Pupil Personnel Services
The North Merrick School District is committed to early intervention services for children who require emotional, behavioral, and/or academic support. The Office of Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) oversees a multitude of student services relating to school-age Special Education (Committee on Special Education), pre-school Special Education (Committee on Pre-School Special Education) as well as speech and language, psychological, social work, nursing and medical services and occupational and physical therapies.
The office also tracks and monitors students who receive services through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- Programs and Services
- Referral Process
- Procedural Safeguards Notice
- CPSE to CSE Transition
- English as a New Language
Special education encompasses a comprehensive array of services, instructional methodologies, materials and equipment to provide additional educational support to students with disabilities. Special education services are uniquely applied to each individual in purpose, content, delivery, mode, intensity and duration. Such services are recommended by the Committee on Special Education, and an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is then developed based on a student’s present level of performance and individual needs.
The IEP is developed by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of the child’s teacher, psychologist, special education teacher, related service providers, and parent(s). The IEP includes specific goals and objectives, as well as any modifications and/or testing accommodations that the child may need to perform in his or her current setting. Students with disabilities are placed in the least restrictive setting and integrated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent possible, based on each student’s individual needs. Students are never "placed" into programs, we create programs based on need.
This year, staff will participate in the following professional development activities:
Addressing the Common Core ELA Standards with ELLs and SEDs
Integrated Co-Teaching Training with Dr. Gloria Wilson
Positive behavioral support techniques
Response to Intervention (RtI)
In addition, special education aides, teacher assistants and monitors will receive in-service training on a series of topics relating to their role in the classroom:
Positive behavioral supports
CPR and First Aid
Diabetes issues in the school setting
Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)
The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) is responsible for arranging for the evaluation of any student who is suspected of having a disability, who meets the age eligibility requirements specified in the Regulations, and is a resident of the school district.
The evaluation process begins when a written request for evaluation is made by:
- the child's parent or person in a parental relationship;
- a designee of the school district in which the student resides, or the public school district the student legally attends or is eligible to attend;
- the commissioner or designee of a public agency with responsibility for the education of students; or
- a designee of an education program affiliated with a child care institution with committee on special education responsibility pursuant to Section 4002(3) of the Education Law.
The referral can be made at any time during the school year. It should specify the extent to which the preschool student has received any services prior to referral. When the CPSE receives a referral, the chairperson will meet with the parents/guardians to describe the evaluation procedure and request parental consent for the evaluation. A list of county-approved evaluation sites will be given to the parent/guardian, and translations will be provided as needed. In the event that consent is not provided, the committee will implement the district’s practices for ensuring that the parents/guardians have received and understood the request for consent.
The individual evaluation of a preschool child shall include relevant functional and developmental information regarding the child’s abilities and needs relating to participation in age-appropriate activities. This includes:
- a physical examination;
- an individual psychological examination, except when a school psychologist determines after an assessment that further evaluation is unnecessary;
- an observation of the preschool child in the child’s learning environment, including the general education classroom setting, or in an environment appropriate for a student of that age, to document the student’s academic performance or behavior in the areas of difficulty;
- a social history; and
- other appropriate assessments or evaluations, including a functional behavioral assessment for a student whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, as necessary to ascertain the physical, mental, behavioral and emotional factors which contribute to the suspected disabilities.
The evaluator will use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors. Tests will be administered in the student’s dominant language or other mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. The tests will be validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and will be administered by trained personnel. Tests will be administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory and to ensure that they measure the extent to which the student has a disability and needs special education, rather than measure the student’s English language skills.
The CPSE will arrange for specialized evaluations where necessary. These assessments may include, but are not limited to, bilingual evaluations, psychiatric and neurological examinations, audiological evaluations, visual evaluations, and assistive technology assessments. Specialized evaluations are not limited to the initial evaluation process and may be indicated at any time.
When completed, the evaluation reports will be submitted to the CPSE, and a CPSE meeting will be scheduled at a site and time mutually convenient to the members of the committee and the preschool parent.s/guardians. The parents/guardians will receive a copy of the summary reports before the meeting. The results of the evaluation will be provided to the parents/guardians in their native language or other mode of communication used by the parent/guardian, unless it is not feasible to do so.
Reasonable measures will be made to ensure that the parents/guardians attend the meeting. This means:
- A written notice is sent to the parents/guardians at least five (5) days before advising them of the meeting. The parent/guardian may elect to receive the notice of meetings by email.
