Welcome to the virtual Special Ed committee!

In an effort to keep people from going crazy with too many meetings, yet continue to provide timely information about special education issues on Staten Island, I have started this blog. I will post any info that comes my way which could be relevant to special ed issues on the Island. Please feel free to comment or to email me at fedsped “at” gmail.com. Comments will be moderated and the usual conventions of civilized discourse will apply.

Please check back regularly for more information! Thanks.


5 Responses to “Welcome to the virtual Special Ed committee!”

  1. Andrea Lella Says:


    The United Federation of Teachers

    Parent Outreach Committee Meeting

    ***NEW LOCATION***

    Where: 50 Broadway at Manhattan Central
    UFT office, 2nd floor, rooms E &F

    When: Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

    Time: 4:30pm– food /5:00pm- meeting

    What: Special Education Subcommittee Meeting

    We want to hear from parents and school staff to identify problem areas in Special Education.

    Other advocacy groups will join us, such as:

    * Advocates for Children

    * New York Lawyers for Public Interest

    * Parent to Parent

    * UFT Dial A Teacher

    For more information regarding this meeting please contact:

    Betty Zohar
    (718) 722- 6936 (Office)
    (917) 796- 8950 (Cell)

    Please post back if you intend to come so we can all arrange to travel together!

    Directions: 4-5 to Wall St. Or R-W to Rector St.

  2. Andrea Lella Says:



    THE LAW HAS BEEN CHANGED TO INCLUDE Home-Schooled Students with Disabilities and their rights to receive special education services

    ** High Priority **

    Guidance is now available on Chapter 217 of the Laws of 2008, which was signed into law by the Governor on July 7, 2008, relating to students with disabilities who are in home instruction programs pursuant to section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (home-schooled students) and are now eligible to receive special education services from their public school districts. In order to receive services in the 2008-09 school year, a parent must submit a written request for such services to the board of education of the school district of location no later than August 6, 2008 of this year.

    This is available at:


    Please share this guidance with appropriate parties in a timely manner. Thank you.

  3. Andrea Lella Says:



    The NYC DOE is holding a public hearing on the spending of the Contracts for Excellence Funds.

    Each year the plan proposed claims to provide focus and funding to special needs students and each year the DOE turns a blind eye to the actual spending of these funds!!!!

    The state has mandated that funds be put aside for programs to address autistic students and to increase academic standards of students with disabilities. Unfortunately the actual utilization of these funds tends to serve e very population BUT special needs students!!!

    Your child needs your voice HEARD!!!!

    Oversight must be provided to ensure the children who are targeted for these funds ACTUALLY receive these services!!!!!

    The first round of public hearings concerning the Contracts for Excellence were held in June. The upcoming public hearings will again give parents, educators, and other New Yorkers an opportunity to comment on the revised plan, which will include proposed spending of school-based Contracts for Excellence funds. The Department of Education (DOE) will use the feedback in finalizing its Citywide Contracts for Excellence Plan. The public may comment on any aspect of the plan, including:

    • How schools are planning to spend their discretionary funds within the six allowable program areas;

    • How the DOE is allocating targeted Contracts funds to schools;

    • How the DOE is allocating funds for school support services;

    • The Class Size Reduction plan; and

    • The public comment process itself.

    The schedule for each hearing is as follows:

    • 6:00 p.m. – Doors open; speaker sign-up begins

    • 6:30 p.m. – Hearing begins; presentation of proposal

    • 6:45 p.m. – Public comment begins

    • 8:30 p.m. – Hearing concludes

    Hearings will be held on STATEN ISLAND THIS Tuesday evening,
    July 29, 2008 at the Michael J Petrides School 715 Ocean Terrace.

    The New York City Department of Education receives a portion of its overall budget in the form of Foundation Aid from New York State. While the State allows some of the increase in year-over-year Foundation Aid funding to be used for growth in general operating costs and investment in ongoing programs, the majority is subject to the provisions of the State’s “Contracts for Excellence.” New York City schools received Contracts for Excellence, or C4E, funds for the first time in the 2007-08 school year. These are funds that, under State law, must be distributed to certain schools and must be spent by those schools in specific program areas.
    In 2008-09, New York City will once again receive funds subject to the provisions of the Contracts for Excellence. These provisions include:

    1. Funds must support specific programs areas. C4E dollars must be spent to support new programs and activities or to expand existing programs and activities in the following six program areas:

    * Class Size Reduction;

    * Time on Task;

    * Teacher and Principal Quality Initiatives;

    * Middle School and High School Restructuring;

    * Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten; and

    * Model Programs for English Language Learners (New in 2008-09).

