Special Education


     Each student with a disability who is a resident of Shenandoah Valley shall be provided quality education program and services that meet the student’s needs for educational, instructional, transitional, and related services. The special education program shall be designed to comply with law; conformed to district goals; and integrate programs of special education with the regular instructional program of the schools, consistent with the interest of the student with a disability and other students. 

     Under Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), a child with a disability can be defined as the following: Autism, Deaf/Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance,Hearing Impaired, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech and Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment.

     If you believe that your school-age child may be in need of special education screening or evaluation, services are available to you at no cost, upon written request.


Family Engagement



Family Engagement promotes equitable partnerships among schools, families and communities to actively promote student achievement through shared commitment, decision-making and responsibility.  PaTTAN is looking for your input as we update our training plans, publications and resources.  Please help us by completing our Family Engagement Survey.  Families and schools working together, because our students are worth it.

The survey can be accessed at the link below and will close 3/23/20.


Special Education Contact Information:


​​Michelle Zinkus, Director of Special Education

(570) 462-1957 zinkm@svbluedevils.org​​

Kelly Savakinas, Secretary to the Director of Special Education

(570) 462-1957 savak@svbluedevils.org

Lesley Matus, School Psychologist

(570) 462-2796 matul@svbluedevils.org

Elementary Special Education Teachers:

Maricia Buhl buhlm@svbluedevils.org

Karen Possessky posk@svbluedevils.org

Jaime Houseknecht  housej@svbluedevils.org

Angela Huben hubea@svbluedevils.org

Michelle Brochyus brocm@svbluedevils.org

Ashley Palubinsky palua@svbluedevils.org

Barbara Cuff cuffb@svbluedevils.org

High School Special Education Teachers: 

Amanda Zulkowski mccla@svbluedevils.org

Sarah Hollenbach lesis@svbluedevils.org

Lori Hess hessl@svbluedevils.org 

Gloria Laudeman laudg@svbluedevils.org

Coleen McGuire mcguc@svbluedevils.org

Speech and Language Pathology: 

Dawn Wenrich wenrda@svbluedevils.org

Erica Polley polle@svbluedevils.org

Emotional Support Teachers

Kassandra Stewart blewk@svbluedevils.org

Angel VanBlargan vanban@svbluedevils.org


Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teacher:

Lisa Reidler  reidl@svbluedevils.org

Autistic Support Teacher:

Melissa Troutman  troum@svbluedevils.org

Occupational Therapy 

Valerie Dornsife dornv@svbluedevils.org

Social Worker/Behavioral Interventionist 

Sean Lyons  lyonss@svbluedevils.org  

Joan Matta (Behavioral Interventionist) mattj@svbluedevils.org   


Inclusion Classroom:


     There are currently four co-teaching classrooms at Shenandoah Valley Elementary School. “Co-teaching is two or more people sharing responsibility for teaching all of the students assigned to a classroom (Nevin, Thousand, & Villa, 2008).” The research indicates increased overall achievement for all students. There are many benefits of co-teaching for both students and teachers alike. For students, co- teaching develops respect for differences, opportunities for leadership and growth within the least restrictive environment, improves self- esteem, enables development of friendships, shows increased achievement test scores, etc. 

     All students have the right to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). If you would like to receive more information about co-teaching, please log on to Parent Hub.


Child Study Team:


     The purpose of the Child Study Team is to implement academic and behavioral interventions to meet the needs of students experiencing difficulty prior to a special education referral. When the student is showing academic or behavioral problems, the teacher will complete the Child Study Referral form. The Child Study Referral form is located in the Elementary Office. The Child Study Referral form will be turned in to the School Counselor.


Transition 101 Parent Training:

       What is Transition? What does this mean for my child with a disability?

If you have a child with a disability who is 13 - 21 years of age and would like to receive information about the transition process and transition section of an IEP, then please come join us for an informational training about transition. Parents, guardians, and family members from ANY DISTRICT may attend the following training listed on the attached flyer.

Zoom Meetings for Parents

CSL Stem

Anatomy of a Quality Employee

Find Your Right Way

Guardian Transition Sessions

Schuylkill County Resource for Families 


Helpful Hints/Parent Trainings



Opportunity for Families, Students, Teachers: May 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm 

Project AACHIEVE (An Autism College High School Integration for Educational and Vocational Excellence) will be offering an opportunity for families, students, and teachers to learn more about college planning during the time of COVID-19. 

