Special Education » Special Education

Special Education

The Hempfield Area School District Department of Special Education Offices are located at:
Hempfield Area School District
Hempfield Area High School 
Department of Special Education
4345 Route 136
Greensburg, PA 15601




Ms. Sarah Hartzell 
Supervisor of Special Education
Phone: 724-850-2457
HASD Psychological Services Offices
Dr. Janice Decker - Office Location: Harrold Middle School
Phone: 724-850-2456
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Decker's building assignments include: West Point Elementary, Fort Allen Elementary, Harrold Middle School
Dr. Ryan Lenz - Office Location: West Hempfield Middle School
Phone: 724-850-2454
Dr. Lenz's building assignments include: West Hempfield Elementary, West Hempfield Middle, Stanwood Elementary
Mrs. Lisa Holtzman - Office Location:  Hempfield Area High School
Phone: 724-850-2453
Mrs. Holtzman's  building assignments include: Maxwell Elementary, Wendover Middle School, Hempfield Area High School
Ms. Linda Freger, Special Education Secretary
Phone: 724-850-2458
Mrs. Kristen Miller, Psychologist's Secretary
Phone: 724-850-2468

The Hempfield Area School District offers special education services to students with disabilities in a variety of service delivery options. These services are described below:


Special Education Links

PA Department of Education-Special Education


District Operated Programs

Types of Special Education Supports

  • Learning Support - Provides academic support
  • Emotional Support - Provides academic as well as social, emotional and behavioral support
  • Autistic Support - Provides a highly structured environment for academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and life skills support.
  • Speech and Language Support - Provides support to students’ who have difficulty with articulation, fluency, voice or language.


Levels of Intervention

The district operates full-time, supplemental, and itinerant level classes in a variety of settings. The designation of a classroom is dependent on the average amount of time most students spend in special education. The student’s IEP and not the type of classroom determine the amount of time a student is seen by a special education teacher.  The following indicate the level of intervention provided in the various classrooms:

  • Itinerant - 80% or more in a regular  education classroom (IT)
  • Supplemental - 40% to  79% in a regular education classroom (SUP)
  • Full-Time -  Less than 40% in a regular education classroom  (FT)


Location of Special Education Services  

Hempfield Area High School

Co-Teaching Academic Classes
Learning Support Classes - Itinerant, Supplemental, and Self-contained
Vocational Training through Central Westmoreland Career & Technology Center (CWCTC)
Co-operative Work Experience
Vocational Training through Goodwill Services and Work Discovery

Harrold School

  • Co-Teaching Academic Classes/Inclusion
  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental
  • Autistic Support - Self-Contained
  • Emotional Support Class 

Wendover Middle School

  • Co-Teaching Academic Classes/Inclusion
  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental
  • Autistic Support - Self-Contained
  • Emotional Support Class 

West Hempfield Middle School

  • Co-Teaching Academic Classes/Inclusion
  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental
  • Autistic Support - Self-Contained
  • Emotional Support Class 


Fort Allen Elementary School

  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental
  • Autistic Support - Self-Contained


Maxwell Elementary School

  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental 


Stanwood Elementary School

  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental
  • Autistic Support  Self-Contained


West Hempfield Elementary School

  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant, Supplemental, & Self-Contained Classes 
  • Emotional Support Class - Self Contained Class 


West Point Elementary School

  • Learning Support Classes - Itinerant & Supplemental

Westmoreland Intermediate Unit #7 Programs and Services

Intermediate units are regional educational service agencies created by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1970 to provide support to local school districts, to expand educational services and to provide cost savings to tax payers by eliminating service redundancy and taking advantage of economy of scale.
Westmoreland Intermediate Unit #7 serves Westmoreland County to include seventeen school districts, Clairview School, and the Westmoreland County Career and Technology Center under the direct supervision of its board of directors and central administration.
Hempfield Area School District utilizes the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit to provide services to students with severe disabilities.  The classes operated by the Intermediate Unit are located in school districts throughout the county, as well as Clairview School.  WIU Audiology Services are provided directly to the student at the student's home school. 

