Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs

Notice to Parents

Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs



Child Find Notice

According to state and federal special education regulations, Annual Public Notice to parents of children who reside within a school district is required regarding Child Find responsibilities. School Districts, Intermediate Units, and Charter Schools are required to conduct Child Find activities for children who may be eligible for services via Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For additional information related to Section 504/Chapter 15 Services, the parent may refer to Section 504, Chapter 15, and the Basic Education Circular entitled “Implementation of Chapter 15.” Also, school districts are required to conduct Child Find activities for children who may be eligible for Gifted Services via 22 PA Code Chapter 16. For additional information regarding Gifted Services, the parent may refer to 22 PA Code Chapter 16. If a student is both gifted and eligible for Special Education, the procedures in IDEA and Chapter 14 shall take precedence.

This Notice shall inform parents throughout the School District, Intermediate Unit, and Charter School of the child identification activities and of the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of information pertaining to students with disabilities or eligible young children. In addition to this Public Notice, each School District, Intermediate Unit, and Charter School shall publish written information in the handbook and on the website. Children of ages three through twenty-one can be eligible for special education programs and services. If parents believe that the child may be eligible for special education, the parent should contact the appropriate staff members identified at the end of this public notice.

Children age three through the age of admission to first grade are also eligible if they have developmental delays and, as a result, need special education and related services. Developmental delay is defined as a child who is less than the age of beginners and at least three years of age and is considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists: (i) The child’s score, on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25% of the child’s chronological age in one or more developmental areas; (ii) The child is delayed in one or more of the developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on standardized tests. Developmental areas include cognitive, communicative, physical, social/emotional, and self-help. For additional information, parents may contact Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8.




Screening Process

In accordance with federal and state law, the Portage Area School District has established systems of screening activities designed to identify students who may be eligible for special education programs and services and/or meet the criteria as a “protected student with disabilities”. 

Intermediate Unit 8 and each school district in Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties has established and implemented procedures to locate, identify, and evaluate students and young children suspected of being exceptional. These procedures include screening activities which include but are not limited to:

Review of group‑based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, and report cards)

Hearing screening (at a minimum of kindergarten, special ungraded classes, first, second, third, seventh, and eleventh grades)

Vision screening (every grade level)

Motor screening (Ongoing basis by classroom teachers)

Speech and language screening (Prior to entering kindergarten and on a referral basis)

Regular universal screenings of academic skills

In schools which have a Pre-Referral/Educational Support Team, the above screening activities may lead to consideration by the team to move the next level of screening activities.

Except as indicated above or otherwise announced publicly, screening activities take place in an ongoing fashion throughout the school year. Each educational agency has a system for annually evaluating the effectiveness of its screening process.

A multi-tiered, pre-referral process is utilized to screen for and identify students who demonstrate at-risk academic and/or social/emotional/behavioral concerns. Along with teacher input and classroom assessments, the data from formative assessments are used to determine which students may be at-risk for learning difficulties. Screening information may be used by the instructional and support staff to plan, implement, and monitor appropriate interventions and to assist the student's progress in the general curriculum.


Special Education Evaluation

When screening procedures and activities indicate that a student may be a child with a disability that needs specially designed instruction in the form of an IEP, the school district will seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation. Evaluation means procedures used in the determination of whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. The term means procedures used selectively with an individual child and do not mean basic tests administered to or procedures used with all children.

This evaluation is conducted by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) that includes the parent and a group of qualified professionals. The process must be conducted in accordance with specific timelines and must include protection‑in‑evaluation procedures. For example, tests and procedures used as part of the evaluation may not be racially or culturally biased.

The evaluation process results in a written evaluation report. This report specifies a student's eligibility for special education based on the presence of a disability and the need for specially designed instruction. Students who are found to be eligible for special education services are found to be eligible under one or more of the following educational disability categories:


*Emotional disturbance


*Hearing impairment

*Specific learning disability

*Intellectual disability

*Multiple Disabilities

*Other health impairment

*Orthopedic Impairment due to chronic or acute health problems

*Speech and language impairment

*Visual impairment including blindness


*Traumatic Brain Injury

The evaluation report also makes recommendations for educational programming. Once parental consent for evaluation is obtained, the school district has timelines and procedures specified by law which it must follow.

