Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00
At a public meeting of the Manhasset Board of Education on Feb. 7, Allison Rushforth, executive director of district special education programs and services, Jodi Shapiro, assistant director of CPSE (preschool) and elementary special education, and Stewart Grabelsky, assistant director of secondary special education, presented a comprehensive analysis of the district’s special education programs and services. The presentation provided an historical perspective, a thorough summary of the programs and services being provided during 2012-2013, and the anticipated needs for the 2013-2014 school year.
Rushforth highlighted what has been accomplished to date, noting that these accomplishments were building blocks that needed to be further enhanced to meet the needs of the children in 2013-2014; that the individual programs and services are being provided in compliance with the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education in New York State, Part 200 Students with Disabilities; and the importance Federal and State Regulations have, in mandating the members and roles of the Committees for Preschool Education (CPSE) and Special Education (CSE), defining the 13 disabilities or educational classifications, framing the appropriateness of a child’s programs and services, establishing due process procedures, and providing critical elements of a child’s individual educational plan (IEP).
As the New York State Education Department (NYSED) continues to propose and eventually adopt additional regulations to meet the federal requirements of IDEIA 2004, each public school district must evaluate their current policies and procedures or best practices and determine what must be incorporated into existing programs or services. Public school districts do not have the option to say to the State “Not interested.” Manhasset must adhere to the regulations and find a balance between meeting the needs of the children and being fiscally responsible and accountable to the community. This is a delicate balance, Rushforth noted, one that is changing daily and often, many times within a day. The presentation stressed the importance of having accurate student information to help the district project the associated costs of serving the children, working with Manhasset’s staff of teachers, teacher assistants, aides, speech pathologists, school psychologists, school social workers, and administration to implement the full continuum of special education program, services and supports.
The following points were highlighted during the presentation:
Each child is different and has individual needs. Their educational program is developed on an individual basis.
Services are provided to students with disabilities (SWD), ranging in age from 3 years to 21 years. The budget of 2012-2013 was built to service a total of 500 SWD of which 480 SWD were reported as actually receiving services to the NYSED in October 2012.
3. Of the 480 children:
41 are preschoolers, ages 3 and 4 years
439 are school-age children, ages 5 through 21 years
382 or 87 percent of SWD receive their special education programs and/or services in our district schools; Munsey Park, Shelter Rock, and secondary school.
25 or 6 percent of SWD are in CSE out-of-district (OOD) recommended schools; BOCES, other public schools, NYSED approved private schools.
32 or 7 percent of SWD are parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools located within the district’s geographical boundaries: Our Lady of Grace, St. Mary’s Elementary School and St. Mary’s High School.
8 of 51 or 16 percent students classified as Autism are in OOD placements with 84 percent attending in-district programs or parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools.
7 of 9 students classified as emotional disturbance are in OOD placements with 2 students attending in-district programs.
1 of 131 or .7 percent of students classified as learning disability are in OOD placements with 99.3 percent attending in-district schools or parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools.
10 of 29 or 34 percent of students classified as multiple disabilities are in OOD placements with 66 percent attending in-district schools or parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools.
100 percent of students classified as other health impairment are attending in-district schools or parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools.
100 percent of students classified as Speech or Language Impairment are attending in-district schools or parentally placed in one of the three non-public schools.
Shapiro and Grabelsky discussed the continuum of services highlighting the various programs and services within each school.
Rushforth discussed the upcoming 2013-2014 school year, with a focus on the anticipated increase in staff needed to implement the programs and services required as indicated in each child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). She stressed that many of the annual committee meetings have not occurred, and so the projected information in the presentation will continue to fluctuate, until the majority of individual education plans have been finalized. She reminded us that these are children who are always developing and progress each at their own rate.
Rushforth and her staff will continue to look at the needs of the children, adhere to the regulations and as a result will continue to find a balance between providing the essential programs and services for each child, and being fiscally responsible and accountable to the Community. Rushforth stressed that this is a delicate balance, one that is changing daily and often, many times within a day.
Allison Rushforth’s presentation can be found on the district’s website at http://www.manhasset.k12.ny.us/board.cfm?subpage=17077.