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Lakeview School District Special Education

 

The Lakeview School District serves students with disabilities in grades K-12.  Lakeview offers a wide range of services in order to appropriately meet the needs of all students.  The District ensures a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for students through the IEP process. Each individual student’s needs are addressed on a case by case basis.

The total enrollment for students in the District was 1198 at the end of the 2014 school year.  The number of unduplicated special education students was 216.  17.28% of the current student population has been identified as needing special education services.

Currently, the District provides special education programs at Oakview Elementary, at Lakeview Middle School, and at Lakeview High School.  Students in grades K-4 attend Oakview Elementary where they are supported by four special education teachers, three classroom instructional aides, two personal care aides and one CNA.  They also receive services from the District’s speech clinicians and contracted support providers through Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV.  Lakeview is currently contracting for the following services: physical therapy, occupational therapy, hearing impaired support, vision support, and assistive technology support.  Oakview also hosts an Early Intervention Classroom operated by Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV.

Students in grades 5-8 are supported by seven special education teachers in the Middle School building. Additionally, they receive support from two classroom instructional aides one personal care aide, and one CNA. The District’s middle school students currently access speech services through the District staff and occupational therapy, physical therapy, and assistive technology support through Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV staff. Lakeview Middle School also houses an Emotional Support Classroom operated by Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV. 

The High School serves students in grades 9-12. They are supported by five special education teachers, one classroom instructional aide, and four personal care aides. The District’s High School students currently access the District speech services, as well as the contracted occupational therapy, physical therapy, and assistive technology services. 

Additionally, Lakeview contracts with Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV and other local educational providers to supply appropriate specific educational settings and programs for students with low incidence disabilities that require more intensive services than those offered by the District.  Lakeview strives to educate as many special education students as possible in their district of residence, so this number remains very small.    

The Lakeview School District provides quality programs and services to all of its students. The District is very proud of the inclusion programs operated in each of its buildings and fully promotes inclusionary practices and effective teaching strategies in order to accommodate students with disabilities in the LRE. As a result, Lakeview is able to educate most special education students within the District.  Each student’s strengths and weaknesses are evaluated on an individual basis by the IEP Team, and decisions are always based upon the needs of the child and not on cost or location. Some children, however, cannot be appropriately served in their neighborhood school because of their unique needs and, therefore, are served in other settings as determined by the IEP Team.

The positive results of the Cyclical Monitoring, conducted in 2010, demonstrate the District’s commitment to providing students with disabilities quality programs and services. The evaluation was conducted by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education (BASE).  The District received commendations in the following areas:

  • “The school district is commended for its active pursuit of grants."
  • “The school district is commended for its collaboration with Slippery Rock University in presenting information and training regarding differentiated instruction and accommodating diverse learners.”

Furthermore, parents of special needs children in the Lakeview School District have consistently expressed their satisfaction with the academic programs and services provided by the District.  They are very pleased with the progress their children have made throughout their educational experiences.  Parents have shared their praise during IEP meetings, phone conversations with administrators and staff, and through written correspondence.  Historically, there has been a high level of parent participation in IEP meetings.  There are well established, positive relationships between the teachers and parents within the District, as well as with other educational providers, agencies, and neighboring schools. In an effort to further enhance parent engagement in the educational process, the District has posted numerous resources and training announcements on the Special Education Webpage.

The Lakeview School District has numerous strengths in regard to current special education services and programs for students with disabilities.  Some of the highlights and notable areas include:

  • The District Administration is well aware and supportive of the special education programs and services provided within their individual buildings.  The Elementary Principal and staff are utilizing RTII initiatives to locate and identify students in need of special education services.  All three of the District Principals often participate as members of the IEP team and are always available to staff who have questions and need additional support when working with students with disabilities.
  • Collaborative teaming between staff, administrators, providers, and parents occur at multiple levels.  Individuals participate together during formal and monitoring IEP meetings, general programming and development meetings, regularly scheduled staffings, and informal meetings held at parent request.
  • The District maintains positive relationships with other school districts.  This has allowed for mutual information sharing regarding data and needs, staff development opportunities, maintenance and planning for programming needs, grant writing, and collaboration in serving the student population effectively.
  • The District continues to advance the process of incorporating the “Co-Teaching Model” in the classroom through which special education and regular education teachers work together to plan, design, and instruct lessons in the regular education setting.  As a result, Lakeview is able to implement the use of inclusive practices in grades K-12.  The majority of students are successful within the regular education classroom when provided with supplementary aides and services.  The District continues to partner with Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV and PaTTAN to provide ongoing staff development. 
  • The District provides an Itinerant Autistic Support Classroom at the elementary level and a Supplemental/Itinerant Autistic Support Classroom within the middle school building and a Supplemental/Itinerant Life Skills Support Classroom that serves students in grades 7-12 within the High School. Both programs utilize a great deal of co-teaching.  The Autistic Support teacher and speech clinician utilize the “Ready-Set-Go” model for many co-taught activities.  They also offer numerous sensory related activities and equipment to meet individual needs.
  • The District provides supplemental Learning Support services at each of the three buildings.
  • Oakview houses an Early Intervention Classroom operated by Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, and the Middle School houses an Emotional Support Classroom operated by Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV.
  • The District provides all day kindergarten at Oakview.
  • The District employs one full-time school psychologist, three full-time guidance counselors, and two speech clinicians. 
  • The elementary and middle school building utilize Student Prevention and Review Teams, the Student Prevention and Review Team meets frequently throughout the year to discuss at-risk students.  Grade level teams also hold data meetings three times a year to discuss students and instruction; they utilize flexible rotation groups, which are data-based and skill-driven.
  • The High School utilizes the Student Assistance Program to identify and provide services with students who need additional support.  The team consists of twelve trained members and includes: an administrator, guidance counselor, nurse, school psychologist, and teachers.  The District also has a SAP Liaison from Mercer County Behavioral Health who provides training and updates.  The team offers school-based counseling, on-site interventions, a mentoring program, drug/alcohol counseling, and networking with a number of community agencies.  Each student is assigned a case worker who meets with them one time per week.
  • Evidence-based curriculum in reading and math is utilized. Additional time is allotted for struggling students beyond the core instructional time.
  • Strong networking relationships with other school districts continues to be maintained and the administrators and staff continually foster strong interagency relationships. 
  • The District has high parent participation during IEP meetings and regularly encourages additional communication through e-mail, informal meetings, and telephone conversations. 
  • The District is makes special education resources and training announcements available to parents on the District website.  In addition, information is provided on student progress through eSchoolbook.  eSchoolbook is a software application providing scores on class tests, homework assignments, projects, class averages, general school information, and school contacts.  Parents are also given information through individual building websites, newsletters, and notices distributed throughout the year.  Parents are provided with additional information at each IEP meeting, as well as a copy of the procedural safeguards.
  • All of the regular and special education teachers employed by the District are “Highly Qualified.”  Individual special education teachers have also pursued additional certifications through completion of either the “Praxis” in a specific content area or areas, and/or through both the “Bridge” and “HOUSSE” Programs, thereby, fulfilling the additional requirements for designation as highly qualified/certified.  This affords the District greater flexibility in scheduling and in providing instruction for a variety of subject areas in both the Middle School and High School settings within the District.
  • In addition, 57% of the special education staff employed by the District have earned their Master’s Degree or Masters Equivalency.  A number of the new special education staff are already working towards completing their degree.
  • Paraeducators are required to maintain their “Highly Qualified” status by completing twenty hours of instruction through sessions facilitated by the District, Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, PaTTAN, or other educational agencies. 
  • The District provides staff (professional and paraprofessional) development through a coordinated program of activities. Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV continues to provide the District with ongoing training in the areas of Transition, Functional Behavior Assessments, IEP Development, Positive Behavior Support, De-escalation and Safety Mechanics, Indicator 13 and 14, Progress Monitoring, Response to Instruction and Intervention, IDEIA, Assistive Technology, Differentiated Instruction, Autism, Standards Aligned Systems, and other topics as they become necessary. This history of solid professional development has prepared the staff at Lakeview to deal with a diverse population of children.
  • The District offers access to a wide variety of staff development and training opportunities in order to help teachers earn Act 48 hours.  Planned courses to be offered at the District include: utilizing local assessment and PSSA results to inform instruction, assistive technology training, working with students who have autism, using simple sign language to support students with disabilities, implementing positive behavior supports, and training on the use of restraints, to name a few.  Teachers will also have opportunities to participate in courses hosted by PaTTAN, Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, as well as workshops held by local colleges and universities.
  • The District provides students with transition activities via web resources, community-based instruction, and community partnerships.  Community-Based Vocational Training Class is offered through the Life Skills program.  Students develop social skills and work competencies during experiences with their classroom instructor, and they have the opportunity to participate in essential community awareness activities.
  • At the Middle School, 8th grade students utilize the Keys to Work program, which is a career-based skill improvement program built upon the WorkKeys system.
  • Students at the High School have the opportunity to participate in externships or internships during their senior year.  Students with IEPs can elect to participate during their junior year, as well.  Students are set up with these opportunities based on their career interests, job preference, and current skills.  Students complete job-related tasks and later evaluate their experiences by providing a written reflection.
  • A number of special education students also attend the Mercer County Career Center to obtain specialized training.  A representative from the Career Center is invited to the annual IEPs.  The representative explains the program to students, outlines MCCC expectations, and answers parent questions.  A special education teacher is on-site at MCCC and ensures that each student's IEP is implemented and that the specially designed instruction is utilized.
  • Transition Staffings were offered to juniors and seniors in special education the past two years.  These students had the opportunity to meet with various agency providers and discuss their future goals.  Plans were developed for each students to help them work towards these goals.  Agency participants have included representatives from: OVR, the PEAL Center, Works for Me PA, MIU#4, and AHEADD.
  • The Life Skills class in the High School participates in community awareness activities and job skill preparation each week.  In the past, they have attended Storm Harbor Equestrian Facility at Slippery Rock University during most weeks in the spring. Students have worked on transferable job skills while learning to groom and care for horses, participate in farm chores, and perform other animal care related tasks.
  • The District’s current graduation and drop-out rates for special needs students are within the state range.  In 2011-2012, 95% of all students in the District graduated, while 100% of students with IEPs graduated. The review of the Special Education Data Reports for the past three years indicates that the District has met the State Performance Plan Targets for both graduation and drop-out rates. The District will continue to monitor graduation/drop-out rates as it continues to strive towards attaining the 100% graduation, 0% drop-out goal.
  • The District remains firmly committed to fulfilling the requirements of the current educational laws in order to provide high quality, appropriate educational programming for students with disabilities.

 

 

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