Students with Disabilities

SPECIAL EDUCATION: DISTRICT PLAN

A District plan will be developed and updated every two years describing the Special Education program in the Pine Bush Central School District. The District plan will include the following:

a) A description of the nature and scope of special education programs and services currently available to students (including preschool students) residing in the District, including but not limited to descriptions of the District’s resource room programs and each special class program provided by the District in terms of group size and composition.
b) Identification of the number and age span of students (school age and preschool) to be served by type of disability and recommended setting.
c) The method to be used to evaluate the extent to which the objectives of the program have been achieved.
d) A description of the policies and practices of the Board to ensure the allocation of appropriate space within the District for special education programs that meet the needs of students and preschool children with disabilities.
e) A description of the policies and practices of the Board to ensure that appropriate space will be continually available to meet the needs of resident students and preschool students with disabilities who attend special education programs provided by Boards of Cooperative Educational Services.
f) A description of how the District intends to ensure that all instructional materials to be used in the schools of the District will be made available in a usable alternative format for each student with a disability at the same time as such instructional materials are available to non-disabled students. The alternative format must meet the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard defined in federal law.
g) The estimated budget to support such plan.
h) The date on which such plan was adopted by the Board.
i) A description of how the District plan is consistent with the special education space requirements plan for the region as developed by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

The District plan, with personally identifiable student information deleted, will be filed and available for public inspection and review by the Commissioner.

20 United States Code (USC) Section 1474(e)(3)(B)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 155 and Section 200.2(c)

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

A child with a disability means a student under the age of 21 who is entitled to attend public schools and who, because of mental, physical or emotional reasons can only receive appropriate educational opportunities from a program of special education. A child is not considered as having a disability if his or her educational needs are due primarily to unfamiliarity with the English language; environmental, cultural or economic factors; or lack of appropriate instruction in reading or mathematics.

If the State Education Department finds that the District has inappropriate policies, procedures or practices resulting in a significant disproportionality by race/ethnicity in the suspension, identification, classification and/or placement of students with disabilities, the District will ensure that it publicly reports on the subsequent revisions to those policies, procedures or practices.

The Board recognizes the existence of individual differences in the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of children attending school in the District. In recognizing these differences the Board supports a system of services offered in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities which includes:

a) Not requiring any student to obtain a prescription for a drug or other substance identified as a controlled substance by the federal Controlled Substances Act as a condition of receiving services.
b) Education in regular classes with or without support services, education in a resource room, education for part of the day in a special class, full time education in a special class, home instruction and education in a residential setting.
c) Providing for the education of students with disabilities with non-disabled peers to the extent appropriate.
d) Taking the following measurable steps to recruit, hire, train and retain highly qualified personnel to provide special education programs and services:
1. Utilize established procedures for publication of all potential job openings;
2. Check credentials and requirements listed on applications;
3. Provide training sessions for interview committee;
4. Special Education teachers are required to have subject matter knowledge appropriate to the level of instruction being provided; when teaching two or more core academic subjects exclusively to children with disabilities, the teacher will meet the requirements of “highly qualified” per the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) or demonstrate competence in all the core academic subjects taught per state regulations. 
5. Special education teachers and administrators are required to complete enhanced training in the needs of autistic children.
e) Establishing the following guidelines for the provision of appropriate accommodations necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the student in the administration of District-wide assessments:
1. Ensure that necessary accommodations are specified on individualized education program (IEP) and implemented in accordance with the IEP;
2. Review the need for accommodations at Committee on Special Education (CSE) evaluations/re-evaluations;
3. Students with disabilities are provided with testing accommodations in order to participate in assessment programs with non-disabled peers. Such decisions are made when developing the students IEP’s or 504 accommodation plans;
4. All assessments are made available and accessible to all students in the District. The assessments target skills, performance and content for students of diverse abilities. Questions on assessments may be presented in multiple ways. They may be written, spoken aloud, on computers, etc.
f) To the extent feasible, using universal design principles (defined as a concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest range of functional capabilities, which include products and services that are directly usable without requiring assistive technologies and products and services that are made usable with assistive technologies) in developing and administering District-wide assessment programs by:
1. Addressing appropriate universal design principles in IEP;
2. Having the Library Media Specialist and/or Curriculum Coordinator keep Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) apprised of available products and services utilizing universal design principles;
3. Ensuring that instructional materials and activities allow learning goals to be achievable by individuals with wide differences in abilities;
4. Ensuring that flexible curricular materials and activities are built into the instructional design and operating systems;
5. Ensuring that instruction is diversified to deliver the general education curriculum to every student and diversify ways students may respond to that curriculum;
6. By offering assessments in multiple ways, student’s unique learning abilities are accessed.
g) Consideration of the location of a school program(s) to a student’s residence, before placement into an educational program.
h) Adoption of written policies and procedures ensuring that students with disabilities are provided appropriate opportunities to earn a high school diploma in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations.
i) Allocation of appropriate space within the District for special education programs that meet the needs of students with disabilities.
j) Assurance that appropriate space will be available to meet the needs of resident students with disabilities who attend special education programs provided by BOCES. 

Provision of Special Education Services to Nonpublic School Students with Disabilities who are Parentally Placed

The district of location is responsible for child find, including individual evaluations, Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings, provision of special education services, and due process to parentally placed nonpublic school students attending nonpublic schools located in the geographic region of the public school district.

These requirements only pertain to students with disabilities parentally placed in elementary and secondary nonpublic schools, not to parental placements of preschool children with disabilities in private day care or preschool programs; or to CSE placements of students with disabilities in approved private schools, Special Act School Districts, State-supported or State-operated schools or to Charter schools.

Parental consent must be obtained by the school district of location before any personally identifiable information about the student is shared between officials in the public school district of residence and officials in the public school district of location.

The school district of location must consult with nonpublic school representatives and representatives of parents of parentally placed nonpublic school students with disabilities enrolled in nonpublic elementary and secondary schools located within the boundaries of the school district. The school district must engage in consultation regarding the child find process and services generally; consultation is not specific to individual students. Individual services are determined by the CSE.

The consultation process must be timely and meaningful and include discussion of:

a) Child Find;
b) Provision of Special Education Services; and
c) Use of Federal Funds.

The school district of location must provide, as appropriate, special education services to an eligible student who legally resides in another state and who is parentally placed in a nonpublic school located in New York State. The services to be provided to out-of state students must be documented on a services plan that is developed by the CSE of the district of location. The services plan is the written plan that describes the specific special education and related service that the district of location will provide to the student consistent with the services that the school district of location has determined through the consultation process and in relation to the proportionate shares of federal IDEA Part B dollars, to be provided to the student.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-446 Sections 612 and 614 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
20 United States Code (USC) Section 9101(23)
21 United States Code (USC) Section 812(c)
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 3208, 3242, 3602-c, 4401-4407 and 4410-6
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 100.5, 100.9, 200.2(b), 200.2(c)(2)(v),  200.4(e)(9) and 200.6(a)(1)  

GROUPING BY SIMILARITY OF NEEDS

The Board will provide appropriate special education and related services to students with disabilities. For those students for whom an appropriate education requires that they be placed together for purposes of special education, the following guidelines will apply: 

a) That each student with a disability will be identified, evaluated and placed as determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE).
b) The CSE will determine written goals, including academic and functional goals, for each student with a disability by considering the special and individual needs of each student with a disability. Short-term instructional objectives and/or benchmarks will be created for each preschool student with a disability and for students who take New York State alternate assessments.
c) The CSE will recommend to the Board appropriate educational programs and services for each student with a disability based upon the CSE evaluation.
d) The CSE will provide information to those teachers and professionals who arrange instructional groups for students with disabilities. Information will include physical, psychological and social information as well as achievement test results.
e) The curriculum and instruction provided to students with disabilities who are grouped by similarity of needs will be consistent with the individual needs of each student in the group.
f) Students with disabilities may be grouped according to:
1. Academic achievement, functional performance and learning characteristics;
2. Social development;
3. Physical development; and
4. Management needs.
g) When grouping students by similarity of needs, the social needs or physical development of a student will not be the sole determinant for placement of a student in a special education program.
h) The management needs of such students may vary, provided that environmental modifications, adaptations, or human or material resources required to meet the needs of any one student in the group are provided and do not consistently detract from the opportunities of other students in the group to benefit from instruction. 

8 NYCRR Sections 200.1(ww), 200.2(b)(3), 200.4(d) and 200.6(a)(3) 

THE ROLE OF THE BOARD IN IMPLEMENTING A STUDENT’S INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM 

The Board will establish at least one Committee on Special Education (CSE) and one Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). The Board will also establish, as necessary, Subcommittees on Special Education to ensure timely evaluation and placement of students with disabilities.

Committee on Special Education

The Board will, upon completion of its review of the recommendations of the CSE, arrange for the appropriate special education programs and services to be provided to a student with a disability. The Board will notify the parent or guardian of its action in accordance with federal and state law and regulations.

For a student not previously identified as having a disability, the CSE will provide a recommendation to the Board which will arrange for the appropriate special education programs and services to be provided within 60 school days of the date of receipt of consent to evaluate. For a student with a disability referred for review, a recommendation will be provided to the Board which will arrange for the appropriate special education programs and services to be provided within 60 school days of the referral for review. However, if such recommendation of the CSE is for placement in an approved in-state or out-of-state private school, the Board will arrange for such special education programs and services for students with disabilities within 30 school days of the Board’s receipt of the recommendation of the CSE.

If on review of the recommendation of the CSE, the Board disagrees with such recommendation, the Board will follow one of the following procedures:

a) The Board may remand the recommendation to the CSE with a statement of the Board’s objections or concerns and a request that a timely meeting be held to review and consider such objections or concerns. The CSE will consider the Board’s objections or concerns, revise the individualized education program (IEP) where appropriate, and resubmit a recommendation to the Board. If the Board continues to disagree with the recommendation of the CSE, the Board may continue to remand the recommendation to the original committee for additional reviews of its objections or concerns, or establish a second CSE to develop a new recommendation in accordance with the following paragraph, provided that the Board arranges for the programs and services in accordance with the student’s IEP within the timelines as outlined above; or, in the alternative,
b) The Board may establish a second CSE to develop a new recommendation for the student. If the Board disagrees with such new recommendation, the Board may remand the recommendation to the second CSE with a statement of the Board’s objections or concerns and a request that a timely meeting be held to review and consider such objections or concerns. The second CSE will consider the Board’s objections or concerns, revise the IEP where appropriate, and resubmit a recommendation to the Board. If the Board continues to disagree with the recommendation of the second CSE, the Board may continue to remand the recommendation for additional reviews of its objections or concerns by the second CSE, provided that the Board arranges for the programs and services in accordance with the student’s IEP, as developed by the second CSE, within the timelines as outlined above.  

