Special Education in Blended and Remote Settings

All students will receive instruction in a blended model (in-person and remotely, as determined by the instructional model selected by the school) or fully remote. In each model, students will receive instruction by a Special Education teacher.

Students in a blended model will receive instruction in-person that should resemble what would take place in a typical school day. During blended remote days, students will receive a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Remote experiences are connected and aligned to create meaningful and integrated learning experiences for students. Instruction between the remote and in person days will be coordinated by the school. 

Students who are fully remote will receive all instruction utilizing the school's online platform and will include a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. 

 At Home Resources

The Beyond Access Series is presented by the New York City Department of Education's Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support. The series supports families of students with disabilities by providing sessions on topics around special education.
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Program Adaptations Document (PAD) 

If your child has an IEP that recommends a special education program (ICT, SETSS, Special Class), your child's special education teacher will contact you to discuss how the program will be delivered this fall. Please take this opportunity to ask questions and share any updates, preferences or concerns. Based on the conversation with you, the teacher will develop and send you a Special Education Program Adaptations Document (PAD) that summarizes the programs and services recommended on your child's IEP, and describes how they will be adapted for the blended and remote learning environments. If your child's IEP recommends related services, the provider assigned to your child for each service will contact you to develop a schedule.

Can the PAD be updated?

Your child's Special Education Program Adaptations Documents (PAD) is guided by feedback and can be changed as needed. Teachers and providers will stay in communication with you to keep track of your child’s progress. If you would like to discuss the PAD or request a change, please contact your child's teacher. You can also email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311 if you need help contacting your child's school.

Does the PAD replace the IEP?

The PAD does not replace or change your child's IEP. Your child's IEP remains an active document that includes annual goals and recommended programs and services. The PAD summarizes your child's IEP-recommended special education program and services, and describes how they will be adapted for the blended and remote learning models available this fall.

When will I receive my child's PAD?

Your child's special education teacher will reach out to discuss the PAD in mid-September. If you have not heard from the teacher by September 18, or you have not received your child's PAD by September 25, please contact the teacher or principal. You can also email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311 if you need help contacting your child's school.

Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT)

Both fully remote and in-person, students will have a co-teaching pair to provide ICT instruction. No more than 40% of students in the class will be students with IEPs. 

Fully Remote ICT 

A fully remote ICT class will be taught remotely by a co-teaching pair. Co-teachers will use co-teaching models and a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities to deliver instruction.

Blended ICT 

A blended ICT class will be taught by an in-person co-teaching pair and a blended remote teacher (this blended remote teacher may be a special education teacher or a general education teacher). The three teachers will coordinate instruction daily, working collaboratively to deliver instruction. Coordination time will help ensure that the individualized needs of students with IEPs are met during both in-person and remote instruction.

When In-Person

  • Students will receive live instruction in the school building from the co-teaching pair 
  • On-site learning should resemble the learning that takes place across a typical school day. Students should receive instruction across all four core subject areas (ELA, math, science, and social studies) and other required courses as scheduled (dance, music, theater, physical education, health education, etc.).

When Blended Remote

  • We strongly encourage schools to staff the blended remote teacher with a Special Education teacher. The third teacher is an additional support for the blended ICT class.
  • For example, the special education teacher (that is part of the in-person co-teaching pair) may work with the blended remote teacher to adapt materials or to partner with co-teachers to record asynchronous mini-lessons. The blended remote teacher will co-plan with the in-person teachers, engage students in live small group or individualized instruction, and provide students with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction daily. 

Time for connecting 

During teacher office hours, students and families can connect ICT teachers during this time. Teachers will use this time to discuss with families how their child's individualized needs are being supported, and how they can best partner with parents to deliver the highest quality specialized instruction.

Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS)

Direct SETSS

Both remotely and in-person, SETSS will be delivered through direct instruction by a special education teacher.

For remote SETSS, it may be more effective to deliver services in an environment different from what is recommended on the IEP. For example, if the IEP recommends SETSS during general education instruction, the SETSS provider may instead schedule separate remote sessions.

For blended learning, some or all SETSS sessions will be provided remotely, and some may be provided in-person at school. To ensure safety while addressing your child’s educational needs, in-person SETSS may be delivered in a location different from what is recommended on the IEP. For example, if your child’s IEP recommends that SETSS be delivered in the general education classroom, it may instead be delivered in a separate location at school, to minimize health risks.

Indirect SETSS

Indirect SETSS means a special education teacher is working with the general education teacher to adjust the learning environment and modify instruction to meet your child’s needs. Indirect SETSS will continue to support blended and fully remote learning.

Special Class

Both remotely and in-person, the special class will be taught by a special education teacher. The class will be composed according to standard requirements for grouping students of similar age and functional levels, and according to the class size and staffing ratio set out by the IEP.

Remote learning will include a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. The classroom paraprofessional may serve the students remotely in a number of different ways, as directed by the teacher. These include supporting the teacher during instruction; individual or small group instruction, as directed by the teacher; and check-ins/check-outs with you and/or your child (using your preferred communication method) to ensure your child’s remote learning needs are met, and to share with the teacher any feedback, concerns or requests you may have.

Alternate Assessment

Fully Remote

Your child will receive a combination of direct, live instruction and self-paced learning activities that provide opportunities to attain their IEP goals. Teachers will use special education practices and approaches that address targeted areas of need for students with disabilities which impact sensory functioning, social interaction, self-regulation, managing anxiety, communication, and/or executive functioning.

Blended

When in-person, students will engage in multi-modal, multi-sensory activities and experiences aligned to their individual learning paths, while using the student’s preferred mode of communication. Specific areas of focus may include but are not limited to structured communication with peers, practicing a specific skill or strategy, or direct instruction in new content.

Your child’s school will coordinate continuity of instruction between in-person and remote days, with an emphasis on routines that can be carried on in the home, and skill development to promote student independence and communication.

Bilingual Special Education (BSE)

Fully Remote

Your child will receive their special education program and services in the language recommended on their IEP. Instruction in core content, lessons, and activities will be provided in both languages (e.g. English and your home language). You will have access to translated texted, materials, and instructions including online digital tools and resources. IEP goals will be incorporated into daily instruction supporting student’s