Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School

Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School"Developing Scholars and Leaders"
No one logged in.
Show if logged out
Image01

Special Education

The Charter School Board of Directors and staff are committed to providing a full range of quality specialeducation services to those students determined to be eligible for and in need of special education. In keepingwith the letter and spirit of IDEA, these special education services to students are delivered in a primarilyinclusive model.  

From the school's inception, the Charter School has contracted with the Intermediate Unit to provide overallsupervision and consultation for the program and have benefited from their expertise in developing polices,programs and practices. The Board of Directors has made a steady and growing commitment to the provision ofservices to students with disabilities. The school is staffed and structured to allow students with differing abilitiesto be successful in the regular classroom. Small class size, teaching assistants at each grade level, counselorsand additional support staff provide adequate resources for accommodations and modifications.  The Charter School’s original mission and vision and ongoing commitment is to provide skilled and committedstaff and identify research based strategies that are designed to improve learning for the specific demographicsthat we serve: urban, minority, low-income, special needs students.  A total of 8 certificated special education teachers provided direct services in the school. Additionally   speech therapy services is provided by a licensed speech language pathologist.   . We continue to contract with the Intermediate Unit for psychological evaluations, occupational and physical therapy.

Opportunities presented by IDEA provided for additions to our special education programming. In the fall of 2005, with the support of our Board of Directors, our staff and our parents, we began an “early intervening”program, using special education staff and resources to provide comprehensive interventions to students.  With parent participation and agreement, the Child Success Team planned and implemented strategies toprovide academic and behavioral assistance to students with the goal of preventing and/or deferring referrals forspecial education services. Following our special education audit, we worked with IU staff to refine and revise ourearly intervening planning and anticipate expanding the program to include students struggling with language,speech and communication concerns. Additionally, to assist with “early intervening, the Board of Directorsapproved a contract with a local mental health services agency to provide on site counseling and mental healthintervening services for students who presented with behaviors that interfered with learning.  While parentpermission was required for participation, students did not need to wait for county mental health approval andwere able to access the services on site. This provided the possibility of services for students whose parents didnot have transportation or other availability to access mental health services during the school day.  Aggressiveoutreach to available community services include assistance with referrals for individual and familycomprehensive services, and a partnership with server community mental health provider as well as 30 studentswho receive services through the County WRAP office including mobile therapy and therapeutic staff support.  Our building level team (child success team) provides a forum for teachers and support staff to identify studentswho may be in need of additional intervention strategies. Our 6 special education teachers and 5 master’sdegree candidates provide individual assistance for students in the regular classroom as well as in a specializedsetting when needed.

The Charter School works collaboratively with Intermediate Unit Staff and professors from local teachinguniversities to insure that the instructional strategies used by both regular and special education staff to educateeligible students, students at risk for failure and those not making reasonable progress are research based andeffective. Ongoing staff development through outside consultants, intermediate unit staff, Pennsylvania Trainingand Technical Assistance programs, graduate course work and school planned in-services trainings aredesigned to build core capability in meeting the needs of these “at risk” and “eligible students.  Additionally, comprehensive training for special education and regular education staff on functional behaviorassessments and behavior improvement plans led to improved documentation and outcomes.  Staff development is provided to all Charter School staff on special education strategies, accommodations,modifications and progress monitoring. Special education staff participates in ongoing trainings through PATTANand Intermediate Unit 5. On site staff development is provided on behavior planning and progress monitoring.

 

ROBERT BENJAMIN WILEY COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES:
CHILD FIND, SCREENING, EVALUATION

 

An OVERVIEW of special education services, screening and referral process and information for parents on how to access these services is provided below.  Additional details on types of services are listed after the OVERVIEW.  Parents who would like additional information are encouraged to call the school 

 

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School recognizes its responsibility to provide special education services to those students diagnosed with a disability and in need of special education services.

Parents who believe that their child may be in need of special education services are encouraged to call the school.  Parents may request an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.  If school staff determine that your child may be in need of special education services, you will be notified of procedures and of your rights.  (A link to parent’s rights regarding special education services is provided on our school website in both English and Spanish. A written copy is available on request to the school office. ) 

All special education services, including evaluations, are provided at no cost to families. 

 Individualized services and programs are available for children in grades K through 8 who are determined to need specially designed instruction due to the following conditions:

  • Autism
  • Orthopedic Impairments
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Deafness/hearing impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Mental retardation/intellectual disability  (Intellectual Disability)
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Visual impairment including blindness

SCREENING AND EVALUATION:

If you believe your child may need special education services, a screening and evaluation process is available to you at no cost.  You may request a screening or evaluation at any time.  Please make the request in writing to the CEO. 

PROTECTED HANDICAPPED CHILDREN:

In compliance with state and federal law, the Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School will provide to each protected handicapped student, without discrimination or cost to the family, those related aids and services or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities.  In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of our school program.  Some students who are eligible for protection may be students with an IEP.  Other students without an IEP may have services and accommodations outlined in a 504 Plan. 

CONFIDENTIALITY

Confidentiality:  All information gathered in the evaluation, identification and programming of children who may require special education services is governed by confidentiality requirements.  Records generated by this process as well as records sought from non-school agencies (physicians, diagnosticians, mental health providers, etc.) are confidential and protected by both state and federal laws.  Information from outside sources cannot be requested or released without written parental consent.  The Wiley Charter School does not disclose personally identifiable information without written consent, except as described in our FERPA and Directory Information section available on our website or through the school office.  Additional information about confidentiality is available through the school. 

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

For additional and more in depth information, please refer to program descriptions below and on the links provided on our website . 

SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS, EVALUATIONS, STAFFING

Students who are eligible for special education services receive the following types of support which are provided as determined by the IEP team. 

