Facilitating Special Education Services

Posted on Categories Individuals with Disabilities, Student Engagement

At a Glance

To support the success of students enrolled at the Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center (NWCTC), the CTC partners with the Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit to employ a Special Education Facilitator. The facilitator provides learning support to students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and coordinates services between four participating high schools.


The NWCTC special education facilitator ensures that appropriate services and plans are implemented to support the success of students with IEPs both during the program selection process and throughout their enrollment. To do this, he works with sending school special education staff, counselors, administrators, parents and the CTC staff. The facilitator makes sure all individuals are on the same page in terms of a student’s academic and CTE progress. He often meets individually with instructors and students, and he provides instructional tips to sending school teachers on how to support the CTE curriculum.

At NWCTC, the learning support staff monitors the progress of students with IEPs. The special education teacher and paraprofessionals ensure that the Specially Designed Instruction is implemented, assist program teachers with learning strategies and adaptions, and provide one-on-one support to students in the resource room or program classroom. The NWCTC special education teacher and the home school district coordinate annual IEP meetings for current students. The NWCTC support teacher collects information on student progress from program instructors to share at IEP meetings. In addition, teachers track daily progress through monitoring and weekly grade alerts. Amidst all these support services, the work of the special education facilitator to build effective partnerships with the sending schools and to develop strong lines of communication with staff, students and parents creates a positive school environment for NWTC students with IEPs.

The administration of these support services is funded using a mix of Perkins funding and sending schools’ general fund. The services are coordinated with the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit which provides additional expertise as needed to ensure student success.

The greatest challenges to fully meeting the needs of students with IEPs are clear and consistent communication, the number of students that require support, and the type of support required by CTC students. NWCTC has experienced a large increase in the number of students attending the school which has resulted in larger numbers of students requiring support. As a result, it is a challenge to have enough staff to cover student needs.

For CTCs that want to replicate the way in which NWCTC meets the needs of all students, NWCTC recommends they implement several practices. CTCs should host regular (monthly or quarterly) meetings of special education case managers and sending school special education directors to formulate processes, procedures and encourage collaboration. They should consider holding in-service training for their academic and special education staff to learn about the CTE curricula and how they can integrate academics to better support CTE instruction.


NWCTC’s support services have helped the CTC to maintain high NOCTI scores and allowed it to offer individualized instruction to students by way of alternative scheduling. The CTC provides half day and A/B day/full-day schedules. Special efforts are made to facilitate NOCTI support instruction and assessment accommodations


Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center
Adam Johnston, Special Education Facilitator