Special Education Office Staff
Special Education Coordinator - Mrs. Jessica Maxwell
School Psychologist - Mr. Christian Gianonne
Special Education Secretary - Mrs. Lori Himes
Office Phone - (814) 539-6168
Office Fax - (814) 539-6160
Special Education Programs
In Special Education Programming students typically receive support within the regular classroom, as part of their scheduled day. Some services are delivered within small group or individual settings. Occasionally, students receive services at an out-of-district location. Regardless of service or locations students receive services in the least restrictive environment.
Learning Support – for children whose greatest need of support is in the areas of reading, writing, math, or speaking or listening related to academics.
Emotional Support – for children whose greatest need is for social, emotional, and behavioral help.
Life Skills Support – for children whose greatest need is to learn academic, functional, or vocational skills that will allow them to live and work independently.
Blind and Visually Impaired Support – for children who require services related to visual impairments or blindness. These services are typically provided through a contract with appropriate professionals.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support – for children who require services related to deafness or hearing impairment.
Speech and Language Support – for children who have speech and language impairments and require services to develop communication skills.
Autistic Support – for children with autism who require services in the areas of communication, social skills, or behavior.
Multiple Disabilities Support – for children with more than one disability, the combination of which results in severe impairment, and who require services in academic, functional, or vocational skills necessary for independent living.
Special Education at the Ferndale Area School District:
The Elementary K4-6 building has an outstanding inclusion program. Students are included for Science, Social Studies, Math, English, and Reading/Language Arts with appropriate adaptations and modifications. The Elementary building utilizes a developmental reading model. Students in K4-1st grade participate in reading instruction within their homeroom settings. However, students in grades 2-6 are grouped homogeneously to be instructed on their individual level. Teachers are trained to administer assessments to students, so they are placed accurately into classrooms that will meet their individual needs. The District employs a full-time Reading Specialist along with a full-time paraprofessional (who is a certified teacher). The Reading Specialist and the paraprofessional work collaboratively with classroom teachers to provide a guided reading environment to support students who have various reading needs within the regular education classroom setting. They also work collaboratively within the kindergarten and first grade classrooms to offer support to the classroom teachers along with expertise in the area of reading. There is a special education teacher at the elementary level to provide support for students who need Autistic and/or Emotional Support(s). Each Learning Support classroom has a full-time paraprofessional who have all been certified as highly qualified. The K4-6 building utilizes a Family Support Program, with a dedicated teacher, to help at-risk students. The Family Support Program serves as the vehicle through which interventions are implemented in the regular education classroom, before referrals are made to the special education office. This program targets students who are academically, socially, or behaviorally at-risk and provides adaptations and modifications to the curriculum that are viable alternatives to the multidisciplinary evaluation process, in conjunction with a strong parent communication component.
Inclusion practices are also evident throughout the Jr./Sr. High School building. Co-teaching environments have been established in some of the Science, Social Studies, English, Reading, and Math courses. These teaching environments allow Special Education students to participate with their non-disabled peers in almost all educational situations. There is strong collaboration between the regular education teachers and the special education staff. The District employs two highly qualified paraprofessionals, as well as four highly qualified Special Education Teachers that are utilized in the regular education classroom to support inclusion at the High School level. Many of the high school students that receive Special Education Service also attend the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center on a part-time basis. The Special Education staff (at Ferndale) and the GJCTC staff have built a positive working relationship and collaborate on a regular basis to ensure success of the students that attend both schools. Ferndale Area employs a Transition Coordinator, who meets with all students aged 14 and above to ensure that post secondary goals and career aspirations are addressed. The Transition Coordinator is responsible for meeting with students either individually or in a small group setting to ensure that the transition portion of the students’ IEP is accurate and meets all requirements set forth in the Chapter 14 Regulations. The Transition Coordinator is a certified Special Education teacher utilized in the co-teaching environment at the Jr./Sr. High School. The District employs a full-time Emotional Support/Autistic Support teacher who is dedicated to working with students in grades 7-12 in need of those services.
Voter Registration Services
As part of its provision of services to special education students designed for transition to adult life, school districts and other local education agencies are required to afford students the opportunity to register to vote upon attaining 18 years of age. For all information regarding voter registration services or to obtain a voter registration application, you may go to the followings Basic Education Circulars (BECs).
Voter Registration BECs
Agency Request Form (Word)