Back to School 2018 Information
Welcome back to the 2018-2019 school year!
You will find information of importance for the new school year on these pages.
The following procedures for full paid, free or reduced priced lunch and breakfast will be in effect for the 2018-2019 school year. The daily school lunch price is $2.85 at the secondary level or $2.55 at the elementary level. Breakfast may also be purchased for $1.35 daily at all levels. Students, who qualify, may also receive meals free or at a reduced price.
The lunch and breakfast programs begin on Thursday, August 23, 2018.
To receive free or reduced priced meals for your child, you must thoroughly complete a Meal Benefit Application and return it to the school. This application must be completed every school year. One Meal Benefit Application may now be used for all eligible school children in the family. If you receive notification that you are on the direct certification list, you do not have to fill out an application. Parents/guardians can also fill out a free/reduced application online at https://www.schoolcafe.com. If you apply for meal benefits online, you do not have to submit a paper application. We can not accept Medical Assistance or EBT Access card numbers in section 2 of the Meal Benefit Application. Only the 9-digit SNAP or TANF case number can be used. Reduced-price lunches are $0.40 per day, and reduced priced breakfasts are $0.30 per day.
Students may bring in cash or a check (made payable to the "FCASD Cafeteria Fund") to the cafeteria to pay for lunch or breakfast at any time and students may also pay daily in the lunch line. If paying via the point-of-sale (POS) system, students will be given a Personal Identification Number (PIN) at the elementary, middle school, and high school. Whether prepaying or paying daily, PINs must be used at all buildings for all account transactions. Please have students bring payment in an envelope which includes the student’s name, room number, homeroom teacher, and any special instructions. Payments can also be made online once a parent signs up at https://www.schoolcafe.com. Parents/guardians will need the student's ID number and the school zip code.
Students that incur a negative balance are expected to bring their accounts up-to-date by the following school day. For further information, please see the district's Student Food Service Charges Debt Policy at: http://www.fcasd.edu/about-the-district/food-services.html?showall=&start=5.
For access to all menus, free and reduced forms, and general information on the nutrition center, please visit: http://www.fcasd.edu/about-the-district/food-services.html.
Nutrition Center Manager
Please click below to see the school district's letter pertaining to free and reduced meals.
Please click below to see the instructions for applying for free and reduced meals.
Please click below for the application for the free and reduced meals.
Please click below to view the school bus safety seatbelt pamphlet.
In order for the educational process to be efficient and effective, the Fox Chapel Area School District must collect and store certain information about students. All school records are handled in strict compliance with Federal and State laws and regulations.
Care is taken to collect only necessary information on students. Identifying data, such as name, address, birth date, academic work completed, grade, standardized achievement test scores, attendance records, and parents' or guardians' names and addresses are collected and kept permanently. Other data such as health records, discipline records, background information, and aptitude test scores are maintained for varying periods of time depending upon the nature of the information and its importance to the student's educational program. If individualized tests are to be administered, the written consent of the parent or guardian is obtained.
Standardized tests are administered to students during the school year. The results will become a part of the student record. A list of standardized tests administered in the district accompanies this letter. Should parents wish to obtain additional information about the tests, or discuss results, they may contact the building principal or counselor.
Each child's school records are available for parental inspection at mutually agreeable times by contacting the building principal.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
Please click below for the Student Accident Insurance Brochure.
Our students, educational programs, school events, and community-oriented activities are sometimes made the subject of recording by video, audio, photography, and the like for use as instructional and informational tools. Since the schools are public buildings, students are frequently the subject of video and audio recording, interviewing, and/or photographing. In addition, our students’ work is sometimes published in print and/or the electronic media. The district will allow students to be recorded, interviewed, and/or photographed and students’ work to be published for legitimate public purposes.
Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, your son or daughter may be recorded, interviewed, and/or photographed by representatives from newspapers, television stations, and radio stations, as well as district communications office personnel or their designees and these items may be publicly displayed. Students and their work and photographs may also appear in print media and/or electronically on places such as public websites, social media, and through broadcasts.
If you do object to such publication, you must file a written objection. The district will not deliberately publish your child if you have filed a written objection. The district will also make a reasonable effort to avoid publication by any third party. It is understood that the district certainly has no control of the news media or others outside of the school organization. Student participation in school activities, especially athletics and other competitive events, increases the likelihood of publication of stories and images of those students.
