Ms. Jennifer Oiler – Director of Special Education
Ms. Jaclyn Mondell – School Psychologist
Ms. Diane Mushal – Special Education Secretary

Approved Special Education Plan

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.