For children entering kindergarten in September, families or schools should email the AIMS Team as soon as possible.
AIMS (Acquisition, Integrated Services, Meaningful Communication, and Social Skills) is a special education program in select District 75 schools that serves some students with autism. Each AIMS classroom has a special education teacher, a speech teacher, and a classroom paraprofessional. Instruction is provided in both individual and small groups using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior (VB) techniques. ABA uses a scientific approach to understand and improve behaviors and learning. VB uses the principles of ABA to teach communication and language.
Eligible students meet the following criteria:
Eligible for an educational disability classification of autism.
AIMS is intended for students whose functional levels show developmental delays around communication, behavior, and social skills.
Students in AIMS classes have moderate-to-severe delays in academic skills and below average working memory, verbal and nonverbal reasoning abilities, speech and language, and attention.
Students are not yet able to interact in groups larger than two and may prefer to engage in activities by themselves. Students have moderate to severe delays in playing and interacting with other students.
Students may have mild to severe behavioral challenges.
A special education teacher, speech teacher, and paraprofessional will provide individualized and small group instruction using the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) curriculum. Classroom instruction and speech therapy will be delivered throughout the school day using the principles of ABA and Verbal Behavior (VB).
A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at each school will provide ongoing professional development to support instruction, communication and behavioral strategies, including training in ABA and VB. The BCBA will also provide parent training and counseling sessions to ensure positive behavioral supports are in place and generalized across all environments, including the home.
If you think the AIMS program may be right for your child, you may submit an application at any time. School staff can help you. All assessments must be completed within one year of the application in order for admissions to move forward.
AIMS Program Application
Assessment and Accountability
Judy Chan, Data Specialist: 212-802-1676
The Office of Assessment and Accountability provides information from qualitative and quantitative data sources such as Quality Review, progress reports, Learning Environment Survey, assessments, suspensions, and OORS reporting to district leadership and school leaders on an intermittent basis. The office team provides Individual Education Program (IEP), STARS and ATS trainings. IEP Coaches assist school administrators and staff in meeting legal requirements related to all aspects of a student’s IEP, as well as, works with interdisciplinary district staff to ensure recommended content is accurate and aligned to standards.
Allice Danner, Director: 212-802-1555
The Office of Early Childhood is committed to fostering optimal learning opportunities for our youngest learners as we prepare them for their future. Our office works directly with schools across the district in the following ways:
- Help teachers create learning environments that foster academic growth, social-emotional awareness, and independence.
- Teach and model effective instructional strategies that support developmental and academic growth.
- Support with analyzing data, assessments, planning, and adapting curriculum across all subject areas.
- Offer school-based staff a variety of professional development workshops to enhance knowledge and skill in creating learning opportunities to meet the individual needs of every student within the classroom.
English Language Learners
The Office of English Language Learners (OELL) provides support at the school level in all of the following ways:
- direct support to site-based staff via modeling lessons with appropriate ESL/ENL methodologies and strategies; demonstrating how to best deploy paraprofessionals so as to enable students to demonstrate independence in the differentiated learning tasks prepared by the teacher
- analysis of effective lesson planning and how to determine the linguistic aim as aligned to the lesson being taught;
- use of assessment tools, appropriate to the task created for the lesson, in order to obtain data to track each student’s progress;
- providing teachers with sample rubrics, lesson plans, materials, including adapted books, and activities/tasks created by the OELL as instructional supports;
- ELL Monitoring and Support visits for compliance and instruction to Central-selected schools
Ray Velez, District family Advocate: 212-802-1614
The Office of Family Engagement works with and supports various parent groups: District 75 Leadership Team, Presidents’ Council and the District 75 Citywide Education Parent Council and District 75 Parent Coordinators (PCs). Parents participate in workshops and activities in the borough in which they live, but not necessarily at their child’s school, for example, Using Social Media Applications - SWAY; Remind; Twitter; Digital Citizenship; A common Sense Approach to Cyberbullying; Effectively Engaging Every Family; Conflict Resolution; How to Handle Difficult Conversations, Cultivating Strong Community Partnerships and Creative Ways to Engage Families. Parent Coordinators work in borough teams in an effort to better support families by collaborating to offer borough-wide health and human service workshops, transition fairs and borough family fairs that celebrated student successes and family involvement. PCs work collaboratively in borough teams to provide day, evening and weekend workshops for families.