Jane Thierfeld Brown of www.collegeautismspectrum.com will be providing tips and guidance to help students and families plan for college during uncertain times. Dr. Brown will focus on information for graduating seniors and rising sophomores and juniors on the autism spectrum; however, the guidance will be helpful for any student with disabilities interested in attending college. The session will also allow attendees to submit questions ahead of time for Dr. Brown to address, as well as to ask questions during the session. 

Please join us on Wednesday May 27 at 3:00 pm!

To attend, please click on this link to complete a brief form to register for the session. 

Register in advance for this webinar:


(Upon completing the form above, you will be sent the link for the session along with a password.) 

If you would like to submit any questions to Dr. Brown, please do so by clicking here!

If you have any questions, please email Kristin Starosta, kstarosta@pattan.net

Welcome to Career Day “THE VIRTUAL WAY”

https://www.pct.edu/k-12-educators/virtual-career-day  While this Career Day is primarily geared toward 7-9th grade students, it is suitable for all ages. Students may choose a pathway that leads them to a host of videos and articles meant to inspire and educate. This resource can be used as an enrichment tool, based on the PA Department of Education’s Career Education and Work (CEW) standards. The list of industry-recognized career clusters, for which the pathways are based, is found here

Students can reflect/respond and, to take a step further, go to our website at pct.edu to delve further into academic programs that prepare students for applied technology careers.

If you have any difficulties, or have questions, please email me at ams106@pct.edu.

OVR Newsletter May 8th

OVR NEwsletter May 15th

OVR Newsletter May 22nd

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce the following opportunity:

Together at Home: Resources for Youth and Families
Date/Location: May 19, 2020 - Webinar
Time: 5:30 PM – 8:45 PM

Together at Home: Resources for Youth and Families is a virtual conference designed specifically for families and students to finish the school year strong. Presenters will offer twenty-minute sessions to assist with learning in a virtual environment. Several sessions have been specially designed just for students. An opening keynote by the Director of the Bureau of Special Education, Ms. Carole Clancy, will set the stage for the importance of strong family and student commitment. Marc Elliot, author and national presenter, will close the conference with an inspirational message on finding your strength.

Presenter(s): Multiple Presenters

Registration Information:
You may register online by clicking on the name of the event on the Training Events Calendar at: https://www.pattan.net/events/http://www.pattan.net/category/Training/Calendar/

For content related information and questions, please contact Kim Jenkins, kjenkins@pattan.net, PaTTAN East.

For general registration information and questions, please contact Yolanda McDermott, ymcdermott@pattan.net, PaTTAN East.

Together at Home is a web-based conference which requires each participant to log in separately to each session using the links that will be provided closer to the scheduled event.

All participants who wish to earn Act 48 credits must login to ZOOM on a computer individually in order to earn credits. No credit will be awarded to those who attend by phone (audio alone). Individual registrants must stay for the duration of the conference and must complete the conference evaluation survey with proper codes within one week of the conference to be eligible to receive ACT 48 clock hours.

Participants are encouraged to test their computers/devices prior to the date of the conference using https://zoom.us/test, and to seek local assistance if you encounter difficulty.

Learn about the PA ABLE Savings Program at PAABLE. gov

A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.

To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.

Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.

·  Wednesday, May 20, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

·  Wednesday, Jun 17, 2020 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

·  Wednesday, Jul 15, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  Newsletter form the Reading District OVR Office 

Find Your Right Way - Informational session provided by Schuylkill Intermediate 29

   S.N.A.P. (Special Needs Assessment Program) is a disaster preparedness tool provided by your county government. For more information visit www.scema.org Help Your Emergency Responders Help You! 

The Brain: Basic Anatomy, Brain Injuries and Return to Learn Protocol Training

Advice from the OT - Why Good Sitting = Good Listening

PA's Supplementary and Aids Toolkit - An Overview for Parents

The Special Ed Evaluation/IEP Process

The Special Ed Evaluation/IEP Process

The Special Ed Reevaluation/IEP Process

The Special Ed Reevaluation/IEP Process

PBIS Parent Traning

Find Your Child's right Way

My Bike Program

Human Trafficking 101

What's Your Vision

College and Career Planning Resources


www.collegeboard.com : Register for the SAT

www.bls.gov/oco : Occupational Outlook Handbook - This is a guide to career information about hundreds of occupations!

www.onetonline.org : O Net online - Find occupations.
petersons.com :Find a college that's right for you!

FAFSA information : Apply for Federal Student Aid (Financial Aid)

Act Student : Register for the ACT

PA Career Zone

PA Career Link




  Use the following links to find information
     SAT - College Board
     ACT - ACT Student
     ACT  Question of the Day 

Test Guide : ASVAB Practice Tests