FAQs

ALTERNATE ASSESSMENT

Q: How do I know if my child participates in New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA)? 
A: Your child participates in the NYSAA this school year if page 9 of your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) indicates that "The student will participate in Alternative Assessment" and your child is born during the time designated by the State Education Department. 

Q: Who makes the decision regarding who participates in the NYSAA? 
A: The Committee on Special Education (CSE), including the student, when appropriate, and the student's parents/family/guardians, makes this decision. The CSE has specific criteria or rules to use in making this decision. These criteria are listed in the Department of Education's Division of Assessment and Accountability Memorandum # 3, 2001-2002. This memorandum is available in your child's school.


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ARTS EDUCATION

Q: In District 75, who teaches my child the arts? 
A: District 75 combines the resources of Special Education Teachers; Arts Teachers who are specialists in Visual Art, Music, Dance, or Drama; Paraprofessionals; Visiting Artists who lead artists in residencies; as well as occupational and physical therapists who collaborate with arts specialists. District 75 provides ongoing professional development for arts specialists, classroom teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators on effective practices in arts educations, particularly for students with disabilities. Project ARTS and Arts Restoration throughout the Schools provides resources to bring in arts specialists with high levels of artistic excellence and experience to work with students in all of our schools. 

Q: How do I know what my child is doing in the arts?
A: The best way to find out about your child's work is to ensure that they keep a portfolio of their work. The Office of Arts Education and The Office of Technology Solutions share resources to ensure that more and more teachers know how to use digital imaging to record your child's work and work-in-progress.


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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Q: What are the Assistive Technology Evaluation Units at the Department of Education?

  1. Technology Solutions at District 75
  2. Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) at the Office of Related and Contractual Services (ORCS)

Q: How do I know which team to contact if I would like to request an evaluation?
Technology Solutions is responsible for evaluating students that are:

  • Serviced by District 75 school sites (citywide programs)
  • Hearing and/or visually impaired and are serviced by D75 related service providers
  • On home instruction
  • In hospital schools.

The Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) at ORCS is responsible for evaluating students (exclusive of those determined to have vision or hearing impairments) that are:

  1. In community school district programs:
    a. In general education
    b. In special education
  2. Preschool students.

Q: How do I request an Assistive Technology Evaluation from Technology Solutions?
Please refer to the D75 AT Referral Procedure.

The referral procedure for Educational Vision Services (EVS) students may also be activated in SESIS by filling out the Referral form for AT/Vision.

Q: I am unsure if my student should be referred to Technology Solutions or to the CAT team. What should I do?
A: To find out if your student is serviced under District 75 or not, look at the student’s Profile page in SESIS. If the “School Name” begins with “75” followed by the actual number/name of the school, this student is under District 75. These students should be referred to Technology Solutions. If you do not see the “75” designation before the School Name, then they are serviced by the Regional School Program (also known as the Community School District) and should be referred to the CAT Team.

Q: My student is hearing/visually impaired, but I don't see District 75 on the first page of the IEP or in the Profile page in SESIS. What should I do?
A: Not all students with hearing and visual impairments are serviced through District 75. Minor vision deficits and minor hearing loss do not always require services through EVS. Students with FM Units are not always hearing impaired. If a student has an FM Unit for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, they are not hearing impaired and are most likely serviced through the Community School District. Referral should then be to the CAT team.

Students with vision or hearing impairments that attend 4201 or state-funded schools would receive their technology as part of the school program. Additional equipment above and beyond what the school provides would be the responsibility of the service district or region.

Q: Who is allowed to refer student's for Assistive Technology Evaluations?
A: The request for an Assistive Technology Evaluation may be made by school staff, parents, guardians, or any other concerned party. However, the therapist would need to fill out the document in SESIS to request for the evaluation. If a therapist receives a request from a parent or other parties, they should discuss this with them and collaboratively submit the request.

Q: I have completed the appropriate evaluation referral in SESIS. Do I need to include anything else with the completed referral form?
A. YES, if the student’s IEP is still paper form (not yet in SESIS), you must fax into SESIS the Page 1, 3, and 5 of the IEP (Please refer to the D75 AT
Referral Procedure).
NO, if the student’s IEP is in SESIS already. However, it is imperative that you have sent the appropriate notifications in SESIS including a message to Karen Gorman indicating the referral is ready for review. If you do not hear back from Technology Solutions in a few weeks, please send an email to
Karen Gorman. If you have followed the process correctly. The referral will be reviewed and will either be approved or disapproved. Your School Psychologist will be able to look up the status of the referral in SESIS to let you know. If approved, the evaluator assigned will contact you to set up an appointment for an evaluation or, if appropriate, give you special instructions on the next steps to be taken.