Speech Language Support:  Speech language therapy; consultation with classroom teacher and special education teacher;

Learning Support:  Provided for students, regardless of disability, whose IEP team determines need for learning support services.  Services may include consultation, accommodations/modifications; specialized instruction in general education classroom or resource room setting; individual instruction; specialized materials, assistive technology. 

Emotional Support:  Provided for student, regardless of disability, if IEP team determines that behaviors interfere with student’s learning or the learning of others.  Services will include functional behavior assessment and behavior improvement plan.  May include consultation with classroom teacher; specialized instruction by special education teacher in general education classroom or special education classroom; coordination of services with mental health agencies; counseling services; nursing services.   

Autism Support:  services may include communication support (speech/language therapy); occupational therapy; behavior support; personal care; consultative services to classroom and special education teacher; small group/resource room learning support; coordination of services; nursing services; purchase of services through IU consortium, including special education classroom.  

Deaf/hearing support:  may include assistive technology’ consultation from IU hearing impaired consultant for classroom and special education teacher; speech/language therapy; nursing and audiological services; learning support; emotional support; specialized materials; specialized instruction; purchase of services through IU, including interpreter services and specialized classroom. 

Blind/visually impaired support:  may include assistive technology; consultative services through IU B/VI teacher/consultant; learning support; emotional support; specialized instruction; purchase of services through IU including specialized classroom. 

Life Skills Support:  may include personal care aide; assistive technology; speech/language therapy; purchase of services through IU including specialized classroom. 

Physical Support:  May include learning support, occupational/physical therapy and/or consultation; assistive technology; consultation with classroom teacher; personal care assistant; purchase of services through IU including specialized classroom. 

 

A Continuum of Special Education Services are available through the Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School.

 

To support the needs of students with identified need for special education services the Charter School provides a team of professionals:

Eight full time certificated special education teachers who provide consultative, itinerant and resource support for students with need for learning support and emotional support.  These teachers are able to assist with provision support services to students with needs for other support in collaboration with consultants/specialists (i.e. vision specialists, hearing specialists, physical/occupation therapists.) 

Certificated/licensed speech pathologist provides speech/language support for students identified as eligible for speech language services as primary disability and for students who require speech/language support to access general curriculum.   

Five full time graduate assistants* (students from Mercyhurst College completing their Master’s Degree in Special Education) who provide additional assistance in implementing IEP in both regular and special education classrooms.

Services are coordinated  under the direction of the CEO (a certificated special education supervisor and principal) with consultation from the Northwest Tri County Intermediate Unit.

The following program options are currently provided on site:

Services  include collaborative teaching with classroom teachers and assistants, adaptation of materials, lessons, tests,  consultation with parents, maintenance of records, reporting to IU,  IEP development, progress reporting.  Additional services provided through support from classroom teacher assistants, behavior specialists. 

¨       Supportive special education Intervention in an inclusive setting in the Regular Class (Consultative).  This model can be used for any student based on decisions of the IEP team.  It may be used for students who have made substantial progress with more restrictive services as a means to determine if student may be able to be successful with reduced or possibly no SE services. 

¨       Supplemental special education intervention in an inclusive setting in the Regular Class (Itinerant) These services are supported through capacity building in the general education classroom.  Comprehensive staff development on the collaborative model, differentiated instruction, research based teaching strategies support instruction.  The purchase of “intervention materials” to support the general curriculum assist all differently-abled learners, including special education students.  Recently introduced intervention models to support reading and math instruction in grades 4 through 8 has also increased the resources for students in need of specially designed instruction to be successful in the general education classroom.  Modifications and accommodations are completed by the classroom teacher, teacher assistant, graduate assistant and/or special education teacher. 

¨       Special education services provided in a resource classroom, with the amount of time determined by the IEP team.  The IEP team considers the need for students to work in small groups, with decreased distractions, with greater opportunity to respond.  Team also considers need for direct and/or scripted instruction. IEP determines % of time that student receives SE services in inclusive setting (LRE) and % of time student receives services in special education setting. 

¨       Speech/language support for students identified as eligible for special education services under the category of speech/language delay/disorder.  Speech language support provided in inclusive setting and in individual and small group therapy sessions.  Speech/language support services are also provided for students eligible for learning support and/or emotional support whose communication needs interfere with ability to access general education curriculum. 

¨       Graduate assistants working with students in both general and special education classrooms providing the following supports:  one on one instruction; small group instruction; individual and small group review of what teacher has taught; assistance with assessments; accommodations and modifications; assistance with behavior charting; assistance with progress monitoring. 

¨       Access to after school tutoring and SES tutoring as provided to all enrolled students. 

¨       Extended school year services based on IEP.

¨       Counseling services as a related service as part of a student’s IEP through our certificated school counselor.

¨       On-site mental health counseling provided through Achievement Center at no cost to families. 

¨       Additional support for families provided by support staff. 

¨       Individual and small group counseling on as needed basis.

¨       Nursing services as needed to support access to educational program. 

¨       Charter school has a purchase of services agreement with Sarah Reed Children’s Center and Perseus Hose to provide special education services in a partial hospitalization environment for students whose MH treatment team prescribe “partial hospitalization” program.

Special Education Contracted Services from Northwest Tri County Intermediate Unit:

¨       Assistance with Access services

¨       Insurance of compliance with federal, state regulations

¨       Participation in special education director monthly meetings, updates, consultation.

¨       Annual Public Notice

¨       Consultation, public awareness

¨       In-service training of staff on as needed basis.

¨       Psychological services:  assessment (ability and achievement) writing comprehensive evaluation reports, assistance with functional behavioral assessments and plans; assistance with IEP development as needed, review of IEPs, consultation as needed.

¨       Occupational and Physical Therapy as needed to access educational program.

