The New Castle Area School District is committed to educating students with disabilities with the confines of the district whenever possible, and with the their same age peers to the maximum extent possible. It is our strong belief that special educational support services can first be provided within the regular education setting. To that end, a wide range of supports and services has been established. These supports include pre-referral interventions, curricular or instructional adaptations, alternative grading/assessment systems, inclusionary teams, classroom paraprofessionals and instructional strategies. Additional services such as speech / language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral consults can be provided. These services are available grades K-12.
In addition to these services, the district in collaboration with the Human Services Center operates two children's partial hospitalization programs. These programs offer children with significant mental health issues, the opportunity to receive therapeutic counseling and grade level instruction in a school based setting. These programs allow for intense intervention without leaving the district.
The NCASD has implemented a comprehensive child find system to identify students who have a disability. Beginning with our school based pre-referral teams, we periodically review students suspected of having of disability who have been referred by administrators, teachers, or parents. A student will be recommended for a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation once minimal response to tried interventions is demonstrated.
This multidisciplinary evaluation includes many components, and utilizes information from a variety of sources. Some of the components include a classroom observation, administration of intelligence and achievement tests, and the administration of behavior rating scales or perceptual tests. Information is obtained from the classroom teacher, the child's parent/guardian, mental health agencies, and health professionals. A careful review of the child's previous school records, including grades, standardized test results, and attendance is conducted. This information is then compiled into a formal evaluation report and a determination is made with regards to the nature and degree of the child's needs. In order to receive special educational support services, the child must meet two conditions. The first condition is that they must possess one of the eleven disabilities outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. (I.D.E.I.A.). The second condition is that they must require the use of specially designed instruction. Once these conditions are met, then an I.E.P. team is constructed. This team includes the parents and school personnel. This team then develops the Individualized Education Program in order to outline specific academic, behavioral or social goals for the student. This document also outlines the special techniques, modifications, materials, and equipment that the student will need to meet these goals. A special education is then assigned so that the I.E.P. can be implemented. In addition, that teacher can consult with or support the regular education teacher. Progress toward each goal is closely monitored, documented, and reported to the families on a quarterly basis.
Director of Special Services