The Old Forge School District complies with all Special Education Laws and Procedures set forth by the Pennsylvania Legislature and Department of Education.

Director of Special Education
Michelle Hopkins
(570) 457-6721 Extension 112
Special Education Secretary
Susie Aulisio
(570) 457-6721 Extension 136

Special Education Plan Public Notice

 The school district’s special education plan is an action plan that describes the local Board of School Director’s commitment to ensure that a quality education will be provided to each of its students with a disability eligible for special education, over the upcoming three years. The content of the special education plan describes the special education program and services that are provided within a school district and those special education programs and services which are accessed by the school district from outside the school district’s geographical boundaries.

Each school district shall develop a special education plan aligned with the strategic plan of the school district under § 4.13 (relating to strategic plans). The special education plan shall be developed every 3 years consistent with the 3-year review cycle of the strategic plan of the school district. The Secretary will prescribe the format, content and time for submission of the special education plan. (§14.104(a))

A special education plan reflects on going programs and services and incorporates anticipated changes in programming as a result of corrective action generated by the cyclical monitoring and improvement planning and other factors. The special education plan is completed by school districts in conjunction with the school district’s strategic plan structure. The school district’s special education plan is on a three year cycle which corresponds to the school district’s strategic plan cycle so that the information in the special education plan can be applied to the school district’s strategic plan, especially the professional education and induction programs.

In compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, The Old Forge School District is mandated to post the following link to the Special Education Plan 30 days before it will be affirmed.

Annual Public Notice of Special Education Services and Programs, Services for Gifted, Homeless, Migrant Students and Services for Protected Handicapped Students, To Parents who reside in one of the Twenty Constituent School Districts of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit

Notice Published and Updated 9/29/2019

El contenido de esta nota se ha escrito en inglés. Si usted no entiende esta nota, debe contactar el distrito escolar (vea los contactos) y solicite una explicación.

The content of this notice has been written in English. If a person does not understand any of this notice, he or she should contact the school district (see Contacts) and request an explanation.

Notice to Parents

According to state and federal special education regulations, annual public notice to parents of children who reside within a school district is required regarding child find responsibilities. School districts (SDs), intermediate units (IUs) and charter schools (CSs) are required to conduct child find activities for children who may be eligible for services via Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Education for Homeless Youth 42USCA 11431. For additional information related to Section 504/Chapter 15 services, the parent may refer to Section 504, Chapter 15, and the Basic Education Circular entitled Implementation of Chapter 15. Also, school districts are required to conduct child find activities for children who may be eligible for gifted services via 22 PA Code Chapter 16. For additional information regarding gifted services, the parent may refer to 22 PA Code Chapter 16. If a student is both gifted and eligible for Special Education, the procedures in IDEA and Chapter 14 shall take precedence.

This notice shall inform parents throughout the school district, intermediate unit, and charter school of the child identification activities and of the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of information pertaining to students with disabilities or eligible young children. In addition to this public notice, each school district, intermediate unit, and charter school shall publish written information in the handbook and on the web site. Children ages three through twenty one can be eligible for special education programs and services, including youth incarcerated in adult facilities and/or residential/detention facilities, homeless and migrant children, wards of the state, and private school students.

If parents believe that the child may be eligible for special education, the parent should contact the appropriate staff member identified at the end of this public notice.

Children age three through the age of admission to first grade are also eligible if they have developmental delays and, as a result, need Special Education and related services. Developmental delay is defined as a child who is less than the age of beginners and at least 3 years of age and is considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists: (i) The child’s score, on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25% of the child’s chronological age in one or more developmental areas. (ii) The child is delayed in one or more of the developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on standardized tests. Developmental areas include cognitive, communicative, physical, social/emotional and self-help. For additional information you may contact Colleen Penzone, NEIU Early Intervention Supervisor at (570) 876-9268.

Evaluation Process

Each school district, intermediate unit, and charter school has a procedure in place by which parents can request an evaluation. For information about procedures applicable to your child, contact the school which your child attends. Telephone numbers and addresses can be found at the end of this notice. Parents of preschool age children, age three through five, may request an evaluation in writing by addressing a letter to Colleen Penzone, NEIU Early Intervention Supervisor, 1200 Line Street, Archbald, PA 18403.


