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Special Education

Special Note: In case of a school closing, such as a snow day, all CSE and 504 meetings will be rescheduled at a later date. Also, if school is delayed for 1 hour, all meetings scheduled before 10:00 a.m. will be rescheduled. If school is delayed 2 hours, all meetings scheduled before 11:00 a.m. will be rescheduled.

New Hartford Central School’s Student Services Department includes psychological, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, and speech and language services which are available to students experiencing academic and/or school adjustment difficulties.

These services are not intended to replace community agency or private practitioner services needed for clinical diagnosis and/or long term counseling.

Referrals to Student Services are made through each building’s Instructional Support Team. Parents who are concerned about their child’s school progress are encouraged to contact the child’s teacher or principal.

More information regarding the Instructional Support Team can be obtained by calling Josh Gifford, the Director of Student Services, at (315) 624-1311.

More information regarding the Committee on Special Education can be obtained by calling Sean Dwyer, Director of Special Education at (315) 624-1313.  

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education | A Parent’s Guide to the Instructional Support Process | Response to Intervention | Committee on Special Education

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education


A student with a disability is defined as having a mental, physical or emotional impairment that impacts his or her ability to acquire and use knowledge in the academic setting. The recognized areas of disability include autism, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability and other health impairment, among others. Federal and state regulations require that school districts provide students with a disability with an appropriate public education based on their unique needs.

The determination of disability and appropriate services is carried out by the Committee on Special Education (CSE), which is made up of a chairperson, the classroom teacher, a special education teacher, a school psychologist, a parent member, and the student’s parent. This committee evaluates a student’s needs upon initial referral, and at least on an annual basis as long as the student remains classified. The CSE will recommend a program of services and supports based on each student’s unique needs.

Special Education is only one component of the services that New Hartford provides for struggling students. If you feel that your child is experiencing academic difficulty, your first contact should be with your building principal. The district has implemented a Response to Intervention process that provides appropriate support and remediation both in the classroom and on a pull-out basis. The intensity of intervention is increased or decreased according to student need. In many cases the intervention provided at the building level is effective in supporting students without the need for more restrictive or intrusive services. The Response to Intervention process is also designed to accurately identify those students who do need more intensive supports. Please contact the principal in your child’s building for more information on Response to Intervention (RTI).

Getting help for your child

If you believe that all building-level resources have been exhausted and you are still concerned about your child’s progress, then you should refer your child to the Committee on Special Education. Below are the steps in the CSE process:

Step 1: Submit a written referral

A referral is a written statement addressed to:

Sean Dwyer, Director of Special Education
33 Oxford Road
New Hartford, NY 13413

The referral should indicate that you believe that your child may have a disability that significantly impacts his or her educational performance, and that you wish your child to be evaluated.

Step 2: Student Evaluation

Once parental consent is obtained, the student will be given a variety of tests to determine if there is a disability present, and to guide the CSE in designing an appropriate program if necessary. The evaluation is conducted by the school psychologist, classroom teacher, and the school social worker. The tests administered include a psychological evaluation, a social history, a reading assessment, a writing assessment, and a math assessment.

Step 3: Committee Meeting

The committee will review all evaluations and make a determination of the student’s needs within sixty days of initial consent. If the student does not qualify for special education services, a referral will be made to the building Instructional Support Team.

Step 4: Developing an Individualized Education Program

If the student is determined to have a disability, the CSE will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to meet the unique needs of the student. The IEP will include a description of strengths and needs, goals for the academic year. a listing of programs and services to be provided, necessary accommodations and modifications, and the projected date of the next time the CSE will meet to review the program.

Step 5: Implementation of the Individualized Education Program

The IEP is considered to be in effect the day after it is approved by the Board of Education, which may be some time after the CSE meeting.

Step 6: Annual Review

The CSE meets annually to review the progress of students with disabilities, and to develop an IEP for the following year. Providers will hold informal meetings before the formal review to provide parents with an opportunity to participate in planning for the next year. Every three years, the student must be re-evaluated to determine the need for continued special education services or programs.

Continuum of Services

The New Hartford School District provides a range of special education services and programs designed to address the unique needs of students. The following services are offered by the district:

Related Services: Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Social Work

Services are offered by the district in each building. Services may be delivered in conjunction with other programs, or as the student’s primary support.

Consultant Teacher

Services provided by a Special Education Teacher to support a student with relatively limited needs in the general education setting. Services may be delivered to the student, or to student’s general education teachers to help them work with the student.