¨       Assistive Technology as needed to access educational program.

¨       Consortium to purchase consultative and direct service for students with needs for support for the following exceptionalities:  vision impaired, hearing impaired, orthopedically impaired. 

¨       Consortium to purchase classroom services on as needed basis for students whose identified special education needs cannot be served appropriately within on site programs. 

¨       Consortium with IU to provide ELL/ESL services for identified ELL students with IEP. 

Contracted Services for Speech/language therapy

  • Speech/language services as previously described as provided through purchase of services contract with ALPHA Speech and Learning Center. 
  • Screening, *assessment, participation in Evaluation process and IEP team, *IEP development, *therapy”; assistance with in class support. 

Mental Health Services:

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School partners with community mental health agencies to assist in referring children and their families for appropriate screening, assessment and acquisition of mental health/behavioral services.  In collaboration with the Achievement Center, the school supports a satellite mental health clinic.  Services are provided for children at no cost to parents. 

TSS services prescribed by Mental Health team (and occasionally Mobile Therapy) are provided to a student in school, it is important to promote multiple agency cooperation with respect to the development and implementation of a behavior support plan.   

Treatment Plan/Behavior Support Plan

Students identified with significant behavior concerns, students receiving special education services who have a pattern of disciplinary exclusions, and students with a TSS will have a behavior improvement plan (and/or treatment plan.)  Parents will participate in planning.  Special education teachers, classroom teachers and student management staff will participate in planning.   When there is evidence that a treatment plan is not effective (pattern of disciplinary exclusions, lack of progress toward goals) team will meet to adjust the plan.    

When student has a TSS in school setting: 

The principal/CAO or his designee will develop procedures for insuring that TSS services provided in the school setting are consistent with and supportive of Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School board approved policies.

School Wide Resources to Support Inclusion

  • Small class size
  • Teaching assistants
  • Intervention program
  • After school programs
  • Diagnostic teaching:  use of data informed instruction including 4 – sight testing.
  • Comprehensive staff development to improve instruction, including INSIGHT training for all staff, comprehensive special education staff development. 
  • Comprehensive school wide effective behavior programs, including full implementation of Behavior Instructional Support Team model.  Behavior specialists  assists with restorative justice  model, including positive support  room.     
  • Use of technology to individualize instruction and enhance available supplemental supports, accommodations and modifications. 

 

SCREENING, REFERRAL, ASSESSMENT AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES:

 

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School complies with all applicable federal and state disabilities and civil rights regulations. The Special Education Director for   IU #5 serves as consultant and advisor to our program.  RBWCCS additionally contracts with IU #5 for psychological evaluations, special education teacher supervision and purchase of other services as needed including occupational and physical therapy, staff development,  behavior support planning, assistive technology and assistance with contracting with other districts for any special education placements that RBWCCS cannot provide on site. 

 

Child Find Identification

Information about the Child Find Identification System is disseminated to the public in a variety of ways.  Through the Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School’s agreement with the Intermediate Unit, the Charter School is included in the annual publicity/outreach campaign through newspaper and public service announcements.  Information is provided to parents through parent orientation activities, in home visits as well as in the School Handbook, handouts, bulletin board displays in parent room and school lobby.  Additionally, parents are informed through these means about the school’s Building Level Team (Child Success Team) and informed of the process to make referrals for further investigation of learning concerns. 

 

Early Intervention/Transition

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School has a working relationship with the Erie School District and the Head Start program to insure that all students who were eligible for early intervention services are staffed with families to determine any need for evaluation or services. 

 

Newly Enrolled Students with Previous Special Education History:

Upon indication that a newly enrolled student may have received special education services in the past (parent report, review of enrollment information, regular cumulative file, etc.) parent permission is requested in order to obtain special education file.  Formal request for records is forwarded to sending school/district.  In instances where the student was previously enrolled in the City of Erie Schools, request is forwarded to the Child Study Department.   When file is received, staff review the file to determine if student is currently eligible for special education services. 

 

If IEP is current, parent is contacted to discuss updating placement information (NOREP) and new IEP is scheduled as needed.   If IEP is not current, but MDT/CER is current, new IEP is scheduled immediately.

 

In all instances, IDEA regulations are followed, contacts are documented, meetings are scheduled at agreed upon time with parents, parent, classroom teacher, special education teacher, LEA representative, and as needed, speech therapist and school family coordinator or other staff attend.  Forms used are the current forms issued from the State Department of Education through the PaTTAN website. 

 

Documentation for identified children is contained in Special Education file, which is maintained separately from regular cumulative folder.  Controlled access to these files is limited to staff working with student.  Other staff access is as approved by CEO and requires signature. 

Routine Screenings:

Routine screening of students occurs on the schedule as listed below.  These screenings are designed to identify any conditions that may interfere with learning, physical or mental health. Parents may request screenings at any time for students in grades that are not typically screened or if they have concerns regarding their child’s development.    

  1. Speech/language:  All Kindergarten students participate in speech/language screening at the beginning of the school year or upon enrollment.  Additionally, parents and teachers may refer students for a speech language screen. 
  2. Hearing:  All students in grades K, 1, 2, 3 and 7 participate in annual hearing screening coordinated by school nurse and speech/language pathologist in conjunction with Edinboro University audiologists, annually in October.   Additionally, any students with history of failed hearing screens, parent concerns or teacher concerns participate in the screen. 
  3. Physical examinations are provided for students in grades K and 6. 
  4. Dental examinations are provided for students in grades 1, 3 and 7.
  5. Vision screens are provided for students in all grades.  Specialized screening can be arranged for students with additional risks or concerns.   
  6. Growth screening:  All students in grades K-8 will participate in Body Mass Index screening.