School entities cannot proceed with an evaluation or reevaluation, or with the initial provision of special education and related services, without the written consent of the parents. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice which can be found at the PaTTAN website, Once written parental consent is obtained, the district will proceed with the evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation, the parent can request an independent education evaluation at public expense.

Program Development

Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified professionals and parents determine whether the child is eligible. If the child is eligible, the individualized education program team meets, develops the program, and determines the educational placement. Once the IEP team develops the program and determines the educational placement, school district staff, intermediate unit staff, or charter school staff will issue a notice of recommended educational placement/prior written notice. Your written consent is required before initial services can be provided. The parent has the right to revoke consent after initial placement.

Confidentiality of Information

The SDs, IUs, and CS’s maintain records concerning all children enrolled in the school, including students with disabilities. All records are maintained in the strictest confidentiality. Your consent, or consent of an eligible child who has reached the age of majority under State law, must be obtained before personally identifiable information is released, except as permitted under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The age of majority in Pennsylvania is 21. Each participating agency must protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. One official at each participating agency must assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information. Each participating agency must maintain, for public inspection, a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the agency who have access to personally identifiable information. Uninterrupted Scholars Act, which became law in January 2013, allows a district to disclose education records of a student to an agency caseworker or representative from the state or a local child welfare agency or to a tribal authority if that person is determined to have a right to access and the agency/tribal authority is legally responsible for the student’s care and protection.

For additional information related to student records, the parent can refer to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

This notice is only a summary of the Special Education services, evaluation and screening activities, and rights and protections pertaining to children with disabilities, children thought to be disabled, and their parents. For more information or to request evaluation or screening of a public or private school child, contact the responsible school entity listed below. For preschool age children, information, screenings and evaluations requested may be obtained by contacting the Intermediate Unit (570-876-9268).

Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19

Abington Heights/Ms. Elizabeth Shivock (570)585-8278
Blue Ridge/Ms. Gail Wnorowski (570)465-3141
Carbondale Area/Dr. Angela Gatto (570)282-4500
Dunmore/Ms. Frances Loughney (570)207-9590
Elk Lake/Ms. Pamela Staats (570)278-1106
Forest City Regional/Ms. Donna Potis (570)785-2444
Lackawanna Trail/Ms. Amie Talarico (570)945-5184
Lakeland/Ms. Margot Parsons (570)254-9485
Mid Valley/Ms. Debra Demming (570)307-2165
Montrose Area/Ms. Kelly Jo Riker (570)278-6219
Mountain View/Dr. Patricia Pasierb (570)434-8537
North Pocono/Dr. Donna Carey (570)842-3957
Old Forge/Ms. Michelle Hopkins (570)457-6721
Riverside/Mr. Michael Cole (570)562-2121
Scranton City/Ms. Mary Ann Cartegna (570)348-3695
Susquehanna Community/Ms. Joni Miller (570)853-4921
Valley View/Mr. Jeremy Pichnay (570)876-4110
Wallenpaupack Area/Ms. Tanya Carrelle (570)226-4557
Wayne Highlands/Ms. Amanda Kerna (570)253-3402
Western Wayne/Ms. Cynthia LaRosa (570)937-3192

NEIU 19/Ms. Kelly Dickey (570)876-9215
NEIU 19 Early Intervention/Ms. Colleen Penzone (570)876-9268
NEIU 19 Non-Public/Ms. Eliza Vagni (570)876-9220

Fell Charter School/Ms. Mary Jo Walsh (570)282-5199
Howard Gardner MI Charter School/ Ms. Maria Rozaieski (570)941-4100

The school entity or charter school will not discriminate in employment, educational programs, or activities based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, handicap, creed, marital status or because a person is a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam ear. No preschool, elementary or secondary school pupil enrolled in a school district, Intermediate Unit, or charter school program shall be denied equal opportunity to participate in age and program appropriate instruction or activities due to race, color, handicap, creed, national origin, marital status or financial hardship.

Related Links

Office for Dispute Resolution
Website to view the Procedural Safeguards Notice, listen to an audio recording of the Procedural Safeguards Notice, or watch a video series of FAQs on the Procedural Safeguards Notice.