Student Health Services in the Upper Darby School District are organized and developed in accordance with the School Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The overall purpose of school health services is to help all children develop physically, mentally, and emotionally so that they may mature and achieve their full potential. Optimal health is essential for maximum utilization of educational opportunities and should occupy a prominent place within the broad objectives of education.
Health Services are planned to help your child achieve his/her fullest potential in school. A team of health professionals, including Certified School Nurses, Staff Nurses, a Physician consultant, and a Dental Consultant, provide services. If your child has a handicap or special health need that may require accommodations at school, every effort will be made to accommodate the needs of your child. First aid and health counseling are available to all students during the school year. State mandated health screenings are conducted at your child's school each year. Vision, height, weight, and BMI (Body Mass Index) screenings are conducted annually in all grades. Hearing screening is done in kindergarten, grades one, two, three, six, and nine. The mandated scoliosis screenings are done in grades six and seven. Should a problem or potential problem be detected in any of the screenings, parents will be contacted and further evaluation will be recommended. Pennsylvania Health Law requires a physical examination upon entrance to school (at any level) and again in grades six and eleven. Dental exams are required in grades one, three, and seven. Parents may elect to have an abbreviated physical exam performed by the School District Physician Consultant and/or a dental exam performed by the Dental Consultant. This requires written permission from the parent/guardian. Please feel free to contact your school nurse throughout the school year. It is recommended that you meet the school nurse at least yearly if your child has a special health concern or health issue.
Upper Darby School District is committed to supporting all students in addressing their academic, behavioral, personal, social, and career development needs. The middle school and high school counseling programs provide universal school-wide supports to help meet the developmental needs of their students and foster their resiliency. The guidance program is structured to provide consistency and continuity of service to students. In the middle school there is one counselor for each grade level. Counselors move up with their students, allowing them to develop a long-term relationship with their students and allowing them to focus on the developmental needs of that age-group. As a transition to high school, students will participate in the Freshman Academy Program, which provides a teaming approach and Restorative Practices as the foundation for support provided for academic success. The ninth grade staff, including three counselors, will
stay with the Freshman Academy to provide a consistent and successful transition from middle school to high school year in and year out. Upon promotion to the tenth grade, students will be assigned to one of three counselors who will stay with their students providing consistent support and service through to graduation.
Developmental services are provided by the counseling staff through individual counseling, small group counseling, large group information sessions, consultations, orientations, and the dissemination of information via print materials and the web.
Counselors meet with students one-on-one to support them in their academic, personal, social, and emotional development. Common areas addressed include: goal setting, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, self awareness, assertiveness, self expression, stress management, coping strategies, organizational skills, time management, study skills, course selection, college planning, and career exploration. It is through individual counseling that a caring and supportive relationship is developed.
Small Group Counseling
Small groups provide targeted intervention by counselors to deliver guidance curriculum, and provide social supports. Small group counseling is utilized in the following areas: orientation program, course selection, self awareness, decision making, career development, college planning, college athletics, anger management, student success groups, and personal growth. The counselor provides intensive intervention for anger management, bereavement and critical incident stress management.
Consultation and Coordination
Guidance counselors at the middle school and high school are often the first to identify students who may be experiencing problems that interfere with success in school. Counselors provide consultation services and often coordinate the action plan, which may involve bringing parents together with teachers, the psychologist, the social worker, and/or the school nurse. A concern about a student may come to the counselor’s attention in a number of ways: through observations, monitoring academic records, parent referral, teacher referral, referral to the SAP team, or communication with outside agencies. Once a problem or concern is identified the counselor will take the appropriate action to explore the concern and/or initiate the next step towards coordinating needed services either from within the school or outside of the school.
When a parent, teacher, or pupil services personnel identify a student who may have a learning disability or other disability that is interfering with the student’s success in the classroom, a staffing or consultation meeting is held. A determination is made and a support system for the student is developed. At the most intensive level a student may be referred for an evaluation by the school psychologist.
Chronic behavioral problems are usually first brought to the school’s attention by classroom teachers. Teachers will refer students to the disciplinarian and seek consultation with the school counselor. The school counselor will meet with student and possibly mediate a conference between the student and the teacher. The parent may also be brought in for a conference with the teachers and administrator when necessary. The school counselor may also make a referral to the school social worker for consultation regarding outside supports for students in need. When traditional discipline and classroom management techniques are ineffective, a referral may be made to the “planning and placement” committee for consideration of alternative education.
When a parent, teacher, or school counselor identifies a student who may be in need of mental health services, a referral is made to the school social worker who consults with the parent/guardian to coordinate services through outside mental health providers. Students who experience trauma in their life as a result of a crisis such as death of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, serious injury, or abuse, are in need of support within the school and often outside services as well. The school counselor will make a referral to the school social worker for the coordination of services to the student and family.
