Special Education and Related Services
Special Education and Related Services
Heidi McCarthy, Ed.D.
Director of Special Education and Related Services
Inclusive Education and District Programs
An Inclusive Framework for Education
The Chappaqua School District is committed to providing equitable opportunities for students with disabilities to receive effective educational services, with the needed supplementary aids and support services, in age-appropriate general education classrooms in their neighborhood schools. To the greatest extent possible, students with disabilities are educated in chronologically age-appropriate general education classes in their home schools and provided with the specialized instruction they require. Within our inclusive model, instruction is developed and provided in a manner that ensures all students have access to the same curriculum within a learning experience appropriate for them.
Inclusive education significantly contributes to the educational experience of all children in many ways. Special educators, educational specialists, and other support personnel recommended for the education of integrated students with disabilities enrich classrooms by working with all students. The instructional teams in schools are expanded by the participation of multidisciplinary personnel made available by special education and enable new teaching and learning experiences in classrooms for all students. Inclusive education enriches the diversity in classroom learning communities providing all students expanded opportunities for better understanding the world, those around them, and themselves.
Over the many years the school district has developed and implemented inclusive practices, academic outcomes for students with disabilities have become stronger. During the same period of time, the overall achievement of students throughout the district has consistently been excellent.
Special Education Programs
The Chappaqua Central School District is committed to prepare all students for productive lives as full members of society. Therefore, we believe it is our obligation to provide equitable opportunities for students with disabilities to receive effective educational services, with the needed supplementary aids and support services, in age appropriate general education classrooms in their neighborhood schools. To that end, to the greatest extent possible, the District will support students with disabilities in chronologically age-appropriate general education classes in their home schools and provide the specialized instruction delineated by their IEPs within the context of the core curriculum and general class activities. In order to accommodate the needs of all children with disabilities, the school district will have a continuum of programs and placements available, within and outside of the school district, extending from the general education classroom to residential settings.
Special Education Programs and Services are available to students with disabilities through the end of the school year during which their 21st birthday occurs, or until a regular high school diploma has been attained, whichever occurs first.
The following is a description of each of the special education program options:
- Consultant Teachers
- Intensive Services Model (K-2)
- Skills Seminar
- Resource Room/Learning Center
- Transition Support Program (9-12)
- Pathways (HS)
Consultant Teacher Services allow students with disabilities to participate in a full-time general education program and receive services from a special education teacher for a designated period of time on identified days. Consultant Teacher Service may be direct, indirect, or a combination of both. Direct Consultant Teacher Services are specially designed individualized or group instruction provided by a special education teacher to students with disabilities in general education classes.
The instruction is designed to enable the student to better access and benefit from the general education program. Indirect Consultant Teacher Services provides consulting services to general education teachers to help them adjust the learning environment or modify instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities in their classes. Students with disabilities recommended for Consultant Teacher Services receive direct and/or indirect services for a minimum of 2 hours per week. This may also be combined with special education instruction outside the classroom in resource room type programs, such as Skills Seminar or Learning Center.
Integrated Co-teaching means the provision of specially designed instruction and academic instruction in a general education class to a group of students with disabilities and non-disabled students by a special education teacher and a general education teacher. The vision for integrated co-teaching services is a general education teacher and a special education teacher jointly providing instruction to a class to meet the diverse learning needs of all students in the class. The maximum number of students with disabilities receiving integrated co-teaching services shall not exceed 12 students.
The Intensive Services Model is available to children throughout the school district (Kindergarten thru grade 2) with significant developmental disabilities who require highly specialized instruction and therapies outside the general education classroom for some portion of each day. Each day, intensive instruction and related services are provided for early language development and communication; social relationships with other children and play; adaptive behavior in areas such as self-care, dressing and feeding; cognitive development; behavioral regulation; and physical development.
When necessary, home-based services are recommended as a component of the model, and carefully coordinated with school-based instruction. Regular team meetings with parents are on-going throughout the year. Each participating student is a member of a general education class and receives support to participate in classroom activities. Instruction, related service, and integration into general education activities are individually planned for each student by the Committee on Special Education. A special education teacher, teaching assistants, related service professionals (ex. speech/language, occupational, & physical therapists), and collaborating general education teachers work together as a team to provide the Intensive Services Model.
Resource room services are supplemental in nature and are designed to remediate academic skill deficits and to develop the study skills and organizational skills to effectively manage the general education curriculum. The goal of the resource room program is to promote independence and self-advocacy skills.
