Special Education

We provide a variety of special education services to our students from preschool through high school. Services range from consultation and direct services in the classroom to pull-out services and self-contained classrooms with specialized instruction.

The Special Education Department works with principals, teachers, parents, and students to coordinate the educational and other needs of students in the Northwest Area School District. Our specialized staff conducts evaluations and develops Individualized Education Plans (IEP) in compliance with state and federal laws. We deliver services that support the needs of each student in the least restrictive environment.

Our Mission

The mission of the Northwest Area School District is to “provide a safe, supportive environment that inspires an appreciation of  learning and prepares our students to be productive, responsible citizens in a diverse society.” The Northwest Area School District is dedicated to preparing all students for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow through a comprehensive education.

Contact Us

You are welcome to call the special education office at (570) 542.4126 ext. 5010.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Special Education?

Special Education is governed by Federal Law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Chapter 14 of the Pennsylvania School Code. The term “special education” refers to “Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)” intended to meet the individual needs of exceptional students at no cost to the parents in the least restrictive environment (LRE) deemed appropriate by an IEP team.

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What is an exceptional student?

An exceptional student is one who has undergone categorical testing for a comprehensive evaluation and has one of the thirteen designated disabilities by IDEA:

  • Autism
  • Deafness or Blindness
  • Developmental Delays
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Mental Retardation
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairments
  • Other Health Impairments
  • Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Speech and Language Impairments
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairments
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What happens if you or I believe my child is exceptional?

We will refer a child suspected of needing special education supports and services to the Special Education Department. The law requires the school district follow a series of procedures when assessing potential special education students. Parents have the right to be partners with the school staff in all aspects of that process from the evaluation to the decision over which program, services, and placement are appropriate to meet  their child’s needs. The procedure involves the following:

  • A screening
  • A Multidisciplinary Evaluation (MDE)
  • An Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • A Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP)
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What programs or services are available to exceptional students?

Special education services are available to children who qualify. The Northwest Area School District, in conjunction with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18 or other local private schools, offers a full continuum of services in compliance with federal and state regulations to ensure that students receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). An appropriate program is comprised of “specially designed instruction” and the “related services” the student needs for him/her to benefit based upon his/her individual needs.

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Whom should I contact with questions or concerns?

Parents who suspect their child has an exceptionality or with concerns regarding their child’s program should contact the school directly and schedule a conference with the classroom or special education teacher to discuss any concerns or questions. Additionally, the principal and/or guidance counselor at each school are available to assist with the child’s educational plan.

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