Special Education Services

What is Special Education?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Special Education is defined as: "Specially-designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." Special education provides additional services, support, programs, specialized placements or environments to ensure that all students' educational needs are provided for so academic progress can be made. The 13 categories under IDEA include:

  • Autism

  • Deaf or Blindness

  • Developmental Delays

  • Emotional Disturbance

  • Hearing Impairments

  • Intellectual Disability

  • Multiple Disabilities

  • Orthopedic Impairments

  • Other Health Impairments

  • Specific Learning Disabilities

  • Speech and Language Impairments

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Visual Impairments

Who provides special education services?

There are many services available to students that need special assistance. Knowing what services exist and how to access these services is key in helping your child succeed academically and socially. If you suspect that your child has difficulties in any area, start by discussing these concerns with the classroom teacher. It takes an entire team of professionals to provide both regular and special education services. Your child will receive the best education possible when all educational professionals work together.

Special education teachers have specialized training to work with students who have learning, behavioral, emotional, and/or physical disabilities. A special education teacher primarily works with students who qualify for special education assistance. Special educators work in a variety of settings depending on the needs of their students. Some special educators have their own classroom (e.g., resource room), pull the students out of their regular classroom, and assist them at particular times during the school day with their individual learning needs. Others may work in the regular education classroom with the general education teacher to support the students with special needs. Some special educators have a group of students with more complex behavioral, emotional, learning, or physical disabilities in a “self-contained” classroom. These students’ needs are greater and may require the assistance of additional qualified teachers and assistants. Regardless of the setting, all of the special educator’s students have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a highly trained professional who evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty with speech or language. Although people often think of speech and language as the same thing, the terms actually have very different meanings. If your child has trouble with speech, he/ she struggles with the “how-to” of talking—the coordination of the muscles and movements necessary to produce speech. If your child has trouble with language, he/she struggles with understanding what he/she hears or sees. Your child may struggle to find the right words and/or organize those words in a meaningful way to communicate a message or hold a conversation.

An occupational therapist (OT) is a highly trained medical professional who evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty participating in meaningful activities (or “occupations”) relevant to their daily lives. Although many people often think of “occupation” as work or a job, occupation can mean any activity a person engages in. This can include self-care, play and leisure activities, and work. For a child, “work” often involves playing, learning, and going to school. Children make up a large part of the population receiving OT services. Treatment often focuses on improving a child's development in the areas of fine motor skills (e.g., stringing beads, cutting with scissors, buttoning buttons), play skills, social skills, and self-care skills (e.g., dressing, bathing, grooming, and feeding).

The physical therapist (PT) is a professional specially trained to work on motor (physical movement) and neuromuscular difficulties. When a child experiences difficulty performing everyday activities, the PT finds ways to accommodate the child’s physical difficulties so that the task may be completed. PTs help children regain movement, function, and independence in daily activities. A PT often works with individuals who have been severely injured to help increase their range of movement.

The school psychologist is professionally trained in psychology, education, mental health, child development, learning styles/processes, and effective teaching. He/she works on creating connections between the school and home environment. School psychologists also administer cognitive and achievement tests to children in order to help determine eligibility for special education services. School Psychologists, along with school counselors, provide training in social skills, provide crisis management, and promote healthy school environments.

A school counselor helps children who have emotional or behavioral challenges. These difficulties can be due to a traumatic brain injury, depression, impulsiveness, or hyperactivity. When these problems affect a student’s ability to function in school and maintain relationships with teachers and peers, a counselor may intervene.

How are services for students with disabilities delivered?

The Ogdensburg City School District offers a variety of programs and services for students with disabilities. These services are provided to district residents at no cost and in the least restrictive environment upon the recommendation of the Committee on Special Education and with the approval of the Board of Education. These services are available to pupils with disabilities through the end of the school year during which their 21st birthday occurs, or until a regular high school diploma has been attained, whichever shall occur first. A description of each of the Special Education Program options prioritized from least restrictive to more restrictive follows.

Transitional Support Services (Declassified with Support)

Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Special Education, this service may be provided to a student with a disability who is making the transition into a totally general education program. Its goal is to provide support to a youngster who no longer requires special education services, while monitoring the progress of the student during the transitional period. This support may be provided to the student's regular education teacher as the child makes the transition to a general education program. Each student is assigned to a certified special education teacher for this purpose. The student’s progress is reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis, usually at the conclusion of each marking period. It is a temporary service which, when successful, leads to the declassification of the student. A student is eligible for this service at any age or grade level.