Ruchika Chopra, Director: 212-802-1519
The Office of Inclusive Education supports inclusive instructional teams consisting of District 75 SETSS providers and general education teachers in classrooms determined by the student’s support needs as indicated on their IEP. The classroom team may also include paraprofessionals and/or Related Service Providers. All teachers in the inclusive schools are members of one community with a common vision - the student actualizing his/her desired long term adult outcomes. The adults in the classroom serve as models of collaboration for the students. They demonstrate that any successful team is based on the positive interaction of all the participants. Every team member contributes to building and sustaining structures that support the education of students in inclusive schools by:
Literacy and Social Studies
Raizel Reider, Director: 212-802-1618
The Office of Literacy and Social Studies provides instructional support to teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in a variety of literacy topics via professional learning workshops, in-classroom demonstrations, and small group instruction. We believe that regardless of cognitive ability, age, gender, or background, every student is capable of learning to read and write, and it is our mission to afford opportunities and strategies to each of them to achieve their highest potential.
The Office of Literacy and Social Studies continues to make the teaching of social studies a priority. The renewed focus of social studies is to provide support for both educators and students in such social studies areas as history, geography, economics, government, and civics, and focusing on the six social studies practices. According to the New York City’s Social Studies Scope and Sequence, “A strong and effective social studies program helps students make sense of the world in which they live, allows them to make connections between major ideas and their own lives, and it helps them see themselves as active members of a global community.” The work within the office is aligned to the NYC Scope and Sequence and Passport to Social Studies curriculum for grades K-8.
Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports
Glazen Celero, Coordinator: 212-802-1615
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a multi-tiered instruction and intervention model for providing academic and behavioral supports. The framework subscribes to the following model of supports: TIER 1, TIER 2, and TIER 3; where data-based decisions are made by school-team members to provide specially designed academic or behavioral interventions and ongoing Progress Monitoring. The PBIS team support is provided through facilitation of specialized trainings /workgroups in PBIS, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI). Additional support is provided through direct consultation with in-house PBIS school teams, PBIS school-based coaches and school-based TCI facilitators in multi-tiered systems of support.
School Wellness & Physical Education
Hiroyuki Yamada, Director: 212-802-1640
The Office of School Wellness and Physical Education (OSWP) oversees Adaptive Physical Education (APE) programs across the sixty district organizations and assists schools in providing developmentally appropriate physical education for all students. The APE team adapts, modifies, and/or changes a physical activity so it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability. The goal is to have an activity where ALL students can fully participate in physical education. The adaptations include needed changes in equipment (i.e. larger goal/targets, scoops instead of gloves for catching), changes in rules/prompts/clues (i.e. batting from a stationary position, partner assisted), changes in time by varying tempo, or slowing activity pace, change in physical actions (i.e. loco-motor patterns, body positions). The Director regularly visits schools and organizes events to assist both PE teachers and general classroom teachers with methodologies to adapt sports and activities in accordance with a student’s IEP requirements.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Leslie Schecht, Director 212-802-1597
Includes both formal (classroom) instruction and informal (afterschool) education across all grade levels (Pre-K-12). STEM education involves the study of science and mathematics, and the meaningful integration of technology and engineering to provide opportunities for innovative problem solving. Using the engineering design process, students identify problems, develop and test possible solutions, and ultimately reach a solution. The integration of mathematics, science, and engineering practices used in conjunction with digital literacy will help students recognize and utilize the variety of perspectives that may be tapped into to help unravel complex inquiries.
