Deer Lakes

School District

Special Education & Student Support Services

NOTICE: PDE Revised Guidance on IDEA - Change in Age of Eligibility for FAPE

About Student Support Services

Student Support is an umbrella term for many types of services Deer Lakes offers to support our students' unique and diverse needs, including Special Education Services. 

Students with a variety of special needs, including learning difficulties, physical challenges, emotional difficulties, as well as gifted students are served through special education services located in each of the district's schools.

Student support services also include English Language Learner (EL) services, homebound student services, homeless student services and students who are home-schooled.
There are approximately 385 students in the Deer Lakes School District Special Education program. This figure represents students with special needs, varying from speech and language to multiple disabilities, that have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The Deer Lakes School District is committed to providing students an education in their least restrictive environment (LRE). Over the past several years, the district has partnered with outside agencies to support IEP teams in utilizing supplementary aids and services so students can participate in the regular education classroom and curriculum with their peers. When a team member has concerns about how a student is progressing in their current placement, the IEP team meets and determines if additional data is needed. If more data is needed, a re-evaluation is completed and the IEP team reviews the new data and recommendations. If the IEP team has exhausted the supports and services that are available within the child's neighborhood building, the team explores placement outside of the district.  

The Deer Lakes Special Education staff, K through 12, constantly strives to improve the quality of the curriculum and instruction provided to the students in the district through the continuum of services and programs that ensure the most appropriate placement to the selection of research-based instructional programs that enhance the student’s ability to make academic growth. In addition to the focus on academics, the psychologist and social worker provide the mental health support that some students require to be successful. The Deer Lakes Special Education staff is here to assist students, parents, and the teachers to maximize opportunities for success.  

Direct services are contracted and provided by others with specialized training and expertise. In accordance with the law, the Deer Lakes School District provides, without cost to parents, screenings, evaluations, and appropriate programs and services to all students thought to be exceptional and in need of specially designed instruction. It is through our team and district staff that Deer Lakes' students receive the free appropriate public education (FAPE) designed to meet their unique needs in the least restrictive environment.

PUBLIC POSTING: Special Education Plan 2022-2025

The Deer Lakes School District Special Education Plan was submitted in June 2022 to the Department of Education (Bureau of Special Education). The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires school districts to submit a special education plan every three years. 

Contact Student Support Services:

163 East Union Road
Cheswick, PA 15024
Phone: 724.265.5320
Fax: 724.265.2259 
Twitter:  @DLSDSpecial 

Directions to Student Support Services

Department Staff:

Mary Runas
Secretary, Student Support Svcs.
P: 724.265.5300 Ext. 2642

McGaughey Lindsay McGaughey
Director, Student Support Svcs.
E: [email protected]
P: 724.265.5300 Ext. 2647
Mariano Dr. Rachel Mariano
School District Psychologist
E: [email protected]
P: 724.265.5300 Ext. 2643