Q: Where do I send the completed referral packet?
A: For District 75 and Regional students, all referrals are now completed and submitted in SESIS. No mail-in referrals will be accepted unless there are additional circumstances that warrant this. Referrals may be submitted by the therapist, School Psychologist, or CSE.

Q: What happens after the Assistive Technology Evaluation occurs?
A: For District 75 students, Technology Solutions will take the information in the referral form and integrate these with the results of the evaluation to complete an Evaluation Report. This report will include equipment recommendations and goals. All this information will be uploaded into SESIS. The School Psychologist will then amend the IEP in SESIS to indicate the student’s use of Assistive Technology.

Q: Now that the evaluation is completed, how do I get the recommended equipment?
A: Technology Solutions provides the equipment at the time of the evaluation if it is available in inventory. If the equipment needs to be ordered, it is usually delivered or brought to the school within 45 days of the evaluation. The time frame is often dictated by vendor availability.

The CAT team provides the regional office with the ordering information, and the region will order the equipment on a purchase order.

Q: Once the student receives the device, does it belong to the student, the school, or the Department of Education?
A: An IEP-mandated device is the property of the Department of Education and is made available for the exclusive use by that student as indicated by the IEP. The device can accompany the student from the school to the home environment. As the student transitions to different school/program, it is the sending school’s responsibility to deliver the equipment to the new location where the student is.

Q: Can the student take the device home over holidays/summer vacation?
A: If the student wishes to take the device home over an extended period of time, the school needs to prepare a letter that the parent/guardian must sign accepting responsibility for the device during the said period. The letter should be placed in the student's school file so that there is no question as to the whereabouts of the device.

Q: If the student is leaving the Department of Education, what happens to their device?
A: The student's device must be returned to the Assistive Technology office upon leaving the Department of Education. Approximately 8 months before a student graduates/ages out/leaves the DOE, the school should begin working with the Transition Team so that the assistive technology may be ordered through the student's insurance.

Q: If a student has a device on their IEP and we feel that the device no longer meets their needs, what do we do?
A: A written request should be sent to
Karen Gorman at Technology Solutions to request for a re-evaluation. Once assistive technology is on the IEP, any changes are directed from school or service provider to Technology Solutions; intervention of the IEP team is not required.

Q: I have the student's device, but I feel that I need more training on how to use it. What should I do?
A: Technology Solutions provides initial training on the day the equipment is provided by the Evaluation Team. If the equipment has to be ordered and will be delivered directly to the school, the Evaluation Team will re-visit the school for a training session once the equipment has arrived. If you need additional training, you must contact the Technology Solutions Office and request this training as needed. The training may be offered either on an individual basis, at one of the Technology Centers for larger groups, or via Webcasting. Again, please contact the Technology Solutions Office for additional training information through kgorman@schools.nyc.gov or by calling (212) 802-1530. Video overviews of eleven assistive technology devices are available online or on a DVD. The Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) team also provides training on the devices upon request.

Q: What does Assistive Technology encompass?
A: In District 75, we are committed to having equipment (Low-Tech through Hi-Tech) in our classrooms to provide students with first experiences with a variety of Assistive Technology devices, adaptations and methodology. These may consist of:

  1. Computer Adaptations for Access: Computers may be specially set-up to assist reading and/or writing by presenting information through alternative means so as to meet specific needs of students (e.g. a program that reads text to a student, manipulation of text size and color, etc.). Switches, software, special keyboards, and other equipment may also be supplied to improve a student’s access to the classroom computer, to a SmartBoard, or other devices.
  2. Keyboarding Devices: These equipment may address graphomotor deficits or other physical impairments that makes the production of written/printed composition difficult for a student . 
  3. Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices.
  4. Low-Tech through High-Tech solutions to aid writing.
  5. Technology for students who are Blind or have Low-Vision: These equipment improve access to reading materials, the computer, and/or the general environment.
  6. Technology for students who are Hearing-Impaired: These include adaptations to the classroom and to the computer to improve classroom participation and access to the curriculum.
  7. Environmental control units (ECUs) that improve general access to the environment.

* PLEASE NOTE: The Department of Education does not have the staff to evaluate students for FM Units for Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD). Generally, the parent/guardian will need to have the student assessed by an audiologist specializing in CAPD. The results of the audiologist’s evaluation along with recommendation for a device are forwarded to the District. Provision of an FM Unit will be determined by the District dependent on the results of the audiologist’s evaluation.

Q: Something is wrong with the student's device. What should I do first?

