The mission of the Bethlehem Area School District in partnership with the home and community, is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment in which each student will attain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become a productive citizen and lifelong learner in our technologically demanding and culturally diverse society. Bethlehem Area School District is committed to setting high expectations and high supports for all exceptional students in the school district receiving special education services.
What is Special Education?
Special Education refers to "specially designed instruction (SDI)" to meet the needs of an exceptional student. The term "exceptional" includes children with a physical, emotional or mental disability.
Special Education supports and services in the Bethlehem Area School District include a full continuum of services and are in compliance with federal and state laws. Bethlehem Area School District also utilizes resources outside the district including the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, local approved private schools and other state licensed educational programs.
What programs and/or services are available?
Programs are available in the Bethlehem Area School District for students with the following disabilities: Learning Disabled, Autistic, Deafness/Hearing Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, Intellectually Disabled, Multiply Disabled, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impaired, Speech/Language Impaired, Traumatic Brain Injured and Visual Impairment including Blindness. Related services are available to assist a student with a disability including transportation, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Orientation and Mobility and Psychological Services.
A student with a disability, who is in need of specially designed instruction (SDI) within the Bethlehem Area School District, is supported by a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. All IEP's are reviewed and/or revised at least once a year. All student programs are reevaluated every three years per state mandates. Those students with a disability of Intellectually Delayed, are reevaluated every two years.
Other students with disabilities who do not qualify for supports and services through special education may be provided for as a Protected Handicapped Student under the requirements of section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Chapter 15 of state regulations Title 22. Students with an identifiable disability, which limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program, can be provided with modifications and adaptations through a Chapter 15 Service Agreement.
What happens if a student is thought to be exceptional?
The law requires a series of procedures to be followed by a school district when assessing potential special education students. Parents have the right to be partners with the school staff in all aspects of that process from the evaluation to the decision over which programs, services and placement procedures are appropriate to meet their child's needs. The procedure involves a screening process, a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE), Individualized Education Program (IEP), if appropriate, and Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP).
Whom do I contact if I have questions and/or concerns?
If a parent/guardian has questions or concerns regarding their child's regular or special education program they should contact the school directly and schedule a conference with the classroom or special education teacher. Additionally, the principal and/or guidance counselor at each school are available to assist any parent/guardian with the educational programming of the child.
Parents/Guardians may also contact the Special Education Consult Line through the Pennsylvania Department of Education at 1-800-879-2301 (in state) or (717) 657-5842 (out of state) for information regarding Special Education Regulations.
Further information about Special Education may be accessed through the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site at www.pde.state.pa.us (linked directly to pde website)