An Overview of the Special Education Department (PDF)
About the Special Education Department
Provision of Appropriate Special Education Services to Enable Involvement and Progress in the General Education Curriculum
All students with disabilities who reside in the school District shall be provided with an appropriate individual educational program (IEP) that meets the student’s unique educational needs as determined and recommended by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and arranged for by the Board of Education. This IEP shall be designed to enable involvement and foster progress in general education to the extent appropriate to the needs of the student. In designing the IEP, the CSE will consider the present levels of performance and the expected learning outcomes of the student. The student’s academic, social development, physical development, and management needs will be the basis for written annual goals and short-term objectives.
In keeping with this policy, the CSE will consider mainstreaming or inclusion classes at each initial, program or annual review for the student as well as the appropriate support or related services needed for the student to make educational progress within this environment. Progress or educational benefit shall be indicated by successful academic progress, including improvement in skills, achievement on State mandated examinations, ability to perform activities of daily living and an increase in adaptive behavior. Progress will also be considered in the social areas, including relationships with peers and adults, feelings about one’s self, and the adjustment to school and community environments. Physical development areas such as the student’s improvement in motor or sensory areas, health, vitality and physical skills and the decrease of management needs that require environmental modifications or human resources shall also be considered as progress.
The District will ensure equal access to a diploma for all students with disabilities through its establishment of heterogeneous Regents classes, inclusion classes, and special education classes that provide equivalent instruction. Appropriate academic intervention services shall also be considered and determined by the building principal to assist students with disabilities in meeting their academic goals. These services shall be in addition to the special education services deemed appropriate by the CSE. No student, by virtue of designation as a student with a disability, shall be precluded from receiving equivalent instruction unless the CSE has determined that the student requires an IEP diploma program. If the student has the potential to achieve a regular high school diploma but requires a restrictive environment outside of the District, the CSE will seek placement in a program that provides equivalent instruction.
The District will also ensure equal access for students with disabilities to after school activities such as clubs, sports, or evening activities and will provide, as recommended by the CSE, appropriate services to enable this participation. Students who are receiving education in out-of-District facilities, as recommended by the CSE, shall also have an equal opportunity to participate in these activities, as deemed appropriate to meet their individualized needs.
Access to Programs and Extra-Curricular Activities
Students with disabilities residing in the District have the opportunity to participate in all programs and activities administered by the District and available to other students enrolled in district public schools, too the maximum extent appropriate, provided that the students seeking to participate are otherwise qualified to participate in such programs and activities. In the event that special arrangements are required to enable a child to participate in an extracurricular activity at a placement provided by the District,
application may be made to the CSE. The CSE will meet with the child’s parent to review the child’s placement needs and, if appropriate, recommend special services.
In compliance with the Commissioner’s Part 100 Regulations and to ensure full access to District programs, all students with disabilities will be provided:
• access to regular elementary and secondary school programs, services and activities which are prerequisite to earning a high school diploma to the extent that such programs and services are appropriate to the student’s special education needs, and
• appropriate curricular and extracurricular opportunities to benefit from regular education experiences and to achieve those learning standards which are held for all students in New York State.
It is the policy of the District to encourage students with special education needs to pursue a high school diploma. To achieve a diploma, students must earn the minimum number of credits and fulfill the requirements specified by the Regents of the State of
New York and the Board of Education. To assure that students with disabilities are encouraged and assisted to achieve the credits and the skill levels necessary for attaining a diploma, the District has adopted the following procedures:
• At each annual review, the CSE will consider the student’s current level of achievement, learning rate, and the recommendations of the parent and the student.
• At each annual review, the CSE will consider whether the student’s disability is likely to prevent accurate testing of competency required by the Regents. If applicable, the Committee will recommend appropriate testing modifications as a component of the student’s IEP. Testing modifications will be individualized to meet the specific needs of the student’s disability in accordance with standards established by the Regents.
• The District will offer appropriate remedial instruction.
• The CSE will consider and recommend support services and supplementary instruction.
• The CSE will consider whether the student’s special education needs will prevent completion of the requisite number of units of credit within four (4) years of entry into high school. If so, a plan will recommended for completion of the required units before June 30 of the school year in which the student reached his/her twenty-first (21st) birthday.
Individualized Education Program Diplomas
It is expected that students with disabilities will be guided toward a course of study that will lead to achievement of a high school diploma. It is recognized, however, that the achievement of this standard may be precluded for some students due to the nature or
severity of their disability. In compliance with Part 100 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, the District may award a high school Individualized Education Program diplomas to eligible students with disabilities. The provisions of Part 100 are applicable to:
• Students who are twenty-one years old and who will age-out of the public school system and who have successfully completed the educational goals of their current Individualized Education Program.
• Upon application by the student or the student’s parent, students who have successfully completed the educational goals in their current Individualized Education Program and who have attended at least 12 years of school beyond Kindergarten.
If the Individualized Education Program diploma is presented before the student is twenty-one years old, an accompanying statement shall be included assuring the recipient of his/her eligibility to receive a free, appropriate public education until the student has earned a high school diploma or until the end of the school year in which the student’s twenty-first birthday occurs, whichever is earlier.
• The IEP of a student of age thirteen or higher shall indicate the type of diploma, to which achievement of the goals specified therein, will lead.
• The Committee on Special Education shall notify each student entering the twelfth year of schooling exclusive of Kindergarten of his/her eligibility upon written request by the student and/or parents to obtain an Individualized Education Program diploma at the end of the school year in June.
• Issuance of this diplomas shall be based upon successful completion of the annual educational goals as specified in his/her current Individualized Education Program.
• An annual progress review shall be constructed during the last quarter marking period in order for the Committee on Special Education to determine whether the student has met the criteria set forth in the Individualized Education Program.
• It shall be the responsibility of the special education teacher and the guidance counselor to alert the Committee on Special Education in a timely manner when a candidate for an Individualized Education Program diploma is demonstrating difficulty in meeting his/her Individualized Education Program. The Committee on Special Education then shall schedule a meeting with appropriate building staff, student and parent(s) to ascertain obstacles regarding goal completion and to recommend steps to alleviate the problems.
• The Committee on Special Education shall certify successful completion of the student’s Individualized Education Program and recommend to the principal of the high school that a high school Individualized Education Program diploma be issued to the student.
• Prior to the student’s graduation with an IEP diploma a notice will be sent to the parent that indicates that the student continues to be eligible for a free appropriate public education until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21 or until the receipt of a regular high school diploma.
High School Equivalency Programs
• Students with disabilities may also receive diplomas through high school equivalency preparation programs. These programs are designed to instruct students who are over the compulsory school age so that they may successfully complete the General Education Development (GED) tests that are required for a high school equivalency diploma.
• A qualified individual who has received a high school equivalency diploma, but not a regular high school diploma, remains entitled to a free, appropriate public education, until the end of the school year in which he/she attains the age of twenty-one (21), or until he/she obtains a high school diploma.
Graduation with a Regular Diploma
The Board of Education encourages all students with disabilities to graduate with a regular local or Regents high school diploma and provides highly specialized individual programs to assure that students may achieve this goal. Prior to the student’s graduation
with a local high school or Regents diploma, a notice will be sent to the parent indicating that the student is not eligible to receive a free appropriate public education after graduation with the receipt of the local high school or Regents diploma, because the District does not provide these services to non-disabled students.
Declassification of Students with Disabilities
The recommendation to declassify students with disabilities is the responsibility of the Committee on Special Education (CSE). As declassification constitutes a significant change of identification and placement, the CSE shall reevaluate the child prior to making this recommendation. The CSE shall also, provide prior notice, in the native language or other mode of communication of the home, to the child’s parent or guardian, that a reevaluation is being sought for the purpose of considering declassification and request written consent for this evaluation. If the initial request for consent for reevaluation is unsuccessful alternate measures will be taken to obtain consent and will be documented. If reasonable attempts have been made to obtain consent and have been documented but no response is received from the parent or guardian, the CSE shall reevaluate the child without consent.