Please address written objections to: Bonnie Berzonski, Coordinator of Communications, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238. If you have filed a written objection in the past, you still must file a new letter of objection each year. All written objections must be filed with the district’s communications office by Monday, August 20, 2018. If you do not file a written objection, your silence will serve as implied consent.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter, please contact me in the school district communications office at 412/967-2452.
Coordinator of Communications
Inclement Weather Notice to Parents/Guardians
We take the responsibility of delaying or canceling school very seriously. We recognize that delays and cancellations create inconveniences for parents/guardians who work outside of the home and that schedule changes take away from the continuity of teaching and learning. Please know that we will not interrupt the educational process unless we feel it is absolutely necessary.
Our number one concern is the safety of children. We depend upon the experience of our bus contractor to keep us informed concerning the ability of buses to travel the roads. The process of checking road conditions begins very early in the morning. From that information, a judgment is made to delay or cancel school. If we receive advance warning of a severe storm, and have sound information that it will arrive, we may cancel classes so that children do not arrive at school and become stranded.
Parents/guardians should discuss what their children should do in case of an early dismissal. If there is an early dismissal, children will be sent home on the buses. The high school students will be dismissed first, followed by the middle school and Hartwood Elementary students, and then the remainder of the elementary students. This order of dismissal is utilized so that older children can be at home when their younger brothers and sisters arrive. Parents/guardians should plan with their children how they wish to handle an early dismissal.
Buses may be unable to make it to the regular drop-off point. If that should occur, the driver will radio the bus garage and inform the school.
If the driver is able to see the bus stop and observe the children walk to the bus stop, the driver will allow the children to disembark from the bus to walk to their normal drop-off point. Parents should encourage their children to stand away from the side of the snow-covered roads and to use extreme caution at all times.
If the driver cannot make it to the drop-off point, he/she will radio the bus garage and inform the school. School personnel will then attempt to contact the parents/guardians. If the parents/guardians cannot be notified, the children will be taken back to school.
In the event that buses do not arrive at school on schedule at dismissal time, the children will be kept in the school. There are emergency provisions in each of the buildings and the students will be fed if they are stranded at school.
Parents/guardians of elementary children must have already completed and turned in to the building principal, an emergency card. This information will help the school personnel know who to contact in the event of an emergency or weather-related early dismissal. The card should include the parents’/guardians’ emergency telephone numbers where someone can always be contacted.
Please be sure that your children are dressed for the weather. When there is a threat of snow and the wind chill is low, children should have hats, coats, boots, and gloves to wear.
Please remember that we are making a decision based on what is best for the entire school district. That decision may not always seem like the best decision for your section of the school district but may be appropriate for another area. The school district covers an area of approximately 36 square miles, so there are times when roads will be clear in one section and very bad in other areas. All roads are not treated or cleared at the same time, which can result in bus delays.
When there is a school delay, cancellation, or early dismissal, every parent/guardian in the district will receive a phone call from the district’s school messaging system. Additionally, an announcement will be placed on the district’s website at www.fcasd.edu. Please note that during a power outage it may not be possible to place an announcement on the district’s website. Delay, cancellation, and/or early dismissal announcements will also be placed on the following television stations: KDKA-TV, WPXI-TV, and WTAE-TV.
It is also important to note that if school is cancelled and student makeup days are necessary, they will be held in the following order: June 10, June 11, June 12, and June 13, 2019.
As part of our educational program, students in grades 2-12 will be provided with GoogleApps accounts. This means our students will have access to the suite of applications provided by Google, including word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet tools. The purpose of the account is to provide students with software for collaboration and learning through the use of technology. The suite of applications includes, but is not limited to: Google Drive and Google Sites.
Your son or daughter will have access to this account and its applications, both on and off campus. Students in virtual math (grade 5) and all students in grades 6-12 will also have access to Gmail on and off campus. Upon request, you may also have access to this account. If you object to your child having access to any whole or part of the GoogleApps suite, you must file a written objection. Please address written objections to: the Office of Educational Technology, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238. All written objections must be filed with the office of educational technology by Monday, August 20, 2018. If you do not file a written objection, your silence will serve as implied consent.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please call the school district's office of educational technology at 412/967-2443.
Executive Director of Instructional and Innovative Leadership
PPRA affords parents of elementary and secondary students certain rights regarding the conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include, but are not limited to, the right to:
- Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED)–
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sex behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
- Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of –
- Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
- Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others. (This does not apply to the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating, or providing educational products or services for, or to, students or educational institutions.)
- Inspect, upon request and before administration or use –
- Protected information surveys of students and surveys created by a third party;
- Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
- Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under State law.