Screenings for specific concerns:

  1. Health concerns:  Our school nurse maintains school health files on all enrolled children.  Health information is shared on a “need to know” basis with RBWCCS staff.  In instances where teachers or staff have a specific concern about issues that may be affecting a child’s health, staff make a referral to the nurse for determination on need to contact parents for possible referral.  With parent permission, nurse assists in identifying appropriate health referral and coordinates sharing of information as needed and appropriate with staff. 
  2. Mental health, attention and behavior concerns: 
    1. Parent concerns: If you have a concern about your child’s behavior or mental health, please contact our school counselor, Ms. Hayes.  She will assist you with information about screening and referral.  Services are available at school at no cost to parents.
    2. Staff concerns:  In instances where our staff have concerns regarding your child’s behavior or possible mental health concern, our counselor will schedule a conference with the parents to determine plan for addressing concerns and meeting the child’s needs.
  3. Academic concerns, chronic mental health/behavioral concerns.
    1. Parents who express a concern regarding their child’s academic success or behavioral/social/emotional concerns may request screening through the school’s Student Success team  OR may request an evaluation to determine the need for special education services.  Information is shared with parents regarding the school’s Student Success Team/Early Intervening and parents are given a copy of  Due Process Procedures.  When the parent requests a special education evaluation, all steps required by IDEA   are completed as described below.  In instances where a parent requests additional screening or assistance through early intervening, a referral is made to the Student Success Team (procedures discussed below.  In both instances, the Student Success Team meets to gather information, determine need for further information, involve all team members and make a plan for intervening. 
    2. Teacher concerns regarding student academic/mental health/ behavioral issues.  Following conference with parents, teachers make referral to Student Success Team for screening.

Monitoring Progress

Each student’s academic progress is monitored and assessed throughout the year by classroom teachers and support staff.  Checklists, teacher made assessments, observations of students, rubrics to measure specific skills, curriculum based assessments are all used to provide information to parents on student progress. 

Standardized Assessments

The Woodcock Reading Mastery Test is administered to students in grades 1 and 2.  The 4 Sight Reading and Math Benchmark Test is administered 4 to 5 times annually to students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6,7 and 8.

PSSA:  The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests are administered as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  These tests are administered in March and April.  Reading and Math testing is completed with students in grades 3,4,5,6,7 and 8,  PSSA writing is administered only to students in grades 5 and 8.  PSSA Science is administered only to students in grades 4 and 8.  Parents will receive copies of their individual student’s PSSA results when they are received by the school, usually in August or September. 

Any parent who has a concern about their child’s health, mental health or academic progress is encouraged to contact the school to request a conference, screening or evaluation.  Additional information about requesting an evaluation is contained in our parent handbook and on our school website.  http://www.rbwileyccs.org/

 

Screening Process:

  1. Parents are informed of the RBWCCS services for students who are exceptional as well as the procedures for requesting screening or evaluations:
    1. Through brochures and information prior to application.
    2. Though written and personal contact during the enrollment process
    3. Through written information as part of parent brochures, handbooks, handouts.
    4. Through information posted in school lobby and parent room.
    5. Through teachers during scheduled and as needed conferences.
  2. Routine screening of students occurs on the schedule as listed below.  These screenings are designed to identify any conditions that may interfere with learning, physical or mental health. 
    1. Speech/language:  All Kindergarten students participate in speech/language screening at the beginning of the school year or upon enrollment.  Additionally, parents and teachers may refer students for a speech language screen. 
    2. Hearing:  All students in grades K, 1, 2, 3 and 7 participate in annual hearing screening coordinated by school nurse and speech/language pathologist in conjunction with Edinboro University audiologists.  Additionally, any students with history of failed hearing screens, parent concerns or teacher concerns participate in the screen.
    3. Physical examinations are provided for students in grades K and 6. 
    4. Dental examinations are provided for students in grades 1, 3 and 7.
    5. Growth screening:  All students in grades K-8 will participate in Body Mass Index screening.
  3. Screenings for specific concerns:
    1. Health concerns:  Our school nurse maintains school health files on all enrolled children.  Health information is shared on a “need to know” basis with RBWCCS staff.  In instances where teachers or staff have a specific concern about issues that may be affecting a child’s health, staff make a referral to the nurse for determination on need to contact parents for possible referral.  With parent permission, nurse assists in identifying appropriate health referral and coordinates sharing of information as needed and appropriate with staff. 
    2. Mental health, attention and behavior concerns: 
      1. Parent concerns:  If a parent has a concern about a mental health or behavior concerns or an attention concern, the school team meets with the parent to assist with screening and referral.  With written permission, school staff coordinate referrals to mental health and health professionals, and with parent consent, assist in providing formal and informal observations, complete requested checklists and scales and provide written and verbal sharing of information to assist with appropriate assessment.  In instances where these concerns affect the child’s success in school, referral can be made to Child Success Team for further staffing. (see below)  (Possible team members include school family coordinator, director of special services, school principal, teachers, director of student services, school nurse, other support staff.)
      2. Staff concerns:  In instances where RBWCCS staff have concerns regarding mental health, behavior concerns, a conference is scheduled with the parent to discuss concerns and share options for screening and referral.  Counseling services can be part of further screening.  Use of parent and teacher rating scales  assist with appropriate referral for further screening or evaluation.  (Scales are completed by parents, and with permission, by teachers, and scored by school psychologist.)  In instances where the presenting concern is of a chronic rather than acute nature, screening process includes a referral to the school’s Child Success Team (see below.)
      3. Academic concerns, chronic mental health/behavioral concerns.
        1. Parents who express a concern regarding their child’s academic success or behavioral/social/emotional concerns may request screening through the school’s early intervening process OR may request an evaluation to determine the need for special education services.  Information is shared with parents regarding the school’s Child Success Team/Early Intervening and parents are given a copy of  Due Process Procedures.  When the parent requests a special education evaluation, all steps required by IDEA 2004 are completed as described below.  In instances where a parent requests additional screening or assistance through early intervening, a referral is made to the Child Success Team (procedures discussed below.  In both instances, the Child Success Team meets to gather information, determine need for further information, involve all team members and make a plan for intervening. 
        2. Teacher concerns regarding student academic/mental health/ behavioral issues.  Following conference with parents, teachers make referral to Child Success Team for screening.

