Enrollment of Youth Released from Residential Placements
December 21, 2000
TO: District Superintendents
Superintendents of Schools
FROM: James R. Butterworth
SUBJECT: Enrollment of Youth Released from Residential Placements
At their December meeting, the Board of Regents amended section 100.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner by adding a new subdivision (ff) as an emergency action in order to comply with the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) legislation. Attached are the Regents materials that include the text of this amendment. This new regulation is effective for purposes of compliance as of January 1, 2001. Unlike most of the other provisions of the SAVE legislation, this requirement does not stipulate that compliance will not be expected until July 1, 2001. Consequently, you will soon be expected to facilitate the prompt enrollment of these students by implementing the duties outlined in the regulation. It is important that you have a basic understanding of the regulation and take some initial actions. When youth are released or conditionally released from residential facilities operated by or under contract with the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities or a local department of social services, the board of education and the superintendent must assure that school personnel:
- Cooperate with facilities and agencies to facilitate prompt enrollment and admission;
- Request educational records from the school attended; and
- Implement, where applicable, the educational plan submitted to the Family Court.
- Inform school personnel – Initially, it is important for school building administrators, pupil personnel service professionals and staff involved in enrollment or registration to be aware of these new requirements. These individuals would, in the majority of cases, be the first point of contact. Eventually, all school staff should be aware of these provisions which are intended to ensure timely and appropriate transition and educational programming for these students.
- Identify liaisons – The regulation does not limit the number of individuals that can be identified by the district to facilitate prompt enrollment. The role of the liaison is critical not only to coordination of the initial enrollment, but also to successful integration within the school environment.
- Develop polices and procedures – It is important that a consistent approach be articulated and implemented. Such an approach would assure that all students are treated consistently and would go a long way to ensure prompt enrollment. Procedures could include collection of data to determine effectiveness.
- Recognize the challenge of transition – Welcoming and social support are essential to facilitate school adjustment and academic performance for these students. The intent of this provision of the SAVE legislation is to address problems these students have experienced with enrollment, as well as with successful school progress and completion. Adolescents entering a new school setting are confronted with multiple transition challenges. In particular, these students are coming from residential placements that are usually highly structured and feature low staff to student ratios. They must now adjust to a new social milieu and school population. Although prompt enrollment is the initial goal, schools must also identify a range of supportive strategies that will help these students become truly connected to the school community.
I hope that this memo will help you to comply with this provision of the SAVE legislation. If you have any questions, please contact the following staff:
Gregory Bayduss – Adult, Family & Alternative Education (518) 486-7327
Patricia Gray – VESID Special Education Policy Development (518) 473-2878
John Soja – Health & Pupil Services (518) 486-6090