In accordance with Commissioner’s regulations, the Board may not select the recommendation of the original CSE once it has established a second CSE.

The Board will provide the student’s parents/guardians with written notice and a copy of the statement of its objections or concerns and notice of due process rights in accordance with Section 200.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.

Committee on Preschool Special Education

Upon receipt of the recommendation of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), the Board will arrange for the preschool student with a disability to receive such appropriate programs and services in accordance with the student’s IEP, commencing with the July, September or January starting date for the approved program, unless such services are recommended by the CPSE less than 30 school days prior to, or after, the appropriate starting date selected for the preschool student with a disability; in that case, such services will be provided no later than 30 days from the recommendation of the CPSE.

If the Board disagrees with the recommendation of the CPSE, the Board will send the recommendation back to the CPSE with notice of the need to schedule a timely meeting to review the Board’s concerns and to revise the IEP as deemed appropriate. The Board will provide such notice as required by federal and state law and regulations.

Subcommittee on Special Education

The number of Subcommittees on Special Education will be determined by the CSE and the CSE will be responsible for the oversight and monitoring of the activities of each subcommittee to assure compliance with the requirements of applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

Each Subcommittee may perform the functions for which the CSE is responsible, except: 

a) When a student is considered for initial placement in a special class; or
b) When a student is considered for initial placement in a special class outside of the student’s school of attendance; or 
c) When a student is considered for placements in a school primarily serving students with disabilities or a school outside the District.

Subcommittees will report annually to the CSE regarding the status of each student with a disability within its jurisdiction. Upon receipt of a written request from the parent or person in parental relation to a student, the Subcommittee will refer to the CSE any matter in which the parent disagrees with the Subcommittee’s recommendation concerning a modification or change in the identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free appropriate education to the student.

Education Law Sections 4402 and 4410
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(d)(1), 200.4(c), 200.4(d), 200.5  and 200.16(e) 

PRESCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

The Board recognizes the need for educational programs for three and four year old children with disabilities and directs that administrative practices and procedures be developed to:

a) Ensure the timely evaluation and placement of each preschool child with a disability residing in the District so the child has the opportunity to participate in preschool programs.
b) Establish a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) which will be comprised in accordance with applicable federal and state law and regulation.
c) Ensure that parents have received and understand the request for consent for evaluation and re-evaluation of a preschool aged child.

Evaluations for Preschool Children with Disabilities

The District is required to collect entry assessment data in the three outcome areas on all preschool children who receive an initial evaluation. As currently required by Commissioner’s regulation Section 200.5, a parent must be fully informed about the proposed initial evaluation and must provide consent for an initial evaluation. This would include a description of the proposed evaluation.

The CPSE will receive entry-level assessment results in the three outcome areas from approved preschool evaluators conducting initial evaluations on all preschool children suspected of having disabilities. The CPSE will then meet to determine the child’s eligibility for preschool education programs and/or services and complete the Child Outcomes Summary Form to determine the child’s entry level of functioning in the three outcome areas for all preschool children evaluated and found to be eligible. The form is be kept in the student’s record until the exit assessment information is due as a way to summarize complex assessment information in a format so that the data can be aggregated and reported to the State Education Department (SED).

If the committee recommends placing a child in an approved program that also conducted an evaluation of such child, it will indicate in writing that such placement is an appropriate one for the child. In addition, the committee will provide notice to the Commissioner of such recommendation.

Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
Education Law Section 4410
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(b)(2), 200.2(b)(5) and 200.5 

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT

Least restrictive environment means that placement of students with disabilities in special classes, separate schools or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that even with use of supplementary aids and services, education in regular classes cannot be satisfactorily achieved. The placement of an individual student with a disability in the least restrictive environment will:

a) Provide the special education and related services, as well as supplementary aids and services, needed by the student. The term “related services” does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of the device’s functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of, or the replacement of such device;
b) Provide for education of the student to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student with other students who do not have disabilities; and
c) Be as close as possible to the student’s home.

The District has an obligation, in accordance with law and regulation, to educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. The District will ensure that:

a) Placement is based on the student’s individualized education program and determined at least annually;
b) Placement is as close as possible to the student’s home, and unless the student’s individualized education program requires some other arrangement, the student will be educated in the school he or she would have attended if not disabled;
c) In selecting the least restrictive environment, consideration will be given to any potential harmful effect on the student or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and
d) A student with a disability will not be removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.

The District will ensure that a continuum of alternative placements, in accordance with law and/or regulation, will be available to meet the needs of students with disabilities. To enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate, specially designed instruction and supplementary services may be provided in the regular class, including, as appropriate, related services, resource room programs and special class programs within the general education classroom.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 4401-4410-a
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 100.5, 100.9, 200.1(cc), 200.1(qq), 200.2(b),
200.4 and 200.6  

PREREFERRAL INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

The District will implement school-wide approaches and prereferral interventions in order to remediate a student’s performance within the general education setting prior to referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) for special education. The determination of prevention and prereferral intervention strategies or services will take into consideration the student’s strengths, environment, social history, language, and cultural diversity, in addition to the teacher’s concerns. The District may also provide a Response to Intervention (RtI) program to eligible students that is developed in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations as part of its school-wide approach to improve a student’s academic performance prior to a referral for special education.

The provision of programs and/or services for students starts with consideration and implementation of instruction in the general education curriculum, with appropriate supports, or modifications as may be necessary. In implementing prereferral intervention strategies, the District may utilize resources or strategies already in place for qualified students including, but not limited to, services available through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Academic Intervention Services (AIS) as defined in Education Law and/or Commissioner’s regulations. The District will ensure that there is a system in place, with qualified, appropriately certified personnel, for developing, implementing, and evaluating prereferral intervention strategies.

If a student is identified as needing additional instructional support, the District will establish formal Instructional Support Teams (ISTs) in accordance with law, regulations, and District guidelines, as may be applicable, to review information from the student’s work, screenings, and assessments. The IST will include representatives from general and special education as well as other disciplines and include individuals with classroom experience, who may then recommend which type of instructional support the student requires and the frequency with which he or she should receive these services or supports. The building administrator will further ensure that all staff are familiar with intervention procedures and procedures for operating an IST. Parents or persons in parental relation to students will be involved in developing prereferral strategies to address the educational needs of the child. Additionally, the District will seek collaboration between outside agencies and the school prior to a referral of the student to the CSE in order to address necessary student support services.

District administration will also ensure that opportunities exist for collaboration between general educators and special educators, and that consultation and support are available to teachers and other school personnel to assist parents or persons in parental relation to students and teachers in exploring alternative approaches for meeting the individual needs of any student prior to formal referral for special education.

Prereferral/Intervention Instructional Support Plans will be designed so as to set forth proactive strategies to meet the broad range of individual student needs and to improve student performance. Prereferral/Intervention strategies and/or Instructional Support Plans will be reviewed and evaluated to determine their effectiveness and modified as appropriate. Appropriate documentation of the prevention and/or intervention strategies implemented will be maintained.

If a referral is made to the CSE during the course of implementing prereferral/intervention instructional support services, the CSE is obligated to fulfill its duties and functions, and must meet mandatory time lines in evaluating the student for special education services and implementation of an individualized education program (IEP), if applicable.

Academic Intervention Services

The Board will provide to students at risk of not achieving state standards with AIS. AIS means additional instruction which supplements the instruction provided in the general education curriculum and assists students in meeting those state learning standards as defined in Commissioner’s regulations and/or student support services which may include guidance, counseling, attendance, and study skills which are needed to support improved academic performance. The District will identify students to receive AIS through a two-step identification process set forth in Commissioner’s regulations.
The District will provide AIS to students who are limited English proficient (LEP) and are determined, through uniformly applied District-developed procedures, to be at risk of not achieving state learning standards in English language arts, mathematics, social studies and/or science, through English or the student’s native language.

The District has developed a description of the AIS offered to grades K through 12 students in need of these services. The description includes any variations in services in schools within the District and specifically sets forth:

a) The District-wide procedure(s) used to determine the need for AIS;
b) Academic intervention instructional and/or student support services to be provided;
c) Whether instructional services and/or student support services are offered during the regular school day or during an extended school day or year; and
d) The criteria for ending services, including, if appropriate, performance levels that students must obtain on District-selected assessments.

The District will review and revise this description every two years based on student performance results. 

Parental Notification

a) Commencement of Services: Parents or persons in parental relation to a student who has been determined to need AIS will be notified in writing by the building principal. This notice will be provided in English and translated into the parent’s native language or mode of communication, as necessary. The notice will also include a summary of the AIS to be provided to the student, why the student requires these services, and the consequences of not achieving expected performance levels.
b) Ending of AIS: Parents or persons in parental relation will be notified in writing when AIS is no longer needed. This notice will be provided in English and translated to the parent’s native language or mode of communication, as necessary.

Parents will be provided with ongoing opportunities to consult with the student’s teachers and other professional staff providing AIS, receive reports on the student’s progress, and information on ways to work with their child to improve achievement. 

§ 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC§ 794 et seq.
Education Law§§ 3602, 4401, and 4401-a
8 NYCRR §§ 100.l(g), 100.l(p), 100.l(r), 100.l(s), 100.l(t), 100.2(v), 100.2(dd)(4), 100.2(ee),  200.2(b)(7), 200.4(a)(2), 200.4(a)(9); 200.4(c), and Part 154 

DECLASSIFICATION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

The District will establish and implement a plan for the appropriate declassification of students with disabilities which must include:

a) The regular consideration for declassifying students when appropriate;
b) A reevaluation of the student prior to declassification; and
c) The provision of educational and support services to the student upon declassification.

Eligibility Determinations

The District must evaluate a student with a disability prior to determining that a student is no longer a student with a disability as defined in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations, and the District will provide a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of eligibility to the student’s parent at no cost to the parent. The results of any reevaluations must be addressed by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) in a meeting to review and, as appropriate, revise the student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Prior to the reevaluation, the District will obtain informed written parental consent unless otherwise authorized in accordance with law and/or regulation. Parental consent need not be obtained if the District can demonstrate that it has taken reasonable measures to obtain that consent, and the student’s parents fail to respond. The District must have a record of its attempts to obtain parental consent. Should the student’s parents refuse consent for the reevaluation, the District may continue to pursue the reevaluation by using mediation and/or due process procedures.

