The Special Education office can be reached at 570.542.4126 Ext 5010
Mission The mission of the Northwest Area School District is to “provide a safe, supportive environment that inspires an appreciation of learning and prepares our students to be productive, responsible citizens in a diverse society.” The Northwest Area School District is dedicated to preparing all students for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow through a comprehensive education.
What is Special Education? Special Education is governed by Federal Law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Chapter 14 of the Pennsylvania School Code. The term “special education” refers to “Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)” intended to meet the individual needs of exceptional students at no cost to the parents in the least restrictive environment (LRE) deemed appropriate by an IEP team.
What is an exceptional student? An exceptional student is one who has undergone categorical testing for a comprehensive evaluation and has one of the thirteen designated disabilities by IDEA: Autism, Deaf or Blindness, Development Delays, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairments, Mental Retardation, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, Other Health Impairments, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Impairments, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairments.
What happens if a student is thought to be exceptional? A child suspected of needing special education supports and services will be referred to the special education department. The law requires a series of procedures to be followed by a school district when assessing potential special education students. Parents have the right to be partners with the school staff in all aspects of that process from the evaluation to the decision over which program, services, and placement are appropriate to meet their child’s needs. The procedure involves screening, a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE), an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP).
What programs or services are available to exceptional students? Special education services are available to children who qualify. The Northwest Area School District in conjunction with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18 or other local private schools offers a full continuum of services in compliance with federal and state regulations to insure that students receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). An appropriate program is comprised of “specially designed instruction,” and the “related services” needed for the student to benefit based upon his/her individual needs.
Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? Parents who suspect that their child has an exceptionality or concerns regarding their child’s program should contact the school directly and schedule a conference with the classroom or special education teacher to discuss any concerns or questions. Additionally, the principal and/or guidance counselor at each school are available to assist with the educational planning for their child.