ST. MARYS — When it comes to special education, the St. Marys Area School District is targeting an increase of inclusion models like co-teaching and an expansion of transition services. School Psychologist Sarah Schreiber outlined these and other goals during a presentation to the district’s board of directors during a workshop session Tuesday night.
Pennsylvania schools are required to submit special education plans every three years. The plan for the St. Marys schools that Schreiber described will, if approved, apply from July 2018 until June 2021.
“The process of the plan is to review the current practices that the district uses, and then to begin looking at targeted areas that the states selects,” she said. “This plan is very specific and targeted to state initiatives in which the district is required to comply with.”
Among the district’s current special education high points, Schreiber said, are a dedicated staff, state-certified autism classrooms at the high school and at South St. Marys Street Elementary, and working relationships with local agencies. She also said special needs students are involved in district extracurricular activities.
Moving forward, Schreiber said the district will focus on co-teaching models, which feature a mix of special and regular students in one classroom with two teachers, and other inclusion models. She also said the district will look to expand its transition services, possibly connecting students with vocational resources or job coaching experiences.
The expansion of emotional and autistic support in the middle of high school was mentioned, as was the increase of assistive technology and software.