- Prior written notice means written statements developed in accordance with Section 200.5(a) of the Part 200 Commissioner’s Regulations provided to the parents/guardians of a student with a disability within a reasonable time before the school district proposes to or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the student.
- At least one additional attempt will be made to notify the parents/guardians. This may mean additional written notice or a telephone call.
- The parents/guardians and school district may agree to use alternative means for a meeting, such as videoconferences and conference telephone calls.
Before making any recommendation that would place a child in an approved program of the agency that conducted the initial evaluation, the committee may, at its discretion, obtain a second evaluation of the child from another approved evaluator.
The CPSE submits a recommendation to the North Merrick Board of Education and to the parents/guardians of the preschool student within sixty (60) school days of the date of the receipt of consent. If the committee determines that the student is ineligible for special education, written notification will indicate the reasons for the finding. If the committee determines that a student has a disability, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is prepared that specifies the nature of the disability, the student’s current levels of functioning (including how the disability affects the student’s participation in age-appropriate activities), measurable annual goals (including benchmarks or short-term objectives), and the type of special education program and/or services recommended. The CPSE will seek, in every case, to recommend placement in the least restrictive environment consistent with the needs of the student. If, for any reasons, the recommendation of the committee differs from the preference of the parents/guardians, the report will include the reasons for the committee’s recommendations. The notice will also indicate that, in the event the parents/guardians do not provide consent for placement, no further action will be taken by the CPSE until such consent is obtained.
Committee on Special Education (CSE)
In accordance with New York Education Law Section 4402 and Part 200.2, 200.4 and 200.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) is responsible for evaluating all school-age students suspected of having a disability, identifying a disability or determining that no disability exists, and recommending placement and type of special education programs and/or services within sixty (60) days of the date of receipt of consent for evaluation. Referrals can be made at any time during the 12-month year.
A student suspected of having a disability shall be referred in writing to the Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education or to the building administrator of the school which the student attends or is eligible to attend for an individual evaluation and determination of eligibility for special education programs or services. The school district must initiate a referral and promptly request parental consent to evaluate the student to determine if the student needs special education services and programs if a student has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided instruction within a multi-tiered problem-solving approach that utilizes systematically applied strategies and targeted instruction. A referral may be made by a:
- student’s parent/guardian including an individual who is acting in the place of a birth or adoptive parent such as a grandparent, stepparent or other relative with whom the child resides;
- a designee of the school district in which the student resides;
- the commissioner; and/or
- a designee of an education program affiliated with a childcare institution with Committee on Special Education responsibility.
A written request that the school district or agency refer the student for an initial evaluation may be made by a:
- professional staff member of the school district in which the student resides or the public or private school the student legally attends;
- licensed physician;
- judicial officer;
- professional staff member of a public agency with responsibility for the welfare, health or education of children; or
- student who is 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is eligible to attend the public schools of the district.
All new entrants to the district are screened at the time of enrollment and such screening, if it indicates a possible disability, can lead to a CSE referral. The referral must be written and dated.
Except for written requests for referrals submitted by the student and referrals by parents/guardians or judicial officers, the referral must state the reasons for the referral and include any test results, records or reports upon which the referral is based. It must also describe, in writing, efforts made by the school and parents/guardians to resolve the difficulties leading to referral or to meet the needs of the student in the general classroom setting, including intervention services, programs or instructional methodologies used to remediate the student’s performance prior to the referral. It must also describe the extent of parental contact or involvement prior to the referral. If a referral is received by the building administrator, it must be forwarded to the CSE Chairperson immediately. If a referral is received by the CSE Chairperson, a copy will be forwarded to the building administrator within five school days of its receipt.
Within 10 school days of receiving a written request for referral for an initial evaluation, the school district will notify the parents/guardians that a referral for an evaluation has been received and either request consent to initiate the evaluation or provide them with a copy of the request referral. The district will inform the parents/guardians of their right to refer the student for an initial evaluation and offer an opportunity to meet to discuss the request for referral. As appropriate, the availability of general education support services for the student will be discussed with the building administrator or other designee of the school district authorized to make a referral; the professional staff member of the school district making the request for referral; and, upon request of the parents/guardians or school district, any other person making the referral.
A professional staff member of the school district who made a request for referral that results in a parent referral for special education must attend any meeting requested by a building administrator to determine whether the student would benefit from additional general education support services as an alternative to special education and will receive a copy of any agreement to withdraw the referral.
