Special Education

Annual Review/ReevaluationChild FindCollege Resources for Students with DisabilitiesIndividualized Education Program (IEP)Occupational TherapyPhysical TherapyPrograms for Students with Special NeedsPsychology ServicesTransition Services

The Middleburgh Central School District strives to work collaboratively to ensure that students with disabilities are provided with the support and services needed to encourage the acquisition of the academic, social and vocational skills it is anticipated they will need beyond their school career.

Decisions about support and services are made by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), as outlined by Education Law.

Special education services are available to any student with a mental, physical or emotional impairment that affects his or her educational performance. For school-age children, this may include autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment (including blindness).

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Annual Review/Reevaluation

How can we be sure my child’s program is meeting his or her needs?

At least once a year, you and other members of the Committee on Special Education will review your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). You may request a meeting sooner than that. Together, you will make decisions about any necessary changes to your child’s program. This is called an annual review.

Below is the process in which Middleburgh Central Schools conducts an annual review:

Step 1

A letter is sent to the parent or guardian informing them of the annual review.

Step 2

A Committee on Special Education meeting is held on the designated date.

Step 3

At the meeting, a review is held by the IEP team that takes into consideration:

  • The student’s strengths
  • Concerns of the parent for enhancing the education of their child
  • Results of evaluations that may have been conducted
  • The academic, developmental and functional needs of the student

Step 4

Based on this process, an IEP is developed that best meets the needs of the students to ensure his/her success within the designated educational program. This includes:

  • development of goals that the child should be working toward
  • supports, services and modifications that the child needs to reach these goals
  • identifying the location/placement where services will be provided

At least once every three years, your school district will reevaluate your child. This is called a reevaluation (formerly called the triennial evaluation). A reevaluation may also occur if conditions warrant one (for example, when a functional behavioral assessment is needed as a result of disciplinary action) or if either you or your child’s teacher requests a reevaluation.

If additional data are needed as part of this reevaluation, your school district will ask your written consent prior to conducting these tests. A reevaluation must be sufficient to determine your child’s individual needs, educational progress and achievement, your child’s ability to participate in regular education classes as well as your child’s continuing eligibility for special education services.

Much of this information was taken from the New York State Education Department’s Parent’s Guide.

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Child Find

The Middleburgh Central School District has an obligation to evaluate, with parental consent, and offer to students with disabilities who are residents of the District who require specialized instruction and/ or other special accommodations to benefit and access the educational services and programs it offers, a free and appropriate public education.

If you believe your child has a disability that requires specialized instruction or special accommodations to benefit and/or access our programs and services, we encourage you to contact your child’s building principal or the Director of Pupil Personnel Services at 518-827-3681 to discuss whether a referral to the Committee on Special Education or the §504 Team is appropriate.

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College Resources for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities now have more options than ever to further their education past high school. Thanks to advancements in technology, adaptive and assistive supports and legislation that progresses the rights of all students with disabilities, prospective college students with disabilities are encouraged to explore the transition between high school and post-secondary education. Student services and disability coordinators at colleges across the country work to improve their campuses to make them more inclusive for people with disabilities and can offer an array of supports including academic services and advocacy.

The following links, provided by Affordable Colleges Online, may serve as useful resources for students with disabilities who are seeking information on a college trajectory:

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Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If your child is eligible for special education services and/or programs, the Committee on Special Education must meet to develop a plan to meet your child’s unique needs. This plan is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

How is an IEP developed?

The IEP development process must consider:

  • your child’s strengths;
  • your concerns for your child’s education;
  • the results of your child’s individual evaluation;
  • the results of any state or districtwide tests or assessments; and
  • any unique needs related to your child’s disability (such as communication needs, behavior, etc.).

The IEP evolves from a discussion that begins with how your child is doing in school (current level of functioning). From that base, the Committee agrees on the goals your child should be working toward. The Committee then discusses the supports and services and modifications that the child needs to reach those goals. Finally, the Committee determines where those special education services will be provided (location and placement). The location where services will be provided and the student’s placement must be in the least restrictive environment. For preschool children with disabilities, special education services can be delivered in day care, a regular preschool program or other early childhood program in which you have enrolled your child.