Ongoing consultation with general education classroom teachers is an integral part of this service. The instructional group in each resource room period does not exceed five students, who are grouped according to similarity of need. Each resource room period is instructed by a special education teacher. Students receive at minimum of three hours per week of resource room services unless combined with consultant teacher services for a total of at least 180 minutes per week. Resource room services are available at the high school level.
The Transitional Support Program (TSP) is a flexible program providing students with and without disabilities who are experiencing different levels of emotional distress regularly scheduled academic and therapeutic support. Educational supports include: direct instruction of coursework, study skills, organizational help, and assistance related to learning difficulties. Therapeutic supports include: individual, small group, and family counseling. Intensive case management services for students are available and include: teacher consultation, in class interventions, monitoring of student attendance, academic updates to students and families, individualized daily plans, consultation with private therapists, psychiatric consultation, and family meetings. Families become a component of the support plan designed for each student. The program's flexibility responds to a student's need, and can range from multiple contacts daily, course instruction for one or more classes, to a student initiated "check-in."
Crisis management services are available for students who cannot continue their school day because of emotional reasons, and include: assessment, de-escalation, development and implementation of coping strategies, follow-up to family and school personal, and progress monitoring. TSP faculty includes a psychologist, special education teachers, and teaching assistants. They provide consultation and support to classroom teachers who are working with students with significant social/emotional needs.
TSP may be an appropriate consideration when students: return from hospitalization, residential treatment or other outside placements and need additional support; have experienced a decline in academic and/or behavior functioning; or have experienced significant social, family, or academic stress.
The TSP program is intended to help students transition to healthy, independent, and successful participation in general education classes as quickly as possible. It is not a long-term, self-contained special education placement.
The Pathways Program is an inclusive educational program for students whose unique needs require more than supported participation in the general education curriculum and program. The Pathways Program provides students specialized opportunities to engage in individually designed programs in their own community school, Horace Greeley High School.
A process of person-centered planning considers the student's strengths and affinities as well as his/her special needs to create a plan for an independent, productive life in the community. Experiential units are designed to foster the academic, vocational, social, and behavioral skills and personal self-awareness that will prepare students to reach their potential for living productive lives in the community. Students enrolled in the Pathways Program engage in New York State Alternate Assessments and are working toward achieving the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.
The Chappaqua Central School is committed to placing student with disabilities in the least restrictive environment consistent with their needs. Generally, continued placement in a general education setting is the first consideration of the CSE when planning for the educational needs of a student with a disability.
The CSE considers removal from a general education setting in the district only when, because of the nature and severity of a student’s disability, the education of the student cannot be satisfactorily achieved, even with the provision of supplementary aids and service.
In a small number of cases, the CSE will recommend placement in another public school district, a BOCES program, or an approved private school program.
Related services are those developmental, corrective and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability and include speech-language pathology, audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling services (including rehabilitation counseling services), orientation and mobility services, medical services as defined by regulation, parent counseling and training, school health services, school social work, assistive technology services, appropriate access to recreation, including therapeutic recreation, other appropriate developmental or corrective support services, and other appropriate support services and include the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in students. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
Related services currently provided in district may include but are not limited to the following: counseling services, assistive technology services, speech and language therapy, reading, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision services, hearing services, and parent counseling and training. The Committee on Special Education recommends any related service that is appropriate to a student’s individual needs.
- Speech / Language Therapy
- School Counseling
- Occupational / Physical Therapy
- Reading As A Related Service
- Hearing / Visually Impaired
The goal of speech and language therapy is the early identification of communication disorders and the remediation of articulation and phonological deficits, stuttering, voice disorders, and receptive and expressive language problems, which adversely affect a student’s educational performance. Services are provided either individually or in small groups at a frequency rate and location established by the Committee on Special Education.
Douglas G. Grafflin Elementary School
Alison McCarville, Speech-Language Pathologist
Roaring Brook Elementary School
Anne Decora, Speech-Language Pathologist
Westorchard Elementary School
Kristen Mongiello, Speech-Language Pathologist
Robert E. Bell Middle School
Gail Fuld, Speech-Language Pathologist
Seven Bridges Middle School
Colleen Kopurakos, Speech-Language Pathologist
Gerard Shine, Speech-Language Pathologist
Horace Greeley High School
Mary Ellen Kelly, Speech-Language Pathologist
Gerard Shine, Speech-Language Pathologist
The school psychologist or social worker is responsible for the provision of IEP mandated counseling for individual students and parent training, as prescribed by the Committee on Special Education. These services are provided to those students whose psychosocial needs interfere with their ability to benefit from education. The focus of school-based counseling must be on the school-related difficulties of the student with a disability and is designed to assist the student in overcoming the social or emotional difficulties that interfere with the educational process.
