Program Academics & Design

Follow the steps below to complete this page. This section of the application is a bit long - remember you can always use the Save & Stay button at the bottom of the page to save your progress while working.

(Step 1) At the top of the page, read and check the box for the assurance statement. Then, upload the handbook provided to AEDY Parents and Students using the upload tool at the top of the page. The handbook should be specific to your AEDY Program (e.g. do not include information about additional programs provided on site). 

Upload box for the AEDY parent/student handbook

Q: What information should be included in our AEDY Program handbook?

A: What to include is a local decision. Common inclusions are how students may be referred to AEDY, information about the MTSS structures in place on site, and how students begin to exit/transition after meeting their behavioral goals specific to the behavior of concern. You may also wish to include policies and procedures as well as information on counseling and the academic structures in the program. Click on the button below for a checklist of recommendations.

(Step 2) Upload a copy of the packet used during AEDY Intake. The intake packet should include all information which is provided to parents, families, and students during the intake process. You may also upload a checklist detailing what information is reviewed and provided prior to the student being seated. The intake packet should be specific to your AEDY Program (e.g. do not include information about additional programs provided on site).

A sample intake checklist is available for your use by clicking on the button below. If you use the sample checklist, be sure to add any additional items required by your AEDY program at intake (e.g. medical records, grades, behavioral assessment, etc.).

Upload box for the AEDY intake packet

(Step 3) Read and check the boxes to verify that your AEDY Program will meet each of the requirements as relates to academic instruction. Then, use the checkboxes below the assurance statements to indicate the types of academic measures/assessments used within the program. If the program uses measures/indicators for academic instruction that are not listed, click the plus (+) button next to "Add another" to add them to the list.

Academic instruction section of the program academics page. A red box is around the blue plus button to add another academic measure/indicator.

(Step 4) Use the provided text box to describe the process by which the program determines and aligns assessments with referring LEAs.

Text box for adding academic assessment information.

(Step 5) Use the provided checkboxes to indicate the method/mode(s) of instructional delivery used in your AEDY program: direct, computer-based, and/or blended instruction. If any additional types of delivery are used, they can be added to the list using the blue plus (+) button next to "add another" below the checkbox list.

Checkboxes for selecting the instructional delivery methods.

Q: What kinds of instruction can our program use?

A: This is a local decision that should be determined by your program team. Some programs choose to use all computer-based instruction via an online delivery system while others only use in-person direct instruction from teachers. Still other programs use blended instruction, sometimes created by outside organizations and sometimes by on-staff teachers. Of course, many programs choose to use a mix of these methods of delivery. Whatever you choose, remember that special education and English Learner instruction must be facilitated by an appropriately certified teacher.


Q: What's the difference between direct, computer-based and blended learning?

A: Direct Instruction is provided directly by a teacher. Direct instruction includes traditional in-person schooling as well as synchronous online lessons.

Computer-based instruction is asynchronous instruction provided through a learning platform. Computer-based instruction may either be created a third-party provided or by in-house staff. A classroom teacher may be physically present while students work through lessons online and may also provide some additional supports (e.g. tutoring, one-on-one support), but the teacher is not providing any direct instruction to students with computer-based learning. 

Blended instruction includes a mix of direct and computer-based instruction where lessons are sometimes delivered synchronously and sometimes delivered asynchronously. For example, the teacher might create a video lesson or module (like this one) for students to work through at their own pace, but also facilitate a hands-on learning experience like a lab. Flipped classrooms are a good example of blended instruction. Read more about the difference between these types of instruction here: Blended and online learning (Vanderbilt Center for Teaching).


Q: Our teachers use an online Learning Management System (LMS), does that mean we use blended instruction?

A: A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform used by teachers in many different ways. Common examples include Canvas, Schoology, Google Classroom, and Moodle, although there are quite a few available! Whether the teacher is delivering blended instruction depends on how the platform is being used. If it's used to host general information about the course (like a syllabus), grades, homework files, etc., but is not used for the delivery of instruction, then the course is still using only direct instruction. If the LMS is being used to create lessons for students to work through (like this module) and the teacher is also delivering traditional, direct instruction lessons, then the course is using blended learning.

(Step 6) Enter information about the counseling services provided by your AEDY program. First (letter A in the image below), use the small textbox to enter the number of hours per week a student will receive counseling/behavioral modification services - AEDY programs must provide a minimum of 2.5 hours of counseling per week for each student. Next, use the radio buttons to indicate if individual counseling services are offered. 

The counseling section. Letter A is the number of counseling hours per week per student and radio buttons to indicate if individual counseling is offered. Letter B is the checkboxes for types of counseling. Letter C is the option to add another type of counseling.

Use the checkboxes to mark what types of counseling are provided to students seated in the AEDY program (letter B in the image above). For each type of counseling offered, 3 data fields will appear to the right. Enter the name of the curricula (e.g. the counseling program name or a description of what is used). Then, either check the box if this type of counseling is provided by an on-site staff member OR use the text box to enter the name of the 3rd party used to provide this type of counseling.

Keep in mind that any 3rd party providers should also be listed on the partnerships page AND their specific staff members listed in the outside contracted staff page.

Repeat this for all types of counseling provided to students seated in the AEDY program.

If a type of counseling is provided that is not listed, use the blue plus (+) button to add another type of counseling to the list.

Note: During cyclical monitoring, your AEDY program will be required to provide a counseling log to evidence the 2.5+ hours per week for each student. Sample logs and templates are provided via the buttons below for your use.

(Step 7) Check the box to indicate that your program will promote and facilitate the participation of all students in elective programs. Then, use the blue plus sign (+) following the phrase "Add Electives" to list each elective provided by your program. List one elective per line. Only list electives available to students placed in your AEDY program.

