Special Education

In compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA 2004”), the No Child Left Behind Act (“NCLB”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), the Gaskin Settlement Agreement and Pennsylvania Codes § 711.1 and 4.28, Vision Academy Charter School is committed to providing equal opportunity, both in formal education and in extra-curricular activities to students with disabilities by implementing their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
Vision Academy Charter School intends on contracting privately or through the Intermediate Unit for related services, such as speech and language specialists, psychologists, OT/PT, or other services as deemed necessary in an individual student’s IEP or 504 plan. A full-time special education coordinator/teacher will hold the day-to-day responsibilities of monitoring data input to state systems, overseeing appropriate implementation of IEP/504 plans, and working with individual teachers or teacher groups to better understand delivery and differentiation of curriculum to students with disabilities. Vision Academy will deploy team teaching as necessary to ensure that IEP/504 plans are implemented accordingly and that students are receiving services as identified in the plan. It is likely that the school will employ in the first year a number of teachers whom are dual-certified special and elementary education that may be asked to share roles as classroom teacher or as a co-teacher in a high-need classroom. It will also seek to employ at least one faculty member who is certified in elementary education and also as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The school leader will be responsible for ensuring that all aspects of special education are in compliance with state and federal law.

Vision Academy will utilize the Response to Intervention model as a primary tool for identification and referral for special education services. Vision Academy will comply with law that calls for timely evaluation if requested by parents/guardians and will follow all other procedures regarding notification, evaluation, and meetings as required by law. Vision Academy will have a Child Study Team, comprised of the Special Education Coordinator, teachers, administrators and any related services professional as deemed necessary, that will be central to reviewing and assessing concerns teachers and/or parents may have when students are having difficulty with academic achievement that may indicate a disability. This team reviews data collected by the student’s teacher(s), observes the student in the learning environment, and may implement a series of interventions to be carried out by the classroom teacher, subject specialist, and Special Education Coordinator. Following documented attempts with interventions, the Child Study Team may recommend a special education evaluation.

A continuum of special education services will be provided for each identified student at Vision Academy Charter School in accordance with federal and state law. Students with disabilities will be integrated and educated with students who are not disabled. Services provided which might be separate from the general education environment would occur only when the nature or severity of the child’s disability is such that education in general education classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Students with disabilities will be educated in the least restrictive environment and in a manner which fully complies with their IEPs, promotes inclusion and engagement in school activities, and fosters involvement with the entire school community. Parents of students with disabilities will be provided with procedural guidelines and safeguards. The principal of the school will maintain responsibility for assuring compliance with all laws and regulations regarding special education.

Testing:

Vision Academy will comply with all requirements of state testing related to students with disabilities. The special education coordinator will work with the curriculum director to ensure that all students who are taking PSSA’s are given the appropriate accommodations allowed by law and that those students taking the PASA receive appropriate accommodations and parents are fully informed as to the scope of PASA and interpretation.

Individual Behavior Support Plans:

The Child Study Team will review students who have discipline or behavior issues, attendance concerns or other related problems which interfere with their success at Vision Academy Charter School. The team will compile strategies to implement across the curriculum to add support to a student who has been identified as “at-risk”. Special education students who are identified as “at-risk” will have an IEP team meeting to revise the IEP accordingly.