All services are provided within the least restrictive environment.
What is the Least Restrictive Environment?
Least restrictive environment (LRE) means educating students in special education with their regular education peers as much as possible. Plum Borough School District strives to keep students in their regular education classrooms to the maximum extent appropriate. This is achieved through accommodations and modifications, as well as Supplementary Aids and Services. Many changes can be made within the regular education classroom to support students with disabilities.
Levels of Service
Service is provided as itinerant, supplemental, or full-time based on the amount of support necessary for the student to make adequate progress toward IEP goals within the least restrictive environment.
TYPES OF SUPPORT
The majority of students in special education at Plum Borough School District receive this type of support. Learning Support addresses academic deficits. Learning Support is provided through "pull-out" small-group or individual support. Learning support teachers may also "push-in" to classrooms to help students. They also work with regular education teachers to meet the needs of students when they are in the regular education classroom.
Life Skills Support
Plum Borough School District has a primary life skills program (K-4) located at Center Elementary School, an intermediate life skills program (5-8) located at Holiday Park, and a high school life skills program (9-12) located at Plum High School.
The primary and intermediate life skills programs are appropriate for children who have significant language deficits and/or low intellectual abilities. They include supports for both academic and functional life skills including social skills and self-care skills.
The secondary life skills program is a functional academic program emphasizing the development of the students' potential in personal/social skills, vocational, recreational, and community living skills. The curriculum is aimed at teaching the life skills needed to achieve self-sufficiency and to provide students with an opportunity to acquire these independent living skills at a pace appropriate to the students' abilities and needs.
The secondary life skills program also includes the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) lab, which provides training in basic career/vocational and life skills. It operates as a simulated work environment, where students become employees and the teachers become supervisors. Students get the feel of real work, while also learning about and exploring various career and vocational areas.
Emotional support is provided to students with severe mental health, behavioral, and/or social difficulties. Emotional support services might include functional behavior assessments (FBA) and positive behavior support plans (PBSP), as well as support from school counselors and special education teachers.
Autistic support is provided to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and may include behavioral, academic, and/or emotional support services. These services might include functional behavior assessments (FBA) and positive behavior support plans (PBSP), as well as support from school counselors and special education teachers. Common accommodations include individualized instruction, picture schedules, and sensory strategies.
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and Language services are provided to students of all ages who have a qualifying speech or language disorder that is negatively impacting them academically and/or socially in the classroom. Speech therapists can screen students at parent or teacher request. Based on the screening results, a formal assessment of speech and language may be completed. If a student shows a need for speech and language therapy, an IEP will be developed. Speech and Language Therapy is provided primarily through pulling students out of the regular classroom into small groups.
Services are provided for the following disorders:
Speech Sound Disorders (Articulation and Phonological Processes)
Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).
An impairment which delays the development of language, including both receptive and expressive language.
Disruptions in the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllables, words, and phrases are joined together when speaking. Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them. Fluency disorders are used as a collective term for both cluttering and stuttering.
Absence or abnormal production of voice quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration. An evaluation by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist is necessary before any speech evaluation be conducted in the school setting.
Helpful Speech/Language Websites
Occupational Therapy (OT) is provided through contracted professionals through the Hope Learning Center. Occupational therapy addresses deficits in fine/small motor skills such as writing, cutting with scissors, and dressing (buttons and zippers).
Physical Therapy (PT) is provided through contracted professionals through the Hope Learning Center. Physical therapy addresses deficits in gross/large motor skills such as walking, balancing, and going up and down steps.
Hearing Services are provided through contracted professionals through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3. These services may include auditory equipment such as hearing aids or FM systems for use in the classroom, as well as individualized instruction from a teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
Vision Services are provided through contracted professionals through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3. These services may include orientation and mobility instruction and Braille instruction, as well as assistive technology to support students in the classroom.
In accordance with Pennsylvania regulations, when a student with an IEP reaches the age of 14, the IEP team begins transition planning for post-secondary activities. Transition planning may focus on preparation for post-secondary education, career plans, and independent living skills. Please refer to the links below for a transition checklist and other web resources to support transition.
Extended School Year (ESY)
Each year, a student's IEP team will use data to determine whether the child is eligible for ESY, which occurs during the summer. The purpose of ESY is to help a student maintain skills addressed through the IEP during the summer break. Plum Borough School District offers an ESY program at one of the district's buildings, typically during the month of July.
If a student's needs cannot be appropriately met within Plum Borough School District, the IEP team may consider alternative educational placements outside of the district through private facilities, at no cost to the parent. The decision to remove a student from his or her neighborhood school requires a team decision and only after all other options have been exhausted.