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a district-wide initiative with an established team devoted to this work. Over the last 4 years the team has worked with target schools on a structured program to improve their UDL practices. The work consists of establishing appropriate classroom environments, creating classroom websites for families and providing access to communication and instructional materials to so students can be more engaged and empowered during instruction. In addition, the team works directly with schools and students on alternative means of communication and expression.
Karen Anderson, Director: 212-802-1554
The Office of Teacher Effectiveness team provides ongoing Advance and Mentor trainings for teachers and administrators to showcase how effective instructional practice should “ look and sound” as aligned to the Danielson Framework for Teaching (DFT). The Teacher Development and Evaluation Coaches (TDEC) work directly with school and district administrators to hone their skills around observation of instructional practices and providing meaningful feedback to pedagogues. The Teacher Development Specialists (TDS) work directly with school-based Mentors and new/early career teachers on aligning their pedagogical practices to the DFT through the use of mentor tools, adult learner theory, and analysis of student work, peer-to-peer observation and reflective conversations. The OTE team’s work with teachers focuses on developing pedagogical skills which:
- Promote academic access and achievement for all students;
- Strengthen content knowledge and planned instruction that ensures growth and achievement for all students;
- Design instruction that intellectually engages and challenges students towards meeting or exceeding their IEP and instructional learning goals;
- Create dynamic learning environments that promote postsecondary readiness;
- Use multiple measures to assess and analyze student growth, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and adjust instruction;
- Analyze student work and provide effective feedback; and
- Inform goals based on reflective practice and strive for continuous professional growth.
Natalie McQueen, Director: 212-802-1568
The Office of Transition supports schools in reaching out to local business owners to establish and expand work-based learning opportunities. Schools are also assisted with setting up school based enterprises and/or creating individualized jobs per students’ needs and interests. The expected outcomes include diverse work based learning opportunities that will match students’ post school interest and goals and increase work and life skills competencies. In an effort to prepare our students for post school success in the areas of Education/Training, Employment and Independent Living, students receive instruction in work readiness and life skills. Additionally, students are assessed using evaluations (similar to job performance evaluations) that measure job skill acquisition and generalization to the “real world.” The transition team researches and provides various work readiness and life skills curricula and activities to schools appropriate for their students’ needs and cognitive levels of functioning. Assistance is also provided with aligning curricula, activities and competencies/skills to NYS Career Development & Occupational Studies Standards (CDOS).
Steve Garcia, Coordinator: 212-802-1625
The Office of Travel Training (OTT) facilitates students' movement from school to post-school activities, including education, employment, independent living, and community participation, it is necessary to incorporate transportation and travel-related skills and behaviors into their educational programs and experiences. Research has linked the ability to travel independently and the availability of public transportation to positive employment and independently living outcomes for persons with disabilities for many years. The OTT team engages in continuous outreach activities to schools, families, and agencies to explain the essential nature of independent mobility and to encourage the use of mass transit for school, home, and agency planned activities.
The OTT established collaborative relationships with the NYC Department of Transportation's Safety Education Department, the NYC Transit Museum, and NYC Transit to introduce pedestrian safety skills, orientation to NYC city buses, and basic skills for using subways to our students and their teachers and paraprofessionals. OTT staff provides:
- Introductory classes to the students in their schools, and then either visits Safety City, the Transit Museum, or hosts a NYC bus demonstration at the school. It is hoped that the outcome will be increased student awareness of safety skills for pedestrians and public transit users, and increased teacher/paraprofessional comfort with using public transportation and with engaging in more independent community walks and activities;
- Technical assistance/consultation and professional development, workshops for parents, and the unique one-to-one comprehensive travel training services for high school age students with disabilities other than blindness, are offered to District 75 schools and community high schools; and
Helen Kaufman, Administrative Assistant Superintendent: 917-256-4236
Related services are provided in accordance with a student’s IEP. Related services are intended to support students in meeting his/her instructional goals and promote the generalization of skills in school, at home and in the community.