Parents also have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation. The school district must provide to parents, on request, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained. Under certain circumstances, such an independent educational evaluation may be obtained at public expense.



School entities cannot proceed with an evaluation or with the initial provision of special education and related services without the written consent of the parents. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice which can be found at the PaTTAN website, at . After written parental consent is obtained, the district will proceed with the

evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation, the parent can then request an independent education evaluation at public expense.


IEP Development

When a student is found to be exceptional, the IEP team develops a written education plan called an IEP. The IEP is based on the results of the evaluation. Required members include at least one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment), at least one special education teacher, or where appropriate, at least one special education provider, a local educational agency, the child, whenever appropriate, or beginning at age 14. Parents may agree, in writing, to excuse a team member or members.

An IEP describes a student's current educational levels, goals, objectives (when required), and the individualized programs and services that the student will receive. IEP’s are reviewed on an annual basis. The IEP team will make decisions about the type of services, the level of intervention, and the location of intervention. Types of services include:

Autistic Support

Blind and Visually Impaired Support

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support

Emotional Support

Learning Support

Life Skills Support

Multiple Disabilities Support

Physical Support

Speech and Language Support

Level of support options include:

*Itinerant – Special Education supports and services provided by special education personnel for 20% or less of the school day.

*Supplemental – Special Education supports and services provided by Special Education personnel for more than 20% but less than 80% of the school day.

*Full‑time - Special Education supports and services provided by Special Education personnel for 80% or more of the school day.

Placement must be made in the least restrictive environment in which the student's needs can be met with special education and related services. All students with disabilities must be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who are not disabled.

Confidentiality of Information

The School Districts, Intermediate Units, and Charter Schools maintain records concerning all children enrolled in the school, including students with disabilities. All records are maintained in the strictest confidentiality. Parental consent, or consent of an eligible child who has reached the age of majority under State law, must be obtained before personally identifiable information is released, except as permitted under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The age of majority in Pennsylvania is 21. Each participating agency must protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. One official at each participating agency must assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information. Each participating agency must maintain, for public inspection, a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the agency who have access to personally identifiable information.


For additional information related to student records, parents may refer to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


Retention/Destruction of Student Records- Special Education

In accordance with state and federal regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), this notice is hereby given that in accordance with 24CFR 300.573, the School Districts, Intermediate Unit and Charter Schools listed below may destroy the special education records of students who exited from any special education program.

Special education records, which have been collected by the School Districts, Intermediate Unit and Charter Schools listed below related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of the Special Education in the district, IU or charter school must be maintained under state and federal law for a period of seven (7) years after Special Education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student no longer is eligible for services, graduates, completes his or her educational program at age 21, or moves from the School District, Intermediate Unit, or Charter School.

After seven (7) years, the records are no longer useful to the School District, Intermediate Unit or Charter School and will be destroyed in accordance with state and federal law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student contacts the responsible district that the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student wishes to maintain the information as a personal record. These records may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student when applying for post-secondary education/training, benefits or social services.

Records including student’s name, address, grades, attendance, dates attended, grade level completed and year completed may be destroyed after seven (7) years have passed from the student’s 21st birthday.


If you wish to request records or need additional information you may contact the responsible school entity.

Destruction will proceed where parents/guardians or eligible (adult) students have not requested records in accordance with the responsible school district’s, Intermediate Unit’s or Charter School’s Notice of Destruction of Special Education Records.


Retention/Destruction of Student Records- PA State Assessments

In accordance with 34 CFR § 300.624, please be advised of the following retention/destruction schedule for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), and Keystone Exam related materials:

- PSSA, Keystone Exam, and PASA test booklets will be destroyed one year after student reports are delivered for the administration associated with the test booklets.