Evaluation Process:  (Including Child Success Team)

1.  Speech Language Evaluation as a result of speech language screen or parent request for speech/language evaluation: 

 

Phone calls made and or letter forwarded to parents including concerns, request for permission to evaluate and Due Process Letter/Procedures.  Parent contact by phone or in person to answer questions.  . Formal assessment completed.  Evaluation Report completed, including input from parents and teachers. Results of evaluation shared with IEP team members  A determination is made by team as to whether child is exceptional and in need of special education services.  An  IEP meeting is  held to determine goals and educational placement. 

 

2.  Parent requests for evaluation for all other concerns:

When parents request evaluation for to determine if child is in need of special education, RBWCCS staff follows the required procedures of IDEA   Parents are given a copy of Procedural Safeguards Letter, Procedural Safeguards Notice and a permission to evaluate form.  Upon receipt of the signed PTE form, Charter School staff participates in the evaluation through completing steps followed under “Child Success Team” listed below.  Additional formal and informal assessments by Charter School staff and with parents are completed under direction of the Educational Psychologist, contracted through the Intermediate Unit.  All costs for this evaluation are covered by Charter School funds.  As part of the evaluation process, the IEP team determines if there is need for additional information from other professionals and disciplines.  In these instances, the RBWCCS director of special services will assist parents with referral to other specialists or contract with other specialists to complete the evaluation in a timely and comprehensive manner. 

 

Note:  In instances where parents request an independent evaluation or second opinion, the Charter School follows the guidance given in the Procedural Safeguards Notice and accesses resources of the Northwest TriCounty Intermediate Unit to identify qualified diagnosticians. 

Section 300.502 of the IDEA Federal Regulations describes the right of parents/guardians of a child with a disability to obtain an independent evaluation at public expense, if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the Charter School the school will

1.  Approve the request in writing (via the NOREP)

  1. Provide information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained
  2. Provide criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations (conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child)
  3. Provide at public expense or at no cost to the parent.

OR

B.  Disapprove the request in writing (via the NOREP)

  1. Initiate a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate.

Parents will be provided with a  list of private evaluators including  a number of qualified examiners in our area, who are Pennsylvania certified school psychologists.  

 

3.  As a result of teacher or parent concern: 

Before making a referral for special education services, Charter School Staff will work with parents to determine need areas and possible accommodations that can be made in the regular classroom instruction to meet those needs. Developmental and academic and behavior history, information on student from a variety of settings, medical and social history will be included as part of referral.   Additionally, team will assist parents with other referrals to rule out medical or other causes for academic or behavioral difficulties.  The Child Success Team will meet to determine “early intervening plan” to provide supports for the child in a variety of settings prior to any referral to consider if the child is exceptional.  Routine assessments as to the progress of interventions will guide the team in determining if/when referral for further evaluation is indicated.  The team will determine if the child should be considered “thought to be exceptional.”  Parents may also request that the child be considered as “thought to be exceptional.” 

 

Note:  Parents may request that an evaluation be completed at any point in the process.  At no time will evaluation be delayed beyond regulatory timelines following request for evaluation. 

 

If the student does not show progress as a result of early intervening, parent permission to evaluate is requested. The permission to evaluate will include the reason evaluation is requested, types of evaluation to be completed.    The Charter School follows required timelines (within 60 calendar days) to complete evaluation.   Information gathered as part of the referral and early intervening process and additional information from the parent, teacher, special education teacher as well as information from other agencies and professionals shared by parent will be included with the results of the assessments completed by the school psychologist.  The IEP team will review the results of the evaluation to determine if:  1.  the child is exceptional and 2. is in need of special education services.

 

In addition to evaluations completed by school psychologist, team may determine need for additional information.  Referral for occupational therapy evaluation, physical therapy evaluation can be made to Intermediate Unit.  Referrals for evaluation to IU specialists including vision, hearing and autistic support consultants are made if team determines need. 

 

Re-evaluation Process: 

A reevaluation is completed on students who are receiving special education services:

  1. As part of routine re-evaluation.  At least every 3 years for all students with disabilities; at least every 2 years for students with a diagnosis of mental retardation/intellectual disability .  Note:   IDEA 2004 procedures permit the parent to agree to waive a re-evaluation.  This waiver is not authorized for students with a diagnosis of mental retardation/intellectual disability . 
  2. When any team member requests a reevlaution to determine if child remains exceptional, if child may need additional services, if current educational program is not successful; to consider information from an outside diagnostician.
  3. To determine need for change of placement. 

IEP Process:

If IEP team (parent, psychologist, regular education teacher, special education teacher, LEA representative, other diagnosticians determine that the child is not eligible for services, recommendations from the report are shared with classroom teacher to provide for appropriate strategies in the regular education classroom.  (Parents are advised of their rights to appeal any decisions regarding eligibility.)

If IEP team determines that the child is exceptional and in need of special education services, the team schedules a meeting with parents to complete the IEP.  Goals are developed for each area of need identified by the evaluation process.  The IEP is developed at least annually.  Any member of the IEP team may request a meeting to make changes or additions to the IEP document. 

