School NewsSummer program to help students left behind by COVID-19
Carlynton School District will start offering a summer program for special needs students who fell behind due to remote learning.
By Jim Spezialetti
With a lengthy school closure this spring because of the pandemic, Carlynton officials are developing a plan to help special education students recover lost skills.
Sara Hoffman, Carlynton director of special education and pupil services, gave a brief overview of the state’s COVID-19 Compensatory Services (CCS) guidelines and determination at the school board meeting earlier this month.
Hoffman said the CCS are services, as determined by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which would be used to remedy a student’s loss of skill or behavior or lack of progress that resulted during the extended school closure in the spring of 2020.
Carlynton students who qualify for CCS will be offered services during the summer. Hoffman said services could not be offered during school hours. She said some districts are offering CCS after school hours or in the morning before classes begin. She said Carlynton officials believe it is best to have the CCS during the summer for two hours a day.
Special education teachers and case managers will contact families before Jan. 15 to notify them if their child qualifies.
CCS should be considered only after the student receives services to recover the lost skills or behavior or to make progress to the level determined appropriate prior to the school closure.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education asked school districts to resume implementation of each student’s IEP at the beginning of the school year.
The state recommended gathering baseline data for two weeks of in-person classes, but Hoffman said Carlynton extended its data collection until the end of September because of the challenges families faced with remote learning.
“We were in a unique situation where we did not go in-person but we did remotely,” Hoffman said. Carlynton officials were advised by the solicitor to start collecting data even though students were not back in the classroom.
School officials compared data in the fall to the data in the spring prior to the school closure in order to determine if there was regression or a lack of progress, Hoffman said.
The next step is to provide recoupment services if a student has a regression or fails to make progress. If a student is still failing to make progress after the recoupment services, the IEP team will determine the need for CCS.
Hoffman said 74 students who receive special education services in the Carlynton district have shown regression. She said the district continues to collect data on the students’ progress.