4321-Programs for Students with Disabilities

The Board of Education, in accordance with State Law and Regulations, shall provide all students with disabilities who reside in the district a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The Board expects that the rights of parents, guardians, and students shall be fully explained. District personnel will seek solutions through accommodation and trust. The Board shall appoint a Committee on Special Education (CSE) to identify, evaluate and recommend placements of students with disabilities who are in need of special services or programs. The Board shall also appoint subcommittees, if necessary, to ensure the timely evaluation of and placement of students.

The Board also shall make available special education and related services to eligible students with disabilities parentally placed in a nonpublic school located within the district, regardless of whether they are residents of the district. However, this obligation does not extend to resident students with disabilities who are placed by their parents in a nonpublic school within district boundaries because of a disagreement between the parents and the school district over the provision of a free appropriate public education. Nonpublic school students with disabilities who are not district residents but who reside within New York State will be provided programs and services in accordance with their individualized education services program (IESP). Nonpublic school students with disabilities who reside out-of-state will be provided services in accordance with their services plan.

In providing a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities eligible under the IDEA and Article 89, the Board will afford the students and their parents the procedural safeguard rights they are entitled to under applicable law and regulations. The Board also will provide them with notice of such rights as required by law and regulation, using the form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education.

Eligible students with disabilities will be entitled to special education and related services until the end of the school year in which they turn 21 or until they receive a local high school or Regents diploma.

Prior to identification as a student with a disability, the student shall be exposed to pre-referral strategies that focus on remediating performance. Each student with a disability shall have equal opportunity to participate in the full range of programs and services of this school district, including extracurricular programs and activities, which are available to all other students enrolled in the district’s public schools.

Pursuant to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the Board directs the Superintendent to develop and maintain a plan which incorporates information concerning the provision of services for students with disabilities and to establish administrative practices and procedures which shall include:

  1. School-wide approaches and pre-referral interventions including, but not limited to Response to Intervention (RtI) services in order to remediate a student’s performance.
  2. Identifying and maintaining information about students with disabilities residing in the district including those attending private school;
  3. Ensuring that students with disabilities and their parent(s)/guardian(s) receive prior written notice whenever the district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a student;
  4. Ensuring that each student with a disability receives a comprehensive, unbiased evaluation to determine his/her educational needs;
  5. Ensuring all appropriate accommodations are provided to students with disabilities for all district and statewide assessments;
  6. Developing an individualized education program (IEP) for each student with a disability;
  7. Appointing and training appropriate qualified members of a CSE;
  8. Ensuring that all staff retained by the district meet the current guidelines for highly qualified status;
  9. Providing training as needed for teachers and support staff to help address identified needs of special education students;
  10. Providing appropriate declassification procedures for students with disabilities including regular consideration for  declassification and providing re-evaluation when appropriate prior to declassification;
  11. Maintaining lists of impartial hearing officers and of State Education Department approved special education programs within the county and adjoining counties in which the district is located;
  12. Ensuring that adequate and appropriate space is available to meet the needs of students with disabilities;
  13. Ensure that parents of students with disabilities placed in residential facilities by the CSE are provided with reimbursement for mileage and tolls for periodic visits to the facility as defined in SED regulations;
  14. Annually appointing surrogate parents for students with disabilities whose parents cannot be located or identified, for students who are determined to be an unaccompanied homeless child or a student who is a ward of the state and parental rights have been terminated; and
  15. Reporting to the State Education Department the number of children with disabilities that are being served.

The Board is responsible for arranging for the appropriate, approved services recommended by the CSE. Should the Board disagree with the recommendation of the CSE, the Board will either return the recommendation to the original CSE for further consideration or establish a second CSE to develop a new recommendation for the student within the time frames contained in State law and regulations. Placement may be appealed by a parent/guardian to an impartial hearing officer, appointed by the Board. Mediation shall be made available to such parents/guardians to resolve complaints regarding the education of students with disabilities at the same time notice of the availability of an impartial hearing is provided.

