A person who works with a professional educator to provide services for students inside or outside of the classroom. They may also be called a paraprofessional, teacher’s aide, classroom assistant, or teacher’s assistant.

Paraeducator Development Plan

There is a wide variety of experience and knowledge among paraeducators who are working in very different settings with different types of students. Paraeducators may have personal interest in certain topics or may be seeking ways to become a more effective member of their educational team. The Paraeducator Development Plan is a document for a paraeducator’s personal use that will help him or her develop personal strategies and an action plan for professional development.

Parent Counseling and Training

Services to help parents understand the special needs of their child, child development sequences, and to develop skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP or IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan).

Parietal Lobes

These lobes are further back on both sides of the brain and are involved with sensory awareness, including awareness of what is being touched, seeing to the side, and distinguishing between left and right. Damage to these areas can affect the ability to read, write, and do mathematics.

Part C

The part of the Federal legislation signed in 1997 called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’97) that addresses the provision of early intervention services for children from birth to age three.


Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network


The Pennsylvania Department of Education is the agency responsible for funding services for all students in Pennsylvania.

Penn Data

Penn Data is the special education data system in Pennsylvania in which LEAs collect data at the student, building, and district levelᅠtwice a year to comply with federal and state requirements.

Pennsylvania Accountability Block Grant (ABG)

All 501 Pennsylvania school districts are eligible forᅠABG grants. The Accountability Block Grant provides Pennsylvania school districts with financial assistance to implement effective educational practices and initiatives to improve student achievement. The Block Grant is an exceptional opportunity for districts in that it supports in-depth implementation of improvement strategies and allows districts to select from a wide variety of programs to meet the specific learning needs of their students.

Pennsylvania Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP)

A comprehensive mental health service system for children, adolescents and their families under the Department of Public Welfare. CASSP is an acronym for the Child and Adolescent Service System Program. CASSP helps children and adolescents with emotional disturbances to gain access to needed services. These services are planned collaboratively with the child’s or adolescent’s family, the mental health system, the school and other agencies. CASSP also gives technical assistance to provider agencies on state-of-the-art mental health services for children and adolescents, supports best practice and assists in communication among all those who serve children in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Performance Index (PPI)

A weighted formula designed to measure growth across all levels, not solely the proficient level, using each school’s baseline data. PPI provides for encouraging and rewarding changes across the full continuum of academic achievement, while moving toward the goal of 100% proficiency.

Pennsylvania Special Education Paraeducator Credential of Competency

A credential offered by the Bureau of Special Education to paraeducators. It is based on ten standards identified by the Council for Exceptional Children as necessary for a special education paraeducator to know or be able to do in order to work effectively with students in special education programs. Paraeducators demonstrate to their supervisors that they have the skills and knowledge contained in the standards. The skills and knowledge are listed by standard on a checklist. The supervisor signs off on each standard and a completed checklist is sent to the Bureau of Special Education.

Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA)

The annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a standards-based criterion-referenced assessment used to measure a student’s attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards. Every Pennsylvania student in grades five, eight, and eleven is assessed in reading, math and writing.

Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS)

Statistical analysis of students’ formal assessments, including PSSA and standardized assessments. PVAAS allows school personnel to know if students are making their required annual progress.

Performance Standards

Benchmarks, or specified levels of achievement, for expectations for educational outcomes that provide a basis for measuring learning outcomes

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken language and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992). Phonemic awareness is an auditory skill and does not involve print.

Phonics-Alphabetic Principle

This is the understanding that speech is represented by word-segments, words, phrases and sentences. Understanding this letter and sound relationship is a prerequisite to effective word identification and the ability to sound out words.

Phonological Disorder

Difficulty with the development of speech sounds and the rules for the sound system.

Phonological Processing

The ability to identify, manipulate, produce, and remember speech sounds.


The sound system of language, including the speech sounds, speech patterns, and rules that applies to those sounds.

Physical Disabilities

Physical disabilities are conditions that substantially limit an individual’s basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying. For the purposes of this document, the term refers to students who, as a result of physical limitations, are unable to use standard printed materials.

Physical Therapy

Services provided by a qualified, licensed physical therapist that focus on preventing and improving muscular and motor skill deficits, and restoring the independent functional skills of students.

Pidgin Sign(ed) English (PSE)

Pidgin Sign English is a variety of sign communication that occurs when ASL users and English users interact with one another. PSE places ASL signs and features into an English word order so that the user can speak and sign simultaneously without the inclusion of Manually Coded English invented signs.

Pivotal Response Training

Teaching skills that have application to many situations, contexts, routines and environments.

Portable Word Processor

These lightweight, inexpensive devices can be easily taken from class-to-class to provide access to word processing without a computer. Text can be downloaded to a computer or printed with a single cable. Some products also include organizational features such as those in personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP)

A plan that defines, in specific detail, what positive and proactive changes we will make to improve the focus person’s behavior.

Post-school Outcomes

A student’s projected life choices following high school. The IEP team should ensure that a student’s secondary educational program prepares the student to be successful after high school in the areas of employment, education/training, residential living, community participation, and recreation/leisure.


The rules that govern and describe how language is used in different contexts and environments.

Primary Language

the first language acquired by a child, also known as mother tongue, home language, native language, first language, and heritage language.

Print Disabilities

Students with print disabilities under the Copyright Act as Amended are those who have been certified by a competent authority as unable to read printed materials because of blindness, visual impairment, physical limitations, or reading disabilities as the result of organic dysfunction.


A valid, reliable, and standardized assessment used to monitor student progress. Probes used for progress monitoring should be time efficient, curriculum-independent, and sensitive to small increments of growth.

Progress Monitoring

Progress Monitoring is the ongoing process of collecting and analyzing student data to determine progress toward either specific skills or general outcomes. This information allows for immediate instructional decisions based on the review and analysis of the collected data.


Assistance given by the teacher to promote correct responding that uses visual, physical, gestural, or verbal cues.


Prompts are cues given after the administrator’s actions that aid the student in performing the skills assessed within each task. When scoring, each additional prompt given after the Administrator’s Action is counted and the total number of prompts given affects the student’s score.

Psychological Services

Includes a range of activities to support student behavior, learning and adjustment.


physical therapy


A consequence that results in the decreasing the future occurrence of the behavior it follows. For example, a student must complete work during recess because he screamed, so he is less likely to scream next time, under the condition that he really wants to go to recess.