Fox Chapel Area School District has developed and adopted policies, in consultation with parents, regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected information surveys and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. Fox Chapel Area School District will directly notify parents of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes. Fox Chapel Area School District will also directly notify, such as through U.S. Mail or email, parents of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below and will provide an opportunity for the parent to opt his or her child out of participation of the specific activity or survey. Fox Chapel Area School District will make this notification to parents at the beginning of the school year if the District has identified the specific or approximate dates of the activities or surveys at that time. For surveys and activities scheduled after the school year starts, parents will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys. Following is a list of the specific activities and surveys covered under this direct notification requirement:
- Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing, sales, or other distribution.
- Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.
Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service.
Or you may contact us at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520
In compliance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as reauthorized in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Fox Chapel Area School District is attempting to identify all children within the district that may be experiencing homelessness.
The term homeless children and youth is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes individuals:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason;
- Living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations or similar settings;
- Living in substandard housing (no running water or working utilities, infestations, etc.).
Children who are experiencing homelessness may qualify for assistance with free school lunch, school supplies/materials, tutoring and transportation so that they can remain in their school of origin throughout the duration of their homeless episode.
If you believe your child(ren) may qualify for this service, please contact my office.
If your living situation changes during the school year, and you and your children become homeless, please be sure to contact the school. We will work with you so that your child(ren)’s education is disrupted as little as possible.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
Fox Chapel Area School District uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for managing insects, rodents and weeds. Our goal is to protect every student from pesticide exposure by using an IPM approach to pest management. Our IPM approach focuses on making the school buildings and grounds an unfavorable habitat for these pests by removing food and water sources and eliminating their hiding and breeding places. We accomplish this through routine cleaning and maintenance. We routinely monitor the school building and grounds to detect any pests that are present. Pest sightings are reported to our maintenance staff who will then evaluate the “pest problem” and determine the appropriate pest management techniques to address the problem. The techniques can include increased sanitation, modifying storage practices, sealing entry points and physically removing pests.
From time to time, it may be necessary to use chemicals to manage a pest problem. Chemicals will only be used when necessary, and will not be routinely applied. When chemicals are used, the school will use the least toxic products possible. Applications will be made only when unauthorized persons do not have access to the area(s) being treated. Notices will be posted in these areas 72 hours prior to application and for two days following the application.
Parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school may request prior notification of specific pesticide applications made at the school. To receive notifications, you must be placed on the school’s notification registry. If you would like to be placed on this registry, please notify the building principal of your child’s school in writing. Please note that this registry will be updated annually, therefore, parents must submit a letter each school year if they wish to be placed on this registry. Include your name, your child’s/children’s name(s), address, and telephone number.
If a chemical application must be made to control an emergency pest problem, notice will be provided by telephone to any parent or guardian who has requested such notification in writing. Exemptions to this notification include disinfectants and antimicrobial products, self-containerized baits placed in areas not accessible to students, gel type baits placed in cracks, crevices or voids, and swimming pool maintenance chemicals.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these procedures, please contact me in the school district ancillary services office at 412-967-2422.
A building re-inspection by an EPA accredited inspector was performed in all district buildings in 2016. The building inspection is designed to meet the requirements of the AHERA Regulation (40 CFR Part 763, subpart E “Asbestos-Contaminating Materials In Schools”). A copy of this inspection is available for review in each school office by any building occupant or legal guardian(s).
AHERA regulations require a re-inspection every three years by an accredited building inspector. The next building triennial update is scheduled for 2019.
If there are any questions regarding AHERA, please contact:
Rick Perkins, Maintenance Supervisor
611 Field Club Road
Pittsburgh, PA. 15238
As a parent of a student attending the Fox Chapel Area School District, you have the right to request information about the professional qualifications of the classroom teachers who instruct your child. Specifically, you have the right to know:
- whether the State has licensed or qualified the teacher for the grades and subjects he or she teaches;
- whether the teacher is under an emergency license or other provisional status; and
- what college major and graduate degrees are held by a teacher.
Please be aware that all teachers in the Fox Chapel Area School District meet both State and Federal requirements for the positions they hold and they have been reported as highly qualified to the State of Pennsylvania. If you would like to receive any of the above information, please submit a written request to:
Gene Freeman, Ed.D., Superintendent
Fox Chapel Area School District
611 Field Club Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
It is extremely important for students at all grade levels in the Fox Chapel Area School District to be present for class daily to gain the greatest academic benefit from the learning process.
