SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Director of Special Education for the Salisbury Township School District Tracey Jacobi, presented the Special Education Plan Report for July 1 through June 30, 2021 at the March 26 curriculum and technology meeting.
Jacobi explained to board members this is a comprehensive plan which is revisited every three years – it is an action plan on what programs and services will be provided within the district and those utilized outside of the district.
Jacobi said the board will need to approve the plan before it is sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by May 1.
A focus group was formed consisting of administrators, community representatives, teachers and parents. The group was focused on an overview of continuing services, training needs and strengths and needs of the department. An online survey was also created for staff, parents and guardians to identify strengths and highlights of the district’s services and programs.
Components of the plan include a district profile, core foundations, assurances and the district level plan.
In the core foundation component, the method for identifying students with specific learning disabilities is explained. Currently, there are 343 special education students in the district.
Jacobi also described the district’s oversight of non-resident students currently residing in three group homes and also those students attending KidsPeace in Salisbury Township.
“To date, the working relationship between Salisbury and its agency neighbors have been phenomenal,” Jacobi said.
A plan is also in place to oversee the special education needs of hospitalized and incarcerated students.
Special education teachers work alongside two full-time psychologists, three and a half reading specialists and two full-time comprehensive support teachers to provide services across the district.
Salisbury contracts for services in the following areas: speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision services, orientation and mobility services, audiological services and travel training. Services are provided in conjunction with the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.
The plan describes the parameters to create individual support for students with behavioral needs.
Jacobi said co-teaching is a valued practice in the secondary programs supporting best practices across general education environments.
“Our teachers have served as models for other districts developing co-teaching partnerships,” Jacobi said.
Noting some of the identified strengths, Jacobi said the positive relationships between faculty and families helps foster inclusive and coordinated programs for special needs students. “Staff is valued,” Jacobi said.
Another strength noted was the varied and relevant professional development opportunities for paraprofessionals, administrators, general education teachers and special education teachers.
Parent and guardian trainings are also provided throughout the year.
Another strength noted is the transition learning support class at the high school which offers students direct instruction in reading and math in addition to skills necessary for employment and independent living.
Areas for growth included additional training for autism, community services for parents and guardians and a reduction of caseload. Jacobi said Salisbury’s numbers are on the higher side but are within state limits.
Another area of growth noted was to increase life skills for autistic skills support.
“Our inclusive philosophy, value for collaborative relationships and careful coordination of services helps to keep Salisbury Township School District special programs focused on the truly unique needs of each unique child,” Jacobi said.
The complete report can be found on the district website www.salisburysd.org.