The HASD also contracts with ESS Support Services, LLC in order to provide Personal Care Aides to those students who demonstrate a need for such a service as determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). 
CAMCO Physical & Occupational Therapy Services
The school district also holds an agreement with CAMCO Physical & Occupational Therapy Services, based out of Johnstown, PA that provides school district students who are deemed eligible with school-based Occupational and/or Physical Therapy.
Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind (WPSBC)
The school district contracts with the WPSBC to provide itinerant services for vision support and orientation and mobility training within the student's home school.
DePaul School
The school district contracts with DePaul School to provide itinerant services for hearing support within the student's home school.  The hearing teacher works in conjunction with the WIU Audiologist for student supports.
Services available at various locations in and out of the District
  • Life Skills Support – for children whose greatest need is to learn functional skills that will allow them to live and work independent of their families.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support – for children who require assistance with hearing problems.
  • Physical Support – for children who need programs that consider their physical disabilities.
  • Multi-handicapped Support – for children with more than one disability, the combination of which results in needs requiring many services and much support.
  • Blind & Vision Supports - for children with limited or no vision.
  • Occupational Therapy - therapy to improve fine motor skills.
  • Physical Therapy- therapy to improve gross motor skills.

Approved Private Schools

The Approved Private Schools (APSs) are private schools, licensed by the State Board of Private Academic Schools. Approved private schools are approved by the Secretary of Education to provide a free appropriate special education for students with severe disabilities. The schools are eligible to receive funds from the school districts and/or the Commonwealth for the education of these students. Pennsylvania currently has 29 APSs for which the Department approves funding. These schools provide a program of special education for over 4,000 day and residential students.
APSs are an important and necessary part of Hempfield Area School District's special education delivery system. These schools provide some students with what may be the only appropriate education program currently available.  In the Western Pennsylvania Area, Hempfield Area School District has students at the following APS sites:
  1. Children’s Institute                              
  2. Wesley Highlands School
  3. DePaul Institute                                    
  4. Pressley Ridge Day School  
  5. Western Pa School for the Blind   
  6. Western Pa School for the Deaf
  7. Easter Seals

Signs Indicating That Your Child May Need Special Education Services

A child may need special help to make progress in school that is not normally needed by other children in the regular education classrooms. Your child may be exceptional if they have a physical, sensory, mental or emotional disability and need special education as determined by  an individualized Education (IEP) Team. Children who are determined exceptional have a right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
Some indicators that your child may be a child with a disability include:
  • Difficulty in academic subjects
  • Receiving failing grades
  • Repeating a grade
  • Exhibition of a serious emotional disturbance over a long period of time which affects your child’s ability to learn
  • Consistent problems in getting along with others
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Lack of interest or ability in age-appropriate activities
  • Resistance to change
  • Difficulty seeing or hearing that interferes with the ability to communicate
  • Health problems that effect educational performance

How to Make A Referral

If you believe that your child is in need of special help in order to make progress in school, that is not normally needed by other children, contact your child's principal, guidance counselor or the Supervisor of Special Education at (724) 850-2458. Hempfield Area elementary schools utilize the Response to Intervention and Instruction (RtII) model and your child's teacher, guidance counselor or principal  can provide you with information on this helpful process.
All requests for evaluations must be made in writing. District forms are available through the guidance office at your child’s school. A signed Permission to Evaluate form is required in order to begin the evaluation/re-evaluation process. 
Office hours are 7:30 AM—3:30 PM, Monday—Friday.  All information will be kept confidential. Upon request, evaluations and/or tests will be given in you in your child’s native language or mode of communication unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)

The parents of a child with a disability have the right under the Federal IDEA to obtain an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the school district. There is a limit of only one IEE at public expense each time the District conducts an evaluation with which the parents disagree.

The school district has the right to initiate a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate.

At all times the school district will meet with the parent to gather information in the effort to resolve the disagreement. To help resolve this issue the district will do the following:
  1. Ask the parent to put the request for an IEE in writing and to include:
    1. Child’s name
    2. Child’s school
    3. Reason for request (optional)
    4. Name of evaluator (if the parent has one)
  2. Respond in writing within 10 days if receipt of written request
    1. Provide list of independent evaluators for parent to use, or
    2. Approve the parent’s evaluator, or
    3. Request a meeting to further discuss the request
  3. Criteria for Independent Educational Evaluator
    1. The evaluator must be a Certified School Psychologist
    2. The psychologist must be independent of the family, i.e. cannot be a close friend or family member and
    3. The psychologist must be independent of the district, i.e. cannot be a current or former employee of the district.