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Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, some school age children with disabilities who do not meet the eligibility criteria for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act might nevertheless be eligible for special protections and for adaptations in and modifications to their school program or the physical environment of school buildings, grounds, vehicles, and equipment, when such adaptations or modifications are required to enable the student to access or participate meaningfully in academic or nonacademic programming or extracurricular activities. Children are entitled to such protections, adaptations, and modifications if they have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program or facilities, whether academic or non-academic in nature. Parents are entitled to a written plan describing the adaptations and modifications that the public school is proposing to implement for their child. This written plan is called a “service agreement” or “accommodation plan.” It is based on a pre-placement evaluation that the public school must conduct free of charge to determine whether a child has a disability and, if so, the educational needs of the child. Parents of children with disabilities and who are thought to have disabilities are entitled to receive written notice prior to implementation of any proposed evaluation, program, or placement, or prior to any change thereto. Parents who have reason to believe that their school-age child might have a disability have the right to request a pre-placement evaluation of their child at any time, even if their child is not currently attending public school. Parents who have complaints concerning the evaluation, identification, program, placement, or provision of services to a student, or any change thereto, may request an informal conference with the public school and, if that conference fails to resolve the dispute, a due process hearing. The hearing must be held before an impartial hearing officer at a time and location convenient to the parents. Parents have the right to request a free written or electronic transcript or recording of the proceedings, to present evidence and witnesses disclosed to the public school, to confront evidence and testimony presented by the public school, to review their child’s complete educational record on request before the hearing, to receive a written decision from the hearing officer, and to be represented by counsel of their choice. An appeal may be taken from the decision of the hearing officer to a court of competent jurisdiction.
Union School District does not discriminate in the operation of any of its programs, services, or facilities on the basis of race, gender, disability, creed, or national origin (including the ability to speak English). Discrimination can, under certain circumstances, include harassment on the basis of race, gender, disability, creed, or national origin by District employees, contractors, directors, or students. Any school age child who believes that he or she has been or is being subjected to any such discrimination may complain, either directly or through his or her parent or guardian, to the principal of the building where he or she attends school. If the building principal is the party whom the child or his parents or guardian believe is responsible for an act or acts of discrimination, or if the child does not attend public school, the child or his or her parents or guardian may complain to the Special Education Director at (814) 473-3121. Any member of the community, staff member, or contractor, who believes that the District has discriminated against him or her on the basis of race, gender, disability, creed, or national origin in the operation of any program, service, or facility, may complain to the Superintendent of Schools at (814) 473-6311 . Any person complaining of discrimination will be requested to submit their complaint in writing unless they are unable to do so.
Special Education Staff

Director of Special Education/Section 504 Plan Coordinator
     Mrs. Elena B. Steidinger, M.Ed. - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
School Psychologist
    Mrs. Yvonne Ransbottom - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Speech Pathologist
    Mrs. Megan Renfrew  - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Mrs. Shelley Conner- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

354 Baker Street
Rimersburg, PA 16248
(814) 473-3121
Elena B. Steidinger, M.Ed.
Director of Special Education
Section 504 Plan Coordinator
Welcome to the Special Education Department! We are a developing site! As the year progresses we will be adding more parent, student, and teacher information to help you and your student while involved in any of our support programs. For immediate help, advise, or to answer your questions, please contact the special education secretary, Mrs. Shelley Conner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our office is located in Union High School, and Mrs. Conner will direct your call to the appropriate recipient. We look forward to working with you!

Union School District maintains a Child Study Team. The Child Study Team is convened for students who are having behavioral or academic difficulties. The team consists of the principal, school psychologist, classroom teacher, reading specialist, special education teacher, if necessary, and you.

Interventions will be brainstormed at the first meeting. The strategies that are chosen by the team will be put into place for 30 school days to help your child reach his or her educational goal. Thirty school days after the initial meeting, the team will reconvene to celebrate your child’s success, or make recommendations for future interventions. A final meeting will be held 30 days later to decide if the interventions are working and should continue or if your child should be considered for an evaluation by the school psychologist, with your permission, to determine need and eligibility for special education services.

It is the policy of the Union School District that every child shall be provided with the opportunity for a free, public, and appropriate education. To the maximum extent possible, exceptional children shall be educated in the most appropriate physical, social, and academic environment available. Exceptional children shall be, as deemed individually appropriate, included in regular programs, placed in itinerant programs, and/or placed in part-time or full-time special classes as determined by the IEP Team.

After all evaluations are completed, an Evaluation Report will be compiled with parent involvement. It will include specific recommendations for the types of intervention necessary to deal with the child’s specified needs.

An Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed for specialized services for qualifying students. The IEP Team will may consist of the principal, the special education teacher, the regular education teacher(s), the district psychologist, district liaison, other teachers or specialists as needed, and other staff when appropriate.

In compliance with state and federal law, the Union School District will provide to each protected handicapped student without discrimination or cost to the student or family, those related aids, services, or accommodations which are needed to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities. In order to qualify as a protected handicapped student, the child must be of school age with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to any aspect of the school program. These are described in Chapter 14 and 15 of the state Board of Education regulations.

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.

Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects educational performance.

Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including heightened alertness to environmental stimuli.

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

Traumatic brain injury
 means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both.

Visual impairment means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects both partial sight and blindness.

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Emotional disturbance is defined as follows: The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

(ii) The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Mental retardation means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severs educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Through the evaluation process students are diagnosed with one of these disability categories. Special education is provided through: Learning support programs, Life skills support programs, Emotional support programs, Speech and language programs, Blind and visually impaired support programs, and Deaf and hearing impaired support programs.

Further information about these procedures may be obtained by calling the Union School District. Phone:(814) 473-3121 ext. 1

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