The North Tonawanda City School District is committed to providing all students with a free and appropriate public education. In order to meet the needs of a diverse population, the district offers alternative programs, supplementary and supportive services, and special education services.Special Education consists of specifically designed instruction for students (ages 3-21 years) who are identified by either the district committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) or the Committee on Special Education (CSE) as having a disability which interferes with learning. The CPSE and CSE are multidisciplinary teams of parents and professionals responsible for determining eligibility, coordinating evaluations, and recommending programs or services. Members of the committee can include the child’s parent(s), a school psychologist, a special education teacher, a general education teacher, a parent of a child with a disability, and an administrator. Additional participants, such as a building principal, speech/language pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, County Representative and the school physician, may also be present.
The committees, responsible to the Board of Education, hold meetings on a regular basis to respond to initial referrals. The District is committed to identifying children with disabilities and providing necessary, appropriate services and support within the least restrictive environment. If you suspect your child has a disability, please contact your building principal, the Director of Special Education or the Director of Student Services.
In addition, all children receiving special education services are entitled to a review at least once yearly. The purpose of this annual review is to recommend the continuation, modification, or termination of the provision of special education programs and supports. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these annual reviews, typically held at the child’s school of attendance.
Committee on Special Education (CSE)
The CSE is a multidisciplinary team of school professionals and parents whose membership is appointed by the Board of Education and they are responsible for the identification and recommendation of appropriate programs for all students, ages 5-21, who qualify for special education services.
If a parent is interested in a referral to the CSE or has concerns that may warrant assessment of student progress, they are encouraged to first discuss concerns with their building principal and school psychologist, as each building as an Student Support Team (SST) that should first address student needs. This process is recommended by law, and is often more meaningful to the students’ immediate needs.
Building-based CSE meetings
For the past several years, we have conducted CSE meetings at the individual buildings. This approach has been extremely successful as it allows parents and professional staff to have enhanced communication and input in meeting student needs. You will be notified by mail, well in advance of a scheduled CSE or CPSE meeting regarding your child.
Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)
The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) determines special education eligibility for children 3 to 5 years of age. An evaluation can begin at age 2 years 6 months. Children are identified as a Preschool Student with a Disability by meeting eligibility criteria as outlined by the New York State Education Department. Eligibility is determined by individual evaluations administered by a multidisciplinary team. If eligible, special education services are provided within a continuum of services from least restrictive to a restrictive setting. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each child meeting the eligibility criteria. The child’s program is reviewed at least once a year.
Referral to the CPSE
Referrals are made in writing by the parents or the Superintendent’s Designee, who are concerned about a child’s development. A referral can also be initiated by calling the CPSE office.
Children transitioning from the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program that serves infants and toddlers, birth through age two (2) may be referred to the CPSE by the parent.
*NOTE: All students receiving evaluations and/or services by the district need to be registered prior to parents registering the evaluations and/or services.
- Written parent consent is obtained before any evaluation is conducted. An evaluation must include the first four (4) components listed below.
- Social History
- Psychological Evaluation
- Education Evaluation, including an observation within the child’s preschool or day care setting
- Medical History
Supplemental Evaluations: Depending upon the concerns for the child, these may include a speech-language evaluation, occupational therapy evaluation, physical therapy evaluation, a Functional Behavioral Assessment, or an audiological assessment. A child may receive one (1) or several of these evaluations.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Some students with disabilities who do not require special education services may receive accommodations, special instruction, or related services under Section 504 and ADA, consistent with the district’s policy against discrimination on the basis of disability. For more information, please see the link below for the New York State Education Department’s VESID resources.
Common Special Education Acronyms
There are many new/old acronyms used. For your information, the following are most commonly used:
- AAC - Alternative Augmentative Communication
- ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act
- ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
- ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- ADLs - Activities of Daily Living
- AFO - Ankle Foot Orthosis
- AIS - Academic Intervention Services
- APE - Adaptive Physical Education
- ASL - American Sign Language
- AR - Annual Review
- AT - Assistive Technology
- AU - Autism
- BIP - Behavioral Intervention Program/Plan
- CA - Chronological Age
- CAPD - Central Auditory Processing Disorder
- CF - Cystic Fibrosis
- CP - Cerebral Palsy
- CPSE - Committee on Preschool Special Education
- CSE - Committee on Special Education
- DB - Deaf-Blind
- DS - Down Syndrome
- ED - Emotional Disability
- EI - Early Intervention
- ESL - English as a Second Language
- ESY - Extended School Year
- FAPE - Free Appropriate Public Education
- FAS - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- FBA - Functional Behavioral Assessment
- FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
- FOIL - Freedom of Information Legislation
- GE - General Education
- HI - Hearing Impairment
- IAES - Interim Alternative Educational Setting
- IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- IEP - Individualized Education Plan
- IHO - Impartial Hearing Officer
- LD - Learning Disability
- LEA - Local Education Agency
- LEP - Limited English Proficiency
- LOTE - Language Other Than English
- LRE - Least Restrictive Environment
- MDR - Manifestation Determination Review
- MD - Multiple Disabilities
- MR - Mental Retardation
- OCD - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder
- OHI - Other Health Impairment
- OI - Orthopedic Impairment
- O & M - Orientation & Mobility
- OT - Occupational Therapy
- PDD - Pervasive Development Disability
- PLEP - Present Level of Educational Performance
- PT - Physical Therapy
- RS - Related Services
- RTI - Response to Intervention
- § - Section (as in §300.7 in IDEA)
- SB - Spina Bifida
- SE - Special Education
- SED - State Education Department
- SI - Speech Impairment
- S/LT - Speech/Language Therapy
- TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury
- TDD - Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf
- TS - Tourette Syndrome
- TTy - Teletypewriter (phone system for individuals with deafness)
- VI - Visual Impairment