The District will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings at the meeting of the CSE, including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or whose native language is other than English.

Graduation/Aging Out

The District is not required to conduct a reevaluation of a student before the termination of a student’s eligibility due to graduation with a local high school or Regents diploma or exceeding the age eligibility for a free appropriate public education. However, the District must provide the student with a summary (Student Exit Summary) of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his or her post-secondary goals. Although not required to do so, the District will also provide this Student Exit Summary (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/idea/studentexit.htm) to students exiting with a High School Equivalency Diploma.

In addition, the parent must receive prior written notice, in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations, before the student’s graduation from high school with a local or Regents diploma or before he or she receives an Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma. If the student will be graduating with an IEP diploma, this prior written notice must indicate 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 21 or until receipt of a regular high school diploma. However, New York State Law does not grant a child who has reached the age of majority all rights previously granted to parents under IDEA.

Recommendation for Declassification

If the student has been receiving special education services, but it is determined by CSE that the student no longer needs special education services and can be placed in a regular educational program on a full-time basis, the recommendation will:

a) Identify the declassification support services, if any, to be provided to the student; and/or the student’s teachers; and
b) Indicate the projected date of initiation of such services, the frequency of provision of such services, and the duration of these services, provided that such services will not continue for more than one year after the student enters the full-time regular education program.

Declassification Support Services

When appropriate, the District will provide declassification support services to students who have moved from special education to a full-time regular educational program in accordance with the recommendation of the CSE.

Declassification support services means those services provided by persons appropriately certified in accordance with Part 80 of Commissioner’s regulations, or holding a valid teaching license in the appropriate area of service, to a student or the student’s teacher to aid in the student’s move from special education to full-time regular education, including:

a) For the student, psychological services, social work services, speech and language improvement services, non-career counseling, and other appropriate support services; and
b) For the student’s teacher, the assistance of a teacher aide or a teaching assistant, and consultation with appropriate personnel.

Procedural Safeguards Notice

The District will use the procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner of Education. The District will further ensure that the procedural safeguards notice is provided in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent is not a written language, the District will take steps to ensure that the notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent in his or her native language or other mode of communication; that the parent understands the content of the notice; and that there is written evidence that all due process procedures, in accordance with law and/or regulation, have been met.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 [Public Law 108-446 Section 614(a)] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 4401-4410-a
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 100.1(q), 100.2(u), 200.2(b)(8), 200.4(b)(4),  200.4(b)(5), 200.4(c)(3), 200.4(c)(4), 200.4(d)(1) and 200.5(a) 

RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RtI) PROCESS

Per Commissioner’s regulations, the Pine Bush Central School District will select and define the specific structure and components of the response to intervention program, including, but not limited to, the criteria for determining the levels of intervention to be provided to students, the types of interventions, the amount and nature of student performance data to be collected, and the manner and frequency for progress monitoring.

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi-tiered early prevention and intervention system designed to improve outcomes for all students. In accordance with Commissioner’s regulations, the District has established administrative practices and procedures for implementing District-wide initiatives that address a Response to Intervention (RtI) process applicable to all students. For students suspected of having a potential learning disability, the District will provide appropriate RtI services in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations prior to a referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) for evaluation.

The New York State Education Department (SED) has released a guidance document to assist school districts in designing and implementing an effective RtI process. This document includes, but is not limited to, information regarding regulatory requirements, quality indicators, staff development, tools to assist districts in selecting a specific model and procedures for the use of RtI data in determining if a student has a learning disability. This guidance document is available at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/RTI/guidance/cover.htm

The Pine Bush Central School District has established procedures for identifying students with learning disabilities that use a research-based RtI process prior to, or as part of, an individual evaluation to determine whether a student has a learning disability. An RtI process is required for all students in grades kindergarten through grade 4 suspected of having a learning disability in the area of reading. RtI cannot be utilized as a strategy to delay or deny a timely initial evaluation of a student suspected of having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Minimum Requirements of District’s RtI Program

The District’s RtI process will include the following minimum requirements:

a) Scientific, research-based instruction in reading and mathematics provided to all students in the general education class by qualified personnel. Instruction in reading, per Commissioner’s regulations, will mean scientific, research-based reading programs that include explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency (including oral reading skills) and reading comprehension strategies;
b) Screenings will be provided to all students in the class to identify those students who are not making academic progress at expected rates; Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will be screened at least three times per year using benchmark assessments. 

c) Scientific, research-based instruction matched to student need with increasingly intensive levels of targeted interventions for those students who do not make satisfactory progress in their levels of performance and/or in their rate of learning to meet age or grade level standards;
d) Repeated assessments of student achievement which should include curriculum based measures to determine if interventions are resulting in student progress toward age or grade level standards;
e) The application of information about the student’s response to intervention to make educational decisions about changes in goals [i.e., goals for all students, not just Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals], instruction and/or services and the decision to make a referral for special education programs and/or services; and Teachers, administrators, and the Response to Intervention building level team will be responsible for reviewing relevant student data in order to assess and make decisions based on the individualized needs of the student.
f) Written notification to the parents when the student requires an intervention beyond that provided to all students in the general education classroom that provides information about:
1. The amount and nature of student performance data that will be collected and the general education services that will be provided as enumerated in Commissioner’s regulations;
2. Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning; and
3. The parents’ right to request an evaluation for special education programs and/or services. 

Structure of Response to Intervention Program

The Response to Intervention Committee collaboratively developed a three tiered model consisting of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 interventions. The District and building level RtI committees consisting of teachers and administrators will be primarily responsible for the implementation of the Pine Bush Central School District RtI policy.

The District’s RtI program will consist of multiple tiers of instruction/assessments to address increasingly intensive levels of targeted intervention to promote early identification of student performance needs and/or rate of learning, and to help raise achievement levels for all students.

Student Support Teams, whose members may include, but are not limited to, regular education teachers, special education personnel, the school psychologist, reading and math coordinators, designated administrators, and other individuals deemed appropriate by the District, will be available for each building/grade level classification to address the implementation of the District’s RtI process.

The Student Support Team’s responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) Determining the level of interventions/student performance criteria appropriate for each tier of the RtI model;
b) Analyzing information/assessments concerning a student’s response to intervention and making educational decisions about changes in goals, instruction and/or services;
c) Determining whether to make a referral for special education programs and/or services.

Criteria for Determining the Levels of Intervention to be Provided to Students

The Pine Bush Central School District has established grade level guidelines for targeted areas of student performance in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations. The guidelines identify students who do not make targeted progress towards benchmark levels of performance in their rate of learning to meet age or grade level standards.

The District will use multiple measures including Fountas and Pinnell, STAR Reading and Math, New York State Assessments, teacher made assessments, and District developed benchmark assessments. Together, these measurements will be used to help determine the level of intervention required.

Types of Interventions

The Pine Bush Central School District Three-Tiered Model

The District will provide multiple tiers of increasingly intensive levels of targeted intervention and instruction for those students who do not make satisfactory progress in their levels of performance and/or in their rate of learning to meet age or grade level standards.

It is expected that use of the Tier Level of instruction will be specific to each student’s needs and will be an ongoing process, with students entering and exiting tiers of intervention according to the analysis of student performance data and progress monitoring.

Tier One Instruction

Tier One instruction is provided to all students in the general education setting. The use of scientific, research based instruction in the areas of reading and math will be provided by the general education teacher and/or other qualified personnel as appropriate, and will emphasize proactive, preventative core instructional strategies in the classroom setting. Group and/or individualized instruction, assessment and reinforcement activities will be provided as deemed appropriate by the classroom teacher.

The analysis of Tier One student performance data will be used to identify those students who need additional intervention at the Tier Two Level of instruction.

Tier Two Instruction

In general, Tier Two instruction will consist of small group, targeted interventions for those students identified as being “at risk” who fail to make adequate progress in the general education classroom. Tier Two instruction will include programs and intervention strategies designed to supplement Tier One interventions provided to all students in the general education setting.

Tier Two instruction may be provided by specialized staff such as reading and math teachers, tutors, speech therapists, school psychologists and/or school counselors as determined by the Student Support Team.

At the conclusion of Tier Two instruction, the Student Support Team will review the student’s progress and make a determination as to whether Tier Two interventions should be maintained; the student returned to the general education classroom if satisfactory progress is shown; or referred for Tier Three instruction.

Tier Three Instruction

Tier Three instruction is the provision of more intensive instructional interventions, tailored to the needs of the individual student; and is provided to those students who do not achieve adequate progress after receiving interventions at the Tier Two level. Tier Three instruction may include longer periods of intervention program and services than those provided in the first two Tiers based upon the significant needs of the student.

Tier Three instruction will be provided by those specialists, as determined by the Student Support Team, best qualified to address the individual student’s targeted area(s) of need. If deemed appropriate by the Team, and in accordance with applicable law and regulation, a referral of the student may be made to the Committee on Special Education.

Progress monitoring on a continuous basis is an integral part of Tier Three; and the student’s response to the intervention process will determine the need/level of further intervention services and/or educational placement.

Amount and Nature of Student Performance Data to be Collected

The Student Support Team will determine the amount and nature of student performance data that will be collected to assess, on an ongoing basis, student performance results and address ongoing academic needs as warranted. Such data collection will reflect the Tier Level of intervention provided to the student. Student performance data will also be used to review the District’s RtI program and make modifications to the program as deemed necessary.

Manner and Frequency for Progress Monitoring

The Student Support Team will monitor the progress of those students receiving intervention services beyond that provided to all students in the general education classroom. The Team will meet with the student’s teacher(s) and will determine if further adjustments need to be made to the student’s current instructional program and/or a change made to the Tier Level of intervention provided. Monitoring of student progress will be an ongoing part of the RtI program from the initial screening to completion of the RtI process as applicable. Parents may also request that the progress of their child be reviewed by the Student Support Team.

Fidelity measures (e.g., an observational checklist of designated teaching behaviors in accordance with the RtI process being implemented) will also be completed by Team members to assess whether the intervention was implemented as intended and uniformly applied. Clear benchmarks will be established for student performance and performance charts will be plotted at the completion of the instructional period/intervention process.

Staff Development

All staff members involved in the development, provision and/or assessment of the District’s RtI program, including both general education and special education instructional personnel, will receive appropriate training necessary to implement the District’s RtI program. Staff development will include the criteria for determining the levels of intervention provided to students, the types of interventions, collection of student performance data, and the manner and frequency for monitoring progress.

