Acronyms & Glossary

This page has a full list of all the acronyms and terms you may see around our website along with a brief explanation of each. Items are sorted by category and then alphabetically - use the table of contents below to jump to the sections. Links are included where appropriate to help provide additional context.

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AEDY - Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth.

CA - Corrective Action. Issued to AEDY Programs and Sending LEAs as part of the cyclical monitoring process.

FPR - Formal Periodic Review. An initial FPR must be conducted within 5 days of the student being seated and an FPR must be held every 45 days while in placement. "The meeting team should consist of  the AEDY Program Coordinator, LEA Coordinator, student, parent(s), and other LEA and AEDY program staff as appropriate" (AEDY BEC). Learn more here.

FSA - Facilitated Self Assessment. Consisting of 7 areas, the FSA is completed by the AEDY program, detailing how they operate. Learn more here.

ICAP - Individual Corrective Action Plan. ICAPs are issued as part of the cyclical monitoring process and are specific to individual student files. 

PED - Presumptive Exit Date. This is the date the student is presumed to exit the AEDY program. It is calculated at 45 school days based on the AEDY program's entered calendar. An FPR meeting must be held on or prior to this date for each student, regardless of whether they have met their required goal(s) or their expulsion status.

Agencies & Groups

APBS - Association for Positive Behavior Support. Dr. Knoster, Executive Director. Click here for Dr. Knoster's collaborative work with PaTTAN.

BSE - Bureau of Special Education. Pennsylvania agency. Branch of the PDE. Sign up for the BSE Bulletin here.

CASEL - the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. National collaborative.

DHS - Department of Human Services. Pennsylvania agency.

DOJ - Department of Justice. Federal agency.

ECYEH - Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. Pennsylvania program.

FDA - U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal agency.

NASP - National Association of School Psychologists.

OCR - Office for Civil Rights. Federal agency. A branch of the USDE.

ODR - Office for Dispute Resolution. Pennsylvania agency. Contracted by the PDE. See also: ODR in general terms, below.

OMHSAS - Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Pennsylvania agency. Branch of DHS.

OSEP - Office of Special Education Programs. Federal agency. Branch of the USDE.

PACCT - Pennsylvania Academic, Career and Technical Training Alliance. A branch of the Department of Human Services.

PAR - Psychological Assessment Resources. Dr. Feifer has authored 3 tests published by PAR.

PAIU - Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units. Pennsylvania association.

PaTTAN - Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network. Working with the BSE, PaTTAN provides professional development and technical assistance to LEAs across the Commonwealth via the 3 PaTTAN locations in Malvern, Harrisburg, and Pittsburg. This AEDY team is part of PaTTAN.

PDE - Pennsylvania Department of Education.

PNSAS - Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance. Pennsylvania network for SAP programs.

USDE - U.S. Department of Education. Federal agency.

WIDA - an organization that "provides language development resources to those who support the academic success of multilingual learners...The name WIDA originally stood for the three states on the grant proposal: Wisconsin, Delaware and Arkansas" (WIDA Mission and History).


BIP - Behavior Intervention Plan. Learn more here

BoQ - Benchmark of Quality. An assessment used to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of MTSS. Intended to be delivered by a trained PBIS facilitator. See the Tier 1 BoQ from here.

CICO - Check In Check Out. A Tier 3 behavior intervention. "The program consists of students daily checking in with an adult at the start of school to retrieve a goal sheet and encouragement, teachers provide feedback on the sheet throughout the day, students check out at the end of the day with an adult, and the student takes the sheet home to be signed, returning it the following morning at check in" (PBIS World).

FACTS - Functional Assessment Checklist for Teachers and Staff. A behavioral assessment used by many AEDY programs and sending LEAs. Learn more and download the form here.

FBA - Functional Behavior Assessment. "A process of gathering information to understand the function (purpose) of behavior in order to write an effective Positive Behavior Support Plan" (PaTTAN). Learn more here.

FW-TFI - Facility-Wide Tiered Fidelity Inventory. An assessment used to evaluate the implementation and effective of MTSS and PBIS systems in alternative settings. Learn more here.

MTSS - Multi-Tiered System of Support. Framework for enhancing academic, behavior health, and social-emotional learning outcomes for ALL students. Learn more here.

PBIS - Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. "An evidence-based three-tiered framework to improve and integrate all of the data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day" ( 

RTI - Response to Intervention. "The methodology that is used to determine how slow is slow (rate of growth) and how low is low (student’s level of performance), as an alternative to ability-achievement discrepancy within a comprehensive Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Determination process" (PaTTAN).

SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely. Criteria used to help create a well-written goal. Learn more here.

