The DOE’s reform in special education will get its true test this fall when schools implement the new programs. The reform entails moving children with the least restrictive settings from self-contained classes to classrooms that include general education students. More students with Individualized Education Plans, IEPs, will be more fully integrated.
In anticipation of the changes, the city has debuted a hotline for parents of children with special needs. Parents may call 718-935-2007 or 311 to access the hotline. There will also be in-person help, according to Insideschools.org: “office hours have been set up at nine DOE offices in the five boroughs; some sites are open until 7 p.m. and there are weekend hours too, although everywhere. The office hours began July 31 and go through Sept. 27, according to the schedule posted online.”
And, what about children who aren’t in the least restrictive settings and need more support?
Insideschools.org reports, “reform is targeting kids that don’t need intensive support,” Education Department Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suranksky said, noting there are special schools and programs for kids with severe disabilities which will remain intact. The reforms will primarily affect students just now entering the city’s school system, or beginning a new school level, such as kindergarten, middle school and high school….”