Resource Room

A special education program for a student who needs specialized instruction in a small-group setting outside the general education classroom. Services are usually delivered on a daily basis.


A special education placement with a maximum of 12 students for students who require direct instruction in core subject areas on a daily basis. Students attend regular education classes whenever possible.


Also known as the “Developmental Program”, a special education placement with a maximum of 12 students. The program is primarily designed for students with significant developmental delays, and
provides direct instruction in language-rich and behaviorally supportive environment.

BOCES Programs

For students who require services that can not be provided by the programs and services listed above, the district participates in regional programs with the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OHM BOCES). Through that partnership, the district is able to meet the needs of more severe students, and those that have unique needs that cannot be met internally by the district.

For further information, please contact the Student Services office at (315) 738-9311.

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A Parent’s Guide to the Instructional Support Process


The Instructional Support Team (IST) process is a building-level committee that is designed to assist students who are having difficulty meeting reasonable grade-level expectations in the school environment. Areas that may be identified for support are academic, social, behavioral, or physical. The goal of the IST process is to identify specific skill deficits in one or more of the above areas, and provide targeted support to address those deficits. At the KG-6 level, the district has implemented a Response to Intervention process to identify and address student needs. At the 7-12 level, the IST will develop an Instructional Support Plan to assist students in meeting grade-level expectations. The IST process is a vital component of Student Services continuum. The needs of most struggling students can be addressed by the IST process without the need for referral to the Committee on Special Education or more restrictive services.

The Instructional Support Team

There is an Instructional Support Team (IST) in each building in the New Hartford School District. The team is made up of the building principal, counselor or social worker, special education provider, psychologist, nurse, and a classroom or academic area teacher. Other staff members may be invited as needed. The IST provides support to students and teachers by:

  1. Conducting a case review of students referred to the committee, including specific data gathered in the classroom setting
  2. Suggesting interventions and strategies
  3. Evaluating student progress on an ongoing basis
  4. Meeting periodically to make adjustments to the student’s supports and services

Referral Process

Referral to the IST takes place internally by a staff member working with the student. Parents may consult with the student’s teacher, social worker, or counselor if they feel that a referral is required. IST referral forms are available in each building. At the primary level, parents are notified if the student requires “Tier 2 interventions”, which involve services outside the classroom such as Reading, Writing, or Math support. At the secondary level, parents are notified as soon as a referral is made. Students are typically referred to IST due to slower than expected academic progress, speech or language difficulties, fine or gross motor skill deficits, behavioral concerns, or difficulties with peer relationships. The identified area of difficulty must have a direct impact on academic function.

IST Meeting

Upon receiving a referral, the IST Co-Managers arrange for the student to be placed on the next available weekly agenda. The Co-Managers also verify that all the necessary data has been gathered and is ready to be presented at the meeting. The outcome of the meeting can be:

  1. A request for further information through observation or data gathering New Hartford Central Schools
  2. Recommendations for interventions and strategies to address the identified problem
  3. Request for further assessments by specialized staff (social work, occupational therapy, speech, etc.)
  4. The IST may make a referral to the Committee on Special Education if the student is showing a lack of response to specific, research-based interventions provided over several weeks

Review Process

The IST will meet to review student progress on a regular basis. At the elementary level, student progress may be reviewed every 6-10 weeks to evaluate the need for continued support and to better target interventions.

For further information on the IST process, please contact your Building Principal.

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Response To Intervention (RTI)

Response to Intervention (RTI) involves identifying children who are not meeting grade-level expectations and who are presumably at risk for continuing to lag behind their peers early on and providing instructional modifications (interventions) for these children that are instituted early in their educational careers.

The students’ progress is closely monitored to determine whether and when additional modifications need to be made or whether the interventions can be discontinued because the student is performing at or close to grade level.

The goal of the instructional modifications is to accelerate the children’s rate of growth so that they will be able to meet grade-level expectations. In an RTI model, when appropriately intensified and targeted interventions fail to lead to accelerated progress in learning, the child would be considered for possible LD designation.

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Committee on Special Education (CSE)

Students who are suspected of having a learning disability are referred to a multidisciplinary team called the Committee on Special Education (CSE).

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) is responsible for servicing children with disabilities.

Children who are identified as having a learning disability are referred for Special Education. Special Education means specially designed individualized or group instruction or special services or special programs to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

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