 

BEHAVIOR SUPPORT POLICY

 

Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School

Behavior Support Policy

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School Board of Directors believes that school -wide effective behavior support and strong classroom management are essential for learning.  For students who need specially designed instruction, it is critical that all staff practice intervention strategies that are positive rather than negative, respectful of the student’s dignity and are as minimally intrusive as the child’s needs and behaviors require.  The Board Policy on Discipline is applicable to all students.  This policy sets forth additional considerations for behavioral interventions for individual students who are eligible for special education services. 

In order to insure that all staff develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide support to students at all levels, ongoing staff development activities will be provided.  At a minimum training for all staff will include  best practices in classroom management, observation, routines, rules, student engagement, parent engagement, conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, policies and procedures related to appropriate and allowable discipline,   disciplinary exclusion, restraints,  use of behavior plans.  Additional training will be provided on the CASS model, restorative justice, community building.  Special education staff will receive training on functional behavior assessments and positive behavior support plans, special education regulations related to discipline and positive behavior supports.  Selected staff will receiving training on Non-Violent Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training (CPI). 

Intervention Levels:

Level 1.  School-Wide Effective Behavior Support:  The Principal/CEO, CAO and their designee(s) are responsible for directing school wide initiatives to encourage positive student behavior which create a safe school with normative beliefs about appropriate social behavior.  All staff are expected to utilize CASS beliefs code of conduct which is conducive to good order and learning and to teach to students this code of conduct and skills which support them.   Expectations for elementary and middle school students will be encouraged and reinforced by all staff, volunteers, parents and board members.  A variety of levels of positive rewards will be implemented as part of the school’s ongoing school improvement planning.

CASS NORMATIVE BELIEFS – CODE OF CONDUCT

  1. Aggression is everyone’s problem.
  2. We treat everyone with respect and civility.
  3. We are each accountable for our actions.
  4. After we make a mistake, we make it right.
  5. Adults help us deal with aggression.
  6. We protect each other.

Level 2:  Classroom Management:  Basic classroom management prevents problems by creating an environment that encourages learning.  Effective classroom management begins with effective teaching that is research based, differentiated according to student abilities and learning styles and tied to student interest as well as Pennsylvania standards.  Effective classroom management uses positive behavioral support strategies consistent with cultural competency, knowledge of developmental levels and student needs, knowledge of individual student needs and interests, implementation of behavior support plans.    Ongoing staff development will be provided for all staff and individual assistance will be provided to staff in need of additional instruction.  Classroom management will include planning and communicating classroom procedures and rules to students and parents and implementing these practices consistently throughout the school year.  Weekly CASS meetings, restorative justice conferences, and make it right activities will provide support to keep students within the community rather than excluded from the community. 

Proactive Student Management will include such strategies as:

  • Teaching rules and strategies directly to students
  • Practice time for rules and procedures
  • Frequent monitoring
  • Verbal reinforcement and praise
  • Use of school-wide behavior reinforcements
  • Consistency in implementing classroom behavior plans
  • Signaling and prompting
  • Positive communication to and engagement with parents, including notes, phone calls, conferences and home visits. 
  • Communication with parents to resolve concerns and problems
  • Communication skills training; Active listening, conflict resolution. 
  • Modeling pro social behavior
  • Role playing
  • Class sharing in problem solving

Level 3:  Individualized Behavior Improvement Plans

Individualized techniques are developed for those students who exhibit behavior problems that interfere with their ability to learn or the learning of others.  Written individual behavior improvement plans should be considered when:;   the behavior persists despite documented interventions, is a risk to anyone’s safety, results in chronic discipline or suspensions, or may result in a more restrictive placement.

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School recognizes its responsibility to provide all students with disabilities, including those with behavioral challenges, with a

Free appropriate public education (FAPE). In the least restricting environment, the

Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the mechanism by which IEP teams identify the special education and related services that are necessary for students to make meaningful progress during the school day.

A Service Agreement / Section 504 Plan is required for those students with disabilities who need accommodations or related services, but do not need special education instruction.

For students who do not have an IEP or a Section 504 plan, an individualized behavior improvement plan, developed in partnership with the parents and the school team involved should be considered when the behavior meets the criteria listed above for initiating behavior plans.   

Behavior improvement plans will be based on a functional behavior assessment that focuses on why the behavior is occurring.  Behavior plans must be based on positive and preventative measures that may include changing instructional practices that contribute to problem behavior and using positive reinforcement to shape behavior.  (Models and examples for individual plans may be found in “Guidelines for Effective Behavioral Support” from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

Based on the results of the functional behavior assessment and the strategies designed to prevent or redirect targeted behavior and reinforce desired behavior, the team will determine the level of support necessary to implement the behavior improvement plan.  The team will consist of the following individuals:  a parent or guardian, regular class teacher, special education teacher, related service providers, classroom assistance/assistant, or support services assistant and other professionals as appropriate.   

Some children, who are eligible for Medical Assistance receive one-to-one behavioral support through therapeutic staff support (TSS) funded through the County MH WRAP offices.   When a student with disabilities receives TSS and the IEP or Service Agreement team determines that such support is also educationally necessary, the TSS may be used to implement the required service in collaboration with Charter School staff. 

Collaboration with Other Agencies

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School partners with community mental health agencies to assist in referring children and their families for appropriate screening, assessment and acquisition of mental health/behavioral services. When a student is determined eligible for WRAP around services, to include those services provided in the school setting, parents (and in the case of students age 14 or over) make the choice as to which agency will provide that service.  Charter School staff, with the permission of parents (students) participates in the referral process and in initial authorization and reauthorization meetings to determine need for services, type and amount of services.  

The Charter School will maintain collaborative relationships with providers of child and family counseling, after school and summer programs and partial hospitalization programs to assist in accessing needed services for students.