- PSSA and Keystone Exam answer booklets and PASA media recordings will be destroyed three years after completion of the assessment.


This notice is only a summary of the Special Education services, evaluation and screening activities, and rights and protections pertaining to children with disabilities, children thought to be disabled, and their parents. For information or to request evaluation or screening of a public or private school child, contact the responsible school entity listed below. For preschool age children information, screenings, and evaluations requested may be obtained by contacting the Intermediate Unit 08.




Special Education Contacts

Appalachia IU08:

Dr. Amy Woomer

4500 Sixth Ave.

Altoona, Pa 16602

1-800-228-7900 Ext. 1320


Portage Area School District:

Mrs. Olivia Kudlawiec

84 Mountain Ave.

Portage, Pa 15946

814-736-9636 ext. 1605



Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8

Dr. Amy Woomer, Contact Person

4500 Sixth Avenue Altoona, PA 16602




Bedford Area School District

Dr. Paul Ruhlman, Contact Person

330 East John Street Bedford, PA 15522

814-623-4260, ext. 1510



Bellwood-Antis School District

Carol A. Beard, Contact Person

400 Martin Street Bellwood, PA 16617

814-742-7605 Ext 5153


Cambria Heights School District

Robert Diamond, Contact Person

426 Glendale Lake Road, Patton, PA 16668

814-674-3601 ext. 4007




Central Cambria School District

Melissa Shaffer, Contact Person

208 Schoolhouse Road Ebensburg, PA 15931

814-472-4492 ext. 288



Conemaugh Township Area School District

Jane Jugan, Contact Person

1516 Tire Hill Road, Johnstown, PA 15905

814-479-4080, ext. 3758


Everett Area School District

James Hollis, Contact Person

427 East South Street Everett, PA 15537

814-652-9114, ext. 2109 


Forest Hills School District

Special Education Contact Person

PO Box 158 Sidman, PA 15955



Hollidaysburg Area School District

Laura Koehle, Contact Person

405 Clark Street

Hollidaysburg, PA 16648



North Star School District

Suzie St. Clair, Contact Person

1200 Morris Avenue Boswell, PA 15531



Northern Cambria School District

Robert Truscello, Contact Person

601 Joseph Street Northern Cambria, PA 15714

814-948-5880, ext. 2664



Portage Area School District

Pete Noel, Contact Person

Ralph Cecere, Contact Person

84 Mountain Avenue Portage, PA 15946

814-736-9636, ext. 1605 or 1304


Rockwood Area School District

Mary Gosnell, Contact Person

437 Somerset Avenue Rockwood, PA 15557

814-926-4688 ext. 1116


Shade-Central City School District

Amy Pierce, Contact Person

235 McGregor Avenue Cairnbrook, PA 15924



Somerset Area School District

Erick Fish, Contact Person

645 South Columbia Avenue, Suite 130 Somerset, PA 15501




Turkeyfoot Valley School District

Nicole Dice, Contact Person

172 Turkeyfoot Road Confluence, PA 15424

814-395-3621, ext. 409


Tyrone Area School District

Kourtney Klock, Contact Person

701 Clay Avenue Tyrone PA 16686

814-684-4240, ext. 4136



Williamsburg Community School District

Lisa Murgas, Contact Person

515 West Third Street

Williamsburg, PA 16693



Windber Area School District

Richard Lucas, Contact Person

2301 Graham Avenue Windber, PA 15963

814-467-4567 ext. 810



Bedford County Technical Center

Mark Bollman, Contact Person

195 Pennknoll Road Everett, PA 15537

814-623-2760, ext. 4800



 Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center

Dr. John Augustine, III, Contact Person

445 Schoolhouse Road Johnstown, PA 15904

814-266-6073, ext. 400


 Central Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation

Dina Morrissey, Contact Person

580 Foot of Ten Road Duncansville, PA 16635

814-682-5258, ext 105