We know that family circumstances may require that a student be absent from school for what is termed a non-school-sponsored trip. In order for this type of absence to be considered excused, the request must comply with the district’s Policy and Regulations adopted by the Board of School Directors. Please review this information carefully and complete the Educational Tour & Trip Request Form (No. 204.1-AR) that is posted on the district website. This information is to be submitted to the principal's office at your child's school prior to leaving on a non-school-sponsored trip.
Should you have any questions concerning this process, or require assistance, please contact the principal of the building where your child is enrolled.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
The state of Pennsylvania requires school districts to follow strict compulsory attendance laws. As a result, our school district attendance policies reflect these requirements. The state broadly defines absences as excused when a student is prevented from attendance for mental, physical, or other urgent reasons. The items below outline the key components of the attendance policy. Statements in italics are intended to help clarify the state’s wording.
- All absences should be treated as unlawful until the school district (school) receives a written excuse explaining the reason(s) for an absence. Parents/guardians and students should submit the written explanation within three calendar days of the absence. If they fail to provide a written excuse within three days of the absence, the absence would be permanently counted as unlawful.
This means that you are required to send a written excuse to school when your child returns to school after an absence. If the school does not receive a written excuse within three days of the absence, it remains an unlawful (unexcused) absence.
- A maximum of ten days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification may be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten cumulative days shall require an excuse from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts.
- The Parent/Guardian Notification of Attendance Guidelines and Procedure Chart accompanies this letter.
Cumulative days are defined as the total number. They may be consecutive or accumulated throughout the school year.
Research indicates that good school attendance habits are important to academic success. The benefits of regular classroom instruction are difficult to replicate and, once lost, are often not regained. Please help us support the academic success of your child by complying with the state attendance law and Fox Chapel Area School District policy.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
The chart below specifically explains the parent/guardian notification of attendance guidelines and procedures.
This letter is to assure you of our concern for the safety and welfare of students. Our Emergency Operations Plan provides for response to all types of emergencies. Depending on the circumstances of the emergency, we will use one of the following protective responses.
Type of Protective Response
Immediate Evacuation – Students are evacuated to a safe area on the school grounds in the event of a fire, etc.
Modified Operation – May include cancellation/postponement or rescheduling of normal activities. These actions are normally taken in case of a winter storm or building problems that make it unsafe for students (such as utility disruptions) but may be necessary in a variety of situations.
In-Place Sheltering – Sudden occurrences, weather or hazardous materials related, may dictate that taking cover inside the building is the best immediate response.
Evacuation – Total evacuation of the campus may become necessary if the school is in an endangered area. In this case, students may be taken to another school outside of the endangered area (“host” facility).
Additonally, if your residence is in a disaster area and the school is not, your children will be cared for in their regular school location until the danger has subsided, or until you or your authorized designee can reach the school.
Please watch WTAE-TV, KDKA-TV, and WPXI-TV for announcements relating any of the emergency actions listed above. Additionally, information will be posted on the district’s web site at www.fcasd.edu whenever there are school delays, cancellations, or early dismissals.
We ask that you refrain from calling the school during the emergency. This will keep telephone lines open so that campus administrators will be able to make emergency calls and relay information to the media.
The media will advise you when and where to report to regain custody of students. This will avoid traffic congestion that may impede the response of emergency vehicles and threaten the safety of students and staff.
You will need to do the following when reporting to the designated student release area:
- produce a photo identifying yourself as the authorized person designated at the beginning of the school year to pick up the student.
- be prepared to sign a student release form.
During registration and returning student registration, you identified the persons designated to pick up your student. Please ensure that only those persons you listed attempt to pick up your student.
In the event your student has a personal means of transportation at school at the time of the emergency or evacuation, your consent was given during registration and/or returning student registration.
I specifically urge you not to telephone the school or attempt to make different arrangements during an event. This action will only create additional confusion and divert staff from their assigned emergency duties.
All instructions will be provided to the media for dissemination. Should the media be unable to operate because of power loss, etc., a route alerting system will be activated in your area.
Emergency conditions may also require that the school will have to close for a period of time. In that event, students may be required to complete assignments at home or at another location. You will be informed via the news media or neighborhood alerting system of procedures to be followed.
In order to assure the safety of our students and staff, and in an effort to assure the continuity of the educational process, I ask your understanding and cooperation. Should you have additional questions regarding our emergency operating procedures contact your building principal.
Gene Freeman, Ed.D.
Homebound Instruction Definition
(Taken from Special Education Standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1976 revision):
“Homebound Instruction is the provision of educational programs and services by the public schools in the home. The Homebound Instruction Program is provided to persons of school age who cannot attend any portion of the school day during the terms of physical or mental illness.”
