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PALS September 2018 - Open Forum Transitions, ESY, Service Coordinators

PALS Meeting Minutes

September 26, 2018 9:15 a.m.

Eat'n Park

949 Freeport Road Pittsburgh, PA 15238

Open Forum

Open Forum is an opportunity for participants to come together and discuss a variety of topics, offer resources, and ask questions related to special education. We welcomed a number of first time parents and encourage friends new, old, and still to be made to join us at our meetings as we work together to support each other.

Below are a few of the main topics we discussed:

Transitions Years in Education

We discussed the anticipation of transitioning from middle to high school and what families should expect. Generally transition meetings are held toward the end of the school year when students are transitioning from Pre-K to Kindergarten, elementary to middle school, middle to high school, and high school to post secondary.

At the age of fourteen (14) students are included in their IEP meetings and with the team goals are made working toward a student's transition from high school to post secondary. These include:

1. independent living

2. continuing education

3. community service

For students transitioning to high school, Fox Chapel Area School District has a Transition Coordinator for Special Education students. Stacie Dojonovic has been extremely helpful in assisting students in acclimating to high school life and preparing for life after high school. She holds numerous transition meetings for students and parents throughout their high school career. You can contact Stacie at 412-967-2400 ext. 1412 or by e-mail at

Qualifying for Extended School Year (ESY) Services

We touched on the subject of Extended School Year services and how student's qualify for the service. From the PaDOE, "There are seven factors, and no single factor can be used to determine eligibility for ESY services. The IEP team must consider all seven factors when determining eligibility. The student may be eligible by meeting just one of the criteria, but all seven factors must be considered by the IEP team." The seven factors are:

Whether student’s regression and recoupment make it unlikely that the student will maintain skills and behaviors relevant to IEP goals and object



The extent to which the student has mastered and consolidated an important skill or behavior at the point when educational programming would be interrupted

The extent to which a skill or behavior is crucial for the student to meet the IEP goals of self-sufficiency and independence from caretakers

The extent to which successive interruptions in educational programming result in a student’s withdrawal from the learning process

Whether the disability is severe, such as autism/pervasive developmental disorder, serious emotional disturbance, severe intellectual disability, degenerative impairments with mental involvement and severe multiple disabilities

Click on the image for more detailed information and to download the PaDOE's guide to ESY:

Support Coordinators, Medical Assistance, and Wrap-Around Services

Support Coordinators can be vital in navigating the world of Medical Assistance, Wrap-Around Services, while also helping with information on grants and scholarships. We talked about the role of a Support Coordinator, filing for Medical Assistance, and how difficult it seems to fill those prescribed Wrap-Around Service hours. The primary responsibility of a Support Coordinator is to coordinate support service for people with disabilities and their families. This can include locations, coordinating, and monitoring supports for clients. Some of the organizations mentioned are (click on the image for more information):

Family Links

Wesley Spectrum Services


Next Meeting: October 24, 2018, 9:15 a.m. Roots of Faith 800 Main Street Road Pittsburgh, PA 15215

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