Parent Notification

Written notification will be provided to parents when their child requires an intervention beyond that provided to all students in the general education classroom. Such written notice will include the following information:

a) The amount and nature of student performance data that will be collected and the general education services that will be provided as part of the RtI process;
b) Strategies for increasing the child’s rate of learning; and
c) The parents’ right to request an evaluation for special education programs and/or services.

34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 300.309 and 300.311
Education Law Sections 3208, 4002, 4401, 4401-a, 4402, 4402, and 4410
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 100.2(ii), 200.2(b)(7), 200.4(a), 200.4(j)(3)(i),  and 200.4(j)(5)(i)(g) 

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES PARTICIPATING IN SCHOOL DISTRICT PROGRAMS 

All students with disabilities residing in the District, including those of preschool age, will be provided with full access and opportunity to participate in District programs, including nonacademic and extracurricular programs and activities, that are available to all other students enrolled in the public schools of the District. Nonacademic and extracurricular programs and activities may include counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the District, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities and employment of students (both by the District and assistance in making outside employment available).

Parents/guardians of students with disabilities, including those students placed in out-of-District programs, will receive timely notice of such District programs and activities.

Community Resources

The District may compile a list of community resources (appropriate and/or helpful services that may be available outside of the school setting) and provide this information to parents or persons in parental relation of a child with a disability. Such a list will clearly state that these services are in addition to programs and services provided by the District and will not be paid for by the District. Any member of the District’s committees or subcommittees on special education, or the District, who, acting reasonably and in good faith, provides this information will not be liable for such action.

Education Law Sections 4402(1)(b)(3-a) and 4410 (5)(b)(IV)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(b)(1) and 200.2(b)(2)

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973

The Board affirms its compliance with those sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dealing with program accessibility.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in federally assisted programs or activities solely on the basis of disability. The District will make its program and facilities accessible to all its students with disabilities.

The District will also identify, evaluate and extend to every qualified student with a disability under Section 504 a free, appropriate public education, including modifications, accommodations, specialized instruction or related aids and services, as deemed necessary to meet their educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.

The District official responsible for coordination of activities relating to compliance with Section 504 is the Superintendent. This official will provide information, including complaint procedures, to any person who feels his or her rights under Section 504 have been violated by the District or its officials.

Prohibition Against Disability-Based Discrimination in Accelerated Programs

The practice of denying, on the basis of disability, a qualified student with a disability the opportunity to participate in an accelerated program violates both Section 504 and Title II. A school district may not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screens out or tends to screen out a student with a disability from fully and equally enjoying any service, program, or activity, unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary.

It is also unlawful to deny a student with a disability admission to an accelerated class or program solely because of his or her need for special education or related aids or services (i.e., related services, supplementary aids and services, program modification and supports for school personnel) or because the student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a plan under Section 504.

Schools may employ appropriate eligibly requirements or criteria in determining whether to admit students, including students with disabilities, into accelerated classes or programs. Additionally, nothing in Section 504 or Title II requires schools to admit into accelerated classes or programs students with disabilities who would not otherwise be qualified for these classes or programs.

Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 12101 et seq.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 United States Code (USC) Section 794 et seq.
28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 35
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 104 and 300

APPOINTMENT AND TRAINING OF COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION (CSE)/SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION MEMBERS  

Committee on Special Education (CSE) Membership

The Board will appoint a Committee on Special Education (CSE) whose membership will include, but not be limited to, the following members:

a) The parent(s) or persons in parental relationship of the student. To ensure that one or both parents are present at each CSE meeting, the District and the parent(s) may agree to use alternative means of participation such as videoconferences or conference phone calls;
b) Not less than one regular education teacher of such student (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
c) Not less than one special education teacher of the student, or, where appropriate, not less than one special education provider (i.e., related service provider) of such student;
d) A representative of the District who is qualified to provide or administer or supervise special education and who is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum and about the availability of resources of the District. An individual who meets these qualifications may be the same individual appointed as the special education teacher or provider in c) above or the school psychologist in i) below. The representative of the District will serve as the chairperson of the Committee;
e) An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a CSE member selected from the regular education teacher, the special education teacher or provider, the school psychologist, or the District representative described above, or a person having knowledge or special expertise regarding the student as determined by the District;
f) A member as described in letters b) through e) of this subheading is not required to attend the CSE meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent or person in parental relation to the student with a disability and the District agree, in writing not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting date, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because:
1. The member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting; or
2. The member’s area of the curriculum or related services is being modified or discussed in the meeting but, not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting, the excused member has submitted to the parents or persons in parental relation and the CSE written input into the development of the IEP, particularly with respect to their area of curriculum or related services; or 
3. The committee member is unable to attend due to an emergency or unavoidable scheduling conflict and the District submits the written input listed in 2. above to the parents or persons in parental relation within a reasonable time prior to the meeting and prior to obtaining written consent to the excusal by the parents or persons in parental relation;
g) At the discretion of the parent or the District, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related services personnel as appropriate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise will be made by the party (parents or District) who invited the individual to be a member of the committee;
h) The student with a disability, as appropriate. The District must invite the student with a disability to attend the student’s CSE meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the student and the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. If the student does not attend the CSE meeting, the District must take other steps to ensure that the student’s preference and interests are considered. To the extent appropriate, with the consent of the parent or a student 18 years or older, the District must also invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services;
i) A school psychologist;
j) A school physician, if requested in writing at least 72 hours prior to the meeting by the parents of the student or the District; and
k) An additional parent, residing in the District or a neighboring school district who is a parent of a student with a disability, of a student who has been declassified and is no longer eligible for an individualized education program (IEP), or a parent of a disabled student who has graduated. This parent member may serve for a period of five years beyond the student’s declassification or graduation provided such parent will not be employed by or under contract with the District. Such parent will not be a required member unless the parents or other person in parental relation to the student, the student, or a member of the CSE specifically requests in writing at least 72 hours prior to such meeting, that the additional parent member attend the meeting. The parents or persons in parental relation of the student in question will receive proper written notice of their right to have an additional parent attend any meeting of the committee regarding the student, along with a prepared statement from NYSED explaining the role of having the additional parent attend the meeting.

Subcommittee on Special Education Membership

The Board will appoint, as necessary, a Subcommittee on Special Education whose membership will include, but not be limited to, the following members:

a) The parent(s) of the student;
b) Not less than one regular education teacher of such student (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
c) Not less than one special education teacher, of the student, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider (i.e., related service provider) of such student;
d) A representative of the District who is qualified to provide or administer or supervise special education and who is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum and about the availability of resources of the District. This individual may also fulfill the requirements of
c) or e) of this section. The representative of the District will serve as the chairperson of the Subcommittee;
e) A school psychologist, whenever a new psychological evaluation is reviewed or a change to a program option with a more intensive staff/student ratio, as set forth in Section 200.6(f)(4) of the Regulations of the Commissioner, is considered;
f) A member as described in letters b) through e) of this subheading is not required to attend the subcommittee meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent or person in parental relation to the student with a disability and the District agree, in writing not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting date, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because:
1. The member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting; or
2. The member’s area of the curriculum or related services is being modified or discussed in the meeting but, not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting, the excused member has submitted to the parents or persons in parental relation and the CSE written input into the development of the IEP, particularly with respect to their area of curriculum or related services; or 
3. The committee member is unable to attend due to an emergency or unavoidable scheduling conflict and the District submits the written input listed in 2. above to the parents or persons in parental relation within a reasonable time prior to the meeting and prior to obtaining written consent to the excusal by the parents or persons in parental relation;
g) At the discretion of the parent or the Committee, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related services personnel as appropriate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise will be made by the party (parents or District) who invited the individual to be a member of the subcommittee;
h) An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a member described in letters “b” through “g” of this subheading; and
i) Whenever appropriate, the student with a disability.

Training

The training of qualified personnel is essential to the effective implementation of the regulations of the Commissioner of Education regarding the education of all students with disabilities.

The Director of Special Education will be responsible to the Superintendent for establishing administrative practices and procedures for training all District personnel responsible for carrying out the provisions of Part 200 of the Commissioner’s regulations as well as members of the Committee on Special Education.

Alternative Means of Meeting

When conducting a meeting of the Committee on Special Education (CSE), the parent and the representative of the District appointed to the CSE may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation, such as videoconferences and conference calls.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300 and Section 300.321
Education Law Section 4402
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(b)(3), 200.3, and 200.4(d)(4)(i)(d)

APPOINTMENT AND TRAINING OF COMMITTEE ON PRESCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION (CPSE) MEMBERS 

Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) Membership

The Board will appoint a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) whose membership will include, but not be limited to, the following members:

a) The parent(s) of the preschool child. To ensure that one or both parents are present at each CPSE meeting, the District and the parent(s) may agree to use alternative means of participation such as video conferences or conference phone calls;
b) Not less than one regular education teacher of such child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
c) Not less than one special education teacher of the child or, where appropriate, not less than one special education provider (i.e., related service provider) of such child;
d) A representative of the District who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, special education and who is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum and about the availability of preschool special education programs and services and other resources of the District and the municipality (who will serve as Chairperson of the CPSE);
e) An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a member of the team selected from the regular education teacher, the special education teacher or provider, the school psychologist, the District representative described above, or a person having knowledge or special expertise regarding the student as determined by the District;
f) At the discretion of the parent or the District, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise will be made by the party (parents or District) who invited the individual to be a member of the committee;
g) An additional parent of a child with a disability who resides in the District or a neighboring school district, and whose child is enrolled in a preschool or elementary level education program provided that such parent will not be employed by or under contract with the District; and provided further that such parent will not be a required member unless the parents of the child or a member of the CPSE request, in writing at least 72 hours prior to such meeting, that the additional parent member attend the meeting. The parents or other person in parental relation will receive proper written notice of their right to have an additional parent attend any meeting of the committee regarding the student along with a statement, prepared by NYSED, explaining the role of having the additional parent attend the meeting; 
h) For a child’s smooth transition from early intervention programs and services (Infant and Toddler Programs), at the request of the parent or person in parental relation, the appropriate professional designated by the agency that has been charged with the responsibility for the preschool child.
i) A representative from the municipality of the preschool child’s residence. Attendance of the appointee of the municipality is not required for a quorum. 

