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Special Education

Debby Sharpe-Defries, Director of Special Education
75 Watervliet Ave.
Albany, NY 12206
Phone: 475-6150

Fax: 475-6136


December parent workshop to focus on sensory integration

The City School District of Albany Department of Special Education Services will hold the second of four parent workshops this school year at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 in the media center at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, located at 75 Watervliet Ave.


The topic will be, "What's the scoop on sensory integration and students with autism and related disabilities?" The workshop will provide a solid understanding of sensory integration and will empower parents and educators to advocate for and participate in developing sensory strategies for their children. Practical information and demonstrations will be shared. Participants will walk away with an understanding of a sensory diet and activity suggestions for home, school and the community.


For more information, contact Debby Sharpe at 475-6135 or Also contact her if you need help with transportation.


Workshops also will be held:

  • March 1 --Topic:  Anxiety and depression in youth: What do I need to know and how can I help?

  • May 3 -- Topic: Supporting a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

All district families are welcome to attend the workshops, all of which will be held at 6 p.m. at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Ave. The workshops are conducted by the Parent Network of the Capital Region.


State requires review of suspensions

The State Education Department (SED) has notified the City School District of Albany that it has been identified for VESID state performance indicators related to the suspension of students with disabilities. The specific indicators are:

  • High suspension rates for students with disabilities for more than 10 days in a school year

  • Significant discrepancies in the rates of suspensions and expulsions of more than 10 days by race and ethnicity, specifically black students

    • Hispanic and white students are at risk, meaning we are close and likely to meet the criteria for notification in subsequent years unless data patterns change.

The district completed a self-review monitoring process in May 2015, which was a review of the district’s policies, procedures and practices relating to the development of individual education plans (IEPs), the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and procedural safeguards. The results of the process were sent to SED, and the district anticipates further communication about suspension status and further guidance from SED in 2016.


Special education services

The City School District of Albany is committed to making sure all students receive a quality education that fits within the framework of their individual needs. The Special Education Department provides specially designed instruction, services and programs to help meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.


The district provides a full range of special education services including:

  • Speech and audiology

  • Psychological therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy and counseling

  • Consultant teacher services

  • Resource room services to provide supplemental instruction

  • Transitional support services

  • Integrated class services, full-time in-class support

  • Day treatment

  • Residential program

  • Home or hospital instruction

Determining special education placement

All special education placements are determined by the Committee on Special Education, the Subcommittee on Special Education and the Committee on Preschool Special Education.


These committees, in conjunction with parents and teachers, help develop individual education plans (IEPs) for each school-age or preschool-age pupil with a disability on an annual basis.


The IEPs include information about the unique learning needs of each student, such as learning rate, levels of social and physical development and the students' management needs. The document also includes annual goals and short-term objectives in academic, social and other areas for the student's school year. The IEP will serve as a curriculum plan of action and a source of evaluation for the student's progress during an entire school year.


Equal rights

All students with disabilities are given access to school activities, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Art

  • Music

  • Library

  • Adaptive and regular physical education

  • Career skills

  • Technology

  • Conversational French and Spanish

  • All extracurricular activities

In addition, the district conducts an annual district-wide speech screening system to insure appropriate detection of speech impairments. Programming for pupils with speech impairments is made available through in-district speech programs provided by 19 speech therapists.


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