Special Education

Listed below contains  information regarding the various components of the Special Education Department and procedures. Details include how the various areas are processed at the North East School District. Parents/guardians who may have concerns regarding their student are encouraged to reach out to their student’s teacher(s), special education supervisor, building principal, or any staff member who may be of assistance in accommodating student needs.

Referral: Before a student can be considered for placement in a special education program, a parent/guardian must grant permission, in writing, for an evaluation. Parents/guardians, teachers, and other school personnel may refer a student for an appropriate evaluation. The Permission to Evaluate states:

  • Why the student has been referred for an evaluation.
  • What procedures and types of evaluation will be used.
  • The proposed evaluation date.
  • A copy of the Procedural Safeguard Notice is provided.

Evaluation: A school psychologist will evaluate the student using a variety of assessment tools such as a specific type of test, teacher observations, parent information, and a review of records.  After the evaluation, a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meets to discuss the results and recommendations. Along with the parents of the child, the team may include a special education teacher, regular classroom teacher, counselor, therapist, psychologist, and school principal. If a special education placement is recommended, the team will develop an Individual Education Program (IEP).

IEP/NOREP: Every student in a special education program has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) written by the IEP team that identifies goals, and objectives for the school year. Parents/guardians receive a copy of the IEP and may contact the student’s teacher if there are any questions. Approval for special education is given by the parent’s/guardian’s signature on the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP). The NOREP is kept in the student’s permanent school file along with the student’s Evaluation Report and IEP.

Due Process: Due Process is a series of steps to assure students of a free, appropriate public education. A parent/guardian should participate in each decision that affects the student’s education program. No changes are ever made without the knowledge or consent of a parent/guardian. A parent/guardian has the right to disagree with the decisions. These decisions may be reviewed in a pre-hearing conference, mediation, or due process hearing with school district and IU #5 personnel.  

Emotional Support: Programs are available for students who have had long-term, significant behavior problems which cannot be explained by intellectual or health factors; problems building relationships with other students and teachers; or behavior problems indicating unhappiness or depression. The goal of the ES program is to teach skills that support positive behavior, which will permit the students to re-enter the regular classroom programs and to be successful with everyday situations.  

Learning Support: Programs are available for students who show weakness in reasoning, thinking, reading, writing, spelling, or math skills, but are of average or above average intelligence. The student may be eligible for itinerant, resource, part-time, or full-time Learning Support services based on the needs.  

Gaskin v. Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
A lawsuit resulting in mandated changes in some special educational services.  As part of the court settlement, PDE is requiring all school districts to share the Notice of Proposed Settlement (Notice) to the parents of students receiving special education services. Gaskin vs PDE

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)
A copy of these policies can be found on the following websites: www.nesd1.org under Resources – District Policies and www.pde.state.pa.us under tab Pre-K through 12 Special Education.

Autistic Support: The Autistic Support Program at E.C. Davis Primary is language-based. We try and include the children with their same age peers for appropriate and meaningful interactions.  The children in the program are taught to read and write, number awareness, and to communicate wants and needs.  Each child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) based on their unique needs and abilities.  The goals written in the IEP are aligned with the PA state standards.  This is also a behaviorally-based program.  Children with autism often have behaviors that interfere with learning.  The job of the staff in an Autistic Support Program is to help the children learn to overcome these behaviors and to encourage and enhance learning.  Our community-based outings are another important part of our curriculum.  These children can learn things in their environment that would not be possible in a classroom.  Children with Autism do not generalize. They need to be taken to natural surroundings to learn how to interact with people and things that are unfamiliar to them.  The atmosphere in the Autistic Support Program is one of respect for the children as well as their families.

Gifted Support: Students are offered a variety of challenging and enriching activities within the regular classroom.  The teachers gather information regarding classroom performance during the school year. Along with this, the students may take COGAT tests (Test of Cognitive Abilities). The students who demonstrate the traits of gifted learners may be recommended for formal screening.

Special Education Requests

Please contact Brianne Hodges or Tim Baronner at the phone numbers listed below.

Ms. Brianne Hodges

Special Education Supervisor

Mr. Tim Baronner

School Psychologist

Ms. Nancy Bifulco

Special Ed. Secretary

Ms. Andrea Maynard

Emotional Support

Ms. Kristen Righi

Social & Emotional Learning Specialist

Mr. Joseph Rizzo

Student & Family Relations Specialist

Ms. Megan Sebald

Speech/Language Pathologist