PBSP- Positive Behavior Support Plan. A plan created to support a student's behavior goal(s). Click here for PaTTAN's Annotated Positive Behavior Support Plan.

RJ - Restorative Justice. In schools, often referred to as RP, Restorative Practices. "A theory of justice that focuses on mediation and agreement rather than punishment. Offenders must accept responsibility for harm and make restitution with victims. Indigenous people like the Maori have used this system successfully in their communities for generations" (We Are Teachers). Learn more in our recorded webinar series from David Yusum (Oakland Unified SD).

SEL - Social Emotional Learning. "The process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions" (CASEL). Get resources for SEL here on PaTTAN's website.

TFI - Tiered Fidelity Inventory. An assessment used to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of MTSS. Learn more here. See the TFI here from

TIPS - Team-Initiated Problem Solving. "a framework to use during meetings (e.g., PBIS, RTI, MTSS) focused on data-based decision making to improve student outcomes" (Horner et al., 2015).

English Learners

*Two further in-depth glossaries are available:

ACCESS for ELLs -  Assessing Communication and Comprehension in English State to State for English Language Learners. Measures English language development. Learn more here.

BICS - Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (conversational language).

CALP - Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (academic language).  

Can Do Descriptors - "describe what learners can do with language across different content areas" (WIDA). Learn more here.

Composite Scores - part of the results of a student's ACCESS for ELLs test. Combinations of the language domain scores.

Confidence Band - a component of the scale score, defined below, on the ACCESS for ELLs test. The confidence band shows "shows the range of scores a student might receive if that student took the test again and again at a single point in time"  (WIDA ACCESS for ELLs Interpretive Guide for Score Reports, p. 6).

Dimensions of Language - discourse, sentence, and word/phrase. "One way to conceptualize the linguistic system within a sociocultural context" (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p. 31). Read more in the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, beginning on page 31.

EL - English Learner. "when used with respect to an individual, means an individual- (A) who is aged 3 through 21; (B) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school; (C)(i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; (ii)(I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and (II) who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or (iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and (D) whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual- (i) the ability to meet the challenging State academic standards; (ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or (iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society" (20 USC § 7801 (20)).

ELD - English Language Development.

ELDS - English Language Development Standards. PA Standards for English Language Development. Separated by grade level, then by context (Social and Instructional, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies). Read the standards here. Last revised 2017.

ELD Standards Statements - also called the WIDA ELD Standards Statements, from the WIDA ELD Standards Framework (see p. 24 for a full breakdown). There are 5 WIDA ELD Standards Statements: "(1) English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting; (2) English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts; (3) : English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Mathematics; (4) English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science; (5) English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Social Studies" (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p. 9).

EL-ILLP - English Learner - Individual Language Learner Plan. A plan written for a single learner which outlines the learner's demographics, history, strengths, language goals, and support structures and accommodations to be provided. Learn more here.

ELL - English Language Learner. 

ESL - English as a Second Language. "This term normally refers to the teacher of ELs because the program specialist certificate contains the term ESL, although it can be used interchangeably with English language development (ELD) in many cases" (District ELL Administrator and Coordinator Handbook, p.9).

Expressive Communication Mode - includes speaking, writing, and representing. Part of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework - see page 28 for more.

Grade Level Cluster - grouping of grade levels which divide the WIDA resources. The clusters are PreK-K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Key Language Uses - "describe prominent ways that language is used in school, across all disciplines. When educators make choices about how to integrate content and language, the Key Language Uses can help provide focus and coherence." (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p, 23).

Interpretive Communication Mode - includes listening, reading, and viewing. Part of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework - see page 28 for more.

Language Domains - the four language domains included on the ACCESS for ELLs test are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each language domain is scored as a proficiency level and scale score.

Language Expectations - "goals for content-driven language instruction, adding specificity to the ELD Standards Statements and Key Language Uses. They are the statements most similar to what educators generally find in academic content standards" (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p, 28). Language expectations have four components: reference codes, communication modes, Language Functions, and example Language Features. See the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p. 28, for a breakdown.

Language Functions - "common patterns of language use that showcase particular ways students might use language to meet the purposes of schooling" (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p. 29).

LEP - Limited English Proficiency. 

LIEP - Language Instructional Educational Program. "This includes all components of the academic program for ELs (English language development, supports for content learning, and any additional or supplemental classes, courses, or services)" (District ELL Administrator and Coordinator Handbook, p.9).

PHLOTE - Primary or Home Language Other Than English. ""This term is used to describe students who come from an environment where English is not the dominant language. All ELs are PHLOTE students, but not all PHLOTE students are ELs" (District ELL Administrator and Coordinator Handbook, p.10).

