MILLCREEK TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT PROCEDURES FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION, GIFTED AND STUDENT SERVICES (CHILD FIND)
The Board of Education assures that free and appropriate education is available to all eligible students residing within the District. Programs for students in need of specially designed instruction, accommodations to access instruction and extracurricular activities, and enrichment, and/or acceleration within the curriculum are available without cost to parents. The District welcomes and encourages parents to partner with school personnel in the development of educational programming for their children. Parents with questions or concerns should begin by speaking with the building administrator at their child’s school, or by calling the Pupil Services Office of the Millcreek Education Center at 835-5334.
Every school in Millcreek Township School District has a screening team that includes a building level administrator, school psychologist, teacher, and counselor. This team routinely reviews individual student’s status relative to social, emotional, behavioral, or instructional needs and may make a referral for interventions and supports. Referrals may be made to community service agencies. Parental input and permission is included in designing specific strategies to promote student success.
B. INSTRUCTIONAL INTERVENTION
Data regarding student response to research-based instructional and behavioral strategies are routinely gathered and analyzed to determine the efficacy of interventions as well as what other supports may be needed. A comprehensive profile is developed to track student progress. Analysis of student response to targeted interventions is a regular education initiative that utilizes Title I and District-funded collaborative support. If adequate progress is not evident through the response to the intervention process, a referral for formal testing may be considered to determine if the student is eligible for special education. Parents may accept or decline the district’s request to evaluate their child for specialized services. Parents may also initiate the referral process at any time throughout the intervention process by contacting their building principal.
C. REFERRAL TO SPECIAL EDUCATION
1. Students who continue to demonstrate academic and/or behavioral difficulties may be recommended by their school team for testing to determine eligibility for special education. Parents of school-aged children concerned about their child’s ability to learn or their social, emotional, or physical development may request an evaluation conducted by the District free of charge to determine if their child meets state criteria for special education services. To request an evaluation, please contact your building principal or Pupil Services at 835-5334.
2. The referral process begins with a “Permission to Evaluate” form being issued by the District to the parents listing the reasons for referral, the types of assessments that will be conducted, and the dates by which the evaluation will be concluded. Parent input and participation is an important component of this process. A school psychologist will lead and coordinate the evaluation by which data is examined and a recommendation is made to the school team, which includes parents. Written permission from parents is required before a formal evaluation may begin. An “Evaluation Report” will be provided within 60 calendar days of receipt of parent permission (excluding summer vacation) which will be the basis by which eligibility is determined. Parents may decline the District’s request to conduct an initial evaluation or the District’s offer of Special education for their child.
3. A two-part determination for eligibility is required in Pennsylvania. Students must first be identified according to the disability categories as listed in Chapter 14 of the School Code and must also demonstrate a need for specially designed instruction. Eligible students will have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed to address their specific needs. Students who have been diagnosed as having a disability but are not in need of Special education may be eligible for a Chapter 15 Plan (see section F regarding Chapter 15 Service Plans).
4. Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) indicating parental approval is required before services may be provided. Parents who are not in agreement with the District’s initial recommendation for the provision of Special education services may decline to accept them by marking ‘no’ on the NOREP. Procedural Safeguards Notice (PSN) of parental rights is provided at IEP meetings or when a change in identification or placement is being considered. Parents may access the PSN on the District website or may call the Pupil Services office to receive a copy of the Notice.
5. Parents may revoke their consent for the provision of Special education services to their children at any time by submitting a letter to their building principal or the Pupil Services office. The district will issue a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement acknowledging that the parent wishes to remove their child from Special education. Upon receipt of the revocation request, the District will cease services after ten (10) calendar days and the student will return to regular education.
D. LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)
1. Millcreek Township School District offers a continuum of services for students with disabilities that begins with the school and class that the student would otherwise attend through the availability of separate schools for students with disabilities.
2. Placement decisions are made by IEP teams consisting of parents, school staff, and others who have relevant information to contribute. The first consideration for placement always begins with the regular education classroom and an examination of what supplementary aids and supports could be reasonably calculated to facilitate student success. If the team determines that additional supports beyond the regular education classroom are required, consideration is given to incrementally more restrictive environments that will provide appropriate instruction. The District endeavors to support differently-abled learners in the general education environment through the provision of differentiated and collaborative instruction in all classroom settings grades K-12, as well as for students up to 21 years of age who elect to continue their education after their typical year of completion with same-aged peers.
E. SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
1. Millcreek Township School District provides a full continuum of services to meet the needs of individual students with disabilities. Instruction is aligned to state standards utilizing the general education curriculum. Services include:
a. Autistic Support (AS) Students identified along the Autism Spectrum and who need a specialized, highly structured instructional approach participate in these classes. Students may spend a minimal amount of time in this type of classroom or may spend a majority of their school day utilizing the intensive supports, depending on the needs of each individual child. Communication, academic, and behavioral skills are the focus of instruction in AS classes, which have a low student/teacher ratio and specially trained staff.
b. Emotional Support (ES) These classes assist students who demonstrate behavioral and/or mental health issues that interfere with learning in the general education setting. Pro-social and self-regulatory skill development is taught, in addition to meeting target goals identified through Functional Behavioral Assessments and supported by Positive Behavior Intervention Plans.
c. Hearing / Visual Support (HI, VI) The District contracts with Intermediate Unit #5 for the provision of services to students with hearing or vision disabilities. The use of assistive devices, training for interpreters, and consultation for specific students are examples of how HI or VI students can be supported in special education and regular education classes.
d. Learning Support (LS) Students identified as needing Learning Support typically spend a majority of their school day in their regular grade-level classes with non-disabled peers. Supplemental aids and supports are provided, as is differentiated instruction in the least restrictive environment. Some students may need more individualized services and may receive core content instruction in a special education classroom while continuing to participate in elective classes with typical peers.
e. Life Skills Support (LSS) An emphasis on functional daily living skills via a modified curriculum and community-based experiences is provided to students in this program. Job sampling and work exploration opportunities are available in community sites supported by job coaches. High School students may spend up to one semester per year at the Bundy Transition House. The Transition House has been renovated in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to include a fully accessible kitchen, bathroom, and living area. The Transition House is located on Sterrettania Road adjacent to the Asbury/Walnut Creek campus and may support students up through and including age 21.
f. Multiple Disabilities Support (MD) Students participating in this program may have intellectual disabilities in addition to difficulties with ambulation and communication that require specialized services with a low student/teacher ratio. Instruction is student-centered and focuses on daily living skills, functional behavior and communication skills, and community-based experiences. Related service providers work in collaboration with teachers to incorporate physical, occupational, and speech therapy as a component of classroom instruction.
g. Speech and Language Support (S/L) All buildings are served by a qualified speech and language therapists who consult with teachers and provide individual instruction to students in special education and regular education class settings. Eligible students typically have the vocabulary and/or articulation needs that impact learning and classroom participation. Speech and language therapists collaborate with all kindergarten and some targeted first-grade teachers to provide direct instruction and consultative services to students with communication delays. Speech and language pathologists may also provide therapy as a related service to students identified as having other disabilities. Therapy may be provided in a small group therapy session either in or outside of the classroom or as consultative support in the regular education setting.
2. TRANSITION SERVICES Students aged 14 and over who have IEPs must have Individual Transition Plans written as a component of their program. Transition services are facilitated by Special education teachers and administrators to develop post-secondary-related goals to be included in the IEP. Vocational aptitude, surveys, and career interests are reviewed in the planning of transition-related activities. A summary of academic, social, and behavioral performance is provided to parents upon graduation that may be shared with prospective employers.
3. PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS A copy of the Procedural Safeguards Notice is routinely provided to parents at initial evaluations or whenever a change in placement is being considered. Parents may request a copy at any time. The District’s policies comply with state and federal regulations regarding educational rights and privacy.
4. CONFIDENTIALITY The Millcreek Township School District protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information regarding students with disabilities. A Release of Information signed by parents is required before school district staff may speak with or share documents with anyone outside the district. Parents have the right to review their child’s records and may do so by contacting the child’s school. Please call the Pupil Services office if you have questions or need more information about this process.
F. CHAPTER 15 SERVICE PLANS
1. Federal regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act call for the provision of services to students with disabilities who are not in need of Special education. These rights and support systems are set forth under Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania School Code.