However, except for the parents or persons in parental relation and the appointee from the municipality ( a) and i) above) a member of the CPSE is not required to attend a meeting of the team in whole or in part if the parent or person in parental relation and the District agree in writing that the attendance is not necessary because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed at that meeting.
Additionally, a member as described in letters b) through h) of this subheading may be excused from attending the CPSE meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent or person in parental relation to the student with a disability and the District agree, in writing to the excusal not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting date, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because: 

a) The member’s area of the curriculum or related services is being modified or discussed in the meeting but, not less than five calendar days prior to the meeting, the excused member has submitted to the parents or persons in parental relation and the CSE written input into the development of the IEP, particularly with respect to their area of curriculum or related services; or
b) The committee member is unable to attend due to an emergency or unavoidable scheduling conflict and the District submits the written input listed in a) above to the parents or persons in parental relation within a reasonable time prior to the meeting and prior to obtaining written consent to the excusal by the parents or persons in parental relation.

Training

The training of qualified personnel is essential to the effective implementation of the regulations of the Commissioner of Education regarding the education of all students with disabilities.

The Director of Special Education will be responsible to the Superintendent for establishing administrative practices and procedures for training all District personnel responsible for carrying out the provisions of Part 200 of the Commissioner’s regulations as well as members of the Committee on Preschool Special Education.

Alternative Means of Meeting

When conducting a meeting of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), the parent and the representative of the District appointed to the CPSE may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation, such as videoconferences and conference calls.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Section 4410
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(b)(3) and 200.3 

STUDENT INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP): DEVELOPMENT AND PROVISION 

Development of Individualized Education Program

The Board directs that the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) will have prepared a written statement (program) for each child with a disability.

Such an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed by the CSE or CPSE upon referral, and reviewed or revised, whichever is appropriate, for every child with a disability at least annually or in the event that the program no longer appears to be appropriate to meet the student’s needs and ability level.

The District will ensure that each student with a disability has an IEP in effect at the beginning of each school year.

Functional Behavioral Assessments/Behavioral Intervention Plans

A functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is an integral part of the evaluation and reevaluation of a student with a disability which should be used throughout the process of developing, reviewing and revising a student’s IEP when the student’s behavior impedes learning of the child or others. The FBA is the process of determining why a student engages in challenging behavior and how the student’s behavior relates to the environment. An FBA for a student with a disability is an evaluation requiring parental consent, in accordance with Commissioner’s regulation 200.5(b).

The FBA provides a baseline of the student’s problem behaviors with regard to frequency, duration, intensity and/or latency across activities, settings, people and times of the day and includes:

a) The identification of the problem behavior,
b) The definition of the behavior in concrete terms,
c) The identification of the contextual factors that contribute to the behavior (including cognitive and affective factors), and
d) The formulation of a hypothesis regarding the general conditions under which a behavior usually occurs and probable consequences that serve to maintain it.

The FBA must, as appropriate, be based on multiple sources of data such as structured interviews, behavior ratings scales, standardized assessments and checklists. It must include, but is not limited to:

a) Information obtained from direct observation of the student;
b) Information from the student, the student’s teacher(s) and/or related service providers; and
c) A review of available data and information from the student’s record and other sources including any relevant information provided by the student’s parent.

The FBA cannot be based solely on the student’s history of presenting problem behavior.

The CSE/CPSE will ensure that functional behavioral assessments, when appropriate, are conducted and reviewed to:

a) Identify supplementary aids and services, modifications and/or related services appropriate to address the identified behaviors to promote the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum;
b) Determine a student’s eligibility for special education services;
c) Develop the IEP which includes behavioral goals and objectives and positive behavioral supports and strategies.

In the case of a student whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, the CSE/CPSE will consider strategies, including positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address that behavior. The need for a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) will be documented on the IEP and such plan will be reviewed at least annually by the CSE/CPSE. In addition, regular progress monitoring of the frequency, duration and intensity of the behavioral interventions will be conducted at scheduled intervals, documented and reported to the parents and CSE/CPSE.
A behavioral intervention plan may not include the use of aversive interventions or time out rooms except in accordance with specific Board policy regulating these techniques.

Individual Evaluations

Parental consent must be provided for an initial evaluation. If such consent is not received within 30 calendar days of receipt of the referral, the CSE/CPSE Chairperson will document all attempts made to obtain the consent and, if appropriate, advise the Board of its right to utilize the due process procedures to conduct an evaluation without parental consent.

Unless a referral is withdrawn, an individual evaluation at no cost to the parent will be completed by the CSE/CPSE within 60 calendar days after written parental consent has been obtained or a parental refusal to consent is overridden, unless: 

a) An extension is mutually agreed to by the parent and the CSE/CPSE for the following situations:
1. Transfer students: A student enrolls in the District after 60 days and prior to a determination by the student’s previous school district as to whether the student has a disability, but only if the new school district is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation and the parent and the new district agree to a specific timeframe for completion; or
2. Students suspected of having learning disabilities; or
b) The parent or student repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the student for evaluation. 

No student will be required to obtain a prescription for a drug or other substance identified as a controlled substance by the federal Controlled Substances Act as a condition of receiving an evaluation.
The individual evaluation will include a variety of assessment tools and strategies, including information provided by the parent. The purpose of the evaluation is to gather relevant functional, developmental and academic information that may assist in determining whether the student is a student with a disability and the content of the student’s IEP. This will include information relating to enabling the student to participate and progress in the general education curriculum (or for a preschool child, to participate in appropriate activities.)

As part of any evaluation, a group that includes the CSE/CPSE and other qualified professionals, as appropriate, will review existing evaluation data on the student including evaluations and information provided by the parents of the student, current classroom-based assessments, local or state assessments, classroom-based observations, and observations by teachers and related services providers. In addition, the group will consider information about the student’s physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior.

On the basis of that review, and input from the student’s parents, the group will identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine:

a) Whether the student has or continues to have a disability;
b) The present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the student, including:
1. Academic achievement, functional performance, and learning characteristics;
2. Social development; 
3. Physical development; and
4. Management needs.
c) In the case of a reevaluation of a student, whether the student continues to need special education; and
d) Whether any additions or modifications to the special education services are needed to enable the student to meet the measurable annual goals set out in the IEP of the student and to participate, as appropriate, in the general education curriculum.

If additional data are not needed, the District must notify the parents of that determination and the reasons for it and of the right of the parents to request an assessment to determine whether, for purposes of services provided in accordance with law and Commissioner’s regulations, the student continues to be a student with a disability and to determine the student’s educational needs. The District is not required to conduct the assessment unless requested to do so by the student’s parents.
The determination that a student has a learning disability will be made in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section 200.4(j) of Commissioner’s regulations.

Individual Re-evaluations

A CSE/CPSE will arrange for an appropriate re-evaluation of each student with a disability:

a) If the District determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance of the student warrant re-evaluation;
b) If the student’s parent or teacher request a re-evaluation;
c) At least once every three years, unless the District and the parent or person in parental relation agree in writing that such re-evaluation is unnecessary.

A re-evaluation will not be conducted more frequently than once a year unless the parent and the District representative appointed to the CSE/CPSE agree otherwise.

The re-evaluation will be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team or group of persons, including at least one teacher or other specialist with knowledge in the area of the student’s disability. The re-evaluation will be sufficient to determine the student’s individual needs, educational progress and achievement, the student’s ability to participate in instructional programs in regular education and the student’s continuing eligibility for special education. The results of any re-evaluations must be addressed by the CSE/CPSE in reviewing, and as appropriate, revising the student’s IEP.

To the extent possible, the District will encourage the consolidation of re-evaluation meetings for the student and other CSE/CPSE meetings for the student.

Amendments to the IEP

Amendments to the IEP made after the annual review by the CSE/CPSE may be made by reconvening the CSE/CPSE and rewriting the IEP or by developing a written document to amend or modify the student’s current IEP, provided that:

a) The parents or persons in parental relation request an amendment to the IEP and the District and parents or persons in parental relation agree to the amendment in writing; or
b) The District provides the parents or persons in parental relation a written proposal to amend a provision or provisions of the IEP conveyed in language understandable to the parents or persons in parental relation in their native language or other dominant mode of communication, informs and allows the parents or persons in parental relation the opportunity to consult with the appropriate personnel or related service providers concerning the proposed changes, and the parents or persons in parental relation agree in writing to the amendments.

If the parents or persons in parental relation agree to amend the IEP without a meeting, they will be provided prior written notice (notice of recommendation) of the changes to the IEP and the Committee notified of the changes. If the changes are made by rewriting the entire IEP, the District will provide the parents or persons in parental relation a copy of the rewritten IEP. If the amendment is made without rewriting the entire document, the District will provide a copy of the document that amends the IEP or, upon request, a revised copy of the entire IEP with the amendments incorporated.

Use of Recording Equipment at IEP Meetings

The Board will allow recording equipment to be used at meetings regarding individualized education programs for students with disabilities.

Provision of Individualized Education Program

The Board directs that the Superintendent/designee(s) establish administrative practices and procedures to ensure that each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider and/or other service provider who is responsible for the implementation of a student’s IEP is provided with either a paper copy of the IEP or is able to access a student’s IEP electronically (including amendments to the IEP) prior to the implementation of such program. Such individuals responsible for the implementation of a student’s IEP will be notified and trained on how to access such IEP electronically.

For purposes of this policy, “other service provider” means a representative of another public school district, charter school, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) or school enumerated in Education Law Articles 81, 85 or 89 where the student receives or will receive IEP services. Further, the District will designate at least one school official who will be responsible for maintaining a record of the personnel who have received IEP copies for each student.

Any copy of a student’s IEP will remain confidential in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and District policy regarding confidentiality of student records; and will not be disclosed to any other person other than the parent of such student, except in accordance with federal and state laws and/or regulations. Appropriate training and information will be provided to designated school personnel, as applicable, to ensure the confidentiality of such information. Procedures will be established to ensure that copies of students’ IEPs are stored in secure locations and retrieved or destroyed when such professionals are no longer responsible for implementing a student’s IEP.

The Chairperson of the CSE, CSE subcommittee, or CPSE will designate for each student one or, as appropriate, more than one professional employee of the District with knowledge of the student’s disability and education program who will be responsible to, prior to the implementation of the IEP, inform each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider, other service provider, supplementary school personnel (i.e., a teaching assistant or a teacher aide as defined in Commissioner’s regulations), and other provider and support staff person of his or her responsibility to implement the recommendations on a student’s IEP, including the responsibility to provide specific accommodations, program modifications, supports and/or services for the student in accordance with the IEP. In selecting the professional staff person(s), the Chairperson could select himself or herself for this responsibility, another administrator, or a teacher, related service provider or other professional based on the particular circumstances of the student’s disability and education program.