    2. Funds must go to students with the greatest need. C4E funds must be used to improve the performance of students with the greatest educational need, including:

    * English Language Learners (ELLs);

    * Students with disabilities;

    * Students in poverty; and

    * Students performing below State learning standards or students who are at risk of not graduating.

    3. Funds must supplement, not supplant.

  4. Andrea Lella Says:


    On Tuesday, August 12, 2008, UCP of New York City will host a DynaVox Clinic at our offices at 120 E. 23rd Street in Manhattan. The workshop, which will run from 9:00am – 3:00pm in the large training room on the 5th floor, will focus on increasing successful communication with the DynaVox Series5 (V/VMax), although assistance will be available for any of their devices.

    Registration in advance is necessary at http://www.DynaVoxtech.com : go to training, local workshops, NY.

    Workshop Description:

    DynaVox devices have many pages programmed and ready to use, out of the box. Learn which pages are right for you. Yes, some customization will always be necessary, and we will review basic steps to customize your device.

    -modifying buttons and communications

    -adding and linking pages

    -using your own pictures on buttons or pages

    There is ample time to individualize the device to the needs of the person using it. Most importantly, we will discuss ways to support and encourage successful use. (hint: often this is not about the device).

    The afternoon focus is on the computer and environmental control capabilities of the Series4 and Series5. Learn how to turn on and off lights, operate another Windows computer (using AccessIT). and send/receive e-mail right from the Series5 device.

    I will have the M3, Palm-Top, and Board-maker Activity Pad available if you are interested to see/learn about their capabilities. You are welcome to take a look.

    Bringing a device is recommended, not required. There are always plenty of ideas generated by this session to take back and apply on your own. If you bring the device, try to charge it before, and bring a charger.

    Registration in advance is necessary. Go to our website http://www.DynaVoxtech.com , go to training, local workshops, NY, and then select the right session.

    If you have any questions, please contact Ben Lieman at: Ben.Lieman@DynaVoxtech.com.

    August 12, 2008


    UCP/NYC large training room

    5th floor

    120 E. 23rd Street (Between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue)

    Alison Holden

    Director of Marketing

    United Cerebral Palsy of New York City

    80 Maiden Lane, 8th Floor

    New York, NY 10038

    ph. 212-683-6700 ext. 212

    f. 212-951-7124


  5. Andrea Lella Says:

    Families Helping Families Resource and Recreation Center is excited and delighted to inform you of a wonderful, FREE and FUN opportunity for your special needs child!

    Presenting, through the combined and collaborative efforts of; Special Olympics, Staten Island Youth Soccer League, and Families Helping Families Resource and Recreation Center

    ***<<>>*** “A Special League, For Special Kids!” ***<<>>***

    Finally a place where your child can participate successfully in a recreational activity.

    A place to laugh, play and have fun with other children.

    A place of acceptance, understanding and tolerance.

    A place to fill loneliness with friendships.

    A place to feel wanted and rejoiced in.

    ADHD, ASD, LD, ED, OHI, TBI or MR; all are welcome!

    The Specifics

    WHO: Special needs children of all functioning levels ages 6-16!

    WHAT: a Skills training clinic, a Soccer league and companionship!

    WHERE: Miller Field, New Dorp, Staten Island, New York

    WHEN: Saturdays from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

    Skills Clinic to be held on September 27th & October 4th

    Games to be held on: October 18 & 25 and November 1, 8, & 15


    The Particulars

    During the skills training sessions, all children will be assessed and placed on teams according to functioning level, age and size.

    All coaches, assistant coaches and 1:1 shadows will be trained by Special Olympics.

    Staff from FAMILIES HELPING FAMILIES will be on site for ALL dates

    Medical release form is required and can be found as a download at the following web site:


    Posted at the site is the name and address of the contact person who is to be mailed the forms. You will also find an email address where you can register your child.

    All of us at Families Helping Families hope to see and your child join us at this wonderful program!


    See you there!

    Andrea Anna Lella

    CEO & Program Director
    Families Helping Families
    Resource and Recreation Center


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