  1. Check the back of the device. In most instances, there is a phone number and serial number. Call the manufacturer’s Tech Support group. If it is determined that the device needs to be returned for repair, Tech Support will ask for the serial number. Whether or not the device is still under warranty, you will be given an RA# (Return Authorization #), and you will mail the device to the manufacturer. The manufacturer will repair the device and mail it back to you at your school site.
  2. If you cannot find the manufacturer’s information at the back of the device, you can search Google using the device’s name and you should find the information that you need.
  3. If the manufacturer tells you that the device is no longer under warranty, you may still send the device to the manufacturer for repair, BUT you need to inform Technology Solutions or the CAT team about it. If the student is serviced by District 75, send the RA# (Return Authorization #) of the device to Technology Solutions through email (kgorman@schools.nyc.gov) or through fax at 1-212-802-1681 so that this can be verified. If the student is serviced through the Region, notify the CAT team (Tel. No. 1-718-391-8384) and arrange payment for the repair. The Department of Education is responsible for repairs related to all IEP mandated devices.

Go to Assistive Technology


ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Q:  What is a Transitional Bilingual Education Program?
A:  In a Transitional Bilingual Program (TBE), English Language Learners (ELLs) receive: 

  • Instruction in two languages: the language spoken at home and English
  • Students in early stages of language development receive 60% of their instruction in their native language and 40% in English.  Native language instructional time decreases as English fluency increases
  • Grade-level academic work in the student’s native language to maintain academic progress while developing English proficiency
  • Assistance in attaining English language proficiency
  • Assistance in meeting or exceeding New York State and City standards
  • Instruction in Native Language Arts to enable language transfer

Q:  What is an  English as a Second Language (ESL) Program?
A:   An English as a Second Language Program is a program in which instruction is provided in English with native language supports, emphasizing English language acquisition:

  • Students in freestanding ESL programs come from varied language backgrounds, whereby English is the only common language among students
  • Push-in model of ESL:  an ESL teacher works with ELLs during content instruction in collaboration with regular classroom teachers to provide language acquisition and vocabulary support while retaining content instruction time
  • Pull-out model:  ELLs who spend the majority of their day in all-English content instruction are brought together from various classes for English-acquisition-focused instruction. 
  • Self-Contained model: ELLs are grouped together in an ESL class, usually for the entire school day and for all content instruction
  • In each of the models used, ESL teachers differentiate instruction by students ability and language proficiency levels

Q:  What is a Dual Language Program?
A:  A Dual Language Program integrates native English speakers and English Language Learners so that all students develop second language skills while learning content knowledge in both languages.

  • Designed to continue developing students’ native language as well as English
  • Monolingual English students are given the opportunity to learn a second language

Q:  What programs are currently available in District 75?
A:  District 75 offers Transitional Bilingual Education and ESL instruction for students in grades K-12 in all boroughs. Instruction is aligned with New York State Standards in ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies as expounded upon in each school’s Language Allocation Policy (LAP) and in compliance with CR Part 154 mandates for units of instruction. ESL instruction is provided in the form of Free-Standing ESL classes, both pull-out and push-in models, as well as self-contained ESL programs. Title III supplemental instructional programs are provided to eligible schools.

Q:  How can my child receive the bilingual/ESL services to which he/she is entitled?
A:  The Committee on Special Education (CSE) and/or the school has the responsibility of identifying and placing your child in the appropriate program, Bilingual or ESL, according to your child’s IEP mandates.

Q:  How do I get orientation and information about my child’s performance in a Bilingual or ESL program?
A:  Orientation is provided to parents at CSE and/or at your child’s school:

  • School-related information is distributed to parents in a language which they understand
  • Parents of English Language Learners are notified by CSE of their child’s placement in a bilingual or ESL program
  • Parents receive orientation on the state standards, assessment expectations, and program requirements  

Q:  How can parents of English Language Learners participate in their child’s education?
A:  Parents of ELLs may participate in their child’s education in the following ways:

  • Ensure that your child comes to school every day ready to learn
  • Ensure that your child completes his/her homework on a daily basis
  • Ensure that your child is engaged in reading and math activities every day
  • Participate in school activities such as classroom trips, assemblies, and meetings
  • Attend all parent-teacher conferences
  • Attend all parent workshops that are especially designed to assist you in helping your child learn
  • Make sure that your child has a library card and visits the library frequently
  • Serve as a parent volunteer in your child’s school
  • Create a supportive home environment for learning and studying
  • Read with your child everyday  

Q:  Where can parents/guardians of English Language Learners get additional information?
A:  Information may be obtained by speaking to your child’s teacher or your school’s Parent Coordinator.