Related Services Only

Related services means developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as required to assist a student with a disability and includes speech-language pathology, audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling services, orientation and mobility services, medical services as defined in this section, parent counseling and training, school health services, assistive technology services, appropriate access to recreation, including therapeutic recreation, other appropriate developmental or corrective support services, and other appropriate support services and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in students.

Related services currently provided in district include psychological services, speech and language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, audiological and visually Impaired services, assistive technology services, counseling services and parent counseling and training.

Consultant Teacher

Consultant teacher services shall be for the purpose of providing direct and/or indirect services to students with disabilities who attend general education classes and/or to such students’ general education teachers. Such services shall be recommended by the Committee on Special Education to meet the specific needs of a student with a disability. The student's individualized education program (IEP) shall indicate the general education classes in which the student will receive consultant teacher services.

Consultant Teacher in combination with Resource Room

To meet the needs of a student who could benefit from both consultant teacher and resource room services, but who don’t need two hours of consultant teacher and three hours of resource room services, a combined program of 3 hours (minimum) may be recommended.

Resource Room

Resource room services are supplemental in nature and are designed to assist students in remediation skill deficits and in dealing more effectively with assignments from their general education classes. These services consist of identification and diagnostic assessment and small group and/or individualized instruction in basic academic skills, oral and written language, study and organizational skills. Encouragement and emotional support are also provided. Ongoing consultation with general education classroom teachers is an integral part of these services in both meeting educational needs as well as in helping students develop basic skills and competency in content areas. The service may be provided using both a pull-out and push-in model, although it is predominantly provided using a pull-out model.

Special Class (Self-Contained)

Special class means a class consisting of students with disabilities who have been grouped together because of similar individual needs for the purpose of being provided primary instruction through specially designed instruction.

Students may be in a special class for only part of the day (i.e. during math or reading) or for the entire day. Depending on the needs of the students and the level of support needed to progress academically, the district may contract with BOCES or private school to provide services at this level.

What is Preschool Special Education?

The New York State Education Department (SED), Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) oversees a statewide preschool special education program with school districts, municipalities, approved providers and parents. Evaluations and specially planned individual or group instructional services or programs are provided to eligible children who have a disability that affects their learning. Funding for these special education programs and services is provided by municipalities and the State.

How will I know if my preschool-age child needs special education?

If your child received early intervention services as an infant or toddler up to age three, and may still need special education, your service coordinator will assist you with transition planning and making a referral to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

If your preschool-age child (3-5 years old) did not receive early intervention services, but has some delays or lags in development such as difficulty in talking, moving around, thinking, or learning or is facing physical or behavioral challenges — you, or professionals who know your child, may make a referral to the chairperson of your school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) who will assist you in completing the referral process.

The CPSE must include: the parent of the child, a regular education teacher (if the child is or may be participating in the regular education environment), a special education teacher or related service provider, a representative of the local school district who serves as the chairperson of the CPSE, an individual who can interpret evaluation results, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the child, an additional parent member (unless the parent(s) of the child request that this person not participate), and a licensed or certified professional from the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program (for a child in transition from the Early Intervention Program). A certified or licensed preschool representative from the municipality must be notified of scheduled meetings; however, the CPSE meetings can be held whether or not the municipal representative attends.

What is the evaluation process?

When your child is referred to the CPSE, you will be given a list of agencies approved by the State Education Department to provide preschool special education evaluations. You will be asked to select one of the approved evaluators, and then sign a consent form for your child to be evaluated at no cost to you or your family.

The CPSE will also give you a copy of the due process procedural safeguards notice. If your child's evaluation is not timely or, if you disagree with the evaluation results or the recommendation of the CPSE, you have the right to ask for an independent evaluation, mediation or an impartial hearing.

A copy of the evaluation report, including a summary of the evaluation, will be provided to you and to other CPSE members. You will be asked to meet with them to talk about the evaluation results.

If the CPSE finds your child is not eligible for special education programs and/or services, you will be given the reasons for the decision in writing.

How will my child receive special education programs and services?

If your child has a disability that may be affecting his or her learning, the CPSE will find your child to be an eligible "preschool student with a disability.” The CPSE will also recommend the program or services to meet your child’s individual needs and where they will be provided.

If your child is an eligible preschool student with a disability, you and the other CPSE members will write an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child that will list the recommended services to be provided, how often, and for how long. The recommendations will be forwarded to your local school district Board of Education for approval.

Most children with disabilities can receive the special education services they need in settings with their non-disabled peers. They also should participate in developmentally appropriate activities. The CPSE must consider how to provide the services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), where your child can learn close to your home with other children of the same age who do not have disabilities. Services may be provided at an approved or licensed pre-kindergarten or Head Start program, the work-site of a provider, the student's home, a hospital, a state facility or a child care location.