The CSE shall annually review and report on the status of each student with a disability through summary reports. The Director for Pupil Personnel Services shall provide the Superintendent with an annual report of special education programs and services.

Locate and Identify Students with Disabilities

The district will conduct an annual census to locate and identify all students with disabilities who reside in the district, and establish a register of such students who are entitled to attend the public schools of the district during the next school year, including students with disabilities who are homeless or wards of the State. The census shall be conducted, and the registry maintained, in accordance with the requirements established in Commissioner’s regulations.

The Superintendent will determine what other activities might be appropriate to help locate and identify students with disabilities. These may include, but are not limited to, the mailing of letters to all district residents regarding the availability of special education programs and services and their right to access such services, and/or the publication of a similar notice in
school newsletters and other publications.

(Refer to policy 4321.10, Programs and Services for Parentally-placed Nonpublic School Students with Disabilities under the IDEA and New York’s Education Law Article 89, for more information regarding how to locate and identify nonpublic school students with disabilities).

Evaluation of Students with Disabilities

To initially determine a student’s eligibility for a free appropriate public education under the IDEA and Article 89, the district will conduct a full evaluation of the student in accordance within legally prescribed timelines. As set forth in Commissioner’s regulations, the initial evaluation will include, at least, a physical examination, an individual psychological evaluation unless the school psychologist determines it unnecessary, a social history, an observation of the student in the student’s learning  environment to document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty, and other appropriate assessments or evaluations (including a functional behavioral assessment for a student whose behavior impedes his or he learning or that of others) to ascertain the physical, mental, behavioral and emotional factors that contribute to the suspected disabilities.

Once a student has been determined eligible to receive a free appropriate public education, the district will reevaluate the student with a disability whenever the student’s parent requests a reevaluation, and when the district determines the educational and related services needs (including improved academic achievement and functional performance) of the child warrant a reevaluation. However, a reevaluation must take place at least once every three years, unless the student’s parent and the district agree it is unnecessary.

Parental Consent for Student Evaluations

Before conducting any type of evaluation, district staff will take steps to obtain written informed consent from a student’s parent, as required by applicable law and regulations. They also will keep a detailed record of those attempts and their results, including phone calls and correspondence, visits to the parent’s home and any responses received.

  1. If a parent refuses to give consent for an initial evaluation, or fails to respond to such a request, the parent will be given an opportunity to attend an informal conference and ask questions about the proposed evaluation. Unless the referral for evaluation is withdrawn, if the parent continues to withhold consent, the Board will commence due process proceedings to conduct an initial evaluation without parental consent within the timelines established in Commissioner’s regulations.
  2. If a parent refuses to give consent for a reevaluation, or fails to respond to such a request, district staff will proceed with the reevaluation without parental consent if it has engaged in documented reasonable efforts to obtain such consent and the parent has failed to respond. If the district cannot document its efforts to obtain consent, the Board will commence due process proceedings to conduct a reevaluation without parental consent.
  3. If district staff is unable to obtain consent for the initial evaluation or reevaluation of a home schooled or a parentally-placed nonpublic school student, the Board will not commence due process proceedings to conduct the evaluation without parental consent, and will consider the student as not eligible for special education.

Conduct of Evaluations

In conducting evaluations of students with disabilities, the district will use a variety of assessment tools and strategies, including parent-provided information, to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information for determining a student’s eligibility for special education and related services, and the content of the student’s individualized education program or individualized education services program or services plan in the case of nonpublic school students with disabilities (including information related to enabling the student to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum).

The district also will assess a student in all areas of suspected disability, and the assessment and other evaluation used will not be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis. In addition, students will be assessed in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the student actually knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is not feasible to do so.

In the case of students suspected of having a specific learning disability, the district will follow the procedures established in commissioner’s regulations.

The district will notify a student’s parent of any determination that no additional data is needed and the reasons for such a determination. It will also inform the parent of his or her right to request an assessment, notwithstanding that determination.