Go to English Language Learners


INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

Q: What is an inclusive program/inclusion?
A: Inclusive Education is, first and foremost, an attitude, a value and a belief system. It has been defined as a shared value that promotes a single system of education dedicated to ensuring that all students are empowered to become competent and contributing citizens in an integrated, changing and diverse society. (Steve Kukik, Former Director of Education for Utah). Since 1992, District 75 Office of Inclusive Education has provided students with significant disabilities with a Least Restrictive Environment in general education settings with special education supports. This has been done in accordance with Public Law 94-142 (The Education of All Handicapped Children Act, 1975) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, Reauthorized 1997 and 2004).

Q: If my child is placed in an inclusive classroom, does he/she still receive related services?
A: If your child attends an inclusive classroom supported by District 75, he or she is entitled to maintain all mandated services as per the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Q: How does my child get to participate in an inclusive program?
A: There are a number of avenues you can take to begin the discussion of having your child attend an inclusive program. Call the District 75 Office of Inclusive Education at (212) 802-1519; speak with the principal of the school your child attends; discuss the issue with your CSE review team or IEP team and/or make your request for inclusive educational services known to your Regional Committee on Special Education.

Q: Does my child have to be on grade level to be included?
A: No, your child does not need to be on grade level to be successfully supported and included in a general education classroom supported by District 75. Your child needs to be able to fulfill his/her IEP goals in the general education classroom and those goals must align with the Common Core Learning Standards. However, curriculum can be adapted and modified to suit your child's learning needs when indicated on the IEP.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the professionals in the inclusive classroom?
A: There is a shift of roles for educational team members in the inclusive classroom. The team approach required for effective inclusive instructional teams requires collaborative skills, information sharing and role release. Professionals in the classroom are determined by the student’s support needs as indicated in the IEP, and may include the general education teacher, the SETSS provider, and a paraprofessional, and / or related service provider.

Professionals teaching and supporting students in inclusive schools are members of one community with a common vision- the student actualizing his/her desired long term adult outcomes. The adults in the classroom are models of collaboration for the students. They demonstrate that any successful team is based on the positive interaction of all the participants.
Every team member contributes to building and sustaining structures that support the education of students in inclusive schools by:

  • Ensuring a healthy, safe and academically effective environment.
  • Communicating and collaborating with team members to develop, and implement the IEP, access to the Common Core learning Standards (CCLS), the general education curriculum and student supports. 
  • Communicating and collaborating with team members to assess IEP goals, and access the CCLS, the general education curriculum and student supports. 
  • Participating in meetings by contributing ideas regarding the student’s education and supports. 
  •  Recognizing and acknowledging the competencies and expertise of team members. 
  • Advocating to ensure that students’ educational and support needs are provided in a manner that is consistent with IDEIA, state standards, data-based practices, student independence and student goals for adulthood. 
  • Providing data to administrators for the purpose of decision making.

For more information please see Professional Roles for educators working in inclusive programs supported by District 75.

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PROMOTION POLICY

Q: Does Promotion Policy apply to students with disabilities? 
A: All students with disabilities receiving special education services are subject to the promotion policy, with the exception of students whose IEP indicates that they will participate in Alternative Assessment. The procedures which are outlined in Chancellor's Regulation A-501 concerning decisions regarding promotion, timelines for parent notification, provision of interventions, goal-setting, students identified as at-risk of not being promoted and parental appeals, apply to ALL students in grades 3 through 12 who participate in state and local assessments. 

Q: Who determines promotion criteria for students in special education? 
A: Promotion criteria for students in special education who participate in state and local assessments in grades 3-12 is individually determined at an IEP meeting and is stated on a student's IEP on page 9. Decisions regarding promotion are made with appropriate staff (teachers, related service providers) input and parent consultation. 

Q: When should modification of promotion criteria be considered for a student with disabilities? 
A: In developing promotion criteria, the IEP should NOT assume that all students in special education need modified criteria. Modification of criteria should be considered when a student is functioning significantly below grade level. These students are expected to achieve benchmarks approaching grade level performance. The amount of course work a student is expected to complete in a year's time is related to the student's present performance and their demonstrated learning rate.


REFORMS

Q: How will the Children First reforms reorganize Special Education personnel?
A: The Children First reforms will reorganize Special Education personnel in ways designed to redirect resources to the schools - where education takes place.


Go to Children First


RELATED AND CONTRACTUAL SERVICES

Q: What is a Related Service Authorization (RSA)?
A: Your child has been recommended for the Related Service listed on the enclosed form. The New York City Department of Education does not currently have staff available to provide this service. The RSA allows you to obtain this service from an independent provider of your choice at no cost to you.