What planning should occur for preschool children as they transition to school-age programs and services?

If your child has been receiving preschool special education programs or services, you and the Committee will need to discuss your child’s school program before he or she enters Kindergarten. Sometime during the year before your child is eligible to enter school, the Committee will decide if your child continues to have a disability and/or if he or she continues to require special education programs or services. If so, the CPSE will make a referral to the CSE.

If eligible, at age 5, your child may be recommended to receive special education services or programs in the district’s Kindergarten program or other educational setting. However, you are not required to enroll your child in the district’s Kindergarten program. Your child may be recommended to receive special education services at home, or while attending a nursery school, day care center or other early childhood program in which you have enrolled your child at your expense.

What planning should occur for young adults?

It is also important to plan ahead when your son or daughter becomes a teenager so that he or she can prepare for a high school diploma and/or learn skills necessary for employment, post-secondary education and/or community living as an adult. Beginning when your child is age 12, he or she will receive an assessment to determine vocational skills, aptitudes, and interests.

By age 14, the Committee will begin discussing your child’s goals as an adult, and how he or she can learn the important skills to meet these goals. From this point forward, the IEP will include programs and services to prepare for adult life (transition services) to address your child’s hopes and dreams for the future. Transition planning will involve you, your child and the school discussing questions such as:

  • What can your child do now to prepare for being an adult? What can you do to help him or her prepare?
  • What will your child do after he or she graduates from school? (Or when he or she turns 21 and is no longer eligible to attend school?)
  • Will your child go to college? If so, what high school courses should he or she take? What tests will your child take?
  • Will your child look for a job right after high school? Will your child need job training while still in school?
  • Where will your child live? Does he or she need to learn new skills to live independently?

What is an IEP?

If your child is eligible for special education services and/or programs, the Committee (of which you are a member) must meet to develop a plan to meet your child’s unique needs. This plan is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Some of the requirements of the IEP are listed below:

  • Your child’s name and his or her disability.
  • Your child’s current abilities, needs, and evaluation results.
  • Goals and objectives for your child to meet this school year (annual goals).
  • Special equipment your child may need in school.
  • Information about the special education programs or services your child will receive (what services, how often and how long they will be provided) to help your child meet his or her goals; and support
  • Your preschool child’s participation in appropriate activities; or
  • Your school-age child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum.
  • Special ways, if any, your child will take tests (such as a longer time to take tests).
  • Program modifications for your child.
  • Supports for your child’s teachers to help implement your child’s IEP.
  • How and when you will receive reports on your child’s progress.
  • For teenagers, transition planning and services.
  • Where services will be provided to ensure that programs reflect the least restrictive environment.

After the consideration of all other IEP components, the Committee determines the recommended placement. Placement may be in a public school, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), approved private school, State-operated school, State-supported school or a Special Act School District. Placement decisions must be based on the child’s strengths and needs and reflect consideration of whether the child can achieve his or her IEP goals in a regular class with the use of supplementary aids and services and/or modifications to the curriculum. (The IEP must explain the extent, if any, to which your child will not be in regular education programs.)

Least Restrictive Environment

Your child’s education must be in the least restrictive environment or “LRE”. LRE 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 the use of supplementary aids and services, education cannot be satisfactorily achieved.

In all cases, special education services should be provided in the least restrictive environment.

Each year your child’s IEP should be developed to ensure that:

  • your child’s placement is based on his or her IEP.
  • your child’s placement is as close as possible to his or her home. Unless your child’s IEP requires another arrangement, your child should be educated in the school he or she would have attended if he or she did not have a disability.
  • when making a decision about LRE, the Committee considers any possible harmful effect on your child or the quality of the services that he or she needs.
  • your child is not removed from education in a regular classroom with other children of the same age only because the general curriculum needs to be modified.

What happens after the IEP is developed?

