Special Education

Free Appropriate Public Education

Students with disabilities will receive a free appropriate public education within their least environment within the learning format that families select. Families will have the opportunity to choose virtual learning for their children or a hybrid model that includes in-person and virtual instruction. For both in-person and virtual instruction, students with disabilities will receive their special education and related services as documented within their Individualized Education Program. Students will receive the accommodations, modifications, and supplementary aids and services including assistive technology documented within their IEP for both in-person and virtual instruction. 

In-district students with disabilities in grades K-8 whose families elect in-person instruction will have all special education and related services delivered using a four day model. Students will receive all special education services, related services, accommodations, and modifications within in-person and virtual instruction. The fifth day will be reserved for teachers to plan for instruction, both in-person and virtual, and allow for direct contact with students whose families elect solely virtual instruction while also providing virtual instruction to students who are onsite four days per week. 

In-district students with disabilities in grades 9-12 who receive consultant teacher services, resource room, and/or related services will receive a hybrid model of instruction with two days of in-person instruction and two-days of virtual instruction. Students will receive all special education services, related services, accommodations, and modifications within in-person and virtual instruction. The fifth day will be reserved for teachers to plan for instruction, both in-person and virtual, and allow for direct contact with students whose families elect only virtual instruction. In addition to specially designing instruction as indicated on students’ IEPs, special education teachers will provide targeted executive functioning skills and support to students during the in-person and virtual days so that students can more effectively access virtual instruction, which can require increased autonomy and organizational skills. Additionally, based on individual schedules, students will have the opportunity to work with their special education teacher with in-person learning two days per week that are designated their virtual days in order to support students who prefer and thrive with in-person instruction. 

In-district students with disabilities in grades 9-12 who require special class and whose families elect hybrid instruction will have all special education and related services delivered using a four day model instead of the hybrid model being used for students in the general education setting in order to maximize learning opportunities. Providing students in special classes with increased time for in-person learning, for families who select this model, will provide students with the increased in-person experience that many families have requested.  Students will receive all special education services, related services, accommodations, and modifications within in-person and virtual instruction. The fifth day will be reserved for teachers to plan for instruction, for both in-person and virtual and will also provide for targeted time for direct contact with students whose families elect only virtual instruction.

Wednesdays will be reserved for educators to work directly with students who are engaged through only a virtual format as well as provide virtual instruction to students who are engaged in the hybrid model. Additionally, the time will ensure collaboration and co-planning between special education teachers, English as New Language teachers, related service providers, and general education teachers in order to maximize learning for all students and individualize learning for students who are receiving in-person, virtual, or hybrid instruction. This focused time will allow teachers to prepare for instruction to both move students forward and to fill any gaps that may have resulted from emergency school closure in March 2020. Additionally, teachers will develop individualized instruction to meet students’ academic, social, emotional and physical needs that honors possible increased difficulties after the interrupted instruction from the 2019-2020 school year. 

All students are provided with a Chromebook to support virtual and hybrid instruction. Additionally, devices are formatted with any needed assistive technology in order to allow all learners to access instruction. Support has been provided and will continue to be provided to families who need support accessing wifi. 

Students in out of district placements will continue to receive instruction in the setting that was determined to be the least restrictive setting by the Committee on Special Education for each child. Regular communication with families, providers, agencies, and the school district will occur to ensure a common understanding of each child’s strengths, needs, and response to the instructional format the provider is able to provide within the family’s selection. This is the population that requires special transportation, as students who attend East Rochester UFSD walk to school. Regular communication occurs with the Director of Pupil Personnel Services and  East Irondequoit School District’s Transportation Director to ensure that students’ needs are met and that state guidance is followed so that students are spaced at least six feet apart and that buses are loaded and unloaded to eliminate students walking past other students who are seated. 

Health and Safety
Safety of students with disabilities and the staff who work with them is paramount. For in-district students, there are not currently any students with disabilities enrolled who require supports which require a high degree of physical contact (feeding, feeding tubes, toileting, etc.). Should a student enroll, an individual plan will be developed to ensure student and staff safety. Additionally, no in-district students have physical restraint as a component of the IEP so social distancing measures and PPE, which is available to all students and staff on a daily basis, will ensure safety. Should a student move to the district with physical restraint as part of the educational program and deemed that the least restrictive environment is the home school district, the student’s Individual Care Management Plan will be updated to reflect additional safety measures for students and staff based on expected student behavior. 

Committee on Special Education and Committee on Preschool Special Education/Family Communication
Meaningful family partnership and collaboration is an essential element of developing a child’s Individualized Education Program.  Therefore, Committee on Special Education and Committee on Preschool Education meetings will continue to function with phone or video-conferences based on family preference or through in-person meetings with social/physical distancing measures intact. 

For students in out of district programs, ongoing communication with providers, programs, and families will continue to determine the appropriate level of service for each individual student aligned with the family’s preference for in-person, virtual, or hybrid instruction. 

For preschoolers with disabilities, ongoing communication with agencies, providers, and families will continue in order to determine the appropriate level of service for each individual student aligned with what the provider can safely provide along with the family’s preference for in-person, virtual, or hybrid instruction. 

CSE and CPSE will convene, as needed, to determine compensatory services based on student need.

In addition to teacher and related service provider communication with families, measurable annual goals will be updated and mailed home at the same regular interval as report cards. If a student is not making expected progress, CSE or CPSE will reconvene to determine appropriate adjustments to special education programming, related services, supplementary aids and services, program modifications, accommodations, assistive technology, supports for school personnel on behalf of the student, test accommodations, etc. need to be made in order to provide the student with a free appropriate public education. Consideration will be given to adjust plans if unanticipated needs arise due to the student’s disability and format of learning instruction elected by the family.