To be eligible for Homebound Instruction, student must anticipate an absence for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Please contact the school counselor. The school counselor will provide you with the required Physician’s Statement (P203) and the Physician Input form. A psychiatrist must sign a request for Homebound for reasons of mental illness. If a request for Homebound Instruction is made because of mental illness, we will need to determine if this student could be in need of emotional support/special education services.
The P203 is only good for a maximum 90 calendar days or for the length of time specified by the Physician.
- If a student needs to be on Homebound longer than 90 days, a new P203 will need to be signed by the physician/psychiatrist before statement expires.
- The new P203 will need to be in the Pupil Services Office two weeks before expiration in order to continue Homebound Instruction. Otherwise, there will be a disruption in service until the new P203 is received.
Pupil services must receive the Physician’s Statement P203 before Homebound Instruction begins.
Teachers should not begin instruction of a student until the assistant superintendent gives final approval of the need for HBI. Teachers need to be aware that five (5) hours per week combined instruction should not be exceeded. Teachers providing Homebound Instruction will schedule instruction time when parent/guardian or other adult is in the home. The instruction schedule will be established by joint agreement of the physician, parent/guardian and homebound instructor. The classroom teacher will forward assignments, textbooks and materials to the student as soon as possible after notification of the student’s confinement. The teacher will confer with the homebound instructor during tutoring to assess the needs and progress of the student. The homebound instructor will consult with the classroom teacher to gain an understanding of the material to be covered, and make recommendations for grades. The question of credit being given for the work done in a homebound situation rests with the appropriate administrator. This determination will be made after input from the guidance counselor, classroom teacher, and homebound teacher.
Physician’s Statement for Homebound Instructions (P-203)
Physician Input Form
Annual Child Find Notice
Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs, Services for Gifted Students, and Services for Protected Handicapped Students
Services for Pre-School Children
Act 212, the Early Intervention Services System Act, entitles all preschool children with disabilities to appropriate early intervention services. Young children experiencing developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities and their families are eligible for early intervention services including screening, evaluation, individualized education program planning and provision of appropriate programs and services. Potential signs of developmental delay and other risk factors that could indicate disabilities and the possibility that a child is an “eligible young child” could include:
- By the age of 3: not saying many words; not using 2 or 3-word phrases and sentences; not walking; awkward gait (walking); drooling; not answering “show” or “what” questions; and/or not using utensils to feed self;
- By age of 4 (all of the above included): not toilet trained; difficulty with directional words (in, on, under, out); not playing with other children, not able to draw a circle, cross or imitate a vertical line; not able to understand the child’s speech most of the time; difficulty following simple two-step directions (e.g., pick up the paper and put it in the garbage;
- By the age of 5 (all of the above included): unable to answer “where” questions; unable to recall details from a story; not drawing a person with at least 6 parts; immature speech patterns (me instead of I), not able to hop forward with one foot without support;
- Other warning signs at any age: little or no eye contact, over/under sensitivities to pain, light, noise; hand flapping; no awareness of space (always bumping into other people or things); awkward hand or foot positioning; won’t touch or eat certain textures; child no longer can do things he/she used to do; developed normally, then stopped; echoes what is said; plays with toys inappropriately (e.g., watches wheels spin on the car, but does not play with the car).
Fox Chapel Area School District ensures that all students transitioning from early intervention programs to kindergarten or first grade programs within the District are transitioned without disruption of services. Parents of children entering school age programs are notified of the District’s Transition activities, which occur before kindergarten registration of each year. The District secures permission to evaluate, conducts an evaluation, and develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in accordance with the timelines required by state mandates.
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth through three years of age. For more information, contact:
Alliance for Infants
2801 Custer Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool children from ages three through five. For information, contact:
Allegheny Intermediate Unit
475 E. Waterfront Drive
Homestead, PA 15120
Information regarding the appropriate developmental milestone descriptors for infants and toddlers may be found at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/
Services for School-Age Students with Disabilities
The Fox Chapel Area School District provides a free, appropriate, public education to eligible students. To qualify as an eligible student, the child must be of school age, in need of specially-designed instruction, and meet eligibility criteria for one or more of the following physical or mental disabilities, as set forth in Pennsylvania State Regulations:
- Visual Impairment including Blindness
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hearing Impairment
- Intellectual Disability
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal laws and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.