Eligibility Determination

The CSE or CSE subcommittee will determine whether a student is eligible for special education and related services under the IDEA and Article 89, as well as the student’s educational needs.

The CSE or CSE subcommittee may not determine that a student is eligible for special education and related services if the determining factor is lack of appropriate instruction in the essential components of reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency (including oral reading skills), and reading comprehension strategies; or lack of appropriate instruction in math; or limited English proficiency.

Committee on Special Education

The members of the CSE and CSE subcommittees will include those individuals identified in applicable law and regulations, and their attendance at CSE and CSE subcommittee meetings will be required except as otherwise provided in law and regulations.

The parent of a student with disabilities is one of the mandated CSE and CSE subcommittee members and as such has a right to participate in CSE and CSE subcommittee meetings concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and the provision of a free appropriate public education to their child. District staff will take steps to ensure the parent’s participation, in accordance with the following:

  1. CSE and CSE subcommittee meetings will be scheduled at a time and place that is mutually agreeable to the parent and the district.
  2. The parent will be given at least five days’ notice of the time and place of a CSE or CSE subcommittee meeting, except as otherwise provided in law and regulation, along with notice of the purpose of the meeting, those who will attend (including name and title), and the parent’s right to be accompanied to the meeting by person(s) the parent considers to have knowledge and special expertise about their child.
  3. The parent and the district may agree to use alternative means of participation at CSE meetings, such as videoconferences or  telephone conference calls.
  4. District staff will take any action necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings at CSE meetings, including arranging for an interpreter for deaf parents or parents whose native language is other than English.

The CSE or CSE subcommittee may meet without a student’s parent only if district staff has been unable to obtain either parent’s participation, and has a record of its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place. Similarly, the CSE or CSE subcommittee may make a decision without the involvement of the student’s parent only if district staff has been unable to obtain parental participation, even through the use of alternative means of participation, and has a record of its attempts to ensure parental involvement.

Provision of Services

The Board will arrange for appropriate special education and related services recommended by the CSE or CSE subcommittee within 60 school days of the district’s receipt of parental consent to evaluate a student not previously identified as a student with a disability, or within 60 school days of referral for review of a student with a disability, except as otherwise provided in law and regulations.

All staff responsible for the implementation of a student’s individualized education program, or an individualized education services program or services plan in the case of parentally placed nonpublic school students with disabilities, will be provided information regarding those responsibilities (Refer to policy 4321.5 for more information on this topic).

Parental Consent for the Provision of Services

The Board acknowledges that parental consent for initial  evaluation does not constitute consent for placement for the provision of special education and related services. Therefore, district staff will take steps to obtain written informed consent for the initial provision of special education and related services to an eligible student. The Board will be precluded by applicable law and regulations from commencing due process proceedings to override the parent’s refusal to provide such consent or override the parent’s failure to respond to such a request.

Transition Service and Diploma/Credential Options

In accordance with law and regulation, the Board will ensure the provision of transition services, which are a coordinated set of activities for students with disabilities that facilitates movement from school to post-school activities, which may include but are not limited to postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation. At age 15, or younger if appropriate, the student’s IEP will include a statement of transition service needs and will include undertaking activities in the following areas:

  • Instruction
  • Related services
  • Community experiences
  • The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
  • When appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

In developing the plan for transition services, students and parents will be made aware of the range of diploma and credential options available and the requirements associated with each option.

Cross-ref:
Independent Educational Evaluations – #4321.3
Students with Disabilities Pursuant to Section 504 – #5020.3
Student Records – #5500

Ref:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 USC §§1400 et seq.;
34 CFR Part 300
N.Y. Education Law Article 89, §§4401 et seq.
8 NYCRR Part 200

Adopted February 10, 1998
Revised November 17, 1998
Revised March 13, 2007
Reviewed June 22, 2010
Revised, Adopted June 17, 2014
Revised, Adopted October 4, 2016
Revised, Adopted May 1, 2018

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