Special Education

Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
February 7-8, 2013
Comfort Inn and Suites, East Greenbush, New York
Meeting Notes

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Agenda Item

Key Points


Next Steps

Welcome and Get Organized
  • Welcome and Get Organized
  • Introduced new and existing members
May Minutes

A motion to accept the May 2012 minutes was made and seconded with a change to page 6 to add Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).  The fall 2012 meeting was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Motion approved: Minutes approved with amendment (added OCFS to page 6)

New Dates for 2013-14 CAP Year

November 7-8, 2013, February 6-7, 2014 and May 29-30, 2014.  All dates are still a Thursday (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Friday (8:30 – 12:30 p.m.).

    • Next CAP meeting is May 30 -31, 2013
    • Members are to check for conflicts for next year and get back to Sandra Cote within two weeks.
Election of Officers
    • Nominated Yvonne Sinisgalli for Vice Chair of CAP
    • Nominated Lynn Radicello for Secretary of CAP

Unanimous – approved

Unanimous – approved



  • Reviewed
  • identified necessary revisions
    • Members questioned whether the fall meeting, which was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, must be made up as the bylaws indicate CAP is required to meet three times a year.  SED leadership advised that the meeting would not need to be rescheduled due to:
      • issues with identifying another date and location given contract constraints;
      • cancellation of other State events due to Hurricane; and
      • the fact that CAP still has three meetings this year – February, May and November of 2013.
    • Recommended technical changes to By-laws
SED will make technical changes to by-laws.
CAP Accomplishments for 2011-12 Reviewed 2011-12 CAP accomplishments

CAP member commented that there were very rich discussions last year around all accomplishments.

Yearly Plan

Reviewed yearly plan and discussed recommendations for some changes

CAP members recommended revising the yearly plan to include a discussion about school safety with the Deputy Commissioner

SED staff will revise yearly plan.
Review Agenda and Packets   Agenda accepted  
Public Comment

Stephen Boese of Learning Disabilities Association of New York State (NYS) provided the following comments on the proposed Regents Certificate of Work Readiness (RCWR).

Supported eliminating the IEP diploma  

  • Expressed concern that the credential was originally intended for all students and is now proposed only for those with disabilities.  Shift in proposal results in:
    • Separate track for students with disabilities;
    • Diminished value for students and employers;
    • Discrimination as students with disabilities are required to demonstrate career readiness but general education students are not;
    • Forced disclosure as a student with a disability
  • Questioned the value of the credential to employers outside of NYS
  • Term “Regents” in the title is associated with diplomas and examinations and could result in confusion similar to issues with IEP diploma
  • Recommended delaying adoption until decisions have been made regarding multiple diploma options
Annual Performance Report (APR)

SED provided the following information regarding the State Performance Plan (SPP)/APR:

  • NYS has extension to March 1, 2013 to submit report.
  • SED will post report when submitted.
  • Letter from United States Department of Education (USDOE) indicated we were a state in need of intervention. NYS appealed the determination, prevailed and was then identified as a state in need of assistance
  • Data and improvement activities for the following SPP Indicators:
    • Graduation rates
    • Dropout rates
    • State assessments
    • Suspensions
    • Least  restrictive environment (LRE) – school age
    • LRE – preschool
    • Preschool outcomes
    • Parental involvement
    • Disproportionality in special education by race/ethnicity
    • Disproportionality in classification/ placement by race/ethnicity
    • Timely evaluations
    • Transition from early intervention to preschool special education
    • Transition planning
    • Post-school outcomes
    • Correction of noncompliance
    • State complaints
    • Timely impartial hearing decisions
    • Resolution sessions
    • Mediation
    • Timely and accurate state reported data
  • Staff responded to member questions regarding data and improvement activities.
  • Member commented that disproportionality and suspension is a systemic issue (not one that just relates to students with disabilities) and recommended probing data regarding suspension of all students. 
SED will post district results by June 2013.
Information Sharing

CAP Members shared the following:

  • Transition – Member reported on success of two Project Search Projects and expressed concern about minimal student and parent involvement in the transition process and IEP development.
  • Charter Schools - With the rise in the number of charter schools in NYC, member discussed challenges and strategies for implementation of the IEP and provision of services for students with disabilities.
  • Closer to Home Initiative - Member indicated four additional juvenile facilities will be closed and members discussed challenges with initiative (difficulty finding beds closer to home and programming for more challenging students).
  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Plan: VR submitting State Plan to USDOE.  There are four public meetings within the next month in which members are invited to participate.
  • National Council on Disability - Member shared issues under discussion by council, including mental health stigma and gun legislation; parental rights for individuals with disabilities; and the phasing out of sheltered workshops.
  • Archdiocese of New York is serving more students with disabilities in private/religious schools.
  • Newtown, CT school shooting: Member reported that some are erroneously  attributing the shooting to the fact that the student had autism and recommend that we continue to educate the public that having a disability does not mean the student has the potential to be involved in a Newtown type shooting.

State Performance Plan: (SPP)

Preschool Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

School-Age LRE
SED staff provided data on preschool and school-age LRE and facilitated discussion with members regarding strategies to promote LRE.

Members discussed the following:

  • Recommended further analysis of school -age LRE data to determine in what grades and at what ages students are in more restrictive settings
  • Noted systemic concerns with the preschool system (e.g., districts have no fiscal responsibility) are related to issues with preschool LRE
  • Shared teachers concerns regarding the performance of students with disabilities on State assessments and the impact that may have on their own evaluations. Indicated such concerns have the potential to result in decreased inclusion of students with disabilities.  Agreed CSE must continue to consider best interest of students when making placement decisions.
  • Recommended identifying strategies to support dual certification of teachers as a means to promoting LRE
  • Recommended engaging families in the process and discussing the importance/benefits of LRE
Proposed Regents Certificate of Work Readiness (RCWR)

SED staff provided overview of proposed RCWR

  • Explained that the only difference from December 2012 proposal is the name
  • Public comment is in process – in general commenter’s support the proposal
  • Commenter’s expressed concerns regarding the name of the credential and the fact that is only for students with disabilities
SED staff asked members to break into two groups.

Group 1 and 2 Discussion

  1. Members identified the following challenges and recommendations regarding the instructional requirements:
  • Challenges
    • Lack of resources, including staff resources
    • Implementation in rural districts due to limited business opportunities
  • Recommendations
    • Connect with current vocational rehabilitation systems
    • Look at existing effective models
    • Additional consideration of certificate being open to all students
    • Mandate career plan form
    • Ensure the credential appears professional (computerized, documented on CareerZone, and typed)
  1. Members identified the following recommendations regarding the Career Plan: Incorporate it into the student exit summary (SES) and employability profile
  2. Members identified the following challenges and recommendations regarding the Employability Profile 
  • Challenges
    • Placing students in community who have behavioral issues
    • Supervision and supports while students are off campus
    • Transportation to work sites
  • Recommendations
    • Define the rating scale
    • Use employability profile early on to inform instruction
    • Add life skills component (e.g., budgeting skills) to profile
  • Provide a profile for each work experience

Friday, February 8, 2013

Agenda Item

Key Points


Next Steps

Cancelled Day 2 of CAP Meeting Due to Weather
  • Members need to receive hotel room cancellation number if leaving tonight
  • SED will pay for members who need to stay overnight provided they already have a room reservation booked.
Last Updated: August 20, 2013