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approved private schools and chartered schools for the deaf and the blind

As many of you already know, we started a new electronic system on July 1, 2016 to input 4010’s and 4011’s for students in Approved Private Schools (APS) or Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind.  The new system is called APSEM and will be housed in your PDE Suites.  You must have your local administrator enter you into the APSEM group.
The school district of residence or charter school will input all of the 4010’s and 4011’s. All current students have been transitioned to the new system.  For technical assistance, please check the webinar on the PaTTAN-Harrisburg website or contact Dr. Ron Wells at
The school district or charter school will also input Preschool Early Intervention students into the system with information provided by the MAWA or the Preschool Early intervention program.  Please have the school district/charter school staff contact their local Preschool Early Intervention program to identify who the contact person from the established Preschool Early Intervention program will be handling any procedural concerns related to students in the EI program who are enrolled in an APS and participating in the APS 4010 funding process.  We appreciate your cooperation in this important enrollment process. 

The Approved Private Schools (APSs) are private schools, licensed by the State Board of Private Academic Schools. The Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, which are exempt from licensure. Both groups 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 four PA chartered and 31 non-charter APSs for which the Department approves funding. These schools provide a program of special education for over 4,000 day and residential students. A Directory of Approved Private and PA Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (pdf) is available by mail from the Bureau of Special Education or at this web site in PDF version.

Placement of students in a relatively restrictive environment such as an APS or PA Chartered School, must be based on the student's individual needs. Chapters 14,and 171 of the state's special education regulations and standards govern placements. These provisions require, among other things, that placement shall be based on the following:
  • The appropriate level of intervention,  
  • The appropriate location of intervention, and 
  • The appropriate grouping of students
Generally, the permissible justification for removing a child from the student's regular educational environment is only when the nature or intensity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
When a school district and the parent agree that the only source of an appropriate program of education for an eligible student is in an APS, in accordance with the stated admission policy of the particular APS, the recommendation and supporting documentation is forwarded to the Bureau of Special Education for final approval/disapproval of payment.

Costs for school age students placed in APSs are shared between the school district of residence and the Commonwealth.

APSs are an important and necessary part of Pennsylvania's special education delivery system. These schools provide some students with what may be the only appropriate education program currently available.

PA Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

The legislature which enacted Section 1376.1 of the School Code, recognized the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Overbrook School for the Blind, Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind, and the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf as a distinct and separate group of schools.

Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind – 2017 (PDF)


Calendar Creation Instructions

Please use the following instructions to indicate in-session and out-of-session days to create the Approved Private School (APSs) and Charted School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB) Calendar in the Approved Private School Electronic (APSEM) system.
  1. Go to My PDE Suites
  2. Click on APSEM
  3. Select role as APS User
  4. Select your school name from the APS drop down
  5. Click on the "APS Management" link on the Header
  6. If your school has separate campuses, divisions, or other organizational breakdowns that may have different calendars, you will see the division name
           listed and you MUST complete a separate calendar for the one marked active.
  7. Click on the calendar
  8. Select the School Year from the School Year Drop Down
  9. Click on the "Create New Calendar" button
  10. Select from the Program Type Drop Down
  11. Enter the Start Date of the Calendar
  12. Enter the End Date of the Calendar
  13. Select whether or not to Exclude Weekends in the Exclude Weekend Drop Down
  14. If you have any comment, put in the Comment box
  15. Click on the "General Detail" button, and a Calendar view of the dates within the specified Start and End dates will be displayed by month
  16. Using the Calendar control by clicking on the days in the Calendar, designate which days are not in session for the school year 
             (holidays, in service days, snow days, etc.)     
  17. When complete, click Submit button
  18. For all 5 or/and 7-day resident programs, you MUST complete two or three calendars: one for Day, one for Residential 5 Day, and one for
             Residential 7 Day, by click the "Create New Calendar" button again
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