Occupational therapy as a related service focuses on the functional evaluation of the student and the planning and use of a program of purposeful activities to develop or maintain adaptive skills, designed to achieve maximal physical and mental functioning of the student in his or her daily life tasks. The occupational therapist assesses skill levels and, upon receipt of an appropriate prescription, provides remediation in the areas of deficit such as postural control, motor planning, visual perceptual skills, hand skill development and sensory processing. The therapist may also provide alternative materials and environmental modifications to facilitate independence and generalization of those skills. Occupational therapy may be provided individually, in a small group or as a consult to the classroom teacher, based on the recommendations of the Committee on Special Education.
Physical therapy as a related service is, upon prescription, directed towards developing and maintaining the student’s physical potential for independence in all educationally related activities. A major focus of physical therapy is to develop the student’s ability to safely negotiate the school environment.
Reading as a Related Service is specially designed individualized or group instruction provided to meet the student’s needs in the area of reading as recommended in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The service may be provided in the classroom or in another educational setting structured to meet the individual needs of the student(s).
- Overview & Process For Referrals
- Special Education District Plan
- Special Education Contact Information
- Key Federal Laws / NYS Publications
- Parent Presentations / Videos
Overview and Processes for Referral to Committee on Preschool Special Education, the Committee on Special Education and Section 504 Committee
All children have a right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Federal and state laws including Special Education Law (IDEA) and Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) guarantee this right. If you suspect your child has a disability that requires accommodations or services, please contact the Principal of your School or the Director of Special Education and Related Services.
OVERVIEW of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
In 1975, Public Law 94-142, The Education for all Handicapped Children Act, was signed into law to insure that the educational rights of children with special needs were protected. In 1990, this act was amended and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. In 1997 and 2004, the IDEA was reauthorized to further strengthen the roles of parents, students and educators in the education process. IDEA has the following major components and principles of special education:
- Free appropriate public education (FAPE): This is the landmark principle of IDEA, requiring a child's education to be designed to meet his or her needs.
- Least restrictive environment (LRE): To the greatest extent possible, children with disabilities are required to be educated with their peers without disabilities.
- IEP (Individualized Education Program): This component ensures that students with disabilities receive an appropriate and individualized program, documented through the IEP, to meet his/her unique needs.
- Appropriate evaluation: Fair testing of children is required in all areas of suspected disability, with tests that are administered and scored in an unbiased way.
- Procedural due process: Parents must be given the opportunity to consent or object to their children's education, referral, assessment, program, or placement and a process within which to do so.
- Parent participation: Parents may participate as full partners and have full knowledge of their child's education program.
REFERRAL INFORMATION for PARENTS and GUARDIANS
COMMITTEE ON PRESCHOOL EDUCATION (CPSE)
The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) is a multi-disciplinary committee who serves to determine if a preschool-aged child between the ages of 3 through 5 is eligible for special education services. If you have concerns about your preschool child’s speech, language, learning, physical, or behavioral development, you may refer him or her to the CPSE for an evaluation by calling (914) 238-7207 x 1109. The Special Education Office will then mail a referral packet to you. You can also access the packet HERE. The referral packet will include a referral form, preschool form, medical form, prescription form, Procedural Safeguards notice, list of approved evaluation sites, timeline and Parent Guide to Special Education.
Before or upon receiving the referral packet, you must register your child with the school district. For information about registration, please call (914) 238-7200 X 1007. Upon return of the referral form, the preschool form and the medical form to the Special Education Office, a "Consent for Initial Evaluation" form will be sent to you. Once the signed consent is returned to the Special Education Office, the office will contact the evaluation agency you selected (on the referral form). The agency will then contact you to make appointments for a multi-disciplinary evaluation. This evaluation is of no cost to parents. The referral form and consent form should be mailed to:
Office of Special Education and Related Services
Chappaqua Central School District
PO Box 21
Chappaqua, NY 10514
The multi-disciplinary evaluation consists of the following components: a social history (including health history and a physical examination), a psychological evaluation, an observation and other appropriate assessments/evaluations to determine your child’s skills and abilities. Areas to be evaluated include cognition, language and communication, adaptive behavior, social-emotional, and motor development. Upon completion of the evaluations, the CPSE will hold a meeting to review the results of the evaluations and determine if your child is eligible for special education services. A copy of the evaluation report, including a summary of the evaluation, will be provided to you and to other CPSE members.
