or other factors, as determined by a multidisciplinary teamevaluation, indicate that he or she has outstanding intellectual ability thedevelopment of which requires special programs and services not ordinarilyavailable in the general education program. The District engages in screening activities during regularclassroom instruction and uses the data thus generated to determine whether aGMDT evaluation is warranted. Inaddition, parents may request gifted screening or a GMDT evaluation at anytime. Parents are part of the GMDTand, if their child is determined to be mentally gifted, are part of thedevelopment and annual review and revision of their child's giftedinpidualized educational program ("GIEP") as a member of the GIEP team. TheGIEP describes the present levels, annual goals and measurable objectives, andspecially designed instruction and related services through which the Districtwill provide the enrichment or acceleration, or both, that is needed to developthe outstanding mental ability of the child. Parents of students who are mentally gifted have the rightto request a special education due process hearing or to file a compliancecomplaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education at the aboveaddress. Details concerning theprocedures governing hearing requests can be found on the Website of the Officefor Dispute Resolution as www.pattan.k12.pa.us.

A child can be identified asboth a child with a disability and mentally gifted. In such cases, the rights ofthe child and his or her parents are governed by the rules applicable tochildren with disabilities and their parents, as described above.

Student Records

All Delaware County Schoolentities maintain records concerning all children enrolled in public school,including students with disabilities. Records containing personally identifiable information about or relatedto children with disabilities could include, but are not limited to, cumulativegrade reports, discipline records, enrollment and attendance records, healthrecords, inpidualized education programs, notices of recommended assignment,notices of intent to evaluate and reevaluate, comprehensive evaluation reports,other evaluation reports by public school staff and by outside evaluators, worksamples, test data, data entered into the Penn Data system, correspondencebetween school staff and home, instructional support team documents, referraldata, memoranda, and other education-related documents. Records can be maintained on paper, onmicrofiche, on audio or videotape, and electronically. Records can be located in the centraladministrative offices of the public school, the administrative offices of theDelaware County Intermediate Unit, the school building or building at which thestudent attended or attends school, private schools and facilities at which thepublic school has placed the child for educational purposes, central storagefacilities and electronic storage systems, and in the secure possession ofteachers, building administrators, specialists, psychologists, counselors, andother school staff with a legitimate educational interest in the informationcontained therein. All records aremaintained in the strictest confidentiality.

Records are maintained as longas they remain educationally relevant. The purposes of collecting andmaintaining records are (1) to ensure that the child receives programs andservices consistent with his or her IEP; (2) to monitor the ongoingeffectiveness of programming for the child; (3) to document for the publicschool and the parents that the student is making meaningful progress; (4) tosatisfy the requirements of state and federal agencies who have an interest ininspecting or reviewing documents concerning particular students or groups ofstudents for purposes of compliance monitoring, complaint investigation, andfiscal and program audits; and (5) to inform future programming for andevaluations of the child. Wheneducational records, other than those which must be maintained, are no longereducationally relevant, the public school must so notify the parents in writingand may destroy the records or, at the request of the parents, mustdestroy them. Public schools are not required to destroy records that are nolonger educationally relevant unless the parents so request in writing.

Parent consent. Parentconsent is required in writing prior to the release of any personallyidentifiable information concerning a child with disabilities. Parent consent is not required,however, prior to the release of information (1) to a hearing officer in aspecial education due process hearing; (2) to public school staff andcontractors with a legitimate educational interest in the information; (3) toofficials or staff of other schools and school systems at which the student isenrolled or intends to enroll; (4)to federal or state education officials and agencies and to the Comptroller ofthe United States; (5) to accrediting organizations to carry out their accreditingfunctions; (6) to comply with a lawful subpoena or judicial order; (7) inconjunction with a health or safety emergency to the extent necessary toprotect the health and safety of the child or others; or (8) that the publicschools have designated as "directory information." Disclosure without consent of the parent is subject tocertain conditions more fully described in the Family Educational Rights andPrivacy Act, 20 U.S.C § 1332g, and its implementing regulation, 34 C.F.R. Part99.

