The Office of Student Services focuses on helping students understand their learning differences and develop skills and compensatory strategies in order to become independent learners. We strive to bring together cooperative relationships, respect for individual differences, and the maintenance of a purposeful and rigorous academic program into all aspects of our services. We want our students to gain an understanding of their own learning style so that they can learn to advocate for themselves. All Reading Public Schools staff work in a collaborative manner to develop ways to modify curriculum and assessment practices while maintaining high expectations. The goal is to present each student with challenging but attainable expectations and develop appropriate ways of assessing what students have learned.
UPDATE ON TIERED FOCUSED MONITORING (TFM)
The Department of Education has a regular review of special education, civil rights and other programs. The review known as Tiered Focused Monitoring (TFM) is conducted every three years at public school districts as well as at charter schools. TFM reviews elements most tied to student outcomes. Reading participated in the Group A review this year.
Group A Universal Standards address:
- Student identification
- IEP development
- Programming and support services
- Equal opportunity
Reading was found to be in compliance with all areas reviewed. A copy of the report is provided on our website below in the News Section. It is important to note that the public report does indicate one area of non-compliance (Indicator 11). However, the finding has been remediated and the state has sent a letter confirming all indicators are now in compliance, also available below.
We are very proud to share this information with the Reading community, as it highlights the commitment of the Reading Public Schools to support the learning and teaching of all as indicated by compliance with all of the state special education compliance standards.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Purpose of Section 504
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Specifically, Section 504 indicates that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely because of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal funds.
The definition of a qualified individual with a disability under Section 504 covers a broader population than the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act which covers what is known as Special Education. A qualified individual under Section 504 is any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
- “Physical or mental impairment” means (a) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculo skeletal, special sense organs, respiratory including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic skin, and endocrine, or (b) any mental or psychological disorder such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, specific learning disability, attention disorders, mood disorders or learning disabilities (this list is not exhaustive).
- “Has a record of such an impairment” means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- “Is regarded as having an impairment” means (a) has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities, but is treated by a recipient as constituting such limitation, (b) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or (c) has none of the impairments defined in section one above, but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.
“Major life activities” include functions such as: caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working (this list is not exhaustive).
For information on Section 504, please contact the Section 504 Coordinator assigned to your child’s school (principal or assistant principal) or the District's 504 Coordinator, Jennifer A. Stys, Ed.D., Director of Student Services
Special Education Parent Survey
The Reading Public Schools is seeking the input of parents in the special education process. Please complete the attached survey following an IEP team meeting for your child. This survey allows the District to hear about the parent perspective in each IEP team meeting.
Parents are always welcome to meet with the Director of Student Services about your experiences with special education staff.
Thank you for your time in completing this survey.