Equitable Participation

Certain services are available to students identified as eligible for special education who are unilaterally placed by their parents or guardians in private schools through a federal requirement called Equitable Participation (EP).

In Pennsylvania, the Intermediate Units (IUs) are the agencies responsible for the implementation of the federal requirement for EP. The Philadelphia IU shares specialized knowledge and skills with Non-Public School teachers, parents/guardians, administrators, and other professionals and works with Non-Public Schools and their teams, including parents/guardians, to determine which services, if any, will be provided.

For more information about Equitable Participation, click here to visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.



(Information About Special Education Services In IU26) – (PA DOE BSE PaTTAN)

Is your child having difficulty in school?
Has your child been identified as needing special education services? 

1. Do you believe that your child may be in need of special education services?

• An evaluation process to assess your child’s needs is available to you at no cost through the School  District of Philadelphia. Special education services usually adapts materials and modifies instruction to  meet your child’s specific learning/behavior needs.

2. How to request an evaluation:

• Visit your neighborhood public school Special Education Compliance Manager (SPCM) and submit your request for an evaluation under Equitable Participation (EP).

• The request will be processed and your child will be assigned an EP Identification Number (ID#).

3. The Process for an EP evaluation:

• The neighborhood public school will prepare a Permission to Evaluate (PTE) listing the specific types of tests and the procedures it plans to use, and your rights through this process. An evaluation cannot be scheduled until you (parent, guardian, or surrogate) sign the PTE and consent to the proposed testing and assessments. Please return the signed PTE to the neighborhood public school. The evaluation team has 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation process.

• If, after your child has been evaluated, they are found to need special education, the neighborhood public school will offer an Individualized Education Program (IEP) – a written document that specifically describes the special education services your child needs. A child is eligible for special education by  meeting one of the 13 disability categories listed below and needing specially designed instruction.

1) Autism
2) Deaf-Blindness
3) Deafness
4) Emotional Disturbance
5) Hearing Impairment
6) Mental Retardation
7) Multiple Disabilities
8) Orthopedic Impairment
9) Other Health Impairment
10) Specific Learning Disability
11) Speech or Language Impairment
12) Traumatic Brain Injury
13) Visual Impairment including Blindness

4. Your options after the EP evaluation:

• You may accept the offer of the IEP and enroll your child in the neighborhood public school. This offer is referred to as an offer of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

• If you choose not to accept the offer, you may request consultation services through EP as follows:

1) If the private is not located in the School District of Philadelphia, please contact the intermediate unit where the private school is located.

2) If the private school is located in the School District of Philadelphia, your child may be eligible to receive EP services as follows:

The Office of Specialized Services (OSS), in coordination with the Office of Non-Public Schools, will:

• Consult with non-public school representatives and parents/guardians of non-public school students with disabilities in planning and providing available appropriate services; and

• Offer services as determined by annual consultation with their private school agencies.