To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an on-going basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability, and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, physical, and speech/language screening; and review by a Child Study Team, MTSS Team, or (Elementary) Student Assistant Program ((E)SAP) Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible for special education services, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation.
Parents who suspect that their child is eligible for special education services may request a multidisciplinary evaluation at any time through a written request to the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services.
Services designed to meet the needs of eligible students include the annual development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), bi-annual or tri-annual multidisciplinary re-evaluation, and a full continuum of services, which include Itinerant, Supplemental, or Full-Time Levels of Support. The extent of special education services and the location for the delivery of such services are determined by the IEP team and are based on the student’s identified needs and abilities, chronological age, and the level of intensity of the specified intervention. The District also provides related services required for the student to benefit from the special education program.
Parents may obtain additional information regarding special education services and programs and parental due process rights by contacting the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, 412-967-2435, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
Annual Notice to Protected Handicapped Students
In compliance with state and federal law, the Fox Chapel Area School District will provide to each protected handicapped student without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related aids, services or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities.
In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program.
These services and protections for "protected handicapped students" are distinct from those applicable to all eligible or exceptional students enrolled (or seeking enrollment) in special education programs. Protected handicapped students fall under Pennsylvania Chapter 15 of Title 22 of the Regulations of the State Board of Education, sometimes known by its federal name Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. In contrast, students with disabilities who qualify for special education services are covered by the regulations contained in Chapter 14.
For further information on the evaluation procedures and provisions of services to protected handicapped students, contact the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services at 412-967-2435 or you may contact in writing: Pupil Services Department, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
Services for Students who are Mentally Gifted
The definition of giftedness comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education Rules and Regulations under Chapter 16 and states that a student who is mentally gifted demonstrates 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.
This term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria, as set forth in Chapter 16 and in Department Guidelines, indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by intellectual ability subtests, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education. A person with an IQ lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability. Determination of mentally gifted must include a full assessment by a certified school psychologist.
Once a student meets the screening requirements, a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) is conducted. The GMDE must be sufficient in scope and depth to investigate information relevant to the student’s suspected giftedness, including academic functioning, learning strengths and educational needs. The Gifted Written Report (GWR) brings together the findings from the evaluation or reevaluation concerning the student’s educational needs and strengths. The GWR must make recommendations as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction, which are considered by the GMDE Team in the development of the Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP). At the conclusion of the GIEP meeting, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is issued.
Parents have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation at their own expense to share with the District. The results of the independent evaluation must be considered by the District in any decision made with respect to the provision of a gifted education.
Parents of students who are mentally gifted have the right to request a special education due process hearing or to file a compliance complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Details concerning the procedures governing hearing requests may be found on the website of the Office for Dispute Resolution at odr-pa.org. For additional information, please contact the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services at 412-967-2435, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
Services for Students in Nonpublic Schools
Parents of nonpublic school students who suspect that their child has a disability and in need of special education may request a multidisciplinary evaluation through a written request to the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services at 412-967-2435, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
In order to receive special education services and programs through the Fox Chapel Area School District, a student must (1) qualify through the two-pronged evaluation concerning the existence of an exceptionality and a consequent need for specially designed instruction and (2) be enrolled in the school district.
Those families who are not to enroll in the Fox Chapel Area School District will be supported through a federal regulation referred to as Equitable Participation.
Certain services are available to students identified as eligible for special education who are unilaterally placed by their parents in private schools through a federal requirement Equitable Participation. In Pennsylvania the Intermediate Units are the agencies responsible for the implementation of the federal requirement for Equitable Participation.
The final regulations for the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became effective on October 13, 2006. IDEA and its implementing regulations contain a number of significant changes from the preexisting law and regulations for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities. IDEA now requires that the local educational agency (LEA, Intermediate Units in PA) after consultation with private school representatives, conduct a thorough child find process to determine the number of parentally-placed children with disabilities attending private schools located in the LEA. The LEAs are required to spend a proportionate amount of IDEA Part B funds to provide services to children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools. The Intermediate Units are not required to offer the same services that would be offered as a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the public school.
Confidentiality of Student Records
Confidentially: All information gathered about your child is subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in federal and state law. The District has policies and procedures in effect governing the collection, maintenance, destruction and disclosure to third partied of this information.
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.
For information about this, as well as the rights of confidentiality and access to educational records, you may contact in writing the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services at 412-967-2435, Fox Chapel Area School District, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
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O'Hara Elementary School Student/Parent Handbook
Dorseyville Middle School Student and Parent Handbook
Fox Chapel Area High School Student/Parent Handbook