2. Students who have a mental or physical impairment that “substantially limits a major life activity” are entitled to have written plans developed outlining specific accommodations they need to ensure equitable school access and participation. Parents or teachers may request a meeting with the student’s building principal and school psychologist to document the student’s diagnosis and need for accommodations in the regular education program. The plan is reviewed annually to determine continued eligibility and student need.
G. GIFTED SUPPORT (GS)
1. Gifted Support services are provided for students who meet eligibility criteria as listed in Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania School Code. Identification is based upon exceptional cognitive ability, leadership skills, creativity, and other outstanding qualities. In addition to ability and achievement testing, a rubric is used to determine eligibility and to identify those students for whom a Gifted Individualized Educational Program (GIEP) will be developed. GIEP goals are linked to the state standards, and measurable progress monitoring will be reported to parents.
2. A continuum of service offers, but is not limited to, pull-out sessions, cluster grouping, and collaborative instruction within the general education setting for the provision of enrichment and acceleration. Secondary students may participate in Advanced Placement courses and Honors College as well as Concurrent College enrollment.
3. Gifted Support teachers serve as case managers for eligible students, collaborate with general education teachers for the provision of acceleration and challenge in various settings, and disseminate written documentation of progress towards goals.
H. ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
The District provides (ELD) services and supports for students whose first language is one other than English, for the purpose of facilitating the student’s achievement of English language proficiency. Services include instruction in English Language Development that is provided by both English as a second language teachers (ESL) and non-ESL teachers. ELD takes place in both specialized and general education classrooms at the elementary, middle, and high school levels along with consultative support within content areas.
I. EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
The District, in conjunction with Northwest Tri-County IU #5, provides an ongoing system to locate and evaluate children ages birth through kindergarten who may have special needs. A process similar to that of school-aged children is followed to identify potential disabilities and provide supportive services.
J. HOMELESS SERVICES
As mandated by the McKinney-Vento Act, the District is responsible for uninterrupted enrollment to students whose families have become displaced, who have lost their homes or have inadequate/temporary living circumstances, are doubled up with other families, or students who are no longer living with parents or guardians. Services include transportation, counseling, assistance in obtaining clothing and personal care items, provision of free breakfast and lunch, and connection with community agencies. The homeless liaison can be contacted through the Pupil Services Office. Please call 835-5352 for the homeless liaison.
K. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The District contracts with a local provider for mental health counseling, student assistance, and other supports that may be beneficial for eligible students. Student Assistance Program (SAP) teams are located in all district buildings to screen, recommend and monitor students in need of academic or behavioral interventions. Additionally, the District partners with Sarah A. Reed Children's Center for the operation of outpatient clinics to offer seamless mental health services to students within district buildings. Outpatient services are available during and after the regularly scheduled school day.
MTSD works collaboratively with community agencies that may be providing behavioral health and rehabilitative services to students on an Individualized basis. Building based school psychologists or guidance counselors can be contacted by parents or providers to schedule necessary school visits. Some examples of community-provided supports are therapeutic support staff (TSS), mobile therapy (MT), behavioral support counseling (BSC), and private duty nursing.
Please contact the Pupil Services office at 835-5334 (located in the Millcreek Education Center on West 26th Street) if you have any questions about the information listed above, or if you have a specific concern regarding your child’s progress in school.
Student Records Notice
Information no longer relevant to and necessary for the provision of educational services to a student who has attended Millcreek Schools shall be destroyed annually by the Millcreek Township School District. A written record of a student’s personally identifiable information (name, address, telephone number, grades, attendance records, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed) shall be maintained for at least 100 years beyond the date the student attains the age of twenty-four.
The District will destroy all educational records, except for personally identifiable information as listed above, for all students who had an Individualized Education Plan (special education) and who graduated any year prior to and including June 2014. These records will be destroyed on October 27, 2020. Those who want to claim their own special education records must call 835-5352 to make an appointment to secure their personal records at the Millcreek Education Center.
Notification of Rights Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Pennsylvania law afford parents/guardians and students eighteen (18) years of age and over (eligible students) certain rights with respect to the student’s educational records.
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within (45) days of the District’s receipt of a request for access.
A parent or eligible student making such a request must submit to the school principal (or appropriate school official) a written request that identifies the record(s) s/he wishes to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
2. The right to request amendment of the student’s education records that the parent of an eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise violate the privacy of the student.
