Special Education Services

Brian H. Simon, Director of Special Education
Email: simonb@chatham.k12.ny.us

Beth King, Secretary
Email: kinge@chatham.k12.ny.us

Location: Room 2C6, Chatham Middle School
Phone: 518-392-1540
Fax: 518-392-1881
Address: 50 Woodbridge Avenue, Chatham, NY 12037

The Chatham Central School District is committed to growth for all students, including those with disabilities. The Office of Special Education Services is here to ensure your understanding of the special education process that, at times, can appear overwhelming. Your child’s education is our highest priority, and you are encouraged to contact this office with questions that are not readily answered by this website. Parents and families are critical partners, along with school personnel, in the education of children and our staff is here to assist you.

Special education means specially designed instruction or services to meet the identified needs of students with disabilities. While good teachers and good schools continuously individualize programs to meet the needs of students, special education is a more formal and comprehensive process of five basic steps:

  1. Referral for Special Education
  2. Individual Evaluation
  3. Determination of Eligibility for Special Education Services
  4. Individual Education Programming
  5. Annual review and triennial reevaluation

If you feel that your child is having difficulties in school and may be a student with a disability, first speak to the child’s teacher. Our schools offer many supports for students within regular education, such as counseling, speech and language services, curriculum and instructional modifications and Academic Intervention Services. Not all school problems are a result of a disability. School counselors, psychologist and principals are aware of the school’s support services and can help match student’s needs to services. While a parent always has the right to refer their child to the Committee on Special Education, we attempt to serve students through regular education programs before determining that the child is unable to make adequate progress in a program designed for typically developing students.

Notice to Parents Concerning Special Education Services

If you suspect that your child may have a physical, cognitive, or emotional disability, you have the right to refer your child to the District’s Committee on Special Education for an evaluation, and a determination as to whether your child is eligible to receive special education services and programs. More information regarding your rights is set forth in the New York State Education Department’s Parent’s Guide to Special Education in New York State for Children Ages 3-21, available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/parentsguide.pdf

To refer your child to the Committee on Special Education, or to obtain more information regarding the District’s special education services and programs, please contact our Special Education office.

Early Intervention & Preschool Special Education Services

The Chatham Central School District collaborates with the Columbia County Early Intervention Program to reach out to families even before students are of school age.

The Early Intervention and Preschool Services Program of Columbia County seeks to identify children ages birth to three years of age who are at risk of developmental delays. The program provides developmental screening and therapeutic and support services for children with special needs up to three years of age. Families and primary care providers are encouraged to make referrals to this program if they have concerns about the development of children in their care. Evaluations and services are available to eligible children at no expense to families. The Early Intervention and Preschool Services Program can be reached at 518-828-4278.

The Committee on Preschool Special Education is a cooperative venture between the Chatham Central School District and the Columbia County Department of Health to serve students with special needs from three years of age to school-age. If parents notice that their preschool child does not develop skills such as walking, talking or playing like other young children, they should discuss their concerns with their family doctor. The doctor may reassure parents that children develop at different rates and that the child is within the range of typical development. However, if the doctor is concerned or the parents believe a disability to be present, a referral may be made to the Committee on Preschool Special Education. Parents may contact Mr. Brian Simon at 518-392-1540 to ask questions about the Committee on Preschool Special Education or to initiate a referral.

Additional information on Early Intervention services is available from:
Early Childhood Direction Centers – http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/home.html

Additional information on Preschool Special Education is available from:
The Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities – http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/preschool/brochure.htm

Additional Sources of Information on Special Education topics

General introduction to special education
Parents who wish to learn more about to the Committee on Special Education will benefit from reading  “Special Education in New York State for Children Ages 3-21, A Parent’s Guide”, available at www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed. This site also links parents to a variety of State and Federal resources.

Procedural Safeguards
Parents of children with disabilities may benefit from information concerning procedural safeguards that are their legal rights under Federal and State law in “Procedural Safeguards Notice”, available below: NYSED Procedural Safeguards Notice, July 2017

Non-public school students
Parents of students with disabilities or of students suspected to have disabilities may wish to review the information on special education for students who are parentally placed in non-public schools in New York State at www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/section1772-nonpublic.htm

Homeschooled students
Parents of students with disabilities or of students suspected to have disabilities who homeschool may wish to review the most current information on the coordination of special education services to homeschoolers at www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/homeinstructed708.htm

Mediation of disputes
Parents of students with disabilities may request special education mediation to assist parents and school districts to resolve disagreements. Learn more about special education mediation at www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/dueprocessbroch.htm

Medicaid Confidential Disclosure
The New York State School Supportive Health Services Program Compliance Agreement, entered into on July 20, 2009, by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the New York State Education Department (SED) and the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) requires that the State and local school districts shall establish a confidential disclosure mechanism enabling employees to disclose anonymously and practices or billing procedures, deemed by the employee to be inappropriate, to the State’s Compliance Officer. An employee of the SED, DOH, or any local school district, including New York City and, with respect to the Preschool Supportive Health Services Program, any county in the State, who believes that any practice or billing procedure related to Medicaid reimbursement of school or preschool supportive health services is inappropriate, may send information concerning such practice or billing procedure in writing to the State Compliance Officer by U.S. mail, courier service, e-mail or facsimile transmission. Note that review and follow up will not be undertaken with respect to oral disclosures.

Rose Firestein
State Compliance Officer
New York State Department of Health Office
Office of General Counsel
90 Church Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York 10007
Telephone: 212-417-4393
Facsimile: 212-417-4392
ref01@health.state.ny.u

View Confidential Disclosure Policy

Information for Parents on District use of Medicaid Funds
Notification regarding use of public benefits or insurance to pay for certain special education and related services…

Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential
Students with disabilities are now able to earn a NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. This credential recognizes each individual student’s preparation and skills for post-school employment. This option will assist students who are not eligible for the NYS Alternative Assessment who may be unable to complete the requirements to obtain a regular high school diploma. Learn more about CDOS.