Parent access. Uponsubmitting a request to do so in writing, parents have the right to access theeducational records of their child within forty five days or before any dueprocess hearing or IEP team meeting, whichever is sooner. Access entitles the parent to the following: (1) an explanation and interpretationof the records by public school personnel; (2) copies of the records ifproviding copies is the only means by which the parent can effectively exercisehis or her right of inspection and review; and (3) inspection and review of therecords by a representative of the parent's choosing upon presentation to therecords custodian of a written authorization from the parent. The public school can charge a fee notto exceed its actual costs for copying records.

"Directory information." Publicschool entities designate certain kinds of information as "directoryinformation." The public schools of Delaware County typically designate thefollowing as "directoryinformation": (1) the name,address, telephone number, and photographs of the child; (2) the date and placeof birth of the child; (3) participation in school clubs and extracurricularactivities; (4) weight and height of members of athletic teams; (5) dates ofattendance; (6) diplomas and awards received; (7) the most recent previousinstitution or school attended by the child; and (8) names of parents,siblings, and other family members. The District will provide this informationto any interested person, including armed forces recruiters who request it,without seeking consent from the parents of the student or the student. Parents who do not want the District todisclose such information must so notify the District in writing on orbefore the first day of the school term. Written notice must identify thespecific types of directory information that the parent does not want theDistrict to disclose without consent. If the parent fails to notify theDistrict in writing by the first day of the school term, the District mayrelease directory information upon request and without consent.

Disclosure of recordscontaining personally identifiable information to other schools andinstitutions. Public school entities disclose personally identifiableinformation concerning students to educational agencies or institutions atwhich the student seeks to enroll, intends to enroll, or is enrolled, or fromwhich the student receives services, when that agency or institution requestssuch records.

Access to records by schoolofficials with a "legitimate educational interest." Schoolofficials with a legitimate educational interest in the personally-identifiableinformation contained in education records can have access to personallyidentifiable information without parent or student consent. Each school entity designates in itseducation records policy those persons who have a "legitimate educationalinterest" that would allow such access to education records. Such personstypically include teachers of the child, building administrators, guidancecounselors to whom the child is assigned, members of instructional support andmultidisciplinary teams in the course of screening and evaluation activities,records custodians and clerks, public school administrators with responsibilityfor programs in which the student is enrolled or intends to be enrolled, schoolboard members sitting in executive session in consideration of mattersconcerning the child upon which only the school board can act, programspecialists and instructional aides working with the child, therapeutic staffworking with the child, and substitutes for any of the foregoing persons

Amendment of educationrecords. After reviewing records, a parent or a student who hasattained the age of 18 can request that records be amended. The school willmake the requested changes or reject the request within forty-five days of thereceipt of the request in writing. If the school rejects the request, the parent or student may request aninformal hearing. The hearing canbe held before any public school official who does not have a direct interestin its outcome. If the parents are dissatisfied with the outcome of theinformal hearing, they may submit to the public school a statement outliningtheir disagreement with the record. The school thereafter must attach a copy of that statement to all copiesof the record disclosed to third parties.

Complaints to the UnitedStates Department of Education. Complaints concerning alleged failureof a public school entity to comply with the requirements of the FamilyEducational Rights and Privacy Act may be addressed to the United StatesDepartment of Education as follows:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20202-4605

This notice is only a summaryof the special education services, evaluation and screening activities, andrights and protections pertaining to children with disabilities, childrenthought to be disabled, and their parents. For more information or to request evaluation or screeningof a public or private school child contact the responsible Delaware CountySchool entity listed below. Forpreschool age children, information can also be obtained, and screenings andevaluations requested, by contacting the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.