A parent or eligible student may request the District to amend a record s/he beliefs is inaccurate, misleading, or violates the privacy rights of the student by clearly identifying in writing the part of the record s/he wants to be changed and specifying why it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy rights of the student. The request shall be made to the building principal or appropriate school official.
If the District decides not to amend the record as requested, the principal will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise him/her of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA and state law authorize disclosure without consent.
Disclosure of personally identifiable information can be made without consent to the following:
a. School officials, including teachers, with a legitimate need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. This may include the disclosure of disciplinary information regarding conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of the student or others. A school official is a person employed by the District as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the Board of Education; a person or company with whom the District has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks.
b. Officials of another school or school system in which the student seeks or intends to enroll. In this case, disciplinary information may be included. The District will make a reasonable attempt to notify the student’s parents prior to the disclosure of information and will provide the parent with a copy of the record if so requested.
c. Authorities named in FERPA and accompanying federal regulations, including authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, Secretary of Education, and State and local educational authorities.
d. Officials connected with a student’s application for a receipt of financial aid.
e. State and local officials who are required to get specific information pursuant to State law if the disclosure concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve the student whose records are released. If the State statute was enacted after November 19, 1974, the officials must certify in writing that the information will not be disclosed to any other person, except as provided by State law, without the prior written consent of the parent.
f. Educational testing and research organizations for the purpose of administering student aid programs or improving instruction or predictive tests as long as confidentiality is maintained and such organizations are required to destroy records after they no longer are needed.
g. Accrediting institutions.
h. Appropriate person (in emergency situations) if the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or others.
i. Anyone if required by a court order or subpoena. However, where the subpoena is issued by a federal grand jury, the District will make reasonable efforts to notify the parent or eligible student prior to complying with the subpoena or court order.
The School District may disclose group scholastic achievement data from which the individual cannot be identified without the written consent of the parent or eligible student.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Officer
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
5. The right to refuse to permit the designation of any or all of the categories of directory information.
The District is permitted by law to disclose directory information without the written consent of the parent or eligible student. The parent or eligible student has the right to refuse to permit the designation of any or all of the categories of directory information if a written refusal is forwarded to the building principal by October 30 of the current school term.
Directory information that may be released may include the student’s name, email address, photograph, date, and place of birth; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; the most recent and previous educational agency or institution attended by the student; photographic and video footage of the student participating in District events; and other similar information.
6. The right to request that information not be provided to military recruiting officers.
Names, addresses, and home telephone numbers of secondary school students will be released to military recruiting officers unless a student submits within twenty-one (21) calendar days a written request to the Superintendent that such information not be released.
7. Educational records which are no longer educationally relevant are purged and destroyed at the end of the fifth, eighth, and twelfth grades.
8. Parents have the right to request copies of information held in the educational record which is scheduled to be destroyed at the aforementioned junction points. (see #7)
THE NORTHWEST TRI-COUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT, ITS MEMBER SCHOOL DISTRICTS, CHARTER SCHOOLS, and PRIVATE REHABILITATION RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS (PRRIs)
Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA for
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
(FERPA) afford parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:
1) The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the Local Education Agency (LEA) receives a written request for access.
The supervisor of student records will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
The parents or eligible students should write the supervisor of student records, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
If the LEA decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the LEA will notify the parent or eligible student
of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for
amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. The LEA
maintains a list of these school officials.
Another exception permits the disclosure of LEA educational records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
It is the policy of the LEA to not release directory information except as specified in the above statements or without providing parents an opportunity to deny such releases.
4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the LEA to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Or call 1-800-872-5327
ANNUAL PUBLIC NOTICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES & PROGRAMS, SERVICES FOR GIFTED STUDENTS, & SERVICES FOR PROTECTED HANDICAPPED STUDENTS
The Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit
and its Member School Districts, Charter Schools
and Private Rehabilitation Residential Institution (PRRI)
Conneaut School District
Corry Area School District
Crawford Central School District Erie’s Public Schools
Fairview School District
Fort LeBoeuf School District General McLane School District Girard School District
Harbor Creek School District Iroquois School District
Millcreek Township School District North East School District
Northwestern School District
PENNCREST School District Union City Area School District Warren County School District Wattsburg Area School District
Notice to Parents
Erie RISE Leadership Charter School Montessori Regional Charter School Perseus House Charter School of Excellence Tidioute Community Charter School Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School
Harborcreek Youth Service
According to state and federal special education regulations, an annual public notice to parents of children who reside within a school district is required regarding child find responsibilities. School districts, intermediate units, and charter schools are required to conduct child find activities for children who may be eligible for services via Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For additional information related to Section 504/Chapter 15 services, the parent may refer to Section 504, Chapter 15, and the Basic Education Circular entitled Implementation of Chapter 15. Also, school districts are required to conduct child find activities for children who may be eligible for gifted services via 22 PA Code Chapter 16. For additional information regarding gifted services, the parent may refer to 22 PA Code Chapter 16. If a student is both gifted and eligible for Special Education, the procedure in IDEA and Chapter 14 shall take precedence.