The parents/guardians will be provided with information regarding the evaluation, the procedural safeguards notice that includes a listing of free or low-cost legal and other relevant services in the area, sources to obtain assistance in understanding the referral and evaluation process, and a copy of A Parent’s Guide to Special Education.
When Congress enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it included a system of procedural safeguards to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents. These safeguards are designed to protect a child's right to a free appropriate education. To be effective advocates, parents must learn about their rights and responsibilities. Do you understand your rights and responsibilities? Please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Pupil Personnel Office at (516) 868-4902.
Parents should be in contact with their child's service providers, make sure all evaluations are scheduled and that they have the date and time of the annual review meeting.
Please contact Babette Nicosia or Rosemarie Marti if you have any questions regarding your child's transition at (516) 868-4902.
Even though your child is receiving special education services, you must still register for kindergarten! Please contact Joanne Long at (516) 282-1802 for registration information.
The English as a New Language (ENL) program provides instruction in English to students who are non-native speakers of English. Our ENL program is designed to help students integrate as quickly as possible into the daily academic work and cultural activities of the regular classroom and school life. English Language Learner (ELL) students are encouraged to participate in all school activities, and their parents are urged to join their school’s Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to help them assimilate into their new school and community.
Christina Moser (Old Mill Road School and H.D. Fayette School)
Cathy Marketos (Camp Avenue School and H.D. Fayette School)
Procedures for Assessing ELL Students
As part of kindergarten screening, students who appear to be English Language Learners (ELL), formerly known as Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, are screened by the ENL teacher. The ENL teacher also screens ELL new entrants to the district. One method that is used to determine the student’s predominant language is the Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ). If the responses on the HLQ indicate that a language other than English is spoken at home or that the student understands a language other than English, an informal interview in the native language and English is conducted. If the informal interview indicates that the student is possibly ELL, the ENL teacher administers the Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R) to determine language proficiency. If the student scores at or below the cut-off point on the LAB-R, the student is determined to be limited in oral proficiency and ELL services are provided. If a student scores at or below the statewide reference point, the student is considered limited in proficiency in reading English and will receive ENL services.
Beginning in 2014, a new state test was established for the statewide identification of English Language Learners. The New York State Identification Test English Language Learners (NYSITELL), is based on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), but abbreviated in length. In aligning the NYSESLAT and the NYSITELL, NYSED provided an initial identification test that enables educators to determine a student’s level of English proficiency and subsequently provide the appropriate instruction. The NYSITELL was developed from the same types of questions.
State and federal laws and regulations require that all ELL students receive services until they score proficiency on the NYSESLAT.
Students who are referred for a bilingual assessment have usually been in the ELL program for at least two to three years. Traditionally, the referral comes from the ENL teachers who discuss their concerns about the student’s progress with the building team and/or the school psychologist as to how the disability is interfering with the acquisition of academic and/or language skills.
Prior to referral, general education supports are attempted to determine if the student can make progress through these interventions.
These supports may include:
Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
Informal small group instruction
Before/after school support
If the student’s home language is other than English, this is noted on the referral form in order that further evaluations can be completed in the student’s native language. If the parents’ dominant language is not English, they will receive all notifications in their dominant language. They will also receive the Parent’s Guide to Special Education in their native language, if available.
At the CSE meeting, an interpreter will be provided for parents if their native language is other than English. When considering if a disability is present, the CSE will consider the following factors:
the length of time the student has been in the United States;
the amount of instruction that the student has received in the United States as well as his or her home country;
the length of time the student has been receiving ESL instruction;
attendance in school;
the student’s proficiency in his native language as well as English proficiency; and
the types of general education supports that the student has received.
In all cases, the student’s educational, cultural and experiential background will be considered by the Committee to determine if these factors are contributing to the student’s learning or behavioral problems. In making a determination of eligibility for special education and related services, a student may not be identified as a child with a disability if the determinant factor for such determination is limited English proficiency.
When the CSE develops and IEP for an ENL student with a disability, that student must be provided the opportunity to participate in the district’s ESL program. ESL programs should be considered general education core instruction for all ELL students. The CSE does not have the authority to determine that a student with a disability will not receive any ESL instruction unless the student has been re-designated as English proficient pursuant to Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
Dr. Edward Murphy
Assistant to the Superintendent for PPS & Special Education
Babette Nicosia (School-Age CSE)
Rosemarie Marti (Pre-School CPSE)
Dr. Joseph Hoffman, Section 504 Compliance Officer
Section 504 Chairpersons:
Kyle Burd (Camp)
Julianne Schultz-Woods (HDF)
Dr. Nicole Gerbe (OMR)