Screening & Evaluation
Screening and Evaluation for Special Services
The Mechanicsburg Area School District uses certain procedures for locating, identifying, and evaluating the specific needs of school-aged students requiring special programs or services. Routine screenings of a child’s hearing are done in kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 3, 7 and 11. Vision is screened in every grade level, while speech and language is screened in kindergarten and on a referral basis. Also, scoliosis screening is conducted in grades 6, 7 and 8. New students are screened as they enter school, and teachers continually assess gross motor, fine motor, academic and social/emotional skills. Specifics from these screenings are noted in the child’s file, as appropriate. These records are always open to parents and educators on a “need to know” basis. Other persons and agencies must secure written permission from parents to gain access, and any communication must be in English or the native language of the child or parent.
When a child experiences difficulty in the classroom, screening information will be gathered by an Elementary Support Team (EST) or Child Study Team (CST) located within the child’s school to determine his or her specific needs or to document the need for further evaluation. If it is agreed upon that a child may need additional services, the EST/CST will make adjustments relative to keeping the child within regular classroom expectations. If progress is not made with this team involvement, parents may be asked to give written permission for an Evaluation that may include individual professional evaluations, input from the parents, reports provided by professionals through the parent and information from the student’s educational records. When all evaluations are completed, a MultiDisciplinary Team will be convened to discuss the information collected and make the determination if the child is eligible and in need of Specially Designed Instruction. If the child is eligible, an Individual Education Program will be developed. Parents are then presented with a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) with which they may or may not agree. If parents or district are at odds over programming recommendations, the issue may be taken to mediation, a prehearing conference, or a due process proceeding.
Parents who believe their child is in need of special education services may request that an Evaluation be conducted. Parents believing that their child may be in need of Gifted Support instruction may likewise request a gifted screening be completed. Either request shall be in writing, addressed to the building principal, and should explain why the parents believe that an Evaluation or screening is necessary.a