The District will also ensure that each teaching assistant, teacher aide and each other provider responsible for assisting in the implementation of a student’s IEP has the opportunity to review a copy of the student’s IEP (including amendments) prior to the implementation of such program. Further, each teaching assistant, teacher aide and such other provider responsible for assisting in the implementation of a student’s IEP will have ongoing access to a copy of the IEP, which may be the copy provided to the student’s special education teacher or the teacher or related service provider under whose direction the supplementary school personnel or other provider works. However, the District may, at its discretion, provide a copy of the IEP to teaching assistants and/or teacher aides. 

A copy of a student’s IEP will be provided to the student’s parents at no cost to the student’s parents.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-446 Section 615(k)(l) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq. 21 United States Code (USC) Section 812(c)
Education Law Articles 81, 85 and 89 and Sections 3208 and 4402(7)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1(hh), 200.2(b)(11), 200.4(b)(4),  200.4(d)(3)(i), 200.4(e)(3), 200.4(f), 200.4(j), 200.16(e)(6) and 200.22 

TRANSITION SERVICES

Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student is age 15 (and at a younger age, if determined appropriate), and updated annually, the student’s IEP must include:

a) A statement of the student’s needs taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences and interests as they relate to transition from school to post-school activities;
b) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments relating to training, education, employment and, where appropriate, independent living skills;
c) A statement of transition service needs that focuses on the student’s courses of study, such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational educational program;
d) Needed activities to facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities, including 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 functional vocational evaluation; and
e) A statement of the responsibilities of the District and participating agencies, when applicable, for the provision of such services and activities, before the student leaves the school setting, that promote movement from school to post-school opportunities.

The District must invite a student with a disability to attend the student’s CSE meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the student and the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. If the student does not attend the CSE meeting, the district must take other steps to ensure that the child’s preference and interests are considered. To the extent appropriate, with the consent of the parent or a student who has reached the age of majority, the district must also invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services.

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability, designed within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate movement from school to post-school activities. Post-school activities include, but are not limited to, post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must be based on the student’s strengths, preferences and interests and will include needed activities in the following areas: 

a) Instruction;
b) Related services (the term “related services” does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of the device’s functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of, or the replacement of such device);
c) Community experiences;
d) The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
e) When appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-446 Section 614(a) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Sections 1400 et seq. 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 300.321, 300.343, 300.347 and 300.348
Education Law Section 4401
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1(qq), 200.1(fff), 2004.(d)(2)(ix), and  200.5(c)(2)(vii) 

EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR (JULY/AUGUST) SERVICES AND/OR PROGRAMS

The District will provide, directly or by contract, special services and/or programs during July and August (i.e., extended school year) to those students whose disabilities are severe enough to exhibit the need for a structured learning environment of 12 months duration in order to prevent substantial regression as determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). Written consent of the parent is required prior to initial provision of special education services in a 12 month special service and/or program.

The CSE/CPSE must determine whether a student requires extended school year special education services and/or programs in order to prevent substantial regression. Substantial regression would be indicated by a student’s inability to maintain developmental levels due to a loss of skill, set of skill competencies or knowledge during the months of July and August. In accordance with Commissioner’s regulations, students must be considered for 12 month special services and/or programs to prevent substantial regression if they are: 

a) Students whose management needs are determined to be highly intensive and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention and who are placed in special classes; or, 
Preschool students whose management needs are determined to be highly intensive and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention;
b) Students with severe multiple disabilities, whose programs consist primarily of habilitation and treatment and are placed in special classes; or
Preschool students with severe multiple disabilities, whose programs consist primarily of habilitation and treatment;  
c) Students who are recommended for home and/or hospital instruction whose special education needs are determined to be highly intensive and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention or who have severe multiple disabilities and require primarily habilitation and treatment; or
Preschool students whose special education needs are determined to be highly intensive and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention or who have severe multiple disabilities and require primarily habilitation and treatment in the home; or 
d) Students, including preschool students, whose needs are so severe that they can be met only in a seven day residential program; or
e) Students who are not in programs as described in subparagraphs (a) through (d) above during the period from September through June and who, because of their disabilities, exhibit the need for a 12 month special service and/or program provided in a structured learning environment of up to 12 months duration in order to prevent substantial regression as determined by the CSE; or
Preschool students who are not described in subparagraphs (a) through (d) above whose disabilities are severe enough to exhibit the need for a structured learning environment of 12 months duration to prevent substantial regression as determined by the Preschool Committee on Special Education (CPSE). 

For students eligible for 12 month service and/or program, per Commissioner’s regulations Section 200.4(d)(2)(x), the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) will indicate the identity of the provider of services during the months of July and August, and, for preschool students determined by the CPSE to require a structured learning environment of 12 months duration to prevent substantial regression, a statement of the reasons for such recommendation.

The IEP will indicate the projected date of the review of the student’s need for such services and will indicate the recommended placement.

The State Education Department (SED) is authorized to approve programs and to establish State Aid reimbursement rates for all special services and programs provided during July and August, both public and private. Therefore, if the District plans to operate a July/August program, the District must first apply to SED for approval in accordance with SED guidelines/procedures.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-446 Section 614(a) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq. Education Law Section 4408
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 110 and Sections 200.1(qq), 200.4(d)(2)(x),
200.5(b)(1)(iii), 200.6(j), and 200.16(i)(3)(v)

TRANSFER STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

To facilitate the transition of students with disabilities transferring into or out of the District the District will:

a) As the district of origin take reasonable steps to promptly respond to all requests from the new school district.
b) As the new school district take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records from the previous school, including the Individualized Education Program (IEP), supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education services.
c) Provide to a student with a disability (as defined in Section 200.1(zz) of Commissioner’s regulations) who transfers school districts within the same school year a free appropriate education including services comparable to those described in the student’s previous IEP.
1. For transfers within New York State, the previously held IEP will be followed in consultation with the parents until the District adopts the previously held IEP or develops, adopts and implements a new IEP consistent with federal and State law and regulation.
2. For transfers from outside New York State, in consultation with the parents the previously held IEP will be followed until the District conducts an evaluation and, if appropriate, develops a new IEP consistent with federal and State law and regulation.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 [Public Law 108-446 Section 614(a)] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq. 8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1(zz) and 200.4(e)(8) 

IDENTIFICATION AND REGISTER OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES (CHILD FIND)

The District of residence is required to locate and identify all students with disabilities who reside in the District, including students who do not attend public school (with the exception of students with disabilities who are parentally placed in nonpublic schools outside the district of residence). Therefore, it is the policy of the Board to conduct a census in order to have all children with disabilities within its jurisdiction under the age of 21 identified, located and evaluated, including children of preschool age, homeless children, children who are wards of the State as defined in Commissioner’s regulations and children in all public and private agencies and institutions.

Any student suspected of having a disability is to be referred to the applicable Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for evaluation and possible identification as a student with disability.

Census data will be reported by October 1 to the CSE/CPSE as appropriate. The CSE/CPSE will maintain and revise annually a register and related summary reports containing the data requirements indicated in Commissioner’s regulations.

Nonpublic School Students with Disabilities Who are Parentally Placed

If the District boundaries encompass a nonpublic school, the District, as the district of location, must develop and implement methods to identify, locate and ensure the identification and evaluation of students with disabilities who have been, or are going to be, parentally placed in such nonpublic school.
The child find activities must be similar to activities for students with disabilities in the public schools and must be completed in a time period comparable to that for other students attending public schools in the District.

As the public school district of location, the District must consult with the nonpublic schools where students are parentally placed to determine an accurate count of students with disabilities attending such schools and receiving special education services.

These requirements only pertain to students with disabilities parentally placed in elementary and secondary nonpublic schools, not to parental placements of preschool children with disabilities in private day care or preschool programs; or to CSE placements of students with disabilities in approved private schools, Special Act School Districts, State-supported or State-operated schools; or to Charter schools.  

Provision of Special Education Services for Child under Age Seven (7)

It is the responsibility of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) to provide special education services to a child with a disability under the age of seven who is eligible for school-age services, not subject to compulsory attendance requirements and not on a regular school attendance register. These are children with disabilities who are eligible for school-age special education services that are no longer eligible for preschool special education services, but are not parentally placed in a nonpublic elementary school and not being home schooled.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-446 Section 612 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 3240-3242, 3602-c(2)(a), 4401-a, 4402(1)(a), 4404, 4405 and 4410-6
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.2(a) and 200.4

PARENT INVOLVEMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

The Board recognizes the rights of the parent or guardian to be fully informed of all information relevant to the identification, or change in identification, evaluation and educational placement of a child with a disability.

All due process procedures for parents/guardians and children in the Commissioner’s regulations will be observed by the District.

Definition of Parent

Parent means a birth or adoptive parent, a legally appointed guardian generally authorized to act as the child’s parent or authorized to make educational decisions for the child, a person in parental relationship to the child as defined in Education Law Section 3212, an individual designated as a person in parental relation in accordance with General Obligations Law Title 15-A including an individual so designated who is acting in the place of a birth or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent or other relative with whom the child resides), or a surrogate parent who has been appointed in accordance with Section 200.5(n) of Commissioner’s regulations. The term does not include the State if the student is a ward of the State.

A foster parent may act as a parent unless State law, regulations or contractual obligations with a State or local entity prohibit the foster parent from acting as a parent.

Unless a judicial decree identifies a specific person(s) to act as the parent or make educational decisions for the student, if one or more parties is qualified to act as a parent, the birth or adoptive parent is presumed to be the parent unless they do not have the legal authority to do so.

Surrogate Parents

It is the duty of the District to determine whether a child needs a surrogate parent and to assign a surrogate parent in the manner permitted under New York State law. This determination will be completed within a reasonable time following the receipt of a referral for an initial evaluation or re-evaluation.

In the event that no parent or guardian for a child with a disability can be identified; or after reasonable efforts the whereabouts of the parent or guardian cannot be determined; or the student is an unaccompanied homeless youth; or the child with a disability is a ward of the State and does not have a “parent” as defined above; or the rights of the parent to make educational decisions have been subrogated by a judge in accordance with State law; the Board will assign an individual to act as a surrogate for the parents or guardians.

Alternatively, the surrogate parent may be appointed by a judge overseeing the child’s case. 

The person selected as a surrogate will have no interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents, and will have knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.