What programs or services will my child receive?

If approved by the school district, arrangements will be made for your eligible child to receive one or more of the following special education programs and/or services recommended by the CPSE including, but not limited to:

  • Related Services

  • Speech Therapy (ST)

  • Occupational Therapy (OT)

  • Physical Therapy (PT)

  • Assistive technology

  • Parent education

  • Counseling

Programs Approved by SED (State Education Department)

Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) - a special education teacher works with a child in a setting recommended by the CPSE.

Special Class in an Integrated Setting (SCIS) - a class with preschool students with and without disabilities.

Special Class (SC) - a class with only children with disabilities.

How will I know that my child is making progress?

When you and the CPSE write your child's IEP, you will decide how and when you will be informed of your child's progress.

Progress can be reported by regular phone calls from the teacher or service provider, notes and comments in a shared notebook or formal progress reports which tells how your child is progressing toward IEP goals and whether your child is expected to meet the goals on the IEP by the date planned. Progress reports must be provided at least as often as they are for children in a regular program.

State law and regulation require that your child's IEP be reviewed at least once a year. If needed, you, the school district's CPSE, or the preschool program provider may also ask for a meeting to discuss or review your child's program anytime during the school year.

How will my child get to special education programs and services?

When the CPSE is planning programs and/or services for your child, they must also consider your child's transportation needs, including the need for specialized transportation.

If recommended by the CPSE, transportation will be provided by the county — once daily from the home or another child care location to the special service or program, and returning once daily from the special service or program to the home or other child care location — up to 50 miles from the child care location.

Parents may be reimbursed for transporting their own child if the CPSE recommends transportation.

Transportation will not be provided at public expense if the CPSE recommends special education itinerant teacher services or related services in the child’s home or another child care setting which the parent has arranged.

Committee on Special Education (CSE)

What is the Committee on Special Education (CSE)?

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) is a multidisciplinary team that is responsible for students with disabilities from ages 5-21. The CSE is authorized to identify students in need of services by determining eligibility, developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), placing the student in the least restrictive environment in which they can succeed and provide appropriate services to meet the child's educational needs. The team meets at least annually to review a child's IEP and determine program from that point forward. Parents are encouraged to participate in each step of the process.

The committee members are appointed annually by and responsible to the Board of Education, hold meetings on a regular basis to respond to initial referrals, amendment requests and process required annual review meetings. The District is committed to identifying children with disabilities and providing necessary, appropriate services and support within the least restrictive environment.

Will I be notified of the CSE Meetings?

You will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of the meeting. The letter will also inform you as to who is expected to attend the meeting.

Should I bring someone with me to the meeting?

Parents may choose to bring anyone they wish to the meeting.

Who should I expect to be invited to the CSE meeting?

The CSE members include:

  • You, the parent or guardian of the student

  • The district's CSE Chairperson

  • A school psychologist

  • A parent member

  • Your child's general education teacher

  • Your child's special education teacher or service provider

  • An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results

  • The student, when appropriate

How long will my child need Special Education?

Children's needs are unique, and every child's rate of progress differs. The CSE reviews the progress of all classified children annually to assure that their programs remain appropriate, and to make necessary modifications. Changes in services can be considered at any time during the school year. Should the need arise, you, your child's teacher or service provider, may request a CSE meeting at any time to review the appropriateness of special education services.

When will my child be reevaluated?

Every 3 years children who receive special education services are reevaluated to determine individual needs and continuing eligibility for special education services. This evaluation was previously called a "triennial." The reevaluation does not necessarily require that your child be retested. In some cases, current educational information, teacher conferences, parent conferences, observations and a review of records provides the required information needed for the CSE to recommend services. You will be notified in writing when your child is scheduled to be reevaluated and you will be requested to give your written consent.

What is declassification?

Students who no longer require services are declassified. The process entails a full evaluation, written reports, and a CSE meeting. It is a CSE decision and not an individual decision.

Students who are declassified are often provided with declassification accommodations. These include, but are not limited to testing accommodations and program modifications. Students who still require more in depth services, but no longer qualify for CSE services, are referred to the school's 504 Committee.

What is an Annual Review?

A student's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is reviewed at least once each year. This is the Annual Review. A Committee on Special Education (CSE) is convened to review and discuss the student's progress for the past year and to make plans for the coming year. A child's parents, teachers, and service providers are invited to the meeting.

Educators are required to submit written reports with both anecdotal information and discrete data. Summer is part of the next school year. It is at this time that Extended School Year (ESY) services are discussed and possibly added to the IEP.