Q: How can I locate an independent provider?
A: To help you locate a provider, we have enclosed a Registry of Independent Providers of Related Services or you may refer to the Department of Education’s web site at: http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/SpecialEducation/ParentResources/Related+Services+Information.htm. You may use any provider on this Registry (SEE LINK)or you may locate your own provider. Please remember the following, when choosing a provider they must possess the following credentials:
  • They must be licensed or certified by New York State Education Department to provide the Related Service recommended.
  • They must meet established bilingual proficiency requirements, where applicable. 
  • They must have NYC DOE fingerprinting clearance in the system.

Q: What credentials are necessary to become an independent provider in various discipline areas?
A:

  • Counseling Services must be provided by a New York State licensed Psychologist, or certified Social Worker.
  • Occupational Therapy must be provided by a New York State licensed Occupational Therapist. 
  • Physical Therapy must be provided by a New York State licensed Physical Therapist.
  • Speech Therapy Services must be provided by a New York State licensed Speech/Language Pathologist, who is also a Certified Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped or Teacher of Speech Language Disabilities. Bilingual Speech Therapy Services can only be provided by an individual meeting the aforementioned requirements and who possess the appropriate bilingual proficiency requirements.

    Please note that if your child requires Speech Therapy, there may be an after-school Speech Center in your region that can provide the services, as well as transportation reimbursement home from this service. In this regard, please contact the Speech supervisor in your child’s school district for more information.
  • Vision Education Services must only be provided by a New York State licensed or certified Teacher of the Blind and Partially Sighted or certified Orientation/Mobility Specialist. Bilingual Vision Education Services can only be provided by an individual meeting the aforementioned requirements and who possesses the appropriate bilingual proficiency requirements. 
  • Hearing Education Services must only be provided by a New York State licensed or certified Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; or an appropriately trained, licensed or certified Sign Language Interpreter. Bilingual Hearing Education Services can only be provided by an individual meeting the aforementioned requirements and who possesses the appropriate bilingual proficiency requirements. 
  • Health Services by a Registered Nurse must only be provided by a New York State licensed or certified Registered Nurse with current certification in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation as well as Automated External Defibrillation (CPR/AED); Health Services by a Health Aide must be provided by an appropriately trained, licensed or certified Health Aide. For questions about Nursing services, please contact OSH,D75 Nursing Director, Janet King at JKing15@schools.nyc.gov or call (347) 396-4731.

Q: What are the responsibilities of an independent provider?
A: An independent provider must agree to the following:

  • Serve the student at the frequency, duration and in the language specified for the current school year as per the IEP or as specified on the RSA letter.
  • Maintain “Encounter Attendance” records required in SESIS.
  • Maintain weekly progress notes, submits a Student Progress Report upon request, attend an IEP conference and complete the appropriate pages of the IEP at no cost to the Department of Education.
  • Provide services in accordance with the New York City Department of Education school calendar.
  • Provide make-up sessions only during the same week. Make-up sessions may not be conducted on the same day as regular sessions.
  • Accept no more than the maximum rate allowed as payment in full for these services. The rate charged must be no higher than the lowest rate you normally charge. This rate is for direct service only and is the rate regardless of the size of the group being served. Providers will make no requests to the parent/guardian for payments for services provided. (SEE RATE Schedule for Independent Providers of Related Services).
  • Submit invoices directly to the New York City Department of Education in the format required with no out-of-pocket expenses accruing to the parent/guardian.
  • Carry his/her own professional malpractice/liability insurance.
  • Participate in the collection of data/information requested by the New York State Department of Social Services or other agencies at no additional cost to the DOE in order for the DOE to receive Medicaid reimbursement.

Q: What am I required to do once I have selected a provider?
A: You and the selected independent provider must complete the RSA 2 Form, then both of you must sign the form and attach a copy of the provider's license and/or certificate. You should keep a copy of the independent provider’s license and/or certificate. Please be advised that only the independent provider listed on the RSA-2 Form may provide service to your child. If your child is being seen at the provider’s place of business you must ensure that only the independent provider you have authorized is serving your child. The completed RSA 2 Form must be submitted to:

Maria Leo
400 First Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, New York 10010

After I have submitted the RSA 2 Form, when can the provider begin?
Once received, all information will be reviewed. If the form is complete, your provider will receive an Authorization approval with an identifying PIN number for this service. Should we fail to notify you of this approval, the provider is authorized to initiate service and is assured of payment by the Department of Education if the individual has the appropriate licensure and/or certification and no conflict of interest is found to exist. Only the independent provider listed on the RSA 2 Form is authorized to provide services. If there is a change in independent provider, a new RSA 2 Form must be submitted. The independent provider you have selected must present himself/herself for fingerprinting, with the cost to be incurred by the provider. Provider may contact the Office of School Health/Office of Related & Contractual Services for more information by calling Rita Venekas at (718) 391- 8391 or emailing RVeneka@schools.nyc.gov Independent providers will not be authorized to initiate services until such time as security clearance is received.

