What Is Special Education?
Special education services are provided to students in the Eastport South Manor Central School District who are classified as having a disability and have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Special education means specifically designed individualized or group instruction or special services or programs to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. These services may include specially designed instruction and/or supplementary aids and services provided in the general education class, consultant teacher services, related services (speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling), resource room services, or special classes. In some cases, a program in an out of District placement is needed to meet a child’s needs.
What should you do if you have concerns about how your child is doing in school? First talk to your child’s teacher. There are many supports for students within general education that may be appropriate to meet your child’s needs, such as Academic Intervention Services (AIS) for math or reading or speech improvement services. Your child’s teacher may also be able to recommend some things you can do at home with your child to provide additional support. If these additional supports have not been successful, it is possible that your child may have a disability that can further be addressed through special education services. You may ask that your child be referred to your building’s Individual Support Team (IST) team. This team is made up of your child’s teacher, specialists, the school psychologist, guidance counselor, and a building administrator. The team will review your child’s history, strengths, and weaknesses. They may recommend an evaluation to provide further information regarding the concerns. Following the evaluation, if it is felt that your child may have a disability, your child’s case will be referred to the Committee on Special Education. This committee (of which you are a full member) will decide whether or not to classify your child as a special education student and will recommend additional services for your child if needed. Parents also have the right to make a direct referral to the Committee on Special Education.
What does least restrictive environment mean? According to state and federal guidelines, your child must receive their education in the least restrictive environment possible. Placement in special classes, separate schools, or other removal from general education classes should only occur when the severity of the disability is such that, even with supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved in the general education environment. At Eastport South Manor Central School District we strive to provide the supports our students need to be successful within our district’s schools. We believe it is important that students be educated in their home schools with their peers whenever possible. They are a part of our community and benefit from being with students in the community in a multitude of ways.
What is the main goal of the Committee on Special Education? Our goal is to provide the services to assist students with disabilities in reaching their potential and that they become productive, contributing members of society. We review each student’s IEP at least annually and make recommendations based on their progress for the following school year. Classification is not necessarily needed for each student throughout their school career. Each year we declassify students following updated evaluations that provide evidence that a student no longer needs special education services. We celebrate these successes!
Special education services have changed greatly. For many of us what we remember is students who were placed in special classes only. This is no longer the case. Many of our students receive special education services within the general education classes. Many receive small group specialized instruction and reinforcement of their general education classes in a resource room setting. Some students may need a special class for one or more subjects, but are mainstreamed for other classes.
What is transition? Transition services mean a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability, designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. This includes, but is not limited to post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated competitive employment (including supportive employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities is based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests, and shall include activities regarding instruction, related services, community experiences, and the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives. Where appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and a functional vocational evaluation will be completed.
Where is the Committee on Special Education Office? Our office is located in the District Office at 149 Dayton Avenue. Maureen Avione is the Director of Special Education. We can be reached by calling (631)801-3040. We welcome any phone calls with questions, concerns, and successes of your children!