Special Education

Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
May 30-31, 2013 - Comfort Inn and Suites, East Greenbush, New York
Meeting Notes (PDF PDF document- 220 KB)


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Welcome and Get Organized
  • Member introductions
  • Reviewed agenda and packets
  • Reviewed dates and times for next year’s CAP meetings - Meetings next year will continue to be held on Thursdays (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Fridays (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.).  Scheduled dates are:
    • November 7 and 8, 2013
    • February 6 and 7, 2014
    • May 29 and 30, 2014 
SED staff to send meeting  dates to members
February Minutes A motion to accept the February 2013 minutes was made and seconded.
Motion approved: Minutes approved
Public Comment
  • Reevaluation Issues
    • Some districts refuse to reevaluate and/or are not providing evaluations requested.
    • Parents need more information regarding reevaluations and what is required.
  • Safe Act - Additional technical assistance for schools for individuals with mental health issues
  • One to One Aides and Least Restrictive Environment - Some think a one to one aide makes a setting more restrictive.
  • Public Comment Process - Members expressed concern that it was difficult to get members of the public to attend CAP meeting to provide public comment.  SED staff reviewed parameters for public comment.
    • Must be related to:
      • education of students with disabilities;
      • systemic issues; or
      • policy and technical assistance needs and recommendations.
    • Cannot be district or child specific
    • CAP members are responsible for seeking comments and issues from constituents and providing that information at meetings.
  • SED will provide information about evaluation requirements to Parent Centers.  
  • Future CAP agenda will include time for general discussion on issues related to the education of students with disabilities and policy and technical assistance implications.
State Policy
  • SED staff provided information and facilitated a discussion with members regarding the following:
    • Planned expansion of Department-sponsored technical assistance and other projects funded with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) discretionary dollars;
    • Justice Center;
    • Preschool Special Education;
    • BOCES Space Plan;
    • Parental Consent to Bill Insurance;
    • Autism Insurance Act;
    • Potential State Performance Plan Changes;
    • Office of Mental Health Day Treatment Programs;
    • Sequestration
  • Members recommended the following:
    • Parent Centers focus on youth self advocacy and self determination
    • Presentation at a future CAP meeting on the Affordable Care Act; Autism Insurance Act and Medical Home Initiative
Information Sharing CAP Members provided comment and/or recommendations on the following:

  • Recommend faculty in teacher preparation programs receive training about Common Core, Universal Design for Learning and explicit instruction
  • Transition program at SUNY Geneseo for high school students to obtain college experience while in high school
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Employment Services
  • Office of Mental Health group focused on improving collaboration with districts
  • Stress that teachers are facing related to budget cuts, program cuts, APPR, Common Core and district insolvency. Recommend change be introduced gradually to be effective and sustainable.
  • Programs sharing special education services across districts due to funding cuts
  • Department of Corrections – Respect Institute – training teachers on how to communicate better with clients
  • Vocational Rehabilitation/Office of Special Education Memorandum of Understanding
Impartial Hearing Decisions
  • SED staff discussed and provided data and information on impartial hearings, resolution sessions and mediation in NYS; responded to questions and facilitated discussion with members
  • Member Discussion/Recommendations Regarding Impartial Hearings:
    • Suggested educating parents about State complaint process
    • Expressed concern about limited use of resolution sessions
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Facilitation
  • SED staff provided information on the purpose of IEP facilitation, the role of IEP facilitators and how it is used and funded in other states.
  • Member Discussion and Recommendations Regarding IEP facilitation:
    • Need more discussion and education on benefits of process 
    • Facilitator should be knowledgeable about IEP process and special education
    • Facilitator should be district selected and State trained
    • All facilitators should have the same training
    • Train CSE chairpersons to run more effective meetings
    • Concerns regarding:
      • Impact of creating additional level for parents and districts to engage in
      • Potential resistance from parents and districts
      • Introducing this concept in midst of many other changes
      • Destroying the recording of discussion that is part of a facilitated IEP meeting

Friday, May 31, 2013
Discussion with SED Leadership
  • SED Leadership discussed Race to the Top Initiatives, Pathways to Graduation and other topics as raised by CAP including:
    • Need for increased mechanisms to communicate with parents
    • SAVE Legislation
    • Common Core
    • English language learners (ELL) and Students with Disabilities
    • Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Credential
  • Member Comments and Recommendations
    • Parent Communication - Rely more on special education Parent Centers to disseminate information
    • SAVE Legislation -Give districts concrete examples of what works to promote safe and healthy schools
    • Common Core Standards:
      • Change and additional expectations are difficult with budget cuts and loss of teachers.
      • Some districts have no professional development on the Common Core.
      • There are limited monies to bring in experts.
      • Parental involvement – bring parents and professionals together as equal partners and provide joint trainings
  • ELLs and Students with Disabilities:
    • Provide information on national research
    • Appoint statewide committee and national steering group to advise SED
  • CDOS Credential:
    • Focus on marketing credential to employers, parents, students
    • Need additional diploma options 
Members will send recommendations and information regarding:

  • Strategies to improve communication with parents;
  • Districts that are proactively and effectively focusing on safe and healthy schools;
  • Strategies for leveraging professional development on the Common Core, including scaffolding for students with disabilities and ELLs
  • Districts in which transition planning and services are effective
Alternate Assessment Changes
  • SED staff provided an update on changes being made to the 2013-14 New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA):
  • Member Recommendations and Comments:
    • Districts often over-identify students for NYSAA.
    • Recommend providing additional guidance for CSE chairpersons on who is eligible and what is meant by severe disability.
    • Strong recommendation that other diploma options be developed for all students not able to pass Regents assessments.
    • Students are concerned that not passing Regents exams will result in teachers losing their jobs.
CAP Accomplishments and Goals
  • During the 2012-13 school year, members received information and provided comment on the following policies:
    • Least restrictive environment (preschool and school age);
    • State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report data, targets and interventions;
    • Special education dispute resolution, including impartial hearing data and the process for mediation in NYS;
    • IEP facilitation;
    • CDOS Commencement Credential; and
    • Changes to NYSAA.
  • Member recommendations regarding the structure of meetings:
    • Establish committees and task groups to work on specific issues between CAP meetings
    • Spotlight a member or two at each meeting and have them discuss activities they are engaged in related to the education of students with disabilities
    • Increased time for discussion around specific topics and suggested the following issues for discussion in 2013-14:
      • School capacity to address needs of students with mental health issues
      • IDEA/Elementary and Secondary Education Act, if scheduled for reauthorization
    • Information on the Common Core Learning Standards and specially designed instruction
    • Student performance on new Common Core 3-8 assessments
      • Multiple diploma options
      • Strategies for engaging students in career planning - presentation on Career Zone
      • Changes in Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Vocational Rehabilitation policies regarding competitive employment for students with disabilities
      • Students with disabilities that are ELLs
      • Violence prevention and bullying
      • Restraint and seclusion
      • Issues related to students in Juvenile Justice system

****Please note that during the 2012-13 school year, the November meeting was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy and the second day of the February meeting was canceled due to a winter storm.

CDOS Credential Staff provided a brief update on the CDOS Credential

Last Updated: December 13, 2013