special education classroom

UDASD Special Education Department

Heather Haupt, Director of Special Education & Student Services
Email: haupth@udasd.org
Phone: 717-362-6573
Jodi Stroup, Special Education Secretary
Email: stroupj@udasd.org
Phone: 717-362-6478

Our Mission

The mission of the Special Education and Student Services Department at Upper Dauphin Area School District is to build programs specifically tailored to meet the needs of our students, while providing a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Both regular education and special education students receive high quality instruction that is research based and scientifically validated. It is designed to address academic needs while at the same time, facilitate their social and emotional development, with a goal of becoming lifelong learners.

Child Study Team

Students in need of additional support are initially assisted through a child study process. Meetings are held regularly to analyze students’ learning and/or behavioral difficulties and to develop strategies to help students meet with success in their regular education classes. The child study team is the first line of intervention. If a student is deemed to require additional support, the Child Study Team will recommend an evaluation to determine whether the student is in need of Special Education Services.

Special Education Evaluation

Students who are thought to require special education services will undergo an evaluation to determine eligibility. This evaluation is completed as a result of a referral by the child study team or parental request. The evaluation gathers pertinent information on the child’s performance from teachers, school psychologist, and parents. Information is compiled into a comprehensive evaluation report that includes recommendations on the child’s eligibility for Special Education Services. All information collected is protected in accordance with State and Federal law and by the District’s policy on confidentiality of student records. In order to request an evaluation for a school age child, a parent should contact their child’s Teacher, Guidance Counselor, School Psychologist, Director of Special Education and Student Services, or Principal.

Special Education Services

The Upper Dauphin Area School District provides special education services for all eligible school-aged students. Special education programs are either provided by UDASD, neighboring districts, CAIU, or specialized alternative placements. Services by disability area are as follows:
• Orthopedic Impairment
• Intellectual Disability
• Emotional Disturbance
• Deafness/Hard of Hearing
• Autism
• Speech and Language Impairment
• Visual impairment including Blindness
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Other Health Impairment
• Specific Learning Disability
• Deaf-Blindness
• Multiple Disabilities
• Hearing Impairment

Individualized Education Program

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a customized plan for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised at an annual meeting in accordance with §§300.341-300.350

The IEP is developed to meet the individual needs of the student. The following people may participate in the IEP process:

  • Parent(s)
  • Local Education Agency representative (LEA) – Special Education Supervisor and/or Building Principal
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Regular Education Teacher
  • Guidance Counselor (not required)
  • School Psychologist (not required)
  • Other staff members who work with the child and has a vested educational interest (not required)

The IEP is reconvened annually at a minimum. The team may determine that it is appropriate to meet prior to the annual meeting to address concerns. Also, the IEP may be revised periodically throughout the year with parental consent. There are several components to the IEP:

  • Cover Page – Demographic information
  • Signature Pages
    • 10 Day Waiver
    • Age Waiver
    • Participation Signature Page
    • Procedural Safeguards
  • Special Considerations
    • Visually Impaired
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    • Communication Needs
    • Assistive Technology
    • Limited English Proficiency
    • Behaviors that impede learning their learning or that of others
  • Present Levels
    • Academic Achievement
    • Functional Performance
    • Post-Secondary Transition Goals (if applicable)
    • Parental Concerns
    • Disability Affects Involvement and Progress
    •  Strengths
    • Needs
  • Transition Services (if applicable)
    • Post-Secondary Education
    • Employment
    • Independent Living
  • Participation in Assessments
    • PSSAs
    • Keystones
    • PASA
    • Local Assessments
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Program Modifications and Specially Designed Instruction
  • Related Services
  • Supports for School Personnel
  • Gifted Support – Students who are twice exceptional
  • Extended School Year (ESY) – Eligible students must meet the 7 factors as outlined in Chapter 14.32(2).
  • Educational Placement
  • Type and Level of Support
  • PennData Reporting – The percent of time spent inside the general education classroom.

All staff members working with the student are expected to read the current IEP and implement the plan as listed in the document.

Transition Services

The Upper Dauphin Area School District has an assortment of transition activities that will prepare students for success in their post-secondary experiences. These activities include career and college research, transition assessments, and referrals to community agencies. Exploration of these options will begin by 14 years of age and continues until graduation. Students’ interest and abilities are assessed at the secondary level. UDASD has a Transition Coordinator, Job Coach, and allows opportunities for students to participate in a Co-op experience. They support special education students participating in community-based work experiences and training.

Transition Resources

Early Intervention Services

Early Intervention Services are provided by the CAIU for children 3-5 years old who have been identified as being eligible to receive Special Education.

Early Intervention Resources

Gifted Students

As a commitment to all students, the Upper Dauphin Area School District adheres to mandates from the Pennsylvania Department of Education regarding Gifted Education. Gifted education is provided to children who meet the criteria described in Pennsylvania School Law and the UDASD District Policy, and requires instruction beyond the regular education curriculum. Opportunities include enrichment, acceleration, and advanced coursework.

An evaluation process is used to identify those students who are in need of specialized gifted support services. When a student meets the criteria, and is in need of specially designed instruction, then a Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) is developed to meet that student’s identified academic areas of strength. The GIEP is created by a team, including parent(s), student’s case manager, student’s teacher(s), an LEA, and any other person who is requested to be present by either the parent(s) or the District.
The GIEP identifies present levels of academic achievement, annual goals, instruction for specially designed instruction, and supports each student in developing individual strengths.


The District’s established procedures for screening and evaluation for gifted education aligns with the Pennsylvania’s Department of Education Chapter 16 provisions. The Evaluation is a systematic process through which the need for gifted education services is determined. Determination of gifted ability is not based on IQ score alone. A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be eligible to receive gifted education services when other educational criteria in the person’s profile strongly indicate gifted ability.

Multiple criteria indicating gifted ability may include:
• A year or more above grade level achievement.
• Demonstrated achievement, performance, or expertise in one or more academic areas.
• An observed accelerated rate of acquisition of new information with retention.
• Frequent use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interests, communication skills, foreign language aptitude, or technology expertise.
• Evidence that factors, such as gender or race bias, socio/cultural deprivation, disabilities, or limited English proficiency, are masking gifted abilities.

Gifted Resources

Parent Resources


Covid-19 Resources

PaTTAN Initiatives Resources:

2020-2021 Trainings

PASA 1% Cap

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires Pennsylvania to ensure the total number of students assessed in each subject using the PASA does not exceed one percent of the total number of all students in the state assessed on the statewide assessments. Each local educational agency (LEA) must complete and submit the PASA 1.0 Percent Participation Threshold Justification to BSE if it anticipates that more than 1.0 % of its students enrolled in grades 3-8 and 11 will be assessed using the PASA. A list of LEAs who anticipate exceeding the threshold will be made publicly available on the PDE website, in accordance with 34 CFR 200.6 (c)(3) regulations.  LEAs must also make the document publicly available upon request, removing any personally identifiable information. The Upper Dauphin Area School District anticipates exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold for PASA participation for the 2020-2021 testing cycle.  The necessary justification information has been submitted to the Bureau of Special Education.  Questions on the Upper Dauphin Area School District’s participation rates should be directed to:

Heather Haupt

Director of Special Education & Student Services