Q: Where can the Related Service be provided?
A: Related Services may be provided at your child's school, at your home or at the provider's place of business.

Q: Can I be reimbursed for my transportation costs if I take my child to the provider's place of business?
A: Yes, as follows:

  1. Public Transportation: $2.25 per fare on bus and/or subway.
  2. Private Car: Prevailing allowable mileage rate set by the IRS currently at $.28 per mile.
  3. Metered Taxicab: Metered taxi cab rate and reasonable tip.*
  4. Private Car Service: Parents and/or private car services will be reimbursed for car service taken to and from the student’s mandated Related Services only using the private car service rate and reasonable tip.* (Please see guidelines for private car service.) This includes modes of transportation required for physically disabled students. If that type of vehicle has an established Medicaid rate, their charge shall not exceed that rate.* Please note that If a private car service is used, a parent must accompany the student in order to be eligible for reimbursement.

* Maximum of $50 per round trip.

All requests for transportation reimbursement must be made on the enclosed RSA 3 or RSA-3A Form Transportation Reimbursement Voucher (PRINT FORMS AS NEEDED). The independent provider must provide you with a copy of the approved RSA-2 form and bill for services or a statement indicating the dates of service, which must be attached to the RSA-3 or RSA-3a Form along with the required receipts from the transportation provider. In all cases, no payment will be processed without the approved original authorizing signatures on all the required forms. You must sign the RSA-3 or RSA-3a Form indicating the actual dates your child was transported. Under no circumstances should you sign blank RSA-3 or RSA-3a Forms or sign for transportation services not as yet provided.

Q: How will the provider be paid?
A: When the provider receives written authorization to provide this service, they will receive a PIN number and guidelines for payment. No out of pocket expenses are to be paid by you. The provider may not charge more than the maximum rate allowed as payment in full for these services (SEE RATES DOE will pay on your child’s behalf). The provider will make no requests to the parent/guardian for payments for services provided. If the service is provided at your home or the provider’s office you must sign the provider’s invoice indicating the actual dates your child received the services. You must not sign blank invoices or sign for sessions not as yet provided.

Q: Is the provider required to write IEPs or Student Progress Reports?
A: The provider will be required to maintain daily attendance records by computer as designated by the New York City Department of Education for this purpose, weekly progress notes for the service provided, and to complete a Related Service Student Progress Report when requested by school staff or the Committee on Special Education. In addition, upon request for an Annual Review and/or if there is a Requested Review, the provider must be available to attend the IEP conference and to complete the appropriate pages of the IEP at no additional cost. Progress reports must be submitted annually.

Q: What if the Related Service becomes available by New York City Department of Education staff?
A: Should this service become available by New York City Department of Education staff before your child begins receiving it from an independent provider, the Department of Education will provide the service. If, however, your child begins receiving this service from an independent provider, you will have the option of continuing this service with the independent provider through the end of the school year.

Q: Who can I call for assistance?
A: If assistance is needed to understand these forms or to locate an independent provider, please telephone our district 75 Hotline at (917) 256- 4249.

If you are a provider and would like to be included in the DOE Registry or have questions about access to SESIS website, please contact the Office of School Health/Office of Related and Contractual Services- Rita Venekas, (718) 391-8391 or by emailing RVeneka@schools.nyc.gov

Go to Office of Related and Contractual Service


SCHOOL EMERGENCIES

Q: What will schools do in the event of a school emergency? 
A: See the School Emergency Preparedness Checklist


STANDARDIZED TESTING

Q: Does my child, who is in a special education class, take the standardized tests that students in general education classes take?
A: Your child's IEP tells you how he/she will be assessed. Page 9 of the IEP indicates participation in standardized assessment with or without accommodations, or participation in alternative assessment.

Q: My child is in an 8th grade special education class and reads at the 3rd grade level. Can he/she take the 3rd grade tests? 
A: No, students must be tested with the test at the grade level in which they are receiving instruction. A student in the 8th grade must take the 8th grade tests. This is referred to as "no off-grade testing".


