Special Needs

We believe that all children have special, unique needs. The goal of the SyracuseHebrewDay School since its inception has been to provide all students with a quality Jewish and secular education that meets their specific and unique educational needs.  We also believe that inclusion is a way of life—a way of living together—that is based on a belief that each individual is valued and belongs.  The Day School subscribes to the following tenets:

  • Diversity enriches us all, and students benefit from involvement in a thoughtful and caring community of learners.
  • Each student has unique contributions to offer to other learners.
  • Each student has strengths and needs.
  • Services and supports need not be relegated to one setting (e.g., special classes) to be effective; rather, learning results from the collaborative efforts of teachers and staff working together to ensure each student’s success.

The SyracuseHebrewDay School subscribes to the following research-based findings:

  • Heterogeneous and cooperative group arrangements of students are effective for learning (Johnson & Johnson, 2002; Oakes, 1985; Oakes & Lipton, 2003; Sapon-Shevin, 1994).
  • Students are provided with individualized approaches to curriculum, assessment, and instruction because of high expectations held for all students (Castellano, 2003).
  • Teachers and other professionals give students the opportunity to learn to think and be creative, and not just to repeat memorized information. (Kohn, 1999; Lenz & Schumaker, 1999; Schumm, 1999; Tomlinson, 1999).
  • Teachers and other professionals facilitate social skills as students interact, relate to one another, and develop relationships and friendships (Delpit, 1995; Noddings, 1992).

The Day School is committed to the success of each of its students and is further committed to working with parents and school district personnel to assure that the educational needs of each student are met. The following definitions and procedures follow New YorkState guidelines. As in all aspects of our educational program, we seek to work together with parents for the benefit of our students in a positive and collegial framework.

Definitions:

Child with a disability – According to the federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the NYS Special Education Law, a child with a disability is a child who fits within one of 13 different categories of impairments, and who needs special education and related services. Examples of  impairments include orthopedic, hearing, vision, emotional, speech or language impairment,  autism, a specific learning disability, or. “other health impairment that may be due chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, or Tourette syndrome. In order to qualify for services under the IDEA and NYS Special Education law, the impairment must   “adversely affect a child’s educational performance.”

Specific Learning Disability – A student with a “specific learning disability” is a student has a psychological processing disorder that causes him/her to have a problem in understanding or using language.  A child who is learning disabled has difficulty listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, doing arithmetic.   The ‘specific learning disability”  does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – A child who is evaluated and found to qualify for services under the IDEA is entitled to an   Individualized Education Plan. This IEP spells out the services to which the child is entitled and the timetable for the receipt of such services to be provided by the public education system. The types of services on an IEP may range from extra time to tutoring to other types of other services and accommodations or assistance they may need.  Not all students with disabilities are entitled to an IEP.

504 Plan – Students who do not meet the requirements for an IEP  but still require some assistance in school because of a disability may be eligible for accommodations as part of a “504 plan,” under a different law, known as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  A “504 plan” may be available to students who do not meet the definition of a child with a disability under the IDEA but who still require some accommodations or modifications. However, to be eligible for a 504 plan, the student must meet a different definition of disability. Under Section 504, a child with a disability is one who has a “physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Such impairments can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity to perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.  The main difference between the eligibility of a child who receives services under the IDEA and Section 504 is that the child’s impairment does not adversely affect his or her educational performance. In addition, fewer protections and rights are provided families under Section 504 as under the IDEA.

Procedures:

If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, you should confer with your child’s teachers and head of school, and then make a request for a full evaluation. A full evaluation must be performed by a licensed professional and includes a comprehensive assessment of your child’s skills and abilities. This evaluation includes a physical examination, an individual psychological evaluation, a social history, an observation of the student in the classroom and other educational evaluations and assessments, as appropriate to the areas of the suspected disability. You have the right to have the JamesvilleDewittSchool   District perform this evaluation, at no cost to you, after you make such a request to them in writing.  The Day School will be happy to assist you in contacting the JamesvilleDewittSchool   District to begin this process. The booklet, “A Parent’s Guide to Special Education for Children Ages 5-21” is available in the School office to provide complete information about all phases of the evaluation process and the appeal process, if needed.  For more information, or if you want to arrange a confidential meeting to discuss your child’s educational needs or a suspected impairment, please free to contact the head of school who may also refer you to local expert.

Resources:

SyracuseUniversityParentAdvocacyCenter

http://www.supac.org/resources/parent-advocacy-handouts/

Revised: March 2013

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