Curriculum and Instruction

Social Studies

Intervention, Acceleration, and Special Education  

Academic Intervention Services (AIS)

Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are to be provided by all schools according to the Commissioner’s Regulations. SED’s Regional School Services answers questions regarding AIS.

Complete information can be found in the following resources:

Guidelines for Implementing Academic Intervention Services (memo from James A. Kadamus, January 2000 – PDF file)
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/top/AISQAweb.pdf ( 99 KB)

Definitions of Level for Academic Intervention Services (field memo related to the November 2001 administration of the Grade 5 Elementary-Level Social Studies Test – PDF file)
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/eliinfogen/elinfogenarch/gr5ssmemonov01.pdf ( 99 KB)

Before the Meeting (questions that are specific to a child and activities that the Committee on Special Education [CSE] should consider prior to a CSE meeting – PDF file)
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/persprep/cse/0403cse2.pdf ( 99 KB)

for General Education and Diploma Requirements

print friendly version( 99 KB)

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Case Studies: Academic Intervention Services in Four
New York State Districts

These case studies focus on Academic Intervention Services (AIS) that have been implemented in four distinct districts:

  • Bath Central School District – Haverling Senior High School
  • New York City – Under Development
  • South Colonie Central School District – Colonie Central High School
  • Union-Endicott Central School District – Union-Endicott Senior High School
  • NYS4A and SED do not offer these AIS cases as exemplars, but simply as models of academic intervention services in three districts. A thumbnail sketch of each district is provided.

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    The Advanced Placement (AP) Program

    The Advanced Placement (AP) program of The College Board consists of 35 courses in 20 disciplines. Visit the College Board’s AP Central website an index of complete course descriptions.

    There are currently 9 AP courses with a social studies focus:

    1. Economics, Macro
    2. Economics, Micro
    3. European History
    4. Government & Politics, Comparative
    5. Government & Politics, United States
    6. Human Geography
    7. Psychology
    8. U.S. History
    9. World History

    Building an AP program in your department or school provides a resource for students to enrich themselves beyond the basic required courses for graduation. It offers a way for them to earn college credit and accelerate themselves. Keep in mind that an AP course is not necessarily a substitution for a standards-based course leading to a Regents examination required for graduation in New York State.

    A frequently asked question

    One of the most frequently asked questions of the State Education Department is the following:

    Q: Can a school replace Participation in Government and Economics in the senior year with AP European History, provided that the students get government and economics within that course and their other courses?

    A: No. Previously, some schools were granted variances by SED to offer this program; however, all variances have since been phased out. More recently, Economics, the Enterprise System, and Finance and Participation in Government have both been revised to reflect the New York State social studies standards and the national economics and civics standards. In Participation in Government, students are asked to investigate policy issues at local, state, national, and international levels. This was never the intent of AP European History. Please see the graduation requirements for social studies listed in the summary of the Commissioner’s Regulations (Part 1 of this guide). 

    Department-Approved Social Studies Alternative Examinations

    Acceptable for Meeting Requirements for a Local or Regents Diploma

    The test score(s) indicated below are the minimum acceptable score(s) that can be substituted for a Regents Examination score for all students who have completed the course of study for that subject.

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    Other Accelerated Programs


    For General Education and Diploma Requirements
    (For Other Accelerated Programs) April 2001

    SECTION 100.4

    Acceleration in social studies is also available in New York State for grade 8 students. This is according to the Commissioner’s Regulations.

    Program Requirements for Grades 7 and 8

    1. c) Grade eight acceleration for diploma credit.
      1. Public school students in grade eight shall have the opportunity to take high school courses in mathematics and in at least one of the following areas: English, social studies, languages other than English, art, music, career and technical education subjects or science courses.
      2. Credit may be awarded for an accelerated course only when at least one of the following conditions has been met:
        1. Accelerated students attend classes in a high school with high school students and pass the course on the same basis as the high school students. Credit is awarded by the high school; or
        2. The student passes the course and the associated State proficiency examination or Regents examination, where available. The credit must be accepted as a transfer credit by all registered New York State high schools; or
        3. In cases where no State proficiency examination or other appropriate state assessment is available, the student passes a course in the middle, junior high or intermediate school which has been approved for high school credit by the public school district superintendent(s), or his or her designee(s), of the district(s) where the middle, junior high or intermediate school and the high school are located.
      3. Such opportunity shall be provided subject to the following conditions:
        1. The superintendent, or his or her designee, shall determine whether a student has demonstrated readiness in each subject in which he or she asks to begin high school courses in the eighth grade leading to a diploma.
        2. A student shall be awarded high school credit for such courses only if such student passes a Regents examination, a second language proficiency examination, or a career and technical education proficiency examination, or, if no such examinations are available, a locally developed examination which establishes student performance at a high school level as determined by the principal.
      4. Courses taken pursuant to this subdivision may be substituted for the appropriate requirements set forth in subdivision (b) of this section.