The electives section with table and assurance statement

If your program provides many electives, you can instead choose to upload the course catalog of electives using the File Upload Tool. 

Upload box for a catalog of electives

(Step 8) Complete the sample agenda - this sample agenda outlines all of your program's instructional time in an average week.

Click "Add a Program" at the top of the table to create a row in the table. You can edit an existing row with the same tool by clicking the "Edit" button in the row's Action column.

Sample schedule table. A red box is around the add a program button at the top and another red box is around the edit / delete buttons on the first row of the table

For each program/class period listing, provide the name of the timeslot (e.g. counseling, mathematics, etc.), the day(s) it occurs, start time, end time, and position of the staff member responsible for supervising the time slot.

If you check boxes for multiple days of the week, the line item will be repeated on the schedule for each of the days checked. For example, if every morning starts with 30 minutes of counseling, check the boxes for Monday through Friday, then click save. Counseling will show 5 times, once at the start of each day.

Add a program line page

Click "Save Academic Schedule" to save the row or "Return to Program Academics" to discard.

Buttons: return to program academics and save academic schedule

Q: How should we list elective time?

A: List elective time as "other instruction" and use the text box which appears to describe the time slot (e.g. art, music, gym, etc.).


Q: How should we list lunch and breakfast time?

A: Breakfast only needs to be included if your instructional time doesn't line up with the hours of operation listed on the Program Design page. For example, if your doors open at 8AM and breakfast is from 8AM-8:30AM, list this time as "Free time." Lunch can either be listed as "Free time" or simply remain unlisted (in which case it will show as a "gap" in times).


Q: What counts as "Study time"?

A: Study time can count as instructional time when it is a supervised study hall. Read more about what qualifies for instructional time in the PDE Instructional Time BEC.


Q: How are the times at the bottom of the table calculated?

A: Each row that is added calculates the number of minutes using the entered start and end times. All times are added to get the number Total minutes/week. Rows that are marked as "Group counseling/behavior modification" have their minutes added to calculated Total counseling minutes/week. Minutes/year and hours/year are based on the assumption that the program operates for exactly 180 student days. 


Q: Our program isn't meeting the required 990 hours/year or 2.5 counseling hours/week. What should we do?

A: Consider adding a few minutes to your program's instructional day. 5 min x 180 days = 900 min = 15 hours! Making small changes to ensure students receive the instructional and counseling time they need can help your students succeed.

(Step 9) Below the agenda, provide additional information about student schedules and calendaring. First, enter the number of full student days per school year in the text box (letter A in the image below). This will be the number of total student days minus any early dismissal days. For example, if students are in school for 185 days, but 5 days are early dismissals, enter 185 - 5 = 180 days into the text box.

Next, use the blue plus (+) button to provide the date(s) and time(s) of any early dismissals for students. (letter B in the image below).

Section below the agenda. Letter A is the number of full student days per school year. Letter B has a red box around the blue plus button to add dismissal day/time. Letter C is the number of Act 80 days. Letter D is the upload box for additional student schedules.

Next, use the textbox to provide the number of Act 80 days included in the calendar (letter C in the image above). If there are none, enter zero.

Finally, you may use the OPTIONAL file upload tool to provide any additional schedules used by students seated in the AEDY program (letter D in the image above). This is particularly useful for programs which divide students into groups which have different schedules.


Q: Our AEDY program follows the schedules of each sending LEA - what data should we enter in these boxes?

A: Enter the information for the schedule most commonly followed (i.e. the LEA which typically sends the most students), then provide the information for the other student schedules using the file upload tool.


Q: When else might we need to upload an additional student schedule?

A: Uploading additional student schedules is appropriate whenever a student's day might deviate from the information provided in the text boxes or the sample agenda. For example, if students in grades 6-8 follow a different daily schedule than students in grades 9-12, an additional schedule would be appropriate for the group information not listed in the agenda and text boxes.

(Step 10) If your AEDY program offers credit recovery, check the box to indicate this service. Use the provided textbox to enter information on any additional services offered to students in placement which have not already been described in this section of the application. If no additional services are provided, leave this blank.

Checkbox for offering credit recovery. Text box for additional services.

(Step 11) Check the box to affirm you "have read, understand and will comply with the statement regarding the number of instructional hours for AEDY programs. This program will not operate for less than the number of hours and days required of General Education Programs under Pennsylvania Law."

Assurance statement checkbox

For more information on what is required, see the AEDY Program Requirements section of the AEDY Guidelines and the Instructional Time BEC.

(Step 12) Provide the hours and days of operation for your program. The hours of operation should align with the agenda entered above. If there is "buffer time" at the beginning/end of the day, these should be included in the agenda as "Free time." For example, if the program opens its doors at 8AM but does not begin instruction until 8:30AM, the hours of operation would start at 8AM and the agenda would include a line 8AM - 8:30AM Free Time.

Operation hours text box and days of operation checkboxes

(Step 13) Upload your school calendar for the current (if applying mid-year) or upcoming (if applying over the summer) school year using the file upload tool. Be sure the calendar is clear in showing dates of operation and scheduled early dismissals as well as any Act 80 days.

School calendar upload box

(Step 14) Check the box to verify that you have read and understand the requirements regarding the development of the AEDY program in consultation with faculty, administrative staff, parents, and community members.

Assurance statement checkbox

(Step 15) Use the text box to list community resources available to students while in placement in your AEDY program.

(Step 16) When you are finished with Program Academics & Design, click "Save & Go to Next Section" at the bottom of the page.