The Board of Education is responsible for arranging for appropriate special education programs and services to be provided to your child. There are timelines for implementing (starting) your child’s IEP. There may be no delay in implementing the IEP while deciding who pays for the special education services. You will receive a copy of the IEP at no cost to you, and your child’s teachers and service providers (who are involved in implementing the IEP) will have access to a copy of the IEP. Each teacher and service provider will be informed about his or her specific responsibilities to implement the IEP and specific accommodations, modifications and supports that must be provided to your child.

The following information was obtained from the following resource: Special Education in New York State for Children Ages 3-21 A Parent’s Guide. May 2002

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Occupational Therapy at Middleburgh Central Schools

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy is a health care profession concerned with a person’s ability to perform daily occupations such as self-care, productive and leisure activities. Occupational Therapists are trained to assess and treat occupational performance problems in the environments where these occupations are being done.

What do Occupational Therapists do in a school?

The goal of Occupational Therapy in the school setting is to improve a student’s performance of tasks and activities important for successful school functioning. Areas that a school-based Occupational Therapist may address include:

  • fine motor development and performance
  • sensory integration
  • fine motor coordination
  • manipulative skills
  • visual motor integration
  • visual perceptual skills
  • posture and balance
  • grip strength
  • ocular motor skills
  • memory skills
  • organizational skills
  • ability to attend to tasks
  • ability to follow directions

Middleburgh uses a variety of programs to address the varied needs of students. We regularly incorporate Brain Gym, yoga and sensory integration activities into our sessions and the classrooms.

Helpful Websites

The following websites offer more detailed information about programs and resources utilized:

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Physical Therapy

The School Physical Therapist provides assessment and treatment for any student in kindergarten through 12th grade in the school district who have difficulty with gross motor skills, balance, coordination or other problems which may interfere with their ability to access education.

The therapist:

  • develops, carries out and periodically reviews individual and group treatment plans and goals
  • receives referrals for screenings and evaluations from teachers, related service team members, administration and parents
  • provides consultations with teachers, staff, parents and others as indicated to enhance student performance
  • is a contributing member of the District Committee on Special Education, Child Study Team and attends the multi-disciplinary meetings as necessary
  • is responsible to maintain the proper clinical record-keeping required for each student who participates in PT
  • requires a physician’s prescription to provide PT treatments for a student
  • as a member of the Related Services Team, the Physical Therapist works closely with the Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Social Worker, Special Education teacher and Classroom teacher to provide a multi-faceted program for each student
  • utilizes a variety of treatment approaches, such as gait training, BrainGym, YogaKids, games and other PT techniques to assist students in core strengthening, agility and bilateral coordination training, gross motor skills, balance and endurance training
  • provides home exercise programs as indicated for students to carry over and practice the skills they learn during PT sessions

Recommended websites

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Programs for Students with Special Needs

Middleburgh Central School District offers a comprehensive program for special education. Below are some of the services provided by the school district.

Continuum of Services

Related Services

  • Counseling
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Speech Therapy
  • Transitional Services

Indirect Consultant Teacher – Minimum 2 hours a week

The special education teacher consults with the regular education teacher to assist them in adjusting the learning environment and/or modify instructional methods for special education students in their classroom.

Direct Consultant Teacher – Minimum 2 hours a week

The special education teacher provides specialized learning strategies and instruction directly to the student within the regular education classroom.

Resource Room – Minimum of 3 hours a week

This program is used to supplement regular or special classroom instruction.

Integrated Program

This program is a combination of Resource Room and Direct Consultant Teacher Services with pull out as needed to reinforce concepts learned within the regular education classroom.

Special Class Reading/Language Arts or Math

This is instruction within the regular education curriculum with alternative teaching methods.

Basic Skills Class (Primary Level K-2, Intermediate Level 3-6, 7th-9th grade, 10th-12th grade)

This is a special class with an altered curriculum with a maximum class size of 12:1:1.

Out-of-District Placements (BOCES, Special Schools/Programs)

Adaptive Physical Education

This program is available for students from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. The program is taught jointly by the Physical Education teacher and the Physical Therapist. The goals of the Adaptive PE program are to improve motor patterns and basic skills; develop an appropriate level of physical fitness; improve social efficiency; and develop a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Students can be referred for Adaptive PE screening by the PE teacher, the classroom teacher, Child Study Team, PT, OT, parent or Nurse. Parental approval is required and periodic updates monitor the student’s progress.

