Special Education

Special Education Department Parent Engagement Series

Again this school year, the District's Special Education Department is hosting Parent Engagement Sessions. During the evenings, members of the Special Education Department will provide an overview of the programs offered in our District and will be available to answer parent questions related to special education services.
Sessions will be held in the fall, winter, and spring. Additional details will be emailed to families prior to each event and posted on the District website as a news item and calendar event.

Amended Age-Out Policy

In August 2023, a memo was sent from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to all LEAs regarding a change in the age of eligibility for free and appropriate public education. The memo states...

Effective no later than September 5, 2023, all students entitled to FAPE and all of the rights and procedural safeguards under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Chapter 14 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code may remain enrolled in public school until they turn 22 years of age. This includes students who turned 21 and exited during or after the 2022-2023 school term.

If interested, the following links contain additional information regarding PDE's policy change:

If after reviewing this information you have questions about the policy change or your student's eligibility, please contact Mrs. Kristen Peters, Director of Special Education.

Special Education Plan

The Special Education Plan describes the special education program and services that are provided within the District and those special education programs and services which are accessed by the District from outside the school buildings. The special education plan was approved by the Board on Thursday, July 21, 2022, and was submitted to PDE. Click here to review the plan.

Special Education Programs & Services

Every student in the West Shore School District will be offered an educational program that meets his/her individual needs and is suited to his/her unique abilities. Specific programs and services are provided for students who are in need of:

  • Autistic Support - communication, social skills, and self-regulation supports
  • Gifted Support - enrichment and acceleration supports
  • Learning Support - academic supports (reading, writing, and math)
  • Life Skills Support - functional academic and independent living skills
  • Emotional Support - coping strategies, social skills, and self-regulation supports
  • Deaf or Hearing Impaired Support - communication and language supports
  • Blind or Visually Impaired Support - visual accommodations and modifications including orientation and mobility supports
  • Speech and Language Support - articulation and language-based communication supports 
  • Physical Support - accessibility supports and accommodations
  • Multi-Disabilities Support - functional living and communication skills

Special Education
Educational programs (full-time, supplemental, itinerant) are available in the District or by contract with support agencies for students with a disability. Your child may be eligible for Special Education if he/she:

  • Has a physical, sensory, intellectual or emotional disability 
  • Needs special education as determined by an evaluation team

Your child must meet both qualifications in order to be eligible for special education.

Gifted Support
Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code 116.1)

The gifted program is designed for students (K-12) whose exceptional academic skills require special education activities to challenge their intellectual abilities. Services are based on individual student need and may vary from student to student and grade level to grade level. Services may include direct support and/or support in the regular education setting.

Protected Handicapped
Children who have disabilities which substantially limit their participation in or access to school programs, but who do not need special education, may qualify for reasonable accommodations in the regular classroom under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other Pennsylvania education regulations.

For further information or answers to questions regarding the evaluation process or specific special education programs and services, contact the Special Education Department, 717-938-9577.

AHEDD and the West Shore School District - Connecting Students with Transition Services


Mrs. Kristen Peters
Director of Special Education

Links of Interest

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