Special Education Programs
The Hollidaysburg Area School District strives to ensure, in its special education programs, that all students with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The district realizes that the quality of special education programs for such children is achieved by having high expectations and access to the general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible.
District educators are fully committed to individualizing instruction and supporting students in general education classes. General and special educators work together as a unified team to enhance their efforts and resources towards providing special learners with an equal education opportunity, while meeting their instructional needs.
Description of Special Education Programs and Services
(NOTE: All special education classes focus on the individual needs of the students as determined by a team composed of parents and professionals)
- Early Intervention/Pre-School Services (Contracted through Appalachia I.U. 08)
Federal and state law requires that free and appropriate pre-school programs be provided to all children with disabilities or developmental delays ages 3 to 5 years old who need specialized instruction. The evaluation process for pre-schoolers is very similar to the special education process regarding school-aged children.
2. Learning Support
Learning Support services are provided to students with a variety of disabilities based upon the individual student’s need for the service. Often, students with specific learning disabilities or mild mental retardation who meet eligibility requirements and demonstrate a need receive Learning Support services. Sometimes, students with other educational disabilities may also demonstrate a need for Learning Support and receive these services. The amount of Learning Support services provided varies and is in relation to individual student needs. Learning Support services are available in all buildings and can be provided at an Itinerant, Supplemental, or Full-Time level. Interventions provided by Learning Support services can include, but are not limited to, accommodations, modifications, pre-teaching and re-teaching of concepts, alternate curriculum, and direct instruction. Learning Support teachers are certified Special Education teachers.
The Hollidaysburg Area School District supports an inclusive model, where students with disabilities are provided with opportunities to participate in the regular education curriculum to the fullest extent possible. For this reason, a co-teaching model is being implemented throughout the district. In a co-teaching model, a regular education teacher and a special education teacher co-teach a class that consists of students with and without educational disabilities. Students with disabilities are able to more fully participate in the regular education curriculum while being provided with the needed accommodations and modifications provided through Learning Support services.
Life Skills Support
The Life Skills Support program is designed to meet the needs of students with moderate and severe mental retardation, as well as some students with Multiple Disabilities. Class routines and daily activities engage the students in functional situations whereby they learn to utilize skills in an integrated and meaningful manner. Classroom goals may include functional academics, community-based instruction, vocational experiences, inclusion, extended school year, and social skills. The Hollidaysburg Area School District maintains a continuum of classes for all school-aged students at Martinsburg Elementary School, Spring Cove Middle School, Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School, and Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School.
4. Speech & Language Support
Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Speech and Language therapists provide students with itinerant services in all district buildings.
5. Hearing Impaired Support Services (Contracted through Appalachia I.U. 08)
A Hearing Impairment refers to an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Services are provided at all district buildings on an itinerant level.6. Visual Impairment Support Services (Contracted through Appalachia I.U. 08)
Visual impairment including blindness refers to an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Services are provided at all district buildings on an itinerant level.
- Multiple Disability Support (Contracted through Appalachia I.U. 08)
Students assigned to classes for Multiple Disabilities Support have two or more disabilities, the combination of which results in needs requiring intensive and multifaceted service delivery. Students are placed in the program when the Individualized Education Program (IEP) planning team determines that the student has multiple disabilities and the need for specially designed instruction can be met in a specific class. Classes are offered at Longer Elementary, Frankstown Elementary, the Junior High, and the Senior High.
8. Autistic Support
Autism refers to a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Autistic support services are provided within the district at all buildings on an itinerant level of service.
9. Emotional Support
Students are referred to the emotional support programs because their emotional and behavioral needs interfere with their ability to successfully benefit from academic instruction or interfere with others’ right to learn. Programs are available in all buildings. Itinerant level services are provided at the elementary, junior, and senior high levels. The Junior High and Senior High buildings also offer a full-time emotional support classroom that includes a classroom teacher, full-time mental health counselor, and a classroom aide.
The Hollidaysburg Area School District offers a work-experience program for students receiving special education services at the High School level. The students are provided instruction relating to work related issues and receive support while in positions of employment. For more information regarding this program, please contact the Senior High.