Go to Standardized Assessment
TRANSITION

Q: What is transition? 
A: Transition refers to the coordinated set of activities that assists secondary youth with disabilities in moving smoothly from school to post-school living, learning and earning roles in the community. This process may include instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

Q: Are all students required to have a transition plan? 
A: Transition planning must be done for every student at an appropriate age. Transition components are written into the student's Individualized Educational Program (IEP).

Q: When should transition planning begin? 
A: Transition planning can begin at any age. Transition services must begin no later than age 14.

Q: Who should participate in transition planning? 
A: Students, families and schools are key participants in the planning process. Representatives from community agencies, post-secondary education programs and any other individuals, with specific expertise and knowledge, the student would like to include can be positive additions to the planning process.


Go to Transition


TRANSPORTATION

Q. Are drivers required to do an early run before the first day of school?
A. Drivers are contractually required to do a dry run. All of the companies are required to certify before school opening that this has occurred.

Q. Are the drivers/matrons trained to handle special needs children?
A. The training requirements for the escorts are:

  1. Each special education escort must be thoroughly reliable, fully competent, and at least 21 years of age.
  2. Prior to employment, each special education escort must undergo and complete a minimum of 20 hours of basic training concerning the transportation, supervision, and care of special education children.
  3. When required, a full, complete, and approved official certificate from the American Red Cross attesting to the successful completion of specialized training.
  4. Each escort must meet the requirements for a successful completion of refresher courses as required.
  5. Each bus driver must comply fully with the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education stated at 8(A) N.Y.C.R.R. 156.3(d) (2) pertaining to training and instruction.
  6. Each driver will receive two hours of instruction in school bus safety practices prior to the start of service
  7. Each driver transporting handicapped children must receive an additional hour of instruction concerning the special needs of a handicapped child prior to the start of service
  8. Each driver must receive two hours of refresher instruction in school bus safety twice a year.

In addition, during the first year of employment, each driver must complete a 30-hour course on school bus safety. Additional training at schools can be arranged with principal and OPT.

Q. Are the drivers allowed to drop the students off at the corner if the bus is unable to get through due to traffic? Are there any consequences if this is done?
A. Generally speaking, the service is door to door. There may be some occasions where a driver will be unable to provide door to door service such as an emergency or when weather conditions prohibit the travel through a street, but those instances would be exceptions and not the rule. In some instances there are physical restrictions such as traffic that do not allow the bus to pull up to the door. In those cases, the escort is required to walk the student to and from the door. Each instance reported to OPT will be investigated. If a driver or escort is found to have violated this or any other OPT regulation, the driver and/or the escort may be subject to disciplinary action that may include warnings, suspensions or de-certification.

Q. Are escorts required on every special education bus?
A. Escorts are required on all yellow school buses transporting students door to door. Special Education students who have an IEP that indicates they can ride on a bus with their general education peers may be routed on general education buses. These buses provide service from stops near the students' home and they are not staff with escorts.

Q. Are seat belts required on all buses?
A. Seat belts are required on all buses providing special education (door to door) transportation.

Q. Are two-way radios required?
A. Two-way radios are required on all buses providing service under OPT/DOE contracts.

Q. What happens if the bus comes late daily?
A. All complaints regarding service should be called in to the OPT customer service center at 718-392-8855.

Q. Big kids need big belts or two seats?
A. Once again, these concerns can be addressed by calling the OPT customer service unit. Other individual needs require IEP designations and/or medical certification.

Q: Is there a general information number parents and coordinators can call to get information on bussing?
A: The pupil transportation general information hotline is (718) 392-8855.

Q: Where should parents report minor problems or complaints regarding pupil transportation?
A: Parents should report minor problems with transportation to their child's school. They can talk to parent coordinators or administrators. Parents can also call District 75 Parent Team @ 212 802-1685 or call OPT Customer Service at the hotline number listed above.

Q: Where should parents/parent coordinators report major problems regarding pupil transportation?
A: Major problems should be reported to the hotline, in order to create a record and initiate an investigation.

Q: Where can parents/staff get bus company information and look up student route information?
A: Parents and staff can access the following web site in order to obtain bus company information and student route information:
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/Transportation/default.htm

Q: What is the maximum time allowed for a student on a school bus to travel to and from school?
A: There is no restriction, other than what is on a student's IEP, to the amount of time a student may spend on the bus. However, the Office of Pupil Transportation attempts to provide all students who attend a school in the same borough in which they live with a ride shorter than 90 minutes each way. For the majority of students, especially those who live closest to the schools they attend, the amount of time will be less.

