The Parent Connection

Updates for Special Education and Student Services

January 2019

Truancy Law

Governor Wolf signed new truancy legislation into law on Thursday, November 3, 2016. The new provisions took effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. These new provisions recognize that it is crucial for students to be in attendance at school.


Here is an overview of key provisions. A more detailed analysis can be found at www.elcpa.org/truancy.


Purpose of the new law.

The law expressly states that its purpose is to improve school attendance and deter truancy through a “comprehensive approach to consistently identify and address attendance issues as early as possible through credible interventions” that:

 Preserve the unity of the family whenever possible.

 Avoid the loss of housing, the possible entry of a child to foster care, and other unintended consequences of disrupting an intact family unit.

 Confine a parent or guardian of a child who is habitually truant only as a last resort.


Definition of “truant.”

The new law defines “truant” as “having three (3) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year by a child subject to [the] compulsory school attendance [law].”


Definition of “habitually truant.”

The new law defines “habitually truant” as “having six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to [the] compulsory school attendance [law].”

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Safe Schools Update

IMPORTANT DATE: Our next Safe Schools Parent Advisory Committee Meeting will be held on January 23rd at 7:00pm in the Intermediate School TLC-II.


The Safe Schools Parent Advisory Steering Committee met on Noember 1st and 29th, and again on December 17th. From these meetings it was determined that members of the committee would start a podcast to share important information about student safety with parents and that members would update the website.

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Have a tip, contact the Upper Moreland Safe School Helpline. Students and parents can anonymously report threats and concerns through call, text or through the app.


Call 1-800-418-6423 ext. 359

Text 66746

Download the app at Safeschoolhelpline.com



Want to reach out to the Safe Schools Parent Advisory Steering Committee? You can contact them with questions or concerns at safeschoolsparents@umtsd.org.


Check out the updated Safe Schools Model. We have many new and exciting initiatives going on in Upper Moreland to keep students safe.

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Need Assistance?

If you are experiencing a time of need, please reach out to the Office of Student Services at (215) 830-1513. Our office has many community resources to help you.


This district maintains a list of local services, from food banks to housing partners, to counseling services. If you are in need, please click on the link below to check out this resource.

Community Happenings

Here's what's happening around the area this month:


Upper Moreland Library New Year's Eve Party

December 31st, 2018

3:30pm to 5:30pm


Right to Education Task Force

January 8th

9:00am


MCIU Feeding Evaluation Team

Ongoing


Upper Moreland Library- Sunday Cinema

January 20th

2:00pm


Right to Education Task Force

February 5th

9:00am

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Teenage Depression


Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.


Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and changing bodies can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens. But for some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings — they're a symptom of depression.

Teen depression isn't a weakness or something that can be overcome with willpower — it can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teens, depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling.



Emotional changes

Be alert for emotional changes, such as:

  • Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
  • Feeling hopeless or empty
  • Irritable or annoyed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Behavioral changes

Watch for changes in behavior, such as:

  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nurse
  • Social isolation
  • Poor school performance or frequent absences from school
  • Less attention to personal hygiene or appearance
  • Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behavior, or other acting-out behaviors
  • Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing
  • Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt



Source: Mayo Clinic

Special Education and Student Services Team

Michelle Lutz

Director of Special Education & Student Services

mlutz@umtsd.org (215) 830-1513


Valerie Adair

Supervisor of Special Education

vadair@umtsd.org (215) 830-1592