• Special Education

    Special Education means specially designed instruction, programs, and services provided to help meet the unique needs of students with disabilities, as determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE).

    Committee on Special Education

    The Committee on Special Education (CSE) is a multidisciplinary team that is approved by the Board of Education.  This committee meets after a referral has been made and a multidisciplinary evaluation has been completed to review the information and determine if a child has a disability.  This committee is responsible for students who are between the ages of 5-21.  The committee determines eligibility, develops and Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and places the student in the least restrictive environment.  If a student is eligible for classification, this committee will meet at least once a year to review the student's programs and services.  Every three years a student will undergo a re-evaluation process to ensure that the student continues to require special education services.

    Multidisciplinary Team

    The multidisciplinary team consists of the following people:              

    • District representative 
    • Parent(s) of the student
    • Regular education teacher
    • Special education teacher
    • School Psychologist
    • An individual who understands and can explain evaluation results and how the results affect instruction
    • A parent member who has a child with a disability, unless the parent requests that the parent member not be present
    • School physician, if requested by the parent
    • Any other people who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, as requested by the parent or the school district
    • The student, if appropriate

    It is important that the parent(s) be at the student's meetings.  The parents are the key to helping this whole process be successful and we encourage you to be a part of it all.  Please let us know what we can do to make sure that you are informed and a part of all that we do to help your child.

    Multidisciplinary Evaluation

    After a referral has been made, many professionals must evaluate the student to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses.  The professionals include, but are not limited to: School Psychologist, School Nurse, Service Providers (Speech/Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Social Worker), Guidance Counselors, School Administrators, and School Physician.

    Request for Referral Process

    A student suspected of having a disability shall be referred in writing to the Chairman of the Committee on Special Education (CSE).  A referral may be requested by:

    • A student's parent
    • A professional staff member of the school district in which the student resides (Principal)
    • A licensed physician
    • The commissioner or designee of a public agency with responsibility for welfare, health or education of the children
    • For purposes of referring one's self, a student who is over 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is eligible to attend the public schools of the district

    A request for a referral submitted by anyone other than the parent, student, or judicial officer shall:

    • State the reasons for the referral and include any test results, record or reports upon which the referral is based that may be in the possession of the person submitting the referral
    • Describe in writing intervention services and programs or instructional methodologies used to remediate the student's performance prior to referral [SAT's help in this process- see below]
    • Describe the extent of parental contact or involvement prior to the referral
    • Be submitted to the BOE approved referral designee; Building Administrators

    Initial Evaluation

    An initial evaluation must be completed within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation.  This evaluation will include:

    • A physical examination
    • An individual psychological evaluation, except when a school psychologist determines after an assessment of a school-age student, that further evaluation is unnecessary
    • A social history
    • An observation of the student in the current educational placement
    • Other appropriate assessments or evaluations


    The student must meet the qualifications for at least one of the 13 classifications established:

    • Autism
    • Deafness
    • Deaf-blindness
    • Emotional Disability
    • Hearing Impairment
    • Learning Disability
    • Intellectual Disability 
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Orthopedic impairment
    • Other health-impairment
    • Speech or language impairment
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Visual impairment

    A student cannot be determined eligible for special education if:

    • There was a lack of appropriate instruction in reading
    • There was a lack of instruction in math
    • Limited English proficiency
    • It doesn't negatively impact the child's education

    Student Support Teams (SST)

    Student Support Teams are located in each of the six school buildings within the Dunkirk City School District.  These teams are comprised of teachers, related service providers, administrators, and anyone who has knowledge of each student.  These teams are led by an SAT Chairman and the purpose of these teams are to provide ideas and support for the people working with children who aren't reaching their full potential and are struggling in one way or another.  This team pin-points where the student is struggling and they brainstorm ideas and techniques that can be implemented.  They create a plan of action and the key people go forth and implement the different strategies and techniques.  Follow-ups are done throughout the year and things can be changed as needed.   

    The sole purpose of this team is not intended to be a pre-referral process for CSE.  The purpose is to try to intervene as soon as difficulties are noticed and try different measures to ensure success.  It helps to bring teachers, providers, and parents together so that everyone is on the same page.  This team documents each meeting and every strategy that is tried.  This documentation can be used later on if the child is referred for an initial evaluation through CSE.