PLD - Proficiency Level Descriptors. "PLDs describe a continuum of language development for activities that target Language Expectations. They provide a detailed articulation of how students might develop language across the six levels of English language proficiency." (WIDA ELD Standards Framework, p. 23). PLDs are organized around the dimensions of language, above.

Proficiency Level - these levels provide an idea of a student's skill within each language domain. The six WIDA English Language Proficiency Levels are (1) Entering, (2) Emerging, (3) Developing, (4) Expanding, (5) Bridging, (6) Reaching. Used for the Proficiency Level Score, below.

Proficiency Level Score - a score provided by the ACCESS for ELLs test. Proficiency level scores "[describe] the student's performance in terms of the six WIDA English Language Proficiency Levels...At the bottom of the Individual Student Report, each proficiency level achieved by the student is explained in terms of what they can do using English" (WIDA ACCESS for ELLs Interpretive Guide for Score Reports, p. 4) using Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs), described above. Proficiency level scores should NOT be compared across grade levels (e.g. the same student's 8th and 10th grade scores should not be compared).

Scale Score - a score provided by the ACCESS for ELLs test. "Scale scores precisely track student growth over time and across grades. Because scale scores take into account differences in item difficulty, they place all students on a single continuum that stretches from kindergarten through grade 12. In addition, scale scores allow you to compare student performance across grades, within each domain, with more granularity than you’ll see with proficiency levels. For example, using scale scores, you can track how much a student’s listening ability increases from grade 6 to grade 7, or you might compare the speaking skills of your school’s second graders to that of the fifth graders when evaluating curricula" (WIDA ACCESS for ELLs Interpretive Guide for Score Reports, p. 5).

SLIFE - Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education. Read more information from WIDA here.

General Terms

Asynchronous Instruction - instruction that happens at different times. Examples include a virtual self-paced module completed online using a learning management system like Schoology, Canvas, or Blackboard, or embedded in a website, a reading assignment, or viewing a recorded lesson.

Blended Instruction - Also referred to as Blended Learning and Hybrid Learning. A combination of in-person and remote learning where students receive a mix of both. This might look like physically attending school for part of the day or part of the week and receiving instruction remotely the rest of the time. Hybrid instruction is synchronous when in-person while the remote component can be either synchronous or asynchronous.

EOY - End of Year.

Hybrid Instruction - see Blended Instruction, above.

In-Person Instruction - often referred to as Direct Instruction, In-person instruction is the traditional mode of education where learning takes place face-to-face. Teachers and students are physically in the same room at the same time. In-person instruction is always synchronous.

ISS - In School Suspension.

LEA - Local Educational Agency. LEA typically refers to the school district or charter school where the student is enrolled. See 20 USC § 7801 (30)(A) for the federal definition.

LMS - Learning Management System. A digital system used to store and communicate information about courses and other groups to students, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders. LMSs can be used to house fully online courses, both synchronous and asynchronous. Common examples in Pennsylvania are Canvas, Schoology (Powerschool), and Google Classroom.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Question.

GPA - Grade Point Average.

JPO - Juvenile Probation Officer.

ODR - Office Discipline Referral. See also: ODR in agencies & groups, above.

OSS - Out of School Suspension.

PII - Personally Identifiable Information. An important component of FERPA (see Legislation, below).

POC - Point Of Contact.

PSA - Public Service Announcement.

Remote Instruction - students engage in all learning without physically being in the school. Remote learning is often virtual, but can also include pick-up/drop-off, postal correspondence, phone calls, and broadcast components such as TV or radio. Remote instruction can be synchronous like with a live broadcast or asynchronous such as with a self-paced modular course.

RTF - Residential Treatment Facility.

SAIP - Student Attendance Improvement Plan.

SEA - State Educational Agency. In Pennsylvania, this can refer to PDE, BSE, PaTTAN, etc., depending on context. See 20 USC § 7801 (30)(E) and 20 USC § 7801 (49) for the federal definitions.

SIS - Student Information System. A system used to store and communicate information about a school's student body. Common examples in Pennsylvania are Sapphire, Skyward, and Powerschool.

SPOC - Single Point of Contact.

SPP/APR - State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report. "A multi-year plan to guide improvement in special education programs" (PDE). Learn more from PDE.

SSIP - State Systemic Improvement Plan. Learn more about PA's SSIP here.

SSOS - State System of Support.

Synchronous Instruction - instruction that happens "live." Some common examples include a broadcast lesson like on YouTube live, zoom, teams or google meet, or even TikTok live, a teleconference discussion, or face-to-face instruction.

TEP - Truancy Elimination Plan.

Legislative Acronyms

BEC - Basic Education Circular. 