Prior Written Notice (Notice of Recommendation)

Prior written notice (notice of recommendation) must be given to parents of a student with a disability a reasonable time before the District proposes to, or refuses to, initiate or change the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the student. Prior written notice must also be provided informing the parents when no additional data is required to determine the student’s educational needs, the reasons for this determination and their right to request an assessment.
If the prior written notice relates to a proposed action that also requires parental consent, the District must give notice at the same time it requests parental consent. The prior written notice will contain all elements required by Commissioner’s regulations.

A parent may elect to receive prior written notice and other required notifications by electronic mail (email) communication if the District makes this option available.

Parent Participation in Meetings

The District must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education (CSPE) meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate in a mutually agreed upon time and place. The District must document its attempts to involve parents, such as: 

a) Detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of these calls;
b) Copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received; and
c) Detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

A meeting may be conducted without a parent in attendance if the District is unable to convince the parents that they should attend.

Additionally, the District must take whatever action is necessary to ensure the parent understands the proceedings of this meeting including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or whose native language is other than English.

Parental Consent

In accordance with due process, a parent (as defined in Commissioner’s regulations Section 200.1(l)) of a special education student or a student suspected of having a disability must provide informed consent before the District can take certain actions. The District will make reasonable efforts to obtain written informed consent and will maintain a detailed record of its attempts and the results of the attempts.

In New York State, a noncustodial parent does not have the right to control educational decisions for his or her child. However, a noncustodial parent is afforded this right if, and only if, this right is expressly included in a custody order.

Additionally, absent supporting language in a custody order, a non-custodial parent lacks standing under IDEA to bring a claim to assert control over his or her child’s educational program. Until recent revisions to New York law, consent for an initial evaluation, reevaluation, or the provision of special education services needed to be provided by a parent (i.e., the custodial or noncustodial parent). As it now stands, the decision to provide consent for a CSE- or CPSE-related activity is considered an education-related decision designated exclusively to custodial parents unless a court order specifically states the contrary.

Consent for Evaluations

The parent or guardian must provide informed consent to the initial evaluation, or reevaluations in accordance with law and/or regulations. If a parent does not provide consent for an initial evaluation, the District may pursue the evaluation by commencing a due process hearing to override the refusal to provide consent.

Parental consent for a reevaluation is not needed if the District can demonstrate that it has taken reasonable measures to obtain consent, but the parents or guardians have failed to respond.

Consent for the Initial Provision of Services

Parental consent is also required for the initial provision of special education services. Consent for an initial evaluation does not constitute consent for the initial provision of services. If a parent does not provide consent for the initial provision of services, the District will not provide the special education program and services to the student and will not use the due process procedures to challenge the parent’s refusal to consent. The District will not be considered to be in violation of the requirements to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE), will not be required to convene a meeting of the committee on special education or develop an individualized education program (IEP).

Consent for Other Actions

Prior written consent must also be provided:

a) Prior to releasing any personally identifiable information; and
b) Prior to each time the District proposes to access a parent’s private or public insurance. A Medicaid application does not meet the IDEA parent consent requirements. The District must obtain an annual parental consent to request Medicaid reimbursement.

Consent for an Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Consent may be provided by a surrogate parent. However, until a surrogate parent is appointed, consent may be provided on a temporary basis by an employee of a temporary housing facility operated or approved by a local social services district or a residential facility for runaway and homeless youth.

Consent for a Ward of the State

A ward of the State means a child or youth under the age of 21:

a) Who has been placed or remanded in accordance with Social Services Law or the Family Court Act or freed for adoption in accordance with Social Services Law; or
b) Who is in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services or the Office of Children and Family Services; or
c) Who is a destitute child under Social Services Law.

a) Who has been placed or remanded in accordance with Social Services Law or the Family Court Act or freed for adoption in accordance with Social Services Law; or
b) Who is in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services or the Office of Children and Family Services; or
c) Who is a destitute child under Social Services Law.

The District is not required to obtain informed consent if:

a) Despite reasonable efforts to do so, the District cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent of the student, including consulting with the agency responsible for the care of the student; or
b) The rights of the parents of the student have been terminated in accordance with State law; or 
c) The rights of the parent to make educational decisions have been subrogated by a judge in accordance with State law and consent for an initial evaluation has been given by an individual appointed by the judge to represent the student

Consent for a Student Who is Home Instructed or Parentally Placed in a Private School at the Parent’s Expense

If a parent of a student who is home instructed or placed in a private school by their parents at their own expense does not provide consent for an initial evaluation or reevaluation, or the parent fails to respond to a request to provide consent, the District may not continue to pursue those evaluations by using the due process procedures and the District is not required to consider the student as eligible for special education services.

Parental Revocation of Consent

Parental revocation of consent for continued provision of special education and related services must be in writing. When the parent revokes such consent, the District still must provide the parent with the usual written notice of its intentions with respect to the child.

If the parent of a student with a disability revokes his or her consent in writing for the continued provision of special education and related services to the student at any time subsequent to the initial provision of special education and related services, the District:

a) Will not continue to provide special education and related services to the student, but must provide prior written notice to the parent before ceasing the provisions of special education and related services;
b) Will not use due process procedures (i.e., mediation, resolution meeting, and/or impartial due process hearing) in order to obtain agreement or a ruling that the services may be provided to the student without parental consent;
c) Will not be considered to be in violation of the requirement to make a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) available to the student because of the failure to provide the student with further special education and related services following revocation of consent; and
d) Is not required to convene a meeting of the Committee on Special Education or develop an IEP for the student for further provision of special education programs and related services upon receipt of written revocation of consent; and
e) Is not required to amend the student’s education records to remove any references to the student’s receipt of special education programs and services because of the revocation of consent.

Procedural Safeguards Notice

The District will provide the procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner of Education to the parents of a student with a disability at least one time per year and also:

a) Upon initial referral or parental request for evaluation;
b) Upon the first filing of a due process complaint notice to request mediation or an impartial due process hearing;
c) Upon request by a parent;
d) Upon a decision to impose a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement; and
e) Upon first receipt of a State complaint.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-446) Section 614(a) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq. 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 3212, 4005, 4202, 4401 and 4402
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1, 200.4(b)(6), and 200.5

IMPARTIAL DUE PROCESS HEARINGS/SELECTION OF IMPARTIAL HEARING OFFICERS

The parent or person in parental relation of a student with a disability may file a written request with the Board for an impartial due process hearing with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, provision of a free appropriate public education, manifestation determination or other matter relating to discipline. The Board may also initiate such hearing.

The District is committed to making every effort to amicably resolve differences involving the educational programs for students with disabilities. Mediation will be available to resolve disputes involving any matter, including matters arising prior to the filing of a request for an impartial due process hearing. In addition, the District may establish procedures providing the opportunity to meet with a disinterested party from a community dispute resolution center for an explanation of the benefits of the mediation process.

For those exceptional circumstances where a more formal method is required, the impartial hearing process will be utilized. The Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) renders a written decision after the parties present and refute evidence before him or her. The decision of the IHO is final and binding on both parties unless appealed to the State Review Officer (SRO).

Impartial Due Process Hearing Process

The request for an impartial due process hearing must be submitted within two years of the date the parent or the District knew or should have known about the alleged action forming the basis of the complaint. However, the two year timeline does not apply if the parent was prevented from requesting the hearing due to specific misrepresentations by the District that it had resolved the problem or the District’s withholding of information from the parent that is required by Commissioner’s regulations.

The following is an overview of the impartial due process hearing process/prehearing conference:

Due Process Complaint Notification

a) The parent or the District may request an impartial due process hearing by first submitting a due process complaint notice.

A hearing may not be held until a due process complaint notice is filed. Either the parent, the District, or the attorney representing either party may present a complaint with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to such student.  

This written due process complaint notice must include: 

1. The name of the student;
2. The address of the student’s residence or, in the case of a homeless student, available contact information;
3. The name of the school the child is attending;
4. A description of the nature of the problem of the student relating to the proposed or refused initiation or change, including facts relating to the problem; and
5. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time.

b) The due process complaint notice will be deemed sufficient unless the party receiving the notice notifies the other party and the IHO in writing within 15 days of receiving the notice that they believe the notice requirements have not been met.
c) Within five days of the receipt of the notice of insufficiency, the IHO will make a determination on the face of the notice of whether the notification meets the notice requirements and will immediately notify the parties in writing of the determination.
d) If the District has not sent a prior written notice (notice of recommendation) to the parent regarding the subject matter of the complaint notice, the District will send a response to the parent within ten days of receiving the complaint which includes:
1. An explanation of why the District proposed or refused to take the action raised in the complaint;
2. A description of other options the Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) considered and why those options were rejected;
3. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the District used as a basis for the proposed or refused action; and
4. A description of the factors relevant to the District’s proposal or refusal.
e) Upon receipt or filing of the due process complaint notice, the District will provide the procedural safeguards notice to the parents. The District will also inform parents in writing of the availability of mediation and of any free or low-cost legal and other relevant services available in the area.
f) Within ten days of receiving the complaint notice, the non-complaining party must send a response specifically addressing the issues raised in the notice.
g) A party may amend its due process complaint notice only if:
1. The other party consents in writing and is given the opportunity to resolve the complaint through a resolution process;
2. The IHO grants permission, but not later than five days before the impartial due process hearing commences.

Applicable timelines for the impartial due process hearing will recommence at the time of the filing of the amended notice.

h) No issues may be raised at the impartial due process hearing that were not raised in the due process complaint notice.

Resolution Process

a) Within 15 days of receiving the due process complaint notice from the parent and prior to the due process hearing itself, the District will convene a meeting with the parents and relevant members of the CSE/CPSE, as determined by the District and the parent, who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the complaint. A representative of the District who has decision-making authority must attend. The attorney for the District may not attend unless the parent is accompanied by an attorney. At this resolution meeting, the District has the opportunity to resolve the complaint after the parents discuss their complaint and the facts forming its basis.