This notice shall inform parents throughout the school district, intermediate unit, and charter schools of the child identification activities and of the procedures followed to ensure confidentiality of information pertaining to students with disabilities or eligible young children. In addition to this public notice, each school district, intermediate unit, and charter school shall publish written information in the handbook and on the website. Children ages 3-21 can be eligible for special education programs and services.
If parents believe that the child may be eligible for special education, the parent should contact the school district where the child attends or the Director of Special Education for the NW Tri-County Intermediate Unit identified at the end of this public notice. Children age three through the age of admission to first grade are also eligible if they have developmental delays and, as a result, need special education and related services. Developmental delay is defined as a child who is less than the age of beginners and at least three years of age and is considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists: (i) The child’s score, on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25 percent of the child’s chronological age in one or more developmental areas, or (ii) The child is delayed in one or more of the developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on standardized tests. Developmental areas include cognitive, communicative, physical, social/emotional, and self-help. For additional information, you may contact the Early Intervention Department at the Intermediate Unit. (See Evaluation Process below for contact info.)
Each school district, intermediate unit, and charter schools have a procedure in place by which parents can request an evaluation. For information about procedures applicable to your child, contact the school, which your child attends. Parents of preschool-age children, age three through five, may request an evaluation in writing by addressing a letter to the Early Intervention Supervisor, NW Tri-County Intermediate Unit #5, 252 Waterford St., Edinboro, PA 16412 or call 1-800-677-8461.
School entities cannot proceed with an evaluation or reevaluation, or with the initial provision of special education and related services, without the written consent of the parents. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice which can be found at the PaTTAN website at www.pattan.net. Once written parental consent is obtained, the school district, intermediate unit, charter schools, or PRRIs will proceed with the evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation, the parent can request an independent education evaluation at public expense.
Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified professionals and the parents determine whether the child is eligible. If the child is eligible, the individualized education program (IEP) team meets, develops the program, and determines the educational placement. Once the IEP team develops the program and determines the educational placement, school district staff, intermediate unit staff or charter school staff will issue a notice of recommended educational placement/prior written notice. Your written consent is required before initial services can be provided. The parent has the right to revoke consent after initial placement.
Confidentiality of Information
The school districts, intermediate units, charter schools, and PRRIs maintain records concerning all children enrolled in the school, including students with disabilities. All records are maintained in the strictest confidentiality. Your consent, or consent of an eligible child who has reached the age of majority under State law, must be obtained before personally identifiable information is released, except as permitted under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The age of the majority in Pennsylvania is 21. Each participating agency must protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at the collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. One official at each participating agency must assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information. Each participating agency must maintain, for public inspection, a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the agency who have access to personally identifiable information.
For additional information related to student records, the parent can refer to the FERPA at the following URL: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
This notice is only a summary of the special education services, evaluation and screening activities, and rights and protections pertaining to children with disabilities, children thought to be disabled, and their parents. For more information or to request evaluation or screening of a preschool or school-aged child, public or private, contact the school or district where your child attends. Additionally one may contact the name and number or e-mail listed below:
Director of Special Education
Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit #5
252 Waterford Street
Edinboro, PA 16412
The school district, intermediate unit, and charter school will not discriminate in employment, educational programs, or activities based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, handicap, creed, marital status or because a person is a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. No preschool, elementary or secondary school pupil enrolled in a school district, intermediate unit, or charter school program shall be denied equal opportunity to participate in age and program appropriate instruction or activities due to race, color, handicap, creed, national origin, marital status or financial hardship.