Committee on Preschool Special Education membership:
The Committee is comprised of the following members: the parents of the preschool child, a district representative authorized by the Board of Education, a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, and the school psychologist. Other participants may include staff who evaluated the student, service providers and anyone you or the district chooses to invite who has special knowledge or expertise regarding the student. Parents may request a parent member, (a parent of a student who is or was previously classified). A parent member must be requested at least 72 hours prior to the CSE meeting. For a child in transition from early intervention programs and services, the appropriately licensed or certified professional from the Department of Health's Early Intervention Program will also attend.
If the CPSE determines that, your child has a significant delay in one or more functional areas that adversely affects learning (cognition, language/communication, adaptive behavior, social-emotional and/or motor development), he or she may be classified as a “preschool child with a disability.” If a child is found eligible, the CPSE will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a written statement that provides information about the child’s strengths and needs, present levels of educational performance, measurable goals and short-term objectives and special education program and/or services. The IEP is reviewed at least annually. During an Annual Review meeting, your child’s progress is discussed and continued need for services for the upcoming year is determined.
COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION (CSE)
The Committee on Special Education (CSE) is a multi-disciplinary committee who serves to determine if a child between the ages of 5 to 21 is eligible for special education services. Referrals to the Committee on Special Education may be made by district staff or parents. If you suspect that your child may have a disability that requires specialized instruction, you are encouraged to bring your concerns to your school Principal or Assistant Principal (Elementary School) or School Counselor (Middle School and High School). During the meeting, they will listen to your concerns and provide information to you regarding ways to support your child within the school environment. If, after that discussion, you wish for your child to be evaluated through the Committee on Special Education, you will be provided with a referral packet. You can also find the referral packet HERE. The referral packet will include a referral form, medical form, Procedural Safeguards notice and Parent Guide to Special Education.
Once completed, your child’s school will send the completed referral form to the Special Education office. Upon its receipt, the office will send you a "Consent for Initial Evaluation" form. In order to begin the process, a parent must sign and return the consent form to the Office of Special Education Services. The District then has 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation process and hold a Committee on Special Education meeting to determine eligibility.
Committee on Special Education membership:
The committee is comprised of the following members: the parents of the child, a district representative authorized by the Board of Education, a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, and the school psychologist. Other participants may include district staff who evaluated the student, service providers and anyone the parent or district chooses to invite who has special knowledge or expertise regarding the student. Parents may request a parent member, (a parent of a student who is or was previously classified). A parent member must be requested at least 72 hours prior to the CSE meeting. The child may be invited and attend when appropriate.
After reviewing all the information gathered, including, but not limited to evaluations completed, parent observations and teacher reports and input, the CSE will determine whether your child meets the eligibility criteria as a student with an educational disability and whether the disability has an adverse effect on his/her educational performance requiring specialized instruction and/ or related services. If the CSE determines that a student has a disability as defined in law and is in need of specialized instruction, it will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and recommend services to meet the student’s needs. The IEP is reviewed at least annually. During an Annual Review meeting, your child’s progress is discussed and continued need for services for the upcoming year is determined.
At any point in time during the process, you have the right to withdraw consent and the referral process may not proceed. If the student is classified, written consent to provide services is required from the parent. Once a child receives services under an IEP, a parent may revoke consent for special education in writing to the Director of Special Education and Related Services.
Overview of Rehabilitation Act (Section 504)
"Section 504" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and to the amendments to the Act since 1973. Section 504 states that no individual with a disability shall be: "excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." In a public school environment, Section 504 protects qualified individuals with disabilities from exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits from, or be subjected to discrimination in, district programs and/or activities.
To be eligible for protection under Subpart A of Section 504, an individual must meet the definition applying to any person with a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more life activities. Major life activities include but are not limited to; walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, communicating, breathing, endocrine system functioning, digestive functions, learning, reading, and concentration.
For students with disabilities, the most important regulations for Section 504 concern access and reasonable accommodations. Students who may require a Section 504 Plan may have chronic conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and who do not require specialized instruction as provided under the IDEA.
This law does not require a written Individualized Education Program (IEP) document but it does require a plan for reasonable accommodations (504 Accommodation Plan).This law is enforced by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and each school district with more than 15 employees is responsible for assuring compliance with Section 504.
If you suspect that your child has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and therefore requires accommodations, special services and /or supports to enable him/her to participate in school sponsored academic and nonacademic programs and/or activities, please contact the building assistant principal (elementary schools) or school counselor (middle and high schools) to discuss your concerns and determine whether a referral to the 504 Committee is needed. If a referral is necessary, he/she will assist you in completing the referral paperwork. You can also find the referral form HERE.