Students may experience acute or chronic medical problems that provide barriers to academic success. The counselor’s role is to help coordinate services and communicate with the teachers and other staff as needed. The school counselor also helps coordinate homebound instruction for students who are unable to attend school because of a medical or psychiatric condition and will assist with transition back into the school building.
The primary role of the School Psychologist is to provide specialized evaluations and re-evaluations of thought-to-be exceptional and identified exceptional students experiencing or who have experienced problems in educational development.
The School Psychologist is part of the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team that plans for students who are exhibiting problems and who are currently in a regular education classroom setting. The Response to Intervention and Instruction Program (RTII) provides the benchmark data as well as the progress monitoring information that serves as a pre-referral process to the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team. The School Psychologist is a member of the Literacy Team monitoring student data in order to identify children who are at-risk for academic difficulties and require an evaluation.
The major functions of the School Psychologist are listed below:
- Develop and implement a comprehensive system of services to facilitate the attainment of instructional goals.
- Help school personnel and parents understand and remediate the learning problems of referred students.
- Administer psychological, educational, and other assessment procedures.
- Interpret assessment results.
- Obtain, integrate and interpret information about child behavior and other conditions related to learning.
- Consult with staff members in planning school programs to meet the special needs of children as indicated by psychological tests, interviews, and behavioral evaluations.
- Serve on Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTII) related teams in order to review universal, benchmark, and progress monitoring data for the school and for individual students.
- Serve as a member of the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team as required by the Special Education Standards and Regulations.
- Contribute important information about child development to District-wide committees such as the District Testing Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, District School Improvement Committee, and District School Climate Committee.
Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTII)
The Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTII) is a comprehensive early detection and prevention strategy that identifies struggling students and assists them before they fall behind academically. The RTII system combines Universal screening and high quality instruction for all students with specific targeted interventions for struggling students.
In RTII, the levels of interventions are conventionally referred to as “Tiers.” RTII is typically thought of as having three Tiers.
- Tier 1 is generally defined as reading instruction provided to all students in a regular education classroom. The Upper Darby School District provides a balanced, explicit, and systematic program of reading instruction using the Story Town Reading Program.
- Tier 2 interventions are provided to students who demonstrate needs based on screening measures. Tier 2 students receive supplemental, small group reading instruction aimed at building foundational reading skills.
- Tier 3 interventions are provided to students who do not progress after a reasonable time with Tier 2 interventions and require more intensive assistance. Ongoing progress monitoring on a weekly basis is used to identify success in instruction for individual students.
The RTII system and multi-tiered interventions are encouraged due to the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to help prevent reading difficulties and to identify students with learning disabilities. There are two potential advantages of the RTII System and multi-tier interventions. Struggling students are provided with help in learning how to read early in their school experience when their needs can be identified via screening measures and matched to targeted interventions programs. RTII urges the use of evidence-based practices across all tiers and provides intensive services to struggling students.
School Social Workers
School Social Workers meet with students, Grades K through 12, to offer academic and social support. They work with families, providing resources and strengthening relationships with their children and with the school. School Social Workers also work with the school staff, including teachers, administrators, counselors, psychologists, and nurses to provide important resources, consultation and information about the students, families and outside resources. They are the liaison between the school, the family and the community.
They can help with…
- School issues—including discipline, adjustment problems, attendance problems, and peer relations problems.
- Home issues—including abuse or neglect, divorce, serious illness or death, mental health and medical issues, family financial problems and homelessness.
- When community issues such as violence, teen pregnancy, drug addiction or homelessness appear, school social workers are available to help connect students and families to valuable resources outside of school.
- Assessment, Assistance, Crisis Intervention, and Referral are the critical tasks of the school social worker. School social workers help to pinpoint needs, identify strengths and assist with solutions.
Primary Reasons for Referrals:
- To assist families in accessing outside resources and providing referrals for such outside agencies. (Including mental/behavioral health referrals, individual and family counseling referrals, public assistance referrals, etc.)
- To act as a liaison between the school and outside agencies.
- To act as a liaison between the school and the parents.
- To act as a liaison between the district and Children and Youth Service (CYS).
- To assist in making the referrals and maintaining communication with CYS.
- To assist families in applying for Medical Assistance, CHIP or other health insurance.
- To assist families that are dealing with financial hardships to help solve their immediate needs and guide them towards long-term self sufficiency.
- To assist principals and/or teachers with students who have truancy issues.
- To attend court hearings as the school representative when necessary.
- To assist with crisis intervention for individuals, families, district schools and facilities and within the community when needed.
- To Provide parent education programs including individual school programs, truancy prevention, and Anti-Violence Programs.