Identification of School-Age Students

  • Federal and state regulations require school districts to have an identification process in place in order to identify students who are having academic, functional, behavioral, or social difficulties and then provide them with the necessary supports and services to be successful.


  • Before a student is referred for testing for special education services, the teachers and district will provide a multitude of various strategies and interventions within the regular education classroom.


  • Students who continue to demonstrate academic or behavioral difficulties will be referred to the Child Study Team (CST). The CST will review the student’s records, set short term goals, and implement various interventions for a period of time. The CST will reconvene after that period of time to review the data in order to continue the interventions or make necessary adjustments.  If students continue to not progress, the CST team will refer the child for a multi-disciplinary evaluation (MDE).


  • A Permission to Evaluate with Prior Written Notice will be sent home to obtain parent consent to conduct various assessments in order to determine if a disability is present and specially designed instruction is needed.


  • One the permission is signed and received by the Special Education Department, the MDE team has 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation and present the evaluation report (ER) to the parents/guardians/surrogates.


  • To qualify as a student with a disability, the child must be school age, be eligible for a disability category based on the federal and state definitions, and in need of specially designed instruction. Pennsylvania uses the two prong eligibility test – disability eligibility and how the disability affects their participation in the regular education classroom and curriculum.


  • Students must meet the eligibility criteria of 1 of the 13 disability definitions
    1. Autism
    2. Blindness/visual impairment (BVI)
    3. Deafness
    4. Hearing impairment
    5. Deaf blindness
    6. Orthopedic Impairment
    7. Multiple Disabilities
    8. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
    9. Intellectual Disability (ID)
    10. Other Health Impairment (OHI)
    11. Emotional Disturbance (ED)
    12. Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
    13. Speech/Language Impairment


  • Once students are identified as having a disability and in need of specially designed instruction, the team will have 30 calendar days to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from the time the parent receives the report.


  • Parents and/or teachers may refer students who continue to have difficulty or may be gifted to the principal or Supervisors of Special Education. If parents would like their child evaluated for special education services or gifted support services, they must send a written letter to the Supervisor of Special Education or Principal.


Early Intervention of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool Children. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare is responsible for providing early intervention services to children ages birth – 2 years old.  Contact CONNECT 1-800-692-7288 for more information.

For children ages 3-5, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing early intervention services.  If there is a concern with a child’s communication, ability to learn, behavior, vision, hearing or another area of development, the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) offers screenings.  Contact them for available screening appointments at 717-732-8400 ext. 8619.

Once a child is referred, the child will be assessed within 60 calendar days.  If the MDE team determines that a delay exists, then an IEP will be developed and implemented at no cost to the parents.