 Bedford County Prison

Brad Theys, Contact Person

425 Imlertown Road Bedford, PA 15522




Cambria County Prison

Brad Theys, Contact Person

425 Manor Drive Ebensburg, PA 15931



Altoona Area School District

Michele Sanders, Contact Person

1415 Sixth Avenue Altoona, PA 16602

814-946-8252 Ext 6100



Berlin-Brothersvalley School District

Maria Murphy, Contact Person

1025 Main Street Berlin, PA 15530




Blacklick Valley School District

Heather Rhine, Contact Person

555 Birch Street Nanty-Glo, PA 15943

814-749-9211, ext. 223



Chestnut Ridge School District

Dr. Amy D. Miller, Contact Person

3281 Valley Road Fishertown, PA 15539

814-839-4195, ext. 4441



Claysburg-Kimmel School District

Brian Helsel, Contact Person

531 Bedford Street Claysburg, PA 16625

814-239-5141 ext. 1318



Conemaugh Valley School District

Michael Chappie, Contact Person

1342 William Penn Avenue Johnstown, PA 15909



Ferndale Area School District

Jessica Maxwell, Contact Person

100 Dartmouth Avenue Johnstown, PA 15905




Greater Johnstown School District

Amie Lumadue, Contact Person

1091 Broad Street Johnstown, PA 15906




Meyersdale Area School District

Angela Boutiller, Contact Person

309 Industrial Park Road Meyersdale, PA 15552

814-634-5123, ext. 304




Northern Bedford County School District

Lindsay Cherry, Contact Person

152 NBC Drive Loysburg, PA 16659

814-766-2221, ext. 4718



Penn Cambria School District

Carrie Conrad, Contact Person

201 Sixth Street Cresson, PA 16630

814-886-4785 ext. 1004




Richland School District

Jennifer Shuman, Contact Person

321 Schoolhouse Road Johnstown, PA 15904





Salisbury-Elk Lick School District

Kala Loya, Contact Person

PO Box 68 Salisbury, PA 15558




Shanksville-Stonycreek School District

Reno Barkman, Contact Person

PO Box 128 Shanksville, PA 15560

814-267-4649, ext. 252


Spring Cove School District

Harry Gregg, Contact Person

1100 East Main Street Roaring Spring, PA 16673




Tussey Mountain School District

Denelle Diehl, Contact Person

199 Front Street Saxton, PA 16678





Westmont Hilltop School District

Nicole Cramer, Contact Person

222 Fair Oaks Drive Johnstown, PA 15905



Admiral Peary Area Vocational-Technical School

Angela Hudak, Contact Person

948 Ben Franklin Highway

Ebensburg, PA 15931

814-472-6490, ext. 310


Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center

Mike Selvenis, Contact Person

1500 Fourth Avenue Altoona, PA 16602





Somerset County Technology Center

Matthew Danel, Contact Person

281 Technology Drive Somerset, PA 15501

 814-443-3651, ext. 6128



Hope for Hyndman Charter School

Stephanie Holliday, Contact Person

130 School Drive Hyndman, PA 15545

814-842-3918, ext. 305



Blair County Prison

Brad Theys, Contact Person

419 Market Square Alley Hollidaysburg, PA 16648




Somerset County Prison

Brad Theys, Contact Person

127 East Fairview Street

Somerset, PA 15501


The Intermediate Unit, School Entity, or Charter School will not discriminate in employment, educational programs, or activities based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, handicap, creed, marital status, or because a person is a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. No preschool, elementary, or secondary school pupil enrolled in a School District, Intermediate Unit, or Charter School program shall be denied equal opportunity to participate in age and program appropriate instruction or activities due to race, color, handicap, creed, national origin, marital status, or financial hardship. 

School District Contacts

 Ralph Cecere / Jr. Sr. High School Principal/Sp. Education
Address: 85 Mountain Ave., Portage, PA 15946
Phone: 814-736-9636 ext. 1304