Special Education

Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
November 7-8, 2013 - Comfort Inn and Suites, East Greenbush, New York
Meeting Notes (PDF PDF document- 226 KB)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Welcome and Get Organized
  • Introduction of new and existing members
  • Reviewed by-laws, agenda and packets
  • Reviewed dates and times for the remaining CAP meetings which are also held on Thursdays (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Fridays (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.).  The scheduled dates are:
    • February 6 and 7, 2014
    • May 29 and 30, 2014 
Minutes A motion to accept the May 2013 minutes was made and seconded.
Motion approved: Minutes approved
Election of Officers
  • Chairperson was appointed – Edward Escobar
  • Members voted and elected vice chairperson and secretary – Yvonne Sinisgalli as vice chairperson and Robin Hickey as secretary
Public Comment Members provided comment regarding the following:
  • Common Core Learning Standards(CCLS)/Assessment and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)
    • Teachers and parents are frustrated. Important to determine just what is causing frustration.
    • Pacing, timing and materials are not meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
    • Ongoing communication between teachers and parents is important.
  • Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)
    • Confusion regarding purpose
    • Many students in teacher preparation programs are not prepared for assessments
    • Concerns regarding videotaping of students – no consent forms for parents to sign to allow student to be part of the video
  • Hesitancy to take on student teachers
    • Districts hesitate to take on student teachers due to edTPA and APPR
  • SED will invite a representative from SEDs Office of Higher Education to come to meeting to discuss edTPA.  
  • CAP members  provide data to SED staff regarding difficulty with placing student teachers
Information Sharing CAP Members shared information on the following:
    • Increase in the number of homeless students in NYS
    • Implementation of the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential in their districts
    • Concerns regarding changes around General Educational Development (GED)
    • Increase in shared services across districts
    • Compliance issues with 504 in Charter schools
    • Navigating multiple systems project
Discussion with Assistant Commissioner SED Leadership provided information and responded to member questions regarding:
  • Assessments for students with disabilities
    • Consideration of an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver application focused on assessing small percentage of students with significant disabilities (other than those eligible for the alternate assessment) at instructional rather than chronological age level.
    • Majority of members voted in favor of proposal to align instruction and assessments for a limited number of children given criteria specified
    • CCLS and SED’s plan to support instruction for students with disabilities.  Members recommend the following:
      • Implementation of response to intervention (RtI) and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) with fidelity.
      • Ensuring teachers are aware they can modify materials; teachers feel they do not have permission to do that with modules.
      • Providing concise resource regarding scaffolding for each curriculum module
      • Reviewing vendor products to determine necessary changes needed to be made regarding scaffolding.
      • Ensuring individualized education program (IEP) goals are developed in alignment with common core.
      • Requiring special educators to be part of each network team training.
      • Developing resources for parents (what common core is, what child will learn, how common core will enhance learning for a student with a disability; new vocabulary associated with standards)
      • Establishing groups for parents to learn about common core.
      • Providing parents where English is a second language with information on the common core. 
      • Guidance for parents of what to ask at Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings specific to common core and supports for students with disabilities.
      • Provide parent strategies to deal with frustrated students.
      • Develop training for our parent centers to deliver to field and post on EngageNY
      • Teach teachers about how to talk to parents to help them understand about common core.
State Policy
  • SED staff reviewed recently adopted and proposed regulatory changes
    • Committee on Preschool Special Education: Additional Parent Member
    • Justice Center
    • Impartial Hearing Officer procedures
    • Preschool
  • SED staff provided information on issues the Office of Special Education will be addressing this year and in the future.
    • Preschool Special Education
    • Increased access for students with disabilities to career and technical education
    • Common Core and students with disabilities
    • Implementation of the CDOS Commencement Credential
    • Development of a Youth Panel
    • Technical assistance initiatives related to students with learning disabilities and those with emotional disabilities
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution
Preschool Initiatives SED staff provided information and responded to member questions on Preschool least restrictive environment (LRE); preschool outcomes and State oversight of preschool providers.  
Affordable Care Act CAP member provided information and responded to member questions on the New York State Department of Health (Affordable Care Act) related to medical homes and reviewed terminology related to medical homes; discussed benefits to and challenges associated with medical homes.  

Friday, November 8, 2013
Youth Employment Services
  • A representative from Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) provided information and responded to member questions regarding ACCES-VR Youth Initiatives
  • Members recommend the following:
    • Increased district outreach to parents at CSE meetings regarding VR
    • Increased information (brochures) to districts, teachers and parents about VR services.
    • Ensure districts have contact information for VR
    • Increased information about incentives for employer to hire individuals with disabilities
    • Increased collaboration with VR counselors and school guidance counselors: provide stipend to school guidance counselors to coordinate this collaboration.
    • Include information in CSE Chairperson training on VR services
Transformation Agreement
  • An Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) representative provided information and responded to member questions regarding OPWDD’s transformation agreement and NYS’ Olmstead Plan.
    • Focus is on providing supports for increased integration of individuals with disabilities
    • 126,000 people served by OPWDD; approximately 10,000 in supported employment; remainder in day programs
    • March 2013 agreement between OPWDD and Center for Medicaid Services to:
      • close institutions;
      • empower individuals with disabilities to make decisions about self; and
      • increase number of individuals with disabilities in competitive employment.
  • Goals include:
    • April 1, 2014 – 700 new people in competitive employment.
    • July 1, 2014 – no new admissions to workshops.
    • Sheltered workshops closed in 6 years
  • Members recommended the following:
    • Ensure parents are aware of these changes; work with parent-teacher associations; Parent to Parent and NYS Parent Centers.
    • Ensure parents are initially directed to most appropriate system for their child; understand entitlement verses eligibility; and discuss employment with their child early on
    • Identify strategies and develop other options to address needs of those with severe disabilities, behavioral issues, and significant health needs for whom integrated employment may not be viable
    • Increase focus on benefits planning, transportation and collaboration with business
Day Treatment Program Models
  • SED staff provided information and responded to member questions regarding day treatment redesign and plan to have recommendations by Spring 2014
  • Members expressed the following concerns:
    • Some students who would benefit from day treatment are not receiving these services.
    • Many districts do not have the staff or level of training necessary to provide appropriate services.
    • Lack of psychiatric services
  • Members recommended the following:
    • Identifying components of day treatment that are successful
    • Increased strategies for addressing complexity of student needs including:
      • integrating mental health supports into district programs;
      • supports for transitioning students back home; and
      • development of wrap around services
  • Educating primary care doctors about mental health issues.
2013-14 Yearly Plan
  • Members suggested the following issues for discussion in 2013-14:
    • School capacity to address needs of students with mental health issues
    • Information on where we are as a State in terms of inclusion
    • Higher Education Teacher Preparation Credentialing
    • Information on the CCLS and specially designed instruction
    • Student performance on new Common Core 3-8 assessments
    • Multiple diploma options
    • Impact of changes to GED
    • Update on policies related to students with disabilities that are English language learners
    • Violence prevention and bullying
    • Restraint and seclusion
    • Issues related to students in Juvenile Justice system
    • Member recommendations regarding the structure of meetings:
      • Establish committees and task groups to work on specific issues between CAP meetings: transition, preschool, higher education, professional development
      • 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
Last Updated: February 28, 2014