The Charter School will contract with a mental health provider to provide a mental health professional as part of the Child Success Team and to assist with referrals through Gate keeping meetings at the county WRAP office. 

Further, the Charter School will partner with the Achievement Center to provide on-site satellite clinic.  Mental health services will be provided on site at no cost to parents, once parents have completed the intake process with the agency. 

TSS services (and occasionally Mobile Therapy) are provided to a student in school.  Therefore, it is important to promote multiple agency cooperation with respect to the development and implementation of a behavior support plan.   

Treatment Plan/ Behavior Improvement Plan

Students identified with significant behavior concerns, students receiving special education services who have a pattern of disciplinary exclusions, and students with a TSS will have a behavior improvement plan (and/or treatment plan.)  Parents will participate in planning.  Special education teachers, classroom teachers and student management staff will participate in planning.   When there is evidence that a treatment plan is not effective (pattern of disciplinary exclusions, lack of progress toward goals), team will meet to adjust the plan. 

When student has a TSS in school setting: 

The principal/CEO, CAO or designee will develop procedures for ensuring that TSS services provided in the school setting are consistent with and supportive of RBWCCS board approved policies.

Students who have a TSS will receive a Treatment Plan that is prepared by the

Community mental health agency. When possible, school staff will attend the planning meeting.  The Charter School will obtain parent permission to review the plan and will review the plan upon receipt.    Appropriate elements of the treatment plan will be incorporated into each student’s Behavior Improvement Plan as part of the IEP or Section 504 Plan. Results of functional behavioral assessments will be shared, with parent permission, with the treatment team. 

Best practices include the following steps: 

Review of treatment plan and behavior support plan (including the student’s

strengths) so that they are consistent with recommendations to be implemented in the school. Ensure that specific goals are described in observable and measurable behavioral terms.

 Identify what strategy(ies) will be used to improve the student’s pro-social skills.

 Specify expected outcomes and interventions.

 Identify who will have responsibility of: developing and implementing identified

interventions (including when interventions will be provided) and monitoring the

student’s positive social skills.

In order to meet the student’s needs in the least restrictive environment, a designated administrator from the Charter School and supervisor from the mental health provider agency will work the parents and teachers and mental health staff to ensure that the schedule and types of interventions are appropriate.  Meetings will be held when necessary to adjust plans based on student progress and needs. 

The treatment plan will contain a plan of action for the student in the event of a crisis situation, including who will assist the TSS staff (i.e., student management staff, counselor, special education teacher, and administrator.) 

TSS staff. Note that TSS workers are not employees of the district and are not

expected to function as a classroom assistant or aide. However, the TSS can provide incidental assistance to the student that will enable him/her to benefit instructionally.  The teacher is in charge of the classroom at all times.  Written procedures will be developed at least annually to clarify such issues as:

q       Notification to the school if the TSS staff will be absent.

q       Development of a contingency plan for supporting the student if TSS staff is absent or unavailable. (A student may not be excluded from school or related services due to the absence or unavailability of the TSS.)

q       Procedures for resolving conflicts

Level 4:  Highly Restrictive Interventions:

These interventions are considered very intrusive and can only be considered after the first 3 levels have proven to be ineffective. 

Social Isolation:

  1. To calm a student during an episode
  2. Removal to a predetermined area

Students are at all times supervised by a staff member.  If the removal  to a quiet place is part of the student’s IEP, incidence of need for being removed temporarily from the classroom setting will be recorded for progress monitoring and parent reporting purposes.  Staff are directed to remember that this is therapeutic, not punitive. 

Use of Holds/Restraints:

Any instance of a restraint of a student with special needs requires the following:

  1.  Charter school staff must immediately notify the parent.
  2. A meeting must be held with the parent within 10 school days of the inappropriate behavior causing the restraint unless the parent, after written notice,  agrees in writing to waive the meeting. 
  3. At the meeting the IEP team shall consider whether the student requires a functional behavior assessment (or review of current FBA) a reevaluation, or new or revised Positive Behavior Support Plan, or a change of placement. 

By design, the Charter school provides de-escalation training for all staff on an annual basis.  Staff  are also coached on the importance of building relationships and observing situations for potential volatility. 

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School acknowledges that there are instances where the behavior of a student may present a risk to him/herself, other students or staff.  When all other means of safely redirecting the student have not been successful, it may be necessary to employ passive restraints or holds.   Designated Charter School staff , including members of the behavior support team, administrators, special education teachers and some classroom teachers are trained by IU 5 Staff on Crisis Prevention Intervention strategies. ( By design, and with advice from IU 5 consultants, the school has determined that although all staff will receive training on effective behavior management to reduce incidents and effective communication to de-escalate behavior, it would not be appropriate to have all staff trained on CPI.) 

The comprehensive training includes  techniques for preventing, deescalating and controlling behavior.  This training includes the when and how to safely employ passive physical restraints.  The training establishes the protocol for when restraints may be used. 

  1. May only be used to control acute or episodic aggressive behavior when student is acting in a manner as to be a danger to him/her, other students, or staff.
  2. May not be used as punishment and/or for convenience of staff.
  3. Must always be carried out in a manner that protects both student and staff.
  4. May not be used except by staff trained in appropriate passive restraint techniques.
  5. May never include the use of prone restraints. 
  6. Following each incident, the staff member(s) conducting the restraint must:
    1. Conduct interview with student
    2. Notify the parent of the incident
    3. Notify CEO  or designee
    4. Complete incident report and forward to principal

Note:  Special Education Coordinator will schedule IEP team meeting to review IEP, determine if changes need to be made and insure appropriate reporting to PDE occurs. 

If TSS staff were involved in passive restraint they are to follow their agency’s procedures for documentation. 

Staff should consider need for assisting parents with referral to crisis services or other mental health professional, depending on severity of the incident. 

