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GN Public School Special Education District Plan, 2009-2011

Every two years, according to law, the Great Neck Public Schools must review and revise special education procedures. Currently, with the recent reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and changes resulting from both state and federal laws, the school district’s special education policies and procedures did indeed need review and revision. The district’s plan for 2009 to 2011 was presented at the Board of Education’s Sept. 14 meeting, with Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Pupil Services Dennis Ryan reviewing the plan.

The plan, entitled “Special Education District Plan: District Policies, Practices, and Procedures for Assuring Appropriate Educational Services and Due Process in the Evaluation and Placement of Students With Disabilities, is a 140-page plan. Dr. Ryan presented an overview. The plan “covers everything” according to Dr. Ryan.

Dr. Ryan noted that there are a few changes in the plan this year. He said that RTI (Response to Institutions) will address “engaging” the special education population and the general education population. Also, the plan will address attendance at the CSE (committee on special education) meetings.

Dr. Ryan reported that the plan shows great strides in reading and math. Scientific research will show exactly what is going on.

The budget is also looked at in the plan. The cost of the co-teaching plan in the elementary schools is addressed in the plan.

The SEAL program was also discussed, and is included in the two-year special education district plan. This relatively new program offers special individualized, customized programs for students with special needs.

Dr. Ryan spoke of community, and school district, support for special education students, stating “how fortunate we are to be in a community like this.” He made a special point of also thanking not just the Board of Education, but also the principals and the teachers, as well as the Special Education PTA (SEPTA).

Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz emphasized that the school district “looks to be sure the needs of all of our students are being met … we are always concerned and always take another look …”

Since this is a two-year plan, it will be reviewed again in two years.