Special Education Department

Special education is specially-designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with educational disabilities. In
accordance with state and federal regulations, Shenendehowa Central School District is committed to providing each student a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to meet the academic, social, and physical needs of each student.

Committee on Special Education and Preschool Education (CSE and CPSE)

Every school district has a Committee on Special Education (CSE) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) – CSE and CPSE membership.

  • The CPSE is responsible for children ages three through five with disabilities.
  • The CSE is responsible for children with disabilities ages five through 21.

Students who may require special education in school are referred to the CSE to determine whether or not they meet the criteria to be classified with one of 13 disabilities, and that the disability substantially limits the student’s ability to learn. Upon receipt of a referral, the committee will notify the parent in writing of the referral, describe the evaluation process, and request written consent to complete the requested evaluations. The school district must complete the evaluation and convene a CSE meeting within 60 calendar days to determine whether or not the student is eligible for special education services and if so, to develop and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) . The parent is a vital member of the CSE and is encouraged to participate in all aspects of educationally planning and decision making.

Once a student is found eligible for special education services, the CSE must meet no less than one time a year to review the student’s progress and develop an IEP for the next school year. Every three years, each student is re-evaluated to determine whether the student continues to require special education or if they can be declassified . A parent may request a meeting at any time during the year to review their child’s IEP by contacting their building school psychologist.

Click here for a video of a presentation to preschool parents about the transition to special education at Shenendehowa.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Some students have disabilities that do not substantially impact their ability to learn, but do impact their access to the educational environment. Students who do not qualify for special education may require accommodations and modifications to provide equal access to the general education curriculum and program. Section 504 (link 11) and ADA ensure students are not discriminated against on the basis of disability.

 

Getting Started in the Special Education Process

  • If you have a preschool child and you have noticed that your child is not developing skills such as walking, talking or playing like other young children, you may want to talk to your family doctor. He or she may be able to reassure you that children develop at different rates and your child is within the normal developmental scales. If, however, the doctor is concerned, or you are still not comfortable with your child’s progress, you may wish to make a referral to your school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).
  • If your three-year-old child received services from the Early Intervention Program and is in need of special education services, he or she will need to transition (move) from the Early Intervention Program into the preschool special education program. The Early Intervention official from Saratoga County must give written notice to the Shenendehowa CPSE that your child may be transitioning from the Early Intervention Program. A transition plan must be developed 120 days before this transition and included in your child’s last Individual Family Service Plan.
  • If your school-age child is having difficulties in school, first talk to his or her teacher. There are many supports for students within regular education such as psychological services, speech and language improvement services, curriculum and instructional modifications and Academic Intervention Services. Each school has a Child Study Team that can develop a plan for the child utilizing the supports mentioned above and others. If you, the teacher and principal have not been able to help your child, your child may have a disability that affects his or her learning. To find out, you can make a referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE).

Referrals

A referral is a written statement asking that the Shenendehowa School District evaluate your child to determine if he or she needs special education services. This written statement should be addressed to the chairperson in your school district’s Committee or your school principal. The referral may result in a request to have your child tested to see if he or she needs special education services. In some cases, you may want to meet with the principal before agreeing to test your child to discuss other ways to assist your child. As a result, the referral may be withdrawn.

You, the parent, can always make a referral for your child. Your child’s teacher or a professional in your child’s school may also make a referral to the Committee. Additional people who may make a referral include doctors, judicial officers (such as a family court judge or a probation officer) or a designated person in a public agency. For a preschool child, any of the people mentioned above may make a referral to the CPSE. In addition, a referral may also be made by someone from an Early Childhood Direction Center, an approved preschool program, or an Early Intervention Program that serves your child from birth to age three. A student over 18 and younger than 21 who is an emancipated minor may refer him/herself.

Six-step Process

Step 1: Referral Support for Students

Many students struggle at various times during their years in school. All buildings have many supports including a Child Study or Instructional Support Team.

Step 2: Initial Referral for Special Education Services

Students suspected of having a disability are referred to a multidisciplinary team called the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

Step 3: Individual Evaluation Process

The Committee evaluates the student’s abilities and needs.

Step 4: Determining Eligibility for Special Education Services

Based on evaluation results, the Committee decides if the student is eligible to receive special education services and programs.

Step 5: Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If the child is eligible to receive special education services, the Committee develops and implements an appropriate IEP, based on evaluation results, to meet the needs of the student.

Step 6: Annual Review/Reevaluation

The IEP is modified or revised by the Committee at an annual review. At least every three years, the student has a reevaluation to ensure that the student continues to need special education programs and services and to revise the IEP, as appropriate.

Timeline For Students With Disabilities Not Previously Identified And For Review Of Individualized Education Program

Referral Received

Provide notice to parent; request consent immediately. Inform building principal within five days.

Consent received or referral for review made

Within the next 60 days, the following steps will take place:

  • For initial referrals, parent grants consent to evaluate within 30 days of receipt of referral.
  • A referral for review of an IEP occurs.
  • Conduct individual evaluation or reevaluation as appropriate.
  • Notice of meeting five days prior.
  • Conduct meeting; make recommendation. Notify parent and Board of Education (BOE). BOE may remand the recommendation back to the CSE or to a second CSE for reconsideration.
Day 60 – Implementation after recommendation received
  • Arrange for services or programs
  • No later than 30 days after recommendation
  • Arrange for in-State or out-of-State private school placement.

 

IEP Concerns

  • First: We believe the best way to address issues is to deal directly with those professionals working closest to your student. We strongly encourage parents to start in your child’s school with the following professionals in this order:
    • Teacher/Therapist
    • Case Manager
    • Psychologist
    • Principal
  • Second: If you are not satisfied with the results, contact the people involved at the District Office in this order.
    • Academic Administrator for Special Education/CSE Chairperson
    • Assistant Superintendent for Instruction & Curriculum
    • Superintendent
  • Third: If your child’s needs are not being addressed by district staff, you may contact these people for additional assistance:
    • VESID-NYSED – Regional Representative
    • SETRC
    • Albany Law Clinic