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Mechanicsburg Area School District

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Office of Student Services » General Overview

General Overview

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Student Services is to provide programs and services that meet the intervention, differentiation, and support to appropriately meet the needs of each student so that they can reach their full potential to become an independent learner and functional member of society.  This must be done within the framework of school district responsibility considering the diversity of students, consideration to both classroom and school building programs, the needs of the community, and the impact of available funding to support the demands of the aforementioned.  Balance and equity are key; however, not the guiding force in the decision making process.  Decisions should be made considering what is in the best interest of students with consideration to what is most appropriate for students.  Services are designed to provide assistance for students and parents in the following areas:

Evaluation Services

The administration, scoring, and interpretation of evaluation data are the responsibility of certified school counselors and the school psychologist.

Areas of evaluation include:

  • Intellectual ability 
  • Achievement
  • Interests 
  • Personality 
  • Vocational 
  • Perceptual/motor

Standardized tests are administered to all students at particular times through an organized sequential assessment program.

Additional assessments are completed in specific instances where needs exist.

Results of standardized tests, along with pertinent facts, are used in assisting students in their learning activities and goal planning.

School Counseling Services

The following services are provided by certified school counselors:

  • Educational orientation 
  • Testing, measurement and individual appraisal 
  • Counseling 
  • Placement 
  • Referral service 
  • Consultation 
  • Coordination


The guidance program operates on a philosophy of concentrating upon the development of pupils as persons capable of self-control, self-direction, and self-appraisal. This entails consideration of the physical, mental, emotional, social and educational growth of the child in a continuing process from school entrance through career selection.

Special Reading Services

Individual or small group instruction in reading is provided for those students who need special help in addition to the classroom work. Students in the primary grades are given priority consideration for enrollment in the special reading classes. These classes meet on a regularly scheduled basis. The class size varies from one to five students, depending on the nature of the help needed. Parent conferences are heldthree times yearly - beginning, middle, final - to discuss the child’s progress.

English Language Development (ELD)

ELD services are provided so that students can communicate orally and can understand concepts and ideas to succeed academically. Services are available for grades K-12.

Health Services

Health services are provided by certified school nurses, health room aides and physicians. These services include:

  • Health education 
  • Periodic examinations 
  • Special examinations 
  • Health conferences 
  • Health counseling
  • Referral service 
  • Emergency care


Registered and certified nurses, health room aides, and a school physician provide services for the school medical program. This program consists of certain required screening tests such as vision, hearing, and growth measurements of all pupils. The nurse maintains the pupil’s permanent health record, recording the results of all testing and medical information. Interpretation of the results is made to both parent and teacher, as necessary. Other services, including emergency care of students and medical guidance for students and parents, are available during school hours. The school physician and nursing staff are utilized as consultants to the health education program.

Special Education Services

Special services are made available for identified exceptional students in need of specially designed instruction. These services are available at all grade levels. It is the intent of this school district to provide an educational program tailored to the needs of all students, regardless of their disability or exceptionality. To accomplish this, certified special education teachers, a school psychologist, remedial reading instructors, certified speech and language clinicians, counselors and consultants are utilized. They assist students with their educational programs so that they may optimize their school experiences.

Psychological Services

School-based psychological services are provided by a certified school psychologist. These services include: 

  • Consultation 
  • Collaboration 
  • Assessment
  • Intervention 
  • Prevention 
  • Education Research/Program Planning


The school psychologist provides these services to students, parents, and staff. Requests for these services may be made directly to the school psychologist or through the Instructional Support Team or Child Study Team.


A complete educational record is kept on each student. An account of academic progress, vocational development, physical growth, and participation in extracurricular activities is maintained while the student is in school. These records are required by law as proof of attendance, courses taken, credits earned, and as a source of general information concerning each student. 

Dental Hygiene Services

The Dental Hygiene Services Program is approved by the Department of Health - Division of School Health. Dental care and education are coordinated by a certified school dental hygienist and community-based dental consultant. These services include:

  • Dental health education 
  • Periodic screenings by school dental hygienist 
  • Preventive dental care 
  • Emergency dental care 
  • Dental record maintenance 
  • Referral service 
  • Parental consultation


Continuing dental health and preventive dental care are the primary aims of the program. The school dental consultant serves as an advisor to the Dental Hygiene Services Program and helps provide emergency dental care for students when necessary. Dental education activities are held throughout the year to emphasize the importance of good dental health and to motivate students to practice good dental health habits that will remain with them into adulthood. Routine follow-up is maintained for those students found to be in need of dental attention, with parental contact being made when necessary. Emergency care is provided when dental injuries occur during school hours.

Student Assistance Program (STAR)

The student assistance program is a statewide initiative designed to help educators identify students who show signs of experiencing serious school-related problems. Through a systematic process, students are identified, interviewed, and, if appropriate, referred to an outside agency. It is an intervention process, not a treatment program. Student assistanceprograms have been implemented in all Pennsylvania school districts. The core of the program is the student assistance team, comprised of school and agency personnel specially trained to work with at-risk students. There are presently two teams operating at the Senior High School and one team at the Intermediate School. 

Instructional Support Team

The purpose of the Instructional Support Team is to provide each child with the opportunity for a successful school experience. The team receives requests for assistance for academic, emotional, and/or behavioral concerns. This request can be made by parents, classroom and itinerant teachers, the counselor, the principal, or nurse. After the request is screened, members of the team complete observations, conduct interviews, and complete assessments to determine the child’s specific needs. The Instructional Support Team meets to review the information, brainstorm strategies and develop a plan that assists the child at being more successful. At the end of a 30-day intervention period, the IST reconvenes to review the child’s progress. Parents are included in the entire process. Before requesting assistance from the Instructional Support Team, the classroom teacher shares the concern with the child’s parents. Parents become a part of the Instructional Support Team. Parents participate in the Action Plan Meeting that creates the specific intervention plan for the child’s needs. Parents assist in helping to implement the plan at home. Parents also participate in the Review Meeting at the conclusion of the 30-day intervention.

Student Services

What we can do... 

  1. Help students develop better self-understanding.
  2. Assist students in making the most of their aptitudes, interests, and achievements.
  3. Assist students with adjustment to the varied situations within their total environment.
  4. Encourage students to develop the ability to make their own decisions wisely and to solve problems independently.
  5. Help students make their own unique contributions to society to the fullest possible extent.

What we cannot do...

  1. Provide a substitute for parent/child involvement.
  2. Act as a replacement for the teacher.
  3. Make decisions for the student or parent.

If you have particular questions concerning these services, please telephone the principal of the school your child attends.