Special Education in the Somerset Area School District
The Somerset Area School District provides a free, appropriate, public education in compliance with state and federal laws to students with diverse needs. In order to receive services, a school-aged student must meet the state's eligibility criteria as a student with a disability who demonstrates the need for specially designed instruction through a special education program. Students participating in special education programs are provided with an individually designed educational plan that addresses their unique educational needs. These programs and services are provided through district-operated classes or contracted through Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 or private agencies.
The school district uses screening and identification procedures so that each eligible student receives the special education and related services he or she needs at no cost to parents. In each building ongoing screening activities, including reviewing academic and health records, help identify students with diverse needs. These needs are met with appropriate interventions as part of the general education classroom. The student’s response to these interventions is measured on a weekly basis. The resulting data is used to determine if the student might have additional needs that can not be met in the general education setting. When this is the case a permission to evaluate form is mailed to the parent along with a copy of the parental due process rights. The district has sixty calendar days from the date it receives signed consent from the parent to complete a multidisciplinary team evaluation. This evaluation includes observations, performance on evaluations, performance in the classroom setting, teacher and family input. The results of the multidisciplinary assessment answer two questions: Does the student have a disability? Is the student in need of specially designed instruction through a special education program? Parents who suspect that their child may have a disability and be in need of special education services can request a multidisciplinary team evaluation at any time by writing to the principal of the school their child attends.
In order to serve the needs of students with disabilities, the Somerset Area School District operates learning support, life skills support, multi-disability support, hearing support, autistic support, speech and language support, and emotional support programs. In addition, the district operates four life skill support classes and one secondary multi-disabilities class. Services for students diagnosed with visual impairments are contracted through Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8.
Parents who need more information about special education programs and services or parental due process rights are encouraged to contact the principal of their child's school or call Mrs. Christy Poorbaugh for students in grades 6-12 (814) 444-3258 or Mr. Adam Rullo for students in PK-5th at (814) 444-3290.