Chester Community Charter School

Dr. David Clark

Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services

214 East 5th Street

Chester, PA 19013

610-447-0400

Chester Upland School District

Special Education Department

1720 Melrose Avenue

Chester, PA 19013

610-447-3880

Elwyn Chester SEEDS (Special Education

for Early Developmental Success)

Chester Upland MAWA

Joyce N. Eldridge, M.Ed., Director

419 Avenue of the States, Third Floor

Chester, PA 19013

610-872-4590

Chichester School District

Mrs. Gloria Senatore

Director of Pupil Services

P.O. Box 2100

Boothwyn, PA 19061

610-485-6881 Ext. 6500

Delaware County Intermediate Unit

Mrs. Maria Edelberg

Director of Special Programs Division

200 Yale Avenue

Morton, PA 19070-1918

610-938-9000 Ext. 2284

Delaware County Intermediate Unit

Early Intervention Program

Supervisors - Ms. Melissa Hance, and

Ms. Jeanette Alexander

Pennington School

245 Bethel Road

Glen Mills, PA 19342

610-938-2800

Hours: Monday.through Friday

8:30AM to 4:00 PM

Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center

Rose Tree Media School District

Dr. Patricia Barta

Supervisor of Special Education

Education Center

308 North Olive Street

Media, PA 19063

610-627-6027

Delaware County Prison

Garnet Valley School District

Ms. Beverly J. Smith

Director of Special Education

80 Station Road

Glen Mills, PA 19342

610-579-7301

Delaware County Technical School-

Folcroft Campus

Mr. S. Ryan Coughlin, Principal

Delmar Drive and Henderson Blvd.

Folcroft, PA 19032

610-583-7620

Delaware County Technical School-

Aston Campus

Mr. James W. Rogers, Principal

Birney Highway & Crozerville Road

Aston, PA 19014

610-459-3050

Garnet Valley School District

Ms. Beverly J. Smith

Director of Special Education

80 Station Road

Glen Mills, PA 19342

610-579-7301

School District of Haverford Township

Dr. Valerie Burnett

Director of Pupil Services/Special Education

50 Eagle Road

Havertown, PA 19083

610-853-5900

Interboro School District

Dr. Doris O'Shea

Director of Pupil Services

900 Washington Avenue

Prospect Park, PA 19076

610-461-6700

Marple Newtown School District

Dr. Gerald Rodichok

Director of Pupil Services

26 Media Line Road, Suite 210

Newtown Square, PA 19073

610-359-5907

Penn-Delco-School District

Ms. Nancy Payton

Director of Special Education

2821 Concord Road

Aston, PA 19014

610-497-6300 ext. 1320

Radnor Township School District

Dr. Andrea Chipego

Director of Student Services and Special Education

135 South Wayne Avenue

Wayne, PA 19087

610-688-8100 Ext. 6116

Ridley School District

Ms. Kim T. Singleton

Director of Special Education

1001 Morton Avenue

Folsom, PA 19033

610-534-1900 ext. 1123

Rose Tree Media School District

Dr. Angela Gilbert

Director of Elementary Teaching

and Learning

Education Center

308 North Olive Street

Media, PA 19063

610-627-6007

Southeast Delco School District

Ms. Kimberley Brown

Director of Special Education

1560 Delmar Drive

Folcroft, PA 19032

610-522-4300 ext. 5322

Springfield School District

Dr. Krintin Nosh

Supervisor of Special Education

111 West Leamy Avenue

Springfield, PA 19064

610-938-6017

Upper Darby School District

Ms. Mary Cedrone

Director of Special Education

4611 Bond Avenue

Drexel Hill, PA 19026

610-789-7200 Ext. 214

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District

Dr. Ronald VanLangeveld

Director of Special Education

101 Plush Mill Road

Wallingford, PA 19086

610-892-3470 Ext. 1505

Widener Partnership Charter School

Dr. Annette Anderson

Principal/CEO

1450 Edgmont Avenue

Chester, PA 19013

610-872-1358

William Penn School District

Dr. Catherine Greenstein

Director of Special Education

100 Green Avenue Annex

Lansdowne, PA 19050

610-284-8005 ext. 254

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