top of page


  • PALS

PALS March 2019 - ESY Denials, Transition Week, Community Awareness, Genesight

PALS Meeting Minutes

March 20, 2019 9:15 a.m.

Market District Café

910 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.

ESY Denials & Shifts to SLA

During February's meeting a parent shared that a FCASD staff member indicated there would be a change to FCASD's ESY (Extended School Year) and SLA (Summer Learning Academy) programs:

ESY will run July 1 - July 26, 2019 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

SLA will run July 8 - August 2, 2019 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

There is concern over the change from a full day to a half day schedule.

During this month's meeting (March) two parents shared that after qualifying for ESY in the past they were being told that their child did not eligible. Both families were offered a placement in the district's SLA program, even though the district indicated their child did not have deficit in reading or math. One parent inquired with FCASD Director of Special Education, Tim Mahoney about the report that both ESY and SLA were begin cut in half. After being told he would look into it, the parent was told the information was incorrect and indicated that the time would be 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Upon further discussion, it seems the time change may only be happening at the Middle School. We will share any other information, including flyers/invitations/placements from FCASD when we receive them.

This discussion included a reminder that there are seven qualifying factors for ESY. 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:

Transition Week for Incoming Freshmen

In preparation of entering the 9th grade this fall, FCASD is offering 8th grade students a chance to experience high school for one week this summer. This event runs June 17-21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with a cost of $50.00 per student. Financial assistance is available; contact Lesley Cowles at or call 412.967.2400 ext. 1750. Please click on the image below for more information and downloadable/printable application.

Community Awareness

A parent described a situation her family has been openly facing for the past few weeks. During the course of this the child has been hospitalized and the parents have made repeated inquiries with the school about communication between the child and classmates. The parents request is two-fold;

1) to bring community awareness to the reason the student is absent while letting the classmates know the child is safe. The family looks at the situation as one in which if the community was more informed there would be less stigma attached.

2) to let their child know classmates are thinking of them. This positive interaction will help in the child's recovery. The child welcomes discussing the reason they have not been in school. The family is concerned that the lack of communication between their child and classmates may create an awkward return to school.

Most importantly, the family was hoping that if they were open to sharing their experience with others someone in need may be helped. Unfortunately, the family reports that their requests have gone unanswered. The question then becomes how, when, and why are some parental requests for communication denied or ignored while others are not. For instance is it based on the reason the child is hospitalized, the circumstances surrounding the death of a family member, or events that lead to a child not attending school regularly or for a long period of time?

GeneSight® Testing

At our November 2018 meeting a parent mentioned using GeneSight® to help determine the best medication based course of action to take with their child. "The GeneSight® test analyzes your DNA and helps your doctor get a better understanding of what medication might work best based on your genetic makeup. Using the GeneSight® test report, your doctor can personalize your treatment plan, finding the right medication faster and avoiding medicines that may cause side effects." You can read our November Meeting Minutes for more in-depth information about GeneSight®.

The same parent shared an update with her child's GeneSight® testing results. The parent explained the Green, Yellow, Red zones of medications as reported in our November Meeting Minutes. The report also includes an in-depth "Gene-Drug Interactions" analysis. This chart provides additional information about which pharmacokinetic genes are involved in the metabolism of each medication included in the report. See sample below.

Genesight® Gene-Drug Interactions

Next Meeting: April 24, 2019 9:15 a.m. Eat'n Park Waterworks Mall Meeting Room 849 Freeport Road Pittsburgh, PA 15238

#504 #diagnosis #Pittsburgh #employability #employmentskill #IEPServices #Training #MedicalAssistance #Funding #LearningDisability #SpecialEduation #EducationalFunding #SpecialEducation #PAHealthLawProject #PEALCenter #SocialSecurityInsurance #Medicaid #ExecutiveFunction #SelfRegulation #SelfAwareness #HarvardUniversity #CenterontheDevelopingChild #OrganizationalSkills #TimeManagement #workingmemory #mentalflexibility #selfcontrol #focusattention #inhibition #RTII #ResponsetoInstructionandIntervention #QuestTherapeutic #SpecialEducationSupports #DisabilityCategories #504Plan #WritingGoals #Bullying #CyberBullying #BeingWellCenter #ADHD #ADHDAcrosstheLifespan #UPMC #WesternPsychiatricInstituteandClinic #supportservices #supportcoordinator #WesleySpectru #WesleySpectrum #Achieva #FamilyLink #FamilyLinks #AutismCenterofPittsburgh #BestBuddies #TheFriendshipCircle #WesleyFamilyServices #TransitionCoordinator #SpecialEducationTransition #HighSchoolTransition #communityawareness #disabilities #disability #SBAP #SchoolBasedAccessProgram #miss #MA #medicalassistance #nurses #nursing #diversitytraining #TopSoccer #UnifiedSports #sensorystrategies #bestbuddies #childfind #schoolresourceofficer #resolve #cactis #LEA #LocalEducationAgencies #localeducationagency #IEP #IEPGoals #IEPAccommodations #IEPProcess #IEPManagment #IndependentEducationEvaluation #privateschool #genesight #genetictesting #dnatesting #genetics #dna #medication #AWBeattieCareerCenter #BeattieTech #safety #firstresponder #emergencypersonnel #policeofficer #policeofficers #projectlifesaver #PremiseAlert #GeneSight #SummerLearningAcademy #SLA #ESY #ExtendedSchoolYear #CommunityAwareness

21 views0 comments
bottom of page