Q: My child is on a large bus and I want him/her on a mini bus. How do I make that request and do I need documentation?
A: This request can be made at the IEP meeting. A note from the doctor is needed for IEP Review.

Q: What happens if there is an emergency on the bus? How will I find out about my child?
A: The school will contact the parent. All parents should ensure that the Emergency Blue Card on file is up to date with their contact information.

Q: My family is moving. How do I file for a change of pick-up and drop off for my child?
A: Parents should inform the school. The school will inform the Placement Office and they will change the school bus.

Q: My child is picked up in the morning at home, but in the afternoon, needs to be dropped of somewhere else (after-school center, baby-sitter). How do I arrange that with the bus company?
A: Parents can obtain and complete a 
Request to Change a Special Education Student's After School Drop-Off Location form.

Q: How often are Safety Inspections conducted on the buses?
A: The Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) performs three types of safety inspections; garage inspections, site inspections and field trip inspections. These inspections consist of a review of a number of important contractual safety requirements of the vehicle as well as a review of the condition of the vehicle. They also serve to ensure that drivers and escorts certified as qualified by OPT are transporting the students to school.


Go to Pupil Transportation


TRAVEL TRAINING

Q: What is Travel Training? 
A: Travel training is short-term, comprehensive, intensive instruction designed to teach students with disabilities other than blindness or visual impairments how to travel safely and independently on public transportation. Specially trained personnel provide the instruction on a one-to-one basis. The student is taught to travel the safest and most direct route from home to school/work site and back.

Q: What are the benefits of Travel Training? 
A: Among the benefits of Travel Training are a greater degree of independence for the student; increased self-esteem; less dependence on the family and agency supports; greater freedom for the family; increased opportunities for employment; greater access to the community; and more options for adult living.

Q: What is included in Travel Training instruction? 
A: There are a number of skills and behaviors that are incorporated into Travel Training instructional program, including pedestrian skills, decision-making skills, and the skills and behaviors necessary for recognizing and avoiding danger, handling travel contingencies, requesting assistance appropriately, communicating with community workers ad maintaining appropriate social behavior in public places. Students are required to demonstrate safe and independent use of these skills and behaviors to receive a recommendation for independent travel.

Q: Who is eligible for Travel Training? 
A: Travel training was included in the IDEA Amendments of 1997 as an amendment to the definition of special education. Travel Training teachers provide technical assistance and consultation to schools in strategies and methods for including transportation and travel-related skills into the school curriculum. When students require more specific instruction to achieve independent travel during their secondary school years, they can be referred to the Travel Training Program for assessment. Based on the assessment results, parents are contacted for consent for their children to participate in the program or recommendations regarding necessary prerequisite skills are made to the referring school and parents.

Q: How are students referred for assessment for Travel Training? 
A: Students between the ages of 14 and 21 can be referred to Travel Training by parents, school personnel, or through self-referrals. A complete referral includes a Pupil Profile and a Referral Form. After receiving these forms, a Travel Training teacher assesses the student in the school or work-site environment. Information is also obtained from the parents, teachers and related service providers.

Q: How is Travel Training instruction provided? 
A: After parental consent is obtained, an instructional plan is designed for the student. A route that best fits the student and family needs is selected and analyzed. The Travel Training teacher assigns a travel trainer (specially trained paraprofessional) to the student. The instruction begins at the student's home at the approximate time the student would leave to travel to school. In the morning, the instruction is daily, and includes both traveling from home to school/work site and back to home in the afternoon. Throughout this instructional period the student is provided with the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for safe and independent travel, including what to do with rerouted buses and trains, environmental barriers and obstacles, handling the problem of getting lost, and a variety of travel contingencies. There is daily documentation of student progress and ability to handle these situations is made daily and reports are communicated to the family and school on a regular basis.

Q: How long does Travel Training take? 
A: The time varies according to the student. Typically, the one-to-one intensive instruction is completed within a three week time period.

Q: How is a student's ability to travel assessed after the instruction ends? 
A: A unique feature of the Travel Training Program is the post-assessment of the student's travel skills using a "following" procedure. This is done by having a travel trainer who is known to the student follow close enough to ensure the student's safety while assessing the performance of travel skills when the student believes he/she is alone. Only after the student has demonstrated safe travel behavior and skills during the "followings" is a recommendation regarding the student's ability to travel safely and independently given to the family and the school. If the student demonstrates inconsistent or unsafe performance, the family and school are informed that the program does not recommend independent use of public transit at this time.

Go to Travel Training


    District 75  |  400 First Avenue, New York, NY 10010  |  (212) 802-1500  |  Contact