Speech and Language Therapy:
- May be recommended for a student with a communication problem, including problems of language comprehension and expressive language which adversely affect school performance. In addition, it may be recommended for students with speech production skills whose speech is unintelligible or not commensurate with the student’s total profile, including cognitive development, which adversely affect his or her educational performance.
- Emphasizes the use of functional system of communication that is individualized for each student verbal or non-verbal District 75 students.
Hearing Education Services:
- Deafness - a student with a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing with or without amplification that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.
- Hard of Hearing - an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
- Provides support by a trained teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing/ audiologist to help the student perform successfully in their classroom.
Sign language Interpreters:
- The assignment of a Sign language Interpreter should be considered for those deaf and/or hard of hearing students who use sign language as their primary mode of communication. In order for these students to benefit from their instructional program, the use of a sign language interpreter is necessary to transmit the spoken message into American Sign Language (ASL) and the signed message into spoken English.
Educational Vision Services:
- Eligibility for Educational Vision services is based on a student’s visual acuity of 20/70 or worse in the better eye with correction (i.e. glasses) and/or a field restriction of 60 degrees or dell or visual impairments that are considered progressive or worsening.
- Teachers of the Visually Impaired assist students with low vision to function successfully in school with the help of classroom accommodations, low vision devices, specialized technology and adapted materials. They may teach Braille and will also consult with teachers, therapists and parents to ensure the child reaches his or her highest level of independence.
- Orientation and Mobility instruction enables students who are blind or have low vision to learn safe and purposeful travel. This educational service is designed to improve the student’s grasp of spatial and environmental concepts and use of information received by the senses for negotiating travel. Low vision aids and/or the use of the long cane to supplement visual travel skills for navigating the environment are also taught.
- Is designed to maintain, improve, or restore function to students in all education- related activities, including neuro-musculoskeletal function, motor function including fine motor, oral motor and visual motor integration, sensory and perceptual function, cognitive and psychosocial function.
- School-based physical therapists assess the gross motor skills of student’s with atypical development including balance, coordination, posture and mobility within the school environment. They identify possible architectural barriers; evaluate seating and positioning needs; provide equipment recommendations.
- Helps students with disabilities recognize, modify and self-manage behaviors that interfere with learning.
- Counselors are trained to develop functional behavior assessments resulting in behavioral intervention plans to extinguish negative behaviors.
- Are provided to students with special medical needs that have been identified and documented by a medical professional. Registered Nurses from the Office of School Health are assigned to schools based upon the medical prescriptions requiring treatments that have been issued for selected students.
- Students who do not require the extensive level of care provided by a registered nurse may have a health paraprofessional assigned to monitor and assist a student who is unable to provide for their own special health needs.
- Often students with orthopedic and health impairments are unable to access the physical environment of their school or classroom and require specialized assistance in the form of adaptive equipment. This equipment enables the student to sit at a table with peers using a specialized chair for needed support or a stander or gait trainer for weight baring or assistance in walking.
- Students with disabilities are able to be appropriately instructed as a result of the special education program designed to meet their instructional and related service needs. However, there are some students who as a result of their disability may require additional support and that can be offered through the use of a one to one paraprofessional. The training and support provided by a one to one paraprofessional can help the student understand his/her disability and learn and provide effective strategies to help support the student’s Individualized education program. These following service is provided by one to one paraprofessionals:
- Health Services: the need for health service must indicate the nature of the service to be provided.
- Behavior Management: when a student’s pattern of behavior is of an acute nature which is hazardous to themself and others.
- Special Transportation: when a student exhibits behavior that is hazardous and substantially beyond the norm of other students transported on the bus.
- Oral Transliterator: considered for deaf and hard of hearing students who mode of communication is oral and rely on lip reading or support the student by rephrasing or paraphrasing the spoken communications of the teacher or other students in the classroom
- Sign Language: considered for those deaf and hard of hearing students who use sign language as their primary mode of communication.
- Orientation and Mobility: requires a guide to help the student move safely from one place to place during school activities (for blind students only.)