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Frequently Asked Questions

What do Pace School program’s include?

Pace offers a variety of services in several locations in the hopes of fulfilling our mission to enable any child to thrive.  Responding to individuals, families, and school districts, Pace is committed to constantly evolving our programs and services to meet their needs. Current Pace programs include:

Pace Approved Private School, Churchill
Pace School Based Partial Hospitalization Program, Churchill
Extended School Year, Churchill

What is an Approved Private School?

The 33 Approved Private Schools in Pennsylvania were created in 1961 to educate students with the most severe disabilities.  APS’s are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the referring school districts.  Services are free to eligible students. 

What is a school-based “Partial Hospitalization Program”?

Children and adolescents enrolled in the School Based Partial Hospitalization Program receive an on-site therapeutic level of care that is more concentrated than outpatient services and less intrusive than inpatient care. 

Who attends Pace?

  • Pace school in Churchill currently serves kids K-12 or through age 21 with an educational diagnosis of Emotional Disturbance, Autism, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder and who have been referred by their home school districts.
  • The Extended School Year serves kids in K-12 or through age 21 from all of the Pace programs and is held at the Churchill campus.  Referrals are accepted privately and through the child’s home school district.

What characteristics distinguish the students at Pace School?

  • 100% qualify in a category of special education. (See Who attends the School?)
  • 100% have maximized the support services available within their school district.
  • Many have at least one medical health diagnosis or other behavioral challenges.
  • On average, students entering Pace School are one to two years below grade level in reading and math.

How do students enroll at Pace School?

A referral must come through the child’s home school district’s department of special education. Parents interested in enrolling their child should contact the admissions department at for additional information and guidance on the referral process.

How is Pace School the same as public school?

The school provides the full range of academic subjects including reading, language arts, math, science, social studies, health/physical education, art, music, life skills, technology and career education and exploration. Other services include speech and language, reading specialists, and psychological services. Each classroom at Pace School is lead by a special education teacher certified through the PA Department of Education.

How does a student qualify for school based (Partial Hospitalization Program) PHP?

  • Mental health diagnosis by a licensed physician
  • Child meets medical necessity criteria for PHP level of care
  • Child has not been successful in less intensive treatment setting

What geographic region does the school serve?

Each year Pace serves more than 40 school districts from seven counties including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, Washington, and Westmoreland.

What are the benefits to kids and families of placement at Pace School?

  • Help with identifying and accessing other resources needed by the family
  • Life-changing improvements in academic achievement, school survival, and life management skills
  • Diversion from psychiatric hospitalization or residential placement
  • Children can return to public school, on track academically and ready to learn!

Pace Extended School Year Program

Who can attend Pace School’s Extended School Year Program (ESY)?

An IEP meeting is held in January to discuss a child’s eligibility for being at risk for regression in learning or behavior during the summer break. Students who are not currently enrolled at a Pace School program will require an intake evaluation process and will not be eligible for participation in Partial Hospitalization services. Students must be between the ages K to 12 or up to age 21 years upon enrollment.

How do students enroll in the Extended School Year Program?

Once the IEP team determines that Pace is the selected ESY option, the child is enrolled.

When does the program run?

The program runs for 5 consecutive weeks from the end of June through the beginning of August. The program is in session for 5 hours per day Monday through Thursday and includes breakfast and lunch provided free of charge. Students generally are expected to attend all 5 weeks but family accommodations will be made as necessary.