In order to determine the nature of the reevaluation, the school staff including members of the CSE and other qualified professionals may review the existing evaluation data on the student including evaluations provided by the parents or guardians, current class assessments, observations by teachers, reports by related service providers, and other professionals. This review shall not constitute a CSE meeting. On the basis of this review, the District may decide that no further data is needed. In this case, the CSE shall notify the parents or guardians that further assessment has been deemed unnecessary and that they have a right to request further assessment to determine if their child continues to be a student with a disability. If the parent or guardian does not request further assessment, the CSE may meet to review the existing information and to consider declassification. A copy of this informal evaluation report shall be made available to the parent or guardian.
In conducting its review, the CSE will consider the student’s ability to participate in instructional programs in regular education, the student’s benefit from special education, and the student’s continued eligibility to be identified as a child with a disability according to the criteria set forth in IDEA, the Part 200 of the Commissioner’s Regulations and the District’s existing policies and procedures. The CSE must also consider the provision of educational and support services to the student upon declassification. Upon declassification, the CSE shall identify any declassification support services including the projected date of initiation of such services and the duration of these services. Declassification services shall be provided for no more than a year following the declassification date. Recommendations for declassification support services and appropriate evaluation information shall be forwarded to the building administrator who shall determine any additional educationally related support services, academic intervention services, or other services that may be appropriate for the child.
A student who is presumed to have a disability under 34 C.F.R. Part 300 (Code of Federal Regulations, 1999) is entitled to the same rights and privileges in regard to discipline as a student previously identified as having a disability. This determination shall be made if the District had knowledge that the student had a disability before the behavior occurred. The District will be deemed to have this knowledge if:
• The parent had expressed concern in writing (unless the parent is not able to write and presents this concern orally) to school personnel that the child is in need of special education and related services.
• The behavior of the child has demonstrated the need for special education.
• The parent had requested an evaluation of the child prior to the event that caused the suspension.
• The teacher or other staff members had expressed concern about the child to the Director of Special Education or other school staff in accordance with the District’s established child find or special education referral system.
When the Superintendent or building principal determines that the student is presumed to have a disability, the 504 team members shall convene to make the manifestation determination and shall formulate an appropriate accommodation plan to address the child’s behavior. Where appropriate, the 504 team shall refer the child to the CSE. In cases where the District has already conducted an individual evaluation and found the student not to have a disability or determined that an evaluation is not necessary and provided notice of this determination to the parents, the child shall not be presumed to have a disability. If the parent requests an expedited evaluation after the misbehavior has occurred, this evaluation will be performed within 15 school days after receipt of the request for evaluation and the CSE will convene within five school days of its completion. The District will determine the placement of the child during the completion of this expedited evaluation.
Ref: Part 201
Procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities Subject to Discipline
Section 3214 Education Law
District Policies, Practices, and Procedures for Assuring Appropriate Educational Issues
The District is committed to the development and implementation of an appropriate education for resident students with disabilities and has established the following objectives that are in keeping with its policies and procedures to ensure appropriate participation in all school District programs.
• To provide a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment for all students residing in the District between the ages three and twenty-one or until the students have achieved a regular high school diploma, whichever shall occur first.
• To have high expectations for all pre-school and school age students with disabilities and ensure that they have the opportunity to participate in school District programs, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of each student, including access to general education curriculum, extracurricular programs and activities that are available to other pupils enrolled in the public schools of the District.
• To ensure that policies and procedures for establishing and operating special education programs are clearly defined and that the special education program is an integral part of the District’s regular education program.
• To provide the human and material resources necessary for the implementation of a full continuum of programs and services to meet the academic, social, physical and management needs of resident students with disabilities.
• To establish a Committee on Pre-School Special Education (CPSE), a Committee on Special Education (CSE) and appropriate Subcommittees on Special Education for the purpose of evaluating students suspected of having disabilities and for placement of students with disabilities in appropriate programs as well. The CPSE and the CSE will monitor the progress of all students with disabilities and will report annually to the Board of Education regarding the status of the each student.
• To modify, to the appropriate degree, instructional techniques and materials to allow students with disabilities to meet diploma requirements.
• To provide, to the greatest extent appropriate, adaptation, modification of instruction and collaborative models of instruction to enable students with disabilities to benefit from instruction within the general education setting whenever appropriate.
