VC Reopening Plan – Special Education

 

Barbara Butler (barbara.butler@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Special Education and oversees all aspects of Special Education and ENL in our Reopening Plan. Valley Central reopening plan provides a framework to ensure that all students with disabilities continue to have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  In consideration of the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and staff, our plan is designed to enable transitioning between in-person, remote, and hybrid learning environments to ensure the provision of FAPE consistent with the changing health and safety conditions that exist.

Special education programs and services of Valley Central provide equity and access for students with disabilities to be involved in and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum with access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students. While not all formats allow for maximum benefit to students, these programs and services can be provided in all formats (live-person, hybrid, or remote).  Valley Central will document the programs and services offered and provided to students with disabilities as well as to the communications with parents in their preferred language and mode of communication. The district will ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students.

Valley Central is committed to providing meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her child to meet the requirements of the IDEA. Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process. Parent counseling and training will continue monthly and will be conducted remotely.

Valley Central will plan and support collaboration between the committees on preschool special education (CPSE) and committees on special education (CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources.

Valley Central will maintain records to document the implementation of each IEP.  The documentation will include, but will not be limited to: progress notes, progress monitoring, formative assessment, standardized assessment, attendance records and the provision of any mandated compensatory services during the 2020-21 school year.

Vulnerable Students with Special Needs: 

Some special needs students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. It is important for parents/ guardians to work with their child’s healthcare providers and the school nurse located at the student’s school so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety. As these students transition back to the school environment, our school health personnel will plan and coordinate with the following so that a healthy transition is made:

  • teaching/related service staff
  • special education administration
  • building administration.

Students who have family members who are in high risk groups may also need to attend school remotely.

Additional PPE for staff caring for such students will be provided on a case-by-case basis.  Staffing assignments will be examined to provide the lowest teacher-to-student ratios possible. 

ENL and World Languages

Valley Central provides world language instruction in Spanish and French 7-12, Italian 9-12 and English as a New Language (ENL) instruction for ELLs/MLLs K-12. 

Support of English language learners (ELLs) will be comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive.  If we reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction we will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year.  After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs will resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.

Valley Central is committed to comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive instruction for ENL students, we will provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.  Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process which includes telephone contact, emails and regular mail in their preferred language.  We will provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.  We utilize OU BOCES regional translation service to assist with translation services.  This service can translate live conversations as well as documents.

Valley Central will provide professional learning opportunities for our district that support best practices and equitable instruction for ELLs as well as general education students to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures.  The district also has access to the OUBOCES Professional Learning Catalog to support teachers to assure ENL and world language instruction is personalized and research-based.

In order to assure that students have opportunities to study world languages we are prepared to teach Italian, Spanish, and French in the live in-person, hybrid, or remote format upon reopening.  With the support of OUBOCES, we will provide professional learning opportunities to our district and the region that supports best practices in all three formats of instruction and cover equitable instruction for our ELLs, SWDs, and general education students who are studying world languages such as Italian, Spanish, or French to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures.

Our district will support our students as they work towards earning the New York States Seal of Biliteracy.  We will collaborate with OUBOCES to provide Seal of Biliteracy professional learning.  As well, OUBOCES will support assessment options and provide translators for NYS Seal of Biliteracy presentations.

Through using our district and BOCES resources, we are well prepared to reopen our schools and serve ELLs, MLLs, and students learning world languages as they expand their skills, knowledge, and facilities with languages.