What is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a legal document. The components are mandated by Federal and State law. Included in the document are demographic information; attendees at meetings; the student's strengths, weaknesses, and needs; services; goals and objectives; program modifications; testing accommodations; standardized test scores; participation in general education, etc. The plan is created at the CSE meeting.

All educators who work with the child must adhere to the IEP. They are to have access to the IEP. There is legislation that is mandating that all of a child's educators be provided with a copy of the IEP. Access is provided only to those who work with the child. Providers must maintain IEPs in secured and locked places.

Where can I find information about my rights as a parent of a child with a disability?

As a parent, you are a vital member of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) in New York State. The CSE/CPSE is responsible for developing recommendations for special education programs and services for your child. You must be given an opportunity to participate in the CSE/CPSE discussion and decision-making process about your child’s needs for special education. The procedural safeguards describe your legal rights under federal and State law to be informed about and involved in the special education process and to make sure that your child receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE). A copy of the procedural safeguards can be found on our website.

What is a 504 Plan?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Some students who do not require special education services may receive accommodations, special instruction, or related services under Section 504 and ADA, consistent with the district’s policy against discrimination on the basis of disability. The Director of Special Education serves as the district’s Section 504 Coordinator.

If you believe your child may have an impairment needing services via a 504 Accommodation Plan, please contact your child's building principal, teacher or counselor to arrange a parent conference to discuss your concerns.

What is a 504 Plan?

504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child with a disability, identified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will provide access to the learning environment. The document assures compliance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and is developed by a team of individuals that may consist of the student with a disability (if appropriate), the student's parent(s)/guardian(s), the student's teacher(s), the student's counselor, and the 504 coordinator.

504 Plans are beneficial to both students and teachers. They help ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations. They provide educators with information about the specific needs of their students with disabilities and practical strategies that they can incorporate into their lesson planning.

Examples of accommodations include but are not limited to wheelchair-accessible facilities, adjustable-height tables, large-print reading materials, and increased time to complete assignments and tests.

How is a student considered for a 504 plan?

A student with a physical disability ,emotional disability or who has an impairment (i.e. Attention Deficit Disorder) that restricts one or more major life activities that is negatively impacting their ability to learn can be referred to the 504 committee for possible evaluation.

What are examples of "major life activities"?

Major life activities include caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.

What is the process for placing a student on a 504 plan?

There are essentially four steps:

  • Student is referred by teacher, support staff, parent/legal guardian, physician, or therapist

  • A 504 plan meeting is held and eligibility determined (based on evaluation results, educational history, etc.)

  • If eligible, a plan for the student is developed

  • A review date is set

Who is involved in the process?

The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, 504 Coordinator, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting.

What accommodations might be included in the 504 plan?

A child's seat assignment accommodates a disability. A diabetic child may be permitted to eat in the classroom. A child may be permitted to go to the health office for the administration of medication. A student's assignments or testing conditions may be adjusted (i.e. extensions of time, modification of test questions).

CSE Department 

315-393-0900 Ext. 31904

Director of Special Education 

Ms. Rebecca Fenlong (rfenlong@ogdensburgk12.org)

Special Education Secretary

Ms. Desiree Charleston (dcharleston@ogdensburgk12.org)

Special Education Secretary

Ms. Jessica Huto (jhuto@ogdensburgk12.org)


NYSED Procedural Safeguards Notice

NYSAA Eligibility


ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

AIS: Academic Intervention Services

APE: Adapted Physical Education

ASL: American Sign Language

BIP: Behavioral Intervention Plan

BOCES: Board of Cooperative Educational Services

BOE: Board of Education

CPSE: Committee on Preschool Special Education

CSE: Committee on Special Education

DOH: Department of Health

ECDC: Early Childhood Direction Center

EI: Early Intervention

ESY: Extended School Year

FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA: Functional Behavioral Assessment

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

IAES: Interim Alternative Educational Setting

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEE: Independent Educational Evaluation

IEP: Individualized Education Program

IST: Instructional Support Team

LEP: Limited English Proficient

LRE: Least Restrictive Environment

NYSAA: New York State Alternate Assessment

NYSED: New York State Education Department

OMH: Office of Mental Health

OMRDD: Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

OT: Occupational Therapy

PE: Physical Education

PSO: Post School Outcome

PT: Physical Therapy

RCT: Regents Competency Test

RIC: Regional Information Center

RSSC: Regional School Support Center

SAVE: Schools Against Violence in Education

SED: State Education Department SRO State Review Officer

STAC: System for Tracking and Accounting of Children

Sub CSE: Subcommittee on Special Education

SWD: Student with a Disability

TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury

VESID: Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities