Notice of Special Education Services



DERRY  PA  15627




The Derry Area School District provides a free appropriate public education to eligible students. To qualify as an eligible student, the child must be of school age, in need of specially-designed instruction and meet eligibility criteria for mentally gifted and/or one of the following physical or mental disorders, as set forth in the Pennsylvania State Standards: Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multi-Handicapped, Neurological Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Physical Disability, Emotional Disturbance, Specific Learning Disability, and Speech/Language Impairment.


The District also engages in “child find” activities or screenings in order to identify and ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet the student's needs. These services are provided in compliance with state and federal laws in order to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.  Various screening activities are conducted on a regular basis.  The screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative files, enrollment and health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores etc.); hearing, vision, physical and speech/language screenings; and a pre-referral, Student Support Team (SST) in grades K. thru eight to provide systematic, data driven interventions to struggling students.  If the screening results suggest that a student might be exceptional, the District seeks consent to conduct a multi-disciplinary evaluation.  Parents may request a screening or a multi-disciplinary evaluation through a written request to the school principal or Director of Special Services.


Services designed to meet the needs of exceptional students include the annual development of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), multi-disciplinary reevaluation, supportive intervention in the regular classroom, supplemental intervention in the regular or special education resource room program, services in a part-time or full-time special education class in a regular school or at a location other than the regular school.  The extent of special education services and the location of the delivery of such services are determined by the IEP team and are based on the student's identified needs, abilities, chronological age, and the level of intervention required.  The school district also provides related services such as transportation, speech/language therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy if required by the student to benefit from their special education program. For further information you may contact the Director of Special Services at 724-694-1401 ext 1406.




Derry Area School District conducts a systemic screening and evaluation process to identify and determine the needs of gifted students as required by Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code. Child find activities and review of educational data is conducted by the guidance counselors. This overview of gifted services within Derry Area School District also is to serve as an awareness activity for parents of the district regarding the educational services provided to identified gifted students and the process for conducting an evaluation.

When the review of school wide educational data, achievement information or by recommendation from the child's teacher indicates a strong possibility of gifted ability, typically a screening is conducted by the guidance counselor with parental contact. The screening consists of completing brief cognitive ability and academic achievement tests by the guidance counselor and a gifted rating scale by the classroom teacher. Results of these screening tests are shared with the parents along with the recommendation whether to proceed to a full evaluation which is conducted by the school psychologist. Proceeding to a full evaluation does require parental written consent and written consent is also required for the initial placement of a gifted student in the gifted program. In addition, parents who may suspect that their child is gifted may request a gifted multidisciplinary evaluation of their child. This request must be in writing and can be provided to the school counselor, principal or to the Director of Special Services.




In compliance with state and federal law, The Derry Area School District also provides protected handicapped student services or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain benefit from school programs and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities.  These accommodations are provided without discrimination or cost to the student and family.  In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age and present with a documented mental or physical disability which also substantially limits or prohibits participation or access to a school program.  These protected handicapped students are distinct from those that are applicable to exceptional students enrolled in special education programming.  For further information regarding protected handicapped students, contact the building principal or Director of Special Services.




The Early Intervention Services System Act entitles all preschool children with disabilities to appropriate early intervention services.  Young children experiencing developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities and their families are eligible for early intervention services.  Developmental delays means a child not reaching developmental milestones at expected times or not progressing at the same rate as other children of the same age in motor, language, social or thinking skills. Such potential signs may include not reacting to loud noises, not attempting to talk or not showing interest in playing with other children. The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth to two years of age. For more information contact the Westmoreland Case Management & Support Services at 724-837-1808. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool children from ages three thru five.  Should you suspect your child having a developmental delay or a disability within this age range, you should contact the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit at 724-836-2460.