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    Students with Disabilities

    All students must have equal opportunity and access to achieve the New York State learning standards in all areas, and districts must have policies and procedures in place to make sure that students with disabilities have equal opportunities to access diploma credits, courses, and requirements. The majority of students with disabilities have the potential to master the curricular content requirements for a high school diploma. These students must attain the same academic standards as their non-disabled peers in order to meet graduation requirements. For this reason, it is very important that at all grade levels students with disabilities receive instruction in the same content areas as do all other students, so as to receive the same informational base that will be required for proficiency on statewide testing programs and diploma requirements.

    Most students who require special education attend general education classes in conjunction with specialized instruction and/or related services. The social studies educator has the responsibility for teaching and supervising a diverse group of students. This group includes those students with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, hearing and visual impairments, including blindness and deafness, physical disabilities, health-related challenges, and cognitive, behavioral, and emotional disabilities. To help all students achieve to their potential, it is recommended that differentiated instruction be utilized in all teaching strategies.

    To ensure access and participation in social studies classes, some students with disabilities may need services and supports to address their unique learning needs. These services and supports are determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and indicated on the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). This may include program modifications, accommodations, supplementary aids and services, assistive technology devices, testing accommodations, and services and supports for school personnel on behalf of the student. To ensure that the social studies teacher makes the accommodations to curriculum, instruction, and assessment that are necessary, the teacher must be provided a copy of the student’s IEP and be informed of his or her responsibility in implementing the IEP.

    The following are some examples of instructional accommodations and adaptive materials that may be recommended and indicated on a student’s IEP:

    • Large-print materials or tactile maps to accompany instruction.
    • Teaching a skill by breaking it down into very small steps.
    • The use of computer software for assignments that require significant amounts of writing by students.
    • The use of assistive technology services and devices, such as an auditory enhancement device or a voice-activated computer.
    • Chapter and study notes.
    • Vocabulary lists and definitions for the chapter unit.
    • Preteaching key vocabulary and providing a list of these key words to the special education teacher in order to provide additional reinforcement.
    • Hands-on projects during classes.
    • Assigning a partner to a student for the duration of a unit to facilitate clarification of daily assignments and timelines for assignments.
    • When assigning long-term projects/reports, provide a timeline with benchmarks as indicators for completion of major project/report sections.
    • Students who have difficulty with organizational skills and time sequence may need to see completion of sections to maintain the organization of a lengthy project/report.

    The social studies teacher should expect students with disabilities to successfully reach the goals established for the social studies curriculum as well as those indicated on their IEPs. The social studies teacher, along with the student’s other general education and special education teachers are a team that supports student success. Consultation from special educators and related service personnel will help the teacher provide successful learning activities for students with disabilities. Special education teachers providing instruction must also become familiar with the goals and objectives of the curriculum.

    Many students with disabilities require testing accommodations in order to participate in testing programs on an equal basis with their nondisabled peers. Testing accommodations are changes in testing procedures or formats which provide the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of skills and attainment of knowledge without being limited or unfairly restricted by the existence of a disability. Testing accommodations as indicated on the student’s IEP are to be provided consistently throughout the student’s program including classroom tests. Social studies teachers must be familiar with the testing accommodations needed by individual students and should be skilled in their implementation. Examples of testing accommodations include extended time, separate setting, use of a word processor and use of a scribe, and large-print format of tests.

    Regular reporting of student progress by all the student’s teachers on a formal and informal basis helps monitor student progress effectively. As questions or concerns arise about student behavior and achievement, teachers should contact parents and school personnel according to the policies established by the school. If it is necessary for the CSE to meet and determine if revisions need to be made to the IEP, observations and assessments of the student from the student’s teachers are most helpful in determining what changes, if any, need to be made to the IEP. The social studies teacher’s participation in the annual reviews of students with disabilities provides valuable information in determining appropriate programs, services, and supports.

    The coordination and cooperation of general and special education programs, services and supports, instructional and testing accommodations, adaptive materials, and differentiated instruction will assist in providing the opportunity for all students to meet the requirements for a high school diploma.

    For more information on State regulations, policy, and guidelines for students with disabilities, contact the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) via their website www.vesid.nysed.gov or call (518) 473-2878. Publications can be accessed at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/home.html

    For additional information concerning test access and accommodations see: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/testaccess/policyguide.htm

    Last Updated: March 11, 2011