The District will take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of the student with a disability are present at the resolution meeting, including notifying parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have the opportunity to attend and scheduling the resolution meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place and in a location that is physically accessible to the parents.
b) When conducting meetings and carrying out administrative matters (such as scheduling), the parent and District may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation such as video conferences or conference calls. 
c) The parent and District may agree in writing to waive the resolution process or agree to use the mediation process to resolve the dispute.
d) If a settlement is reached, the parties will execute a legally binding agreement signed by the parent and the representative of the District who has authority to bind the District. This agreement is enforceable in court. However, either party may void the agreement within three business days of the agreement’s execution.
e) If the District has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parents within 30 days of receipt of the complaint notice, the impartial hearing process may begin.
f) Except where the parties have jointly agreed to waive the resolution process or use mediation, the failure of a parent filing a due process complaint to participate in the resolution meeting will delay the timeline for the resolution process and due process hearing until the meeting is held:
1. If the District is unable to obtain the participation of the parent in the resolution meeting after reasonable efforts have been made (and documented), the District may, at the conclusion of the 30-day period, request that an IHO dismiss the parents’ due process complaint.
2. If the District fails to hold the resolution meeting within 15 days of receipt of the parent’s due process complaint or fails to participate in the resolution meeting, the parent may seek the intervention of the IHO to begin the due process hearing timeline. 

Pre-Hearing Conference

A pre-hearing conference (which may take place via telephone) may be scheduled by the IHO to simplify or clarify issues; establish dates for the completion of the hearing; identify evidence to be entered into the record; identify witnesses expected to provide testimony; and/or address other administrative issues. A transcript or written summary will be entered into record by the IHO.

Impartial Due Process Hearing

In the event the complaint is not resolved in a resolution process, the Board will arrange for an impartial due process hearing to be conducted. When carrying out administrative matters relating to an impartial due process hearing, such as scheduling, exchange of witness lists and status conferences, the parent and District may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation such as video conferences or conference calls.

a) The District must immediately (but not later than two business days after receipt of the due process complaint notice or mailing of the due process complaint notice to the parent) initiate the process to select an IHO. The District selects the IHO through a rotational selection process in accordance with regulatory timelines. The Superintendent’s Secretary/District Clerk will be responsible for contacting IHOs and maintaining appropriate records.
b) The IHO must be certified by the Commissioner of Education, be independent and have access to the support and equipment necessary to perform the duties of an IHO. When the selected IHO indicates availability, the Board must immediately appoint him or her. To expedite this process, the Board may designate one or more of its members to appoint the IHO on behalf of the Board.
c) The IHO may not accept appointment unless he or she is available to make a determination of sufficiency of a due process complaint notice within five days of receiving such a request and (unless an extension is granted) to initiate the hearing in a timely fashion.
1. When the District files the due process complaint notice, the hearing or pre-hearing conference must commence within the first 14 days after the date the IHO is appointed;
2. When a parent files the due process complaint notice, the hearing or pre-hearing conference must commence within the first 14 days after whichever of the following occurs first:
(a) The date the IHO receives the parties’ written waiver of the resolution meeting; or
(b) The IHO receives the parties’ written confirmation that a mediation or resolution meeting was held but no agreement could be reached; or
(c) The expiration of the 30-day resolution period unless the parties agree in writing to continue mediation at the end of the 30-day resolution period. In such case, the hearing or pre-hearing conference will commence within the first 14 days after the IHO is notified in writing that either party withdrew from mediation.
d) The hearing, or a prehearing conference, will commence within the timeframe specified in c) above, unless an extension is granted in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations. The parties to the proceeding may be accompanied and advised by legal counsel and by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of students with disabilities. Notably, if a parent prevails at an impartial due process hearing, he or she is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees, but not fees for his or her non-attorney advocate. Such fees are considered “expert fees” and are not recoverable under the current IDEA.
e) Each party must disclose to all parties all evaluations completed by that date and recommendations based on the offering party’s evaluation that they intend to use at the hearing not less than five days prior to the hearing. The IHO may bar any party that fails to comply with this requirement from introducing the relevant evaluation or recommendation at the hearing without the consent of the other party.
f) In New York State, a party to an impartial due process hearing may be “represented” by a non-attorney. Commissioner’s regulation directs that parents, school authorities, and their respective counsel or “representative” will have an opportunity to present evidence, compel the attendance of witnesses and to confront and question all witnesses at the hearing. Each party will have the right to prohibit the introduction of any evidence, the substance of which has not been disclosed to all parties at least five business days prior to the due process hearing.
g) The hearing will be conducted at a time and location that is reasonable and convenient to the parent and the student involved. The hearing will be closed to the public unless the parent requests an open hearing.
h) The role and responsibilities of the IHO will be as enumerated in Commissioner’s regulations. At all stages of the proceeding, the IHO may assist an unrepresented party by providing information relating only to the hearing process. However, nothing will impair or limit the authority of the IHO to ask questions of counsel or witnesses for the purpose of clarification or completeness of the record.
i) The student will remain in his or her current placement during the pendency of the impartial due process hearing unless both parties agree or except as otherwise provided for expedited impartial due process hearings for certain disciplinary suspensions or removals of a student. For a preschool child not currently receiving special education services and programs, he or she may, during any impartial due process hearings or appeals, receive special education services and programs if the parent or person in parental relation and the District agree. However, during the pendency of an appeal for a preschool child who is transitioning from an Early Intervention (EI) program and is no longer eligible for the EI program due to age, the District is not required to provide the services the child had been receiving under EI. If found eligible for special education as a preschool student with a disability, and if the parent consents to the initial provision of services, the District will provide those programs and services that are not in dispute.
j) The IHO renders and forwards the finding of fact and decision to the parties and to the State Education Department in accordance with regulatory timelines but not later than 45 days from the date required for commencement of the impartial due process hearing specified in c) above. For expedited hearings the deadline is within ten school days after the hearing; for preschool hearings the timeframe is 30 days after the receipt by the Board of a request for a hearing or after the initiation of such hearing by the Board.
k) The decision of the IHO is final and binding on both parties unless appealed to the State Review Officer (SRO).

Burden of Proof

In accordance with New York State law, the burden of proof and persuasion in an impartial due process hearing dispute relative to a student’s special education placement rests upon the school district. However, a parent or person in parental relation seeking tuition reimbursement for a unilateral parental placement will have the burden of persuasion as to the appropriateness of the placement.

Recordkeeping and Reporting

The District will utilize the New York State Education Department’s Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS) to access the alphabetical list of the names of each IHO who is certified in New York State and available to serve in the District. The District will record and report to the State Education Department required information relating to the selection of IHOs and the conduct of impartial due process hearings according to the manner and schedule specified by the Department. The Superintendent will designate a staff member(s) who will be responsible for reporting such information as required relating to the impartial hearing process into the State Education Department’s web-based reporting system.

Compensation of Impartial Hearing Officers

The District will be responsible for compensating the IHO for prehearing, hearing and post-hearing activities at the rate agreed upon at the time of the IHO’s appointment. The rate of compensation may not exceed the maximum rate approved by the Director of the Division of the Budget. The District will also reimburse the IHO for travel and other hearing-related expenses (e.g., duplication and telephone costs) in accordance with an annually determined schedule. On an annual basis, the District will forward a copy of its compensation rates to each IHO on the District’s rotational list.

At the completion of the impartial due process hearing, the IHO will submit an itemized bill of hourly charges and expenses, which will be promptly paid by the District.

Mediation

The District will inform the parent in writing of the availability of mediation and any free or low-cost legal and other relevant services available in the area at the request of the parent or when an impartial due process hearing is requested. 

Mediation is voluntary and does not deny or delay a parent’s right to an impartial due process hearing. If mediation is initiated after a request for an impartial due process hearing has been received, the impartial due process hearing must continue unless the request for the impartial due process hearing is withdrawn. However, a party may request an extension to an impartial due process hearing in order to pursue mediation.

Guardians ad Litem at Impartial Due Process Hearings

Unless a surrogate parent has been previously appointed, the IHO must appoint a guardian ad litem when he or she determines that the interests of the parent(s) are opposed to or are inconsistent with those of the student or whenever the interests of the student would be best protected by such appointment.

Confidentiality

All issues relating to a request for and conduct of an impartial due process hearing must be kept confidential by all District staff.

Administrative Procedures

Administrative procedures will be developed for the selection and appointment of an IHO consistent with regulatory requirements.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 4005, 4202, 4404(1) and 4410(7)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1, 200.2, 200.5, 200.16, 200.21 and 201.11

INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL EVALUATIONS

Parents of children with disabilities have the right under Federal and State regulations to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense under certain conditions. Regulatory standards are outlined in New York State Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Part 200.5(g). Additionally, the Federal Regulations (34 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 300.502) specify requirements for an independent evaluation.

A parent is entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the District conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

Administrative regulations on independent evaluations will be developed in order to explain the rights of parents and the responsibilities of school districts with regard to independent evaluations, and also to avoid any misunderstandings.

34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 300.12 and 300.502
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1(z) and 200.5(g)

SPECIAL EDUCATION MEDIATION

The District will offer mediation to resolve any disputes involving any matter for which an impartial due process hearing may be brought, including matters arising prior to the filing of a due process complaint notice.

Such mediation will be conducted by mediators furnished by a Community Dispute Resolution Center who are not employees of any school district or State agency that is involved in the education or care of the student who is the subject of the mediation process. Mediators may not have a personal or professional interest which would conflict with their objectivity in the mediation process and should be knowledgeable in laws and regulations relating to the provision of special education services.

Parents or persons in parental relation to students suspected of or having disabilities will receive written notice of the availability of the mediation program each time they receive notice of their entitlement to the impartial due process hearing procedures in accordance with Federal and State law and regulations. If the parent and District agree, alternative means of meeting participation may be utilized, such as video conferences and conference calls.

Discussions during the mediation process must be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceedings.

If resolution to the complaint is reached through mediation, the parent and the representative of the District who has the authority to bind the District will execute a legally binding written agreement specifying the resolution and stating that all discussions occurring during the mediation process are confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding of any Federal or State court. If the written agreement is inconsistent with the student’s current individualized education programs (IEP), the IEP must be immediately amended to reflect the mediation agreement.

The mediation process is voluntary and will not operate to diminish or limit any rights provided for in law, including the right of the parent or person in parental relation to request an impartial due process hearing subsequent to mediation.

Parents or persons in parental relation to students suspected of or having disabilities continue to have full access to all rights, including due process procedures, provided for in federal and state laws and regulations. Similarly, mediation will not be construed to limit a parent or person in parental relation from requesting an impartial due process hearing without having first utilized mediation procedures set forth in Education Law.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-446) Section 614(a) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1400 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 300
Education Law Sections 4005, 4202 and 4404-a
Judiciary Law Section 849a
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 200.1 and 200.5

Pine Bush Central School District
State Route 302, Pine Bush, NY 12566
Phone: (845) 744-2031
Fax: (845) 744-6189
Tim O. Mains
Superintendent of Schools
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