• To support high quality, intensive professional development for all personnel who work with students with disabilities in order to assure that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to enable them to meet developmental goals and, to the maximum extent possible, those challenging expectations that been established for all children.
• To ensure that a discipline code for student behavior is in place which shall govern the conduct of all persons on school premises and which shall assist in the maintenance of public order on school property while protecting the rights to continuity of appropriate education for students with disabilities.
• To build a close working relationship between CPSE, CSE, school staff, school District administrators, parents, and community. To this end, meaningful opportunities for parents to participate in the education of their children will be provided.
• To provide, to the greatest extent appropriate, adaptation, modification of instructional techniques and materials, and collaborative models of instruction to enable students with disabilities, as appropriate, to meet diploma, requirements and to benefit from instruction within the general education setting.
• To ensure that students with disabilities have access to the full range of general education programs and services to the extent appropriate to their individual needs and to provide them appropriate opportunities to earn a high school diploma in accordance with Section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
• To ensure the confidentiality of personally identifiable data, information or records pertaining to students with a disability. Such personally identifiable information will not be disclosed except in accordance with the Regulations.
• To ensure that adequate and appropriate space is made available to meet the needs of preschool and school age students with disabilities.
• To ensure that necessary modifications are made available to meet the needs of preschool and school age students with disabilities.
• To ensure that necessary modifications are made so that students and their parents have access to services provided by the District.
• To ensure that parents are advised of their due process rights and to establish procedures in this regard.
• To ensure that students attending school within the District receive the protection of all other applicable State and Federal regulations.
School Board Policies: Implementation of School-wide Approaches and Prereferral Interventions
In accordance with the IDEA and Part 200 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, the District has implemented a plan and policy to establish pre-referral interventions to assist a student’s educational progress before consideration of referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE). In keeping with this policy, it is the responsibility of the schools’ Child Study Teams to investigate all possible avenues of general education support services that would enable the student to advance academically. These academic and/or student support services may be provided before, during, or after the school day, on weekends or in the summer and must be afforded to all students who do not meet the minimum designated standards on State Assessments and to Limited English Proficient (LEP) students who do not achieve the annual CR Part 154 performance standards. A description of these services will be approved by the Board of Education and reviewed every two years. Supplemental instruction in English, language arts, math, social studies, and science as well as support services to deal with barriers to student progress such as attendance, discipline, health, family, nutrition and transient issues will be afforded to students who score below three or below the local passing grade of to students recommended by the Child Study Team. All school wide approaches to provide remediation activities to students who are in danger of not meeting graduation requirements will be considered prior to making referrals to the CSE. These approaches may also include extra teacher or teacher assistant programs. Additional support services, as deemed appropriate upon yearly review of the statistical data provided on the school’s Report Cards, will be determined. The principal will notify parents whenever
Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are provided and quarterly reports in the native language of the parents will be also be sent. These school-wide approaches shall service as pre-referral interventions prior to consideration of Committee on Special Education (CSE) support services.
The referral form to the CSE used by the District staff will enumerate all pre-referral interventions available to the District’s students to enable the CSE to determine which of these interventions have been tried or the reason why no such attempts have been made. The Child Study team as well as the Office of Special Education shall maintain a record of the number of pre-referral interventions implemented for each student. Each referral shall be reviewed to determine its appropriateness and whether pre-referral interventions have been adequately utilized and if further interventions are deemed necessary.
The building administrator may intercede within ten school days of receipt of a parental referral to the CSE and may request a meeting with the parent or guardian, the student, and the referrer, if a staff member, to determine, whether the student would benefit from additional general educational support services as an alternative to special education. These services may include speech and language improvement service, educationally related support services, and academic intervention services. At this meeting, if there is a written agreement that with the provision of additional general education support services the referral is unwarranted, the referral shall be deemed withdrawn and the building administrator shall provide a copy of this agreement to the Chairperson of the CSE, the referrer, the parent or guardian, and the student if appropriate. The copy of the agreement will be in the native language of the parent and will name the additional general education support services that will be provided as well as the length of time of each service. This agreement will be placed in the student’s cumulative education record file. If there is no written agreement reached at this meeting, the required timeline of the CSE will be maintained.