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations. A database is available here.

Pa. C.S. - Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues. A database is available here.

P.S. - Purdon's Pennsylvania Statues. "The unofficial codification of the Pennsylvania laws published by Thomson Reuters (formerly West). John Purdon, Jr. was one of the original publishers of a subject version of the Laws of Pennsylvania, and the Purdon’s name was continued in subsequent editions" (Jenkins Law Library).

USC - United States Code. A database is available here.

Pennsylvania Specific Terms

CSA - Chief School Administrator. The lead administrator of a Local Educational Agency, most commonly a superintendent or CEO. CSAs are identified in EdNA.

EdNA -  Education Names and Addresses. EdNA "can be used to find name, address, administrator, and related information about the educational entities that PDE serves. These entities include school districts and their schools, intermediate units, career and technical centers, charter schools, nonpublic and private schools, higher education institutions, and many more" (EdNA).

IMS - Integrated Monitoring System. All of the PDE monitoring portals are contained in IMS, including Leader Services. More information is available here. Click here to go to IMS.

IU - Intermediate Unit. "Intermediate units operate as regional educational service agencies providing cost-effective, management-efficient programs to Pennsylvania’s 501 public school districts and over 2,400 non-public and private schools. In addition, intermediate units serve as liaison agents between the school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education" (PaTTAN).

LEEI - Learning Environment and Engagement Initiative. Formerly known as the behavior team, this is a PaTTAN initiative team. Learn more here.

PIMS - Pennsylvania Information Management System. "PDE's Statewide longitudinal data system is improving data capabilities by enhancing school districts' capacities to meet student-level data reporting requirements and provide robust decision support tools" (PIMS).

PSSA - Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Learn more here.

RISC - Restraint Information System Collection. Learn more about reporting the use of restraints here. Access the RISC system through IMS.

SAP - Student Assistance Program. "A systematic team process used to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning. SAP is designed to assist in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student’s success" (DHS). Click here to access the Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance.

SWPBIS - School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. See PBIS, above in the behavior section.

Students with Disabilities

504 Service Agreement - Often referred to simply as "504" or a "504 plan." "A student that does not qualify for special education services under IDEA (an educational law) still may qualify for services under Section 504 (a civil rights law) if the disability is shown to substantially limit his or her educational performance" (PDE). Read more from PDE.

ED - Emotional Disturbance. Read the full definition in 34 CFR 300.8(c)(4)

ER - Evaluation Report. Learn more about the evaluation process from PaTTAN, beginning on page 2.

ID - Intellectual Disability. "Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term “intellectual disability” was formerly termed 'mental retardation'" (34 CFR 300.8(c)(6)).

FAPE - Free Appropriate Public Education. "The term “free appropriate public education” means special education and related services that - (A) have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; (B) meet the standards of the State educational agency; (C) include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and (D) are provided in conformity with the individualized education program required under section 1414(d) of this title" (34 CFR 300.17). Learn more from OCR

FBA - Functional Behavior Assessment. Learn more about FBAs.

IAES - Interim Alternative Educational Setting. AEDY is an example of an IAES.

IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read Part B of the IDEA here.

IEP - Individualized Education Program. "An IEP is a written plan for the provision of services for the education of students who are disabled or gifted" (PDE). Read more from PDE.

LRE - Least Restrictive Environment. "The LEA is responsible for making sure that students with disabilities are educated alongside students without disabilities to the extent appropriate for the student. Generally “appropriate” means that the education meets the student’s special needs and allows the student to make educational progress" (PDE). Read more from PDE

MD or MDR - Manifestation Determination or Manifestation Determination Review. This meeting determines if the behavior is a manifestation of the student's disability. "A manifestation determination is required by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when considering the exclusion of a student with a disability that constitutes a disciplinary change of placement" (PaTTAN Publication - Manifestation Determination). Learn more about MDRs for AEDY.

NOREP - Notice of Recommended Educational Placement. "The NOREP/PWN summarizes the school’s recommendations, including the educational programs and services recommended" (Pennsylvania Parent Guide to Special Education for School-Age Children, p. 11).

OHI - Other Health Impairment. "Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that— (i) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and (ii) Adversely affects a child's educational performance" (34 CFR 300.8(c)(9)).

PBSP - Positive Behavior Support Plan.

PRN - Prior Written Notice.

RR - Reevaluation Report. Learn more about the Reevaluation process from PaTTAN.

SLD - Specific Learning Disability. "Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia" (34 CFR 300.8(c)(10)). Read the full definition here.

TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury. "An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma" (34 CFR 300.8(c)(12)). Learn more about how TBI relates to disciplinary practices.