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PALS April 8, 2020 Meeting - Report from FCASD


PALS Meeting Minutes

April 8, 2020 9:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting using Zoom


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.


UPDATE FROM TIM MAHONEY

Tim Mahoney, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services of Fox Chapel Area School District joined our meeting and shared the following updates:


  • Tim participates in a statewide meeting held by the Bureau of Special Education every Wednesday morning. He is happy to join the PALS meetings afterward to provide any updates he may have, however at times the meeting may run longer than expected.

  • Currently plans for ESY services, graduation, etc. are going forward as normally planned. Of course the possibility of changes does exist.

  • Districts are looking into the possibility of bringing back older special education students who were to graduate this June. Although this is an ongoing conversation, the idea is that students have essentially lost the last half of their school year, a time when special education students are moving toward transition into the workforce, trade school, or college. Depending on the needs of an individual student, it may be in their best interest to receive additional support through ESY or coming back the following school year.

  • The Local Task Force is reporting that many families are fearful districts will try to reduce their child's services. Tim reassured us that this will not happen. In fact, if needed, additional or more intense services will be provided upon returning to an in-school educational setting.

  • The district is carefully discussing the appropriate measures to assess all students upon the return to an in-school educational setting. Although a formal decision of what this assessment will look like, students will not be faced with assessments immediately upon return. The district is interested in supporting all students as a whole, taking their mental and emotional well-being in to account, not just their educational needs.

  • Families should expect an invitation to schedule virtual Speech Therapy sessions for their participating students sometime in the coming week.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following resources did not make into our latest e-mail on April 7th:


Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Presents

Update for Families Concerning Emergency Preparedness and COVID-19


Thursday, April 9th from 9:00 AM-9:30 AM

ODP invites individuals and families to join Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Douglas Trahey for a webinar on preparing for emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may register for this webinar at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4011968802109550349


Thursday, April 9th from 11:00 AM-11:30 AM

ODP invites individuals and families to join Medical Director Dr. Gregory Cherpes for a webinar update regarding the health of you and your loved ones in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may register for this webinar at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7649487518326227469


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The Peal Center


SPECIALLY DESIGNED INSTRUCTION WHILE LEARNING AT HOME

Participants will be able to:

• Discuss key points about SDI from the annotated IEP

• Describe various types of SDI

• Explain the difference between accommodations and modifications

• List examples of SDI that can be delivered virtually


Thursday, April 16th 12-1PM or 7-8PM

(click the drop down window to make your choice)

https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/8001810626415074318


Visit https://pealcenter.org/events/ for their complete calendar of events.

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The Statewide Support & Referral Helpline is staffed by skilled and compassionate staff that are available 24/7 to respond to those struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency. Staff at the Helpline refer callers to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.

The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational.

The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

The Helpline was created by the Department of Human Services DHS and the Center for Community Resources (CCR). Helpline staff are trained to be accessible, culturally competent, and skilled at assisting individuals in the ID/A community as well as anyone else who might have a need – teens, adults, special populations and their supporters. Staff use the principles of trauma-informed care to listen, assess needs, triage calls, and provide appropriate referral to community resources to children, teens, adults and special populations.

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Center for Community Resources

https://ccrinfo.org

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During this time, we will continue to host virtual meetings using Zoom EVERY Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.. We will post the log-in information for these meetings on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. THIS IS A PASSWORD PROTECTED MEETING. THE PASSWORD WAS E-MAIL TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS ON 4/7. YOU MAY SUBSCRIBE TO OUR E-MAIL LIST TO RECEIVE IT.

Reference Material

Need information regarding the rights to special education in Pennsylvania? The Education Law Center’s “A Guide for Parents and Advocates” is a great start.

Next Meeting: April 15, 2020 9:30 a.m. Virtual Meeting using Zoom.


Upcoming Meeting: April 29, 2020 9:30 a.m. Virtual Meeting using Zoom with Speaker Mary Evrard, Community and Communications Liaison Coordinator for Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Intellectual Disability (OID) Mary will talk waivers and welcomes your questions. Please e-mail questions in advance so Mary can come prepared with resources if available. You can e-mail your questions to palsfcinfo@gmail.com.

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