Brain Gym

Brain Gym is a series of quick, fun and energizing activities. These activities are effective in preparing any learner for specific thinking and coordination skills. Brain Gym is part of a comprehensive program called Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K). Edu-K brings movement and learning together. For more information on Brain Gym, use this website.

Fundations

Wilson Fundations is for grades K-3. It is a phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics and spelling program for the general education classroom. This program serves as a prevention program to help reduce reading and spelling failure. Fundations focuses on carefully sequenced skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and spelling. For more information on Fundations, use this website.

Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (LiPS) for Reading, Spelling and Speech

A reading program that ties in the use of phonemic awareness skills and phonics to the formation our mouth makes when producing the sounds. This awareness becomes the means of verifying sounds within words and enables individuals to become self-correcting in reading, spelling, and speech.

Read Naturally

Read Naturally is a program that is offered to our special education students to build fluency. The program focuses on three powerful research-based strategies for improving fluency: teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring. For more information on Read Naturally, use this website.

Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program

This program helps students become fluent spellers by teaching spelling across the curriculum. It focuses on the high frequency words students use in their everyday writing.

Step Up to Writing

A multi-sensory approach to the writing process used in developing expository and narrative writing pieces. Students learn the three main steps in the written process by relating each part to colors. Students are taught effective writing strategies. Teachers facilitate, model and provide direct instruction at each grade level. With mastery of skills, students are expected to complete lengthier and more complex assignments. Note-taking, vocabulary development, paragraphing, listening activities, outlining, speeches and the writing process are some of the “how to” strategies specifically taught in the Step Up to Writing program. For more information on Step Up to Writing, use this website.

Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking

This technique teaches students how to learn using visual imagery. The components of these teaching techniques stimulate auditory comprehension, reading comprehension, verbal and reasoning skills through the use of imagery. Students who have difficulties with processing language and organizing their messages to others learn how to turn words into richly detailed sensory images.

Wilson Reading System

A multi-sensory teaching approach used to directly teach the English language. Students who have not internalized the sound and syllable system for both reading and spelling will benefit from this program. An emphasis is placed on mastering decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) skills in a very systematic manner. The Wilson Reading System is used in conjunction with a literature-based program to ultimately improve reading comprehension. For more information on the Wilson Reading System, use this website.

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Psychology Services

Middleburgh’s school psychologist is:

Brenda Damm, Middleburgh School Psychologist, K-12
PO Box 850
245-1 Main Street
Middleburgh, NY 12122
518-827-3680

Click here to read a letter from School Psychologist Brenda Damm.

What is a school psychologist?

Responsibilities of a School Psychologist from the National Association of School Psychologists

Disability and Parent Information Articles and Links

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Transition Services

At the Middleburgh Central School District, students are preparing for their lives following graduation. The students who require educational supports and are identified as being able to benefit from Special Education services are provided transition services to assist them in the transition from school to college or work.

The process of preparing for their life following graduation from High School begins as early as the 8th grade. This is when the student’s Case Manager begins to revise the individual’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and match the individual’s stated interest with a course of study in High School. Given that a student’s interests and goals will change during High School, the process is completed annually by the case manager and discussed by the CSE during the annual review. Usually a student and their family have decided on a course of action by 10th grade, but an individual’s goals and objectives may change throughout High School.

Integral to the transition process is the introduction of the Transition Coordinator during the 11th and 12th grades. The Transition Coordinator is an individual outside of the school district whose primary function is to advocate for each student’s needs as they prepare for graduation and open an active case in the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID). VESID offers an array of services including financial support to the student and their family. This service is offered whether the student is entering the world of work or continuing their education at a college or technical school.

High School students are monitored to ensure that the correct instruction is being provided to meet their stated interests. Students are provided with opportunities to visit college campuses whereby they can acquire a sense of what to expect should they choose to pursue a college education. These visits are school-sponsored field trips under the supervision of MCS teachers and the Transition Coordinator.

For information regarding Transition Coordination Services, email Mary Leach.

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