Students who may be in need of restraints to deal with known behavioral risks:

If there is evidence that a student may need to have restraints considered for an ongoing behavior concern or if IEP team determines that restraints may need to be addressed for specific behaviors, the IEP team may include restraints in the IEP with the following conditions:

  1.  Restraint is a specific component of a positive behavior support plan
  2. The restraint is used in conjunction with teaching of socially acceptable skills to replace the problem behavior.
  3. Only staff with current CPI certification may assist with the restraint/hold.
  4. The positive support plan includes goals and strategies to provide positive support to reduce incidents that require restraint intervention.
  5. Restraints may not be used as punishment, or for convenience of staff or instead of developing effective plan.
  6. Mechanical restraints for control of involuntary movement due to medical condition , designed d to prevent injury to student,  may only be employed when determined necessary by medical professional and agreed to by parents. 

Inappropriate Techniques:

  1. Corporal punishment
  2. Punishment for a manifestation of the student’s disability
  3. Locked rooms or spaces where student is left alone and cannot exit.
  4. Noxious substances.
  5. Deprivation of basic human rights, such as withholding meals, food, water, fresh air.
  6. Serial suspensions
  7. Treatment of a demeaning nature
  8. Methods implemented by untrained personnel.

Crisis Services:

In the event that a student presents with a possible mental health crisis, emergency services will be contacted. Charter School staff will notify parents of the need to contact Crisis Services. Parents will be asked to contact crisis or consent to the school contacting crisis.  Parents will be asked to come to school to meet the crisis team, or if directed by the crisis team, meet the child, crisis team and staff member at Millcreek Community Hospital for assessment. 

(For students who are currently receiving mental health services from a community provider or psychiatrist, parents may determine it is appropriate to contact this mental health professional prior to or in conjunction with a referral to Crisis Services.)

In instances when a parent cannot be reached, staff members will contact crisis services and proceed as directed by the crisis team, including calling 911 for serious mental health emergencies and/or transport to Millcreek Community Hospital.   Staff will notify principal/CEO, CEO or designee of the referral. 

Disciplinary Exclusions:

The Charter School staff will follow the approved board policy for disciplinary exclusions from school, including those for students with behavior improvement plans/treatment plans, in keeping with the additional considerations addressed in this policy.   Due Process Procedures will be followed.  The Charter School will access the consultation services of the Intermediate Unit to assist with behavioral support planning as needed.

Positive Behavior Support Continuum:

For students with an IEP who require additional assistance, the Charter School staff will devise supports to prevent placement in a more restrictive setting.  A Positive Behavior Support room, staffed by a certificated special education teacher, will accommodate behavior support needs of both exceptional and non-exceptional students.  For exceptional students who require more than intermittent support from the PBS staff,  the IEP team will meet to determine if PBS staff member should be included as a support for the student .  The opportunity to remain in learning environment rather than being excluded from school and to continue to receive special education services as identified in IEP will be considered as an alternative to a placement in a more restrictive setting.  Use of Positive Support will be included in IEP. 

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School Board of Directors recognizes that the school has a responsibility to provide a continuum of special education services.   The Principal/CEO or CAO will recommend additional supportive programs at the school or suggested contracted relationships with other agencies to insure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for identified students with disabilities whose behavior results in their exclusion from school.  Note:  Any change of placement will be in accordance with due process procedures outlined in IDEA 2004 and other applicable state and federal regulations. 

 

 

LEGAL INFORMATION

The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School is obligated by various Pennsylvania and Federal regulations to notify parents/guardians of rights.  The following information explains some of these important rights and gives parents required notification.

  1.  Special Education:  Please refer to section on special education programs and services on our website or paper copies available in school office.
  2. Release of Information/school records:  Please refer to section on FERPA/Directory Notice services on our website or paper copies available in school office.
  3. Right to request teacher qualifications: The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter school is proud of our instructional staff.  All full time classroom teachers, special education teachers and special education teachers are highly qualified and have Pennsylvania teacher certification in the academic area in which they teach.   The No Child Left Behind Act requires that parents/guardians be notified that they have the right to request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teachers including at a minimum the following:
    1. Whether their child’s teacher has met state qualifications or licensing criteria for their child’s grade level and subject matter in which the teacher provides instruction.
    2. Whether their child’s teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which Pennsylvania qualification or licensing requirements have been waived.
    3. What degree/major their child’s teacher has earned and any other graduate certication or degree held by their child’s teacher.
    4. Whether the child is provided services by a paraprofessional and if so, their qualifications.  Parents and guardians will be notified in writing by the CAO/CEO if or when their child is taught by a teacher who is not “highly qualified” for four consecutive weeks.
  4. Adequate Yearly Progress:  The Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School is the only urban district in the area to have met the requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress for the past 3 years.  Parents of Charter school students will be notified of their options if the school does not make Adequate Yearly Progress as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.
  5. Homeless Children and Youth  The No Child Left Behind Act and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act require that homeless children and youth have full and equal access to an appropriate public education and that they experience success in school.  Homeless students shall have access to the same educational programs and services provided to other Charter School students.  Students will not be discriminated against, segregated, or stigmatized based on their status as homeless.  The Charter School CAO/CEO shall make reasonable efforts to identify enrolled students who are homeless and eliminate barriers to their attendance and education.  The Charter School has appointed our school counselor to be our support to homeless students and families and our liaison to community resources. 
  6. Limited English Proficient StudentsThe Charter School complies with the language instruction for limited English proficient (LEP) students provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.  If your child is identified to participate you will be notified of further details regarding rights and participation.  If your child received LEP services in a previous school, please notify the Charter School immediately.  The Charter School contracts with IU 5 to provide required evaluation, instruction and ongoing assessment.