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Support

At the Kennett Consolidated School District (KCSD), the Department of Student Services ensures all learners are equipped with the personalized skills and supports they need to thrive. 

All learners and their families may access services through their school’s Intervention Team or Student Assistance Program. 

Gifted Education

According to Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code, Gifted Education is specially designed instruction to meet the needs of a gifted student. Specially designed instruction includes opportunities to participate in acceleration or enrichment, or both, as deemed appropriate based on the student’s needs. These opportunities are provided during the instructional day and go beyond the program that the student would receive as part of the District’s core curriculum.

Chapter 16 defines a Gifted Student as a student who meets the definition of “mentally gifted” or demonstrates outstanding intellectual and creative ability and requires specially designed instruction to benefit from their educational program and make progress.

The KCSD Gifted Education Plan, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), outlines how the District will meet the requirements of Chapter 16. 

KCSD first uses its system of data collection and universally-administered assessments to identify students who may be in need of gifted services. If students demonstrate that they may be in need of gifted services, parents/guardians will be notified and a referral will be made for a full evaluation. Gifted Education services are always delivered in the least restrictive setting for the student.

Special Education 

KCSD provides programs and services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Chapter 14 of Pennsylvania School Code (Special Education Programs) for students with disabilities.

According to IDEA/Chapter 14, a student with a disability is a student who, through evaluation, is identified as meeting the definition of one of more of the thirteen disability categories and requires special education supports and services to meet their unique learning needs.

Special education services are provided according to the primary educational needs of the child, not the category of disability. The types of services available are:

  1. Learning support, for students who primarily need assistance with the acquisition of academic skills;
  2. Life skills support, for students who primarily need assistance with development of skills for independent living;
  3. Emotional support, for students who primarily need assistance with social or emotional development;
  4. Deaf or hearing impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with deafness;
  5. Blind or visually impaired support, for students who primarily need assistance with blindness:
  6. Physical support, for students who primarily require physical assistance in the learning environment;
  7. Autistic support, for students who primarily need assistance in the areas affected by autism spectrum disorders; and Multiple disabilities support, for student who primarily need assistance in multiple areas affected by their disabilities.

Special education services are always delivered in the least restrictive setting for the student

Related services are designed to enable the child to participate in or access his or her program of special education. Some examples of related services are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing services, audiologist services, counseling, and family training.

The KCSD Special Education Plan, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), outlines how the District will meet the requirements of Chapter 14. 

PDE Age Change Policy

Beginning in 2023-24, all students entitled to FAPE and all of the rights and procedural safeguards under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Chapter 14 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code may remain enrolled in public school until they turn 22 years of age. This includes students who turned 21 and exited during or after the 2022-2023 school term.  

Resources:

PDE Memo

PDE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Parent Guide to Special Education

Special Education Process Timelines

Required Annual Notices

Section 504

Per Chapter 15 of Pennsylvania School Code, KCSD is required to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations. The law and its regulations require public education agencies to ensure that students with disabilities (also referred to as “protected handicapped students”) have equal opportunity to participate in school programs and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the ability of the protected handicapped student in question. Under Section 504/Chapter 15, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Students eligible under Section 504 may need accommodations, modifications and/or related services to access and participate in school programs and extracurricular activities. Needed supports and services are documented in a Section 504 Service Agreement (Plan).

Required Annual Notices

Attendance

Every day counts! Attendance in school is required by law and important to student success. 

When a student is absent, schools provide prompt notice to parents/guardians via email, text message and phone call.

Some absences may be excused with a note from a parent/guardian, including the date and reason for the absence. In order to be excused, notes must be submitted via email, Talking Points or in print to your child’s school within three days. 

Once a student has ten total days of absence, a medical note is required for any additional absences.

For additional information, please refer to the KCSD Board Policy on Attendance (No. 204).

Counseling

KCSD offers a comprehensive school counseling program that focuses on fostering academic, career and social/emotional development in students. The District’s dedicated School Counselors play a crucial role in creating a positive and inclusive school environment, providing:

  • Individual student academic planning and goal setting,
  • School counseling classroom lessons,
  • Short-term counseling to students,
  • Referrals for long-term support,
  • Collaboration with families, teachers, administrators and community for student success,
  • Advocacy for students at individual education plan and other meetings and
  • Data analysis to identify student issues, needs and challenges.