Once a referral is submitted, you will receive paperwork from the Special Education office seeking your written consent to conduct a classroom observation and any other evaluations deemed necessary. Once completed, the you will be invited to attend the Section 504 meeting. The Section 504 Committee is comprised of persons knowledgeable about the student. The Section 504 Committee will review all relevant background, current school-based testing and available information such as teacher reports and report cards. Should you desire, you are welcome to provide the Committee with medical documentation of the disability and/or other evaluations for consideration by the Committee.
To determine eligibility, the Committee must determine whether the student is disabled as defined by the law. If the Committee finds that the student has a disability that meets the 504 definition, the Committee will determine if the disability substantially limits a major life activity and what, if any, accommodations and/or supports are necessary to enable the student to participate in school sponsored academic and extra-curricular programs and activities to the same extent as non-disabled students.
If you would like more information about the Committee on Preschool Special Education, the Committee on Special Education, or the Section 504 Committee please contact Dr. Heidi McCarthy, Director of Special Education and Related Services, (914) 238-7207.
Director of Special Education and Related Services
Heidi McCarthy, Ed.D. 238-7207 x1101
Senior Office Assistant
Patricia Sullivan 238-7207 x1102
CPSE Chairperson and CSE Chairperson Grades K-7
Elizabeth Wright 238-7207 x1104
Senior Office Assistant
Cathy Bevilacqua 238-7207 x 1109
Brigitte Pugliese 238-7207 x1105
CSE Chairperson, Grades 8-12 & Student 18-21
Kristie Evers 238-7207 x1110
Senior Office Assistant
Lora Radovanovich 238-7207 x1103
TBD 238-7207 x1107
CSE Subcommittee & 504 Chairperson, Roaring Brook
Erin Jaynes 238-7205 x6102
CSE Subcommittee & 504 Chairperson, Douglas Grafflin
Debbie Alspach 238-7204 x5102
CSE Subcommittee & 504 Chairpersons, Westorchard
Alissa Stoever 238-7206 x6516
504 Chairperson, Middle Schools
Lisa Bisceglia 238-7200 x4107
504 Chairpersons, High School
Ronald Gamma 238-7201 x2106
Colleen O'Connor 238-7201 x2102
Lauralyn Stewart 238-7201 x2107
Heidi McCarthy, Ed.D. 238-7207
Lisa Bisceglia 238-7200 x4107
Key Federal Laws and New York State Publications for Education of Students with Disabilities
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)
This federal education law requires states to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to every child with a disability through the age of 21 years, or sooner if a high school diploma is awarded. There are many important provisions specified in IDEA intended to benefit children with disabilities attending public schools, as well as provisions for children with disabilities placed by parents in private school. Some of the key provisions of IDEA specify school district responsibilities for: Child find; multidisciplinary,
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974
This federal civil rights law prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities in any program receiving federal funding. This applies to students in public and publicly supported schools. This Act defines "disability" differently than the 13 categories specified in the IDEA. Students determined to have a mental or physical disorder substantially limiting a major life activity may be eligible for protection under Section 504, and may receive an Accommodation Plan to ensure opportunity and access comparable to that of
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
This federal act is intended to improve the quality and effectiveness of elementary and secondary education for all students. Its provisions have important impact upon special education. Key features of ESSA include: increased accountability for student achievement,
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
This federal law protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
New York State Education Department Procedural Safeguards Notice — Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages
Parents' Guide to Special Education in New York State
All New York State Education Department special education publications arranged by topic and available
Register to receive notice of new special education publications issued by the New York State Education department at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/register.htm.
- Video: Special Education 101 with WIHD (9/18/18)
- Video: General Education Supports & Special Education Eligibility (5/24/18)
- Presentation: Special Needs Planning Workshop (4/17/18)
- Video: College Test Prep Process for Parents/Caregivers of Students with 504s and IEPs (4/9/18)
- Video: Transition To College (2/28/18)
- Video: Transition Planning - A Hands-on Workshop (2/15/18)
- Video: Talking To Our Children About Their Learning Differences (11/8/17)
- Video: Skills for Success with Cindy Goldrich (10/18/17)
- Video: Executive Functioning Opens a New Window. (Knowledge Cafe on 10/26/17)
- Video: Top 10 Strategies for Parenting Kids with ADHD/EF Challenges with Cindy Goldrich (9/12/17)
- Video: Emotional Intelligence Opens a New Window. (Knowledge Cafe on 5/15/17)
- Video: STEAM education in Chappaqua Opens a New Window. (Knowledge Cafe on 4/24/17)
- Video: Use of space and advanced technology to support students, K-12 (Knowledge Cafe on 4/18/16)