They also support students experiencing crisis, play a critical role in ensuring compliance with Section 504/Chapter 15 and work to address barriers to attendance, behavior and course performance.

In accordance with Chapter 339 of the PA Code, the district has developed a K-12 Guidance Plan. The plan, which is available upon request, addresses three counseling domains: Academic, Career and Personal/Social. It is a working document that provides the framework for ensuring our students experience success in school while preparing them to lead fulfilling, post graduate lives as responsible members of society. Learn more about Chapter 339 of the PA Code.

View or download the Annual Notice: Career Information and Recruitment document.

Homelessness

The KCSD is committed to ensuring that youth experiencing homelessness have access to free and appropriate public education while striving to minimize the obstacles that homeless children may encounter (Board Policy 251). Our aim is to maintain an uninterrupted educational process for children during their experience of homelessness. According to the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless children are defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, which can include the following circumstances:

  1. Sharing housing with others due to housing loss, economic hardship, or similar reasons.
  2. Residing in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or campgrounds due to a lack of suitable accommodations.
  3. Staying in emergency, transitional, or domestic violence shelters.
  4. Abandoned in hospitals.
  5. Using public or private places not meant for regular human nighttime residence as their primary residence.
  6. Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations, or similar environments.
  7. Living as migratory children in the conditions described above.
  8. Being run-away, abandoned, or forced out of homes by parents/guardians or caretakers, or separated from parents/guardians for other reasons.
  9. School-age parents/guardians residing in facilities for individuals in similar circumstances if they have no other living options.

Rights afforded to homeless children include:

  1. The right to stay in their original school or enroll in their current residing school.
  2. Expedited enrollment, even without usual required documents like immunization records or proof of residence.
  3. Assistance with obtaining or transferring records.
  4. Transportation to and from school.
  5. Access to free school breakfast and lunch.
  6. Waiver of fees related to school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities, summer school, or credit recovery.
  7. Referrals to early childhood services, medical, dental, mental health providers, housing assistance, and food security (services may be provided in the district and/or through collaboration with community partners).
  8. Support in participating in district activities and events, such as parent/teacher conferences.

For assistance or more information on education for children and youth experiencing homelessness please contact the district homeless liaison, Yareli Lara at ylara@kcsd.org or (484) 734-1627.

Additional Information:

Resources:

Mental Health

Mental health in childhood includes both reaching developmental and emotional milestones as well as learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Based on data from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS), more than a third of Chester County Youth experience challenges with their Mental Health. 

KCSD is proud to partner with Family Service of Chester County to provide more access to mental health services than any other school district in Chester County. The District currently offers a continuum of mental health services to ensure that students remain academically on par with their peers. Mental health services are provided by trained mental health professionals including district staff such as school psychologists, school counselors and social workers. Services include direct therapeutic interventions consisting of group and individual therapy.

Psychological Services

KCSD employs a devoted and passionate team of certified school psychologists who work collaboratively to enhance the educational experiences of our students.

The primary role of the District’s school psychologists is to conduct psychological assessments, testing and diagnostic examinations of students for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education and/or gifted education. They communicate the results of psychoeducational evaluations so that all pertinent stakeholders have a clear understanding of student strengths, needs and recommendations for programming. They work in a consultative manner to identify appropriate evidence-based strategies and to develop programming goals for individual students in areas of academic, behavioral and social-emotional functioning. They conduct threat and suicide risk screenings/assessments, collaborate with the mental health team, provide direct services to students and serve as a member of the building crisis response team.

Social Work

KCSD employs a team of dedicated School Social Workers that play a pivotal role in promoting student welfare, achievement and fostering collaborative efforts within the educational community.

The District’s social workers undertake diverse responsibilities, encompassing assessments of students' developmental, familial and cultural factors in order to craft tailored interventions to enhance student learning. Their role extends to planning therapeutic activities, offering crisis support and contributing to training initiatives on trauma-informed care. Providing direct interventions like counseling and educational programs, they engage in supportive casework for children and families. They facilitate access to and collaborate with community agencies, development of welfare-promoting programs and fostering partnerships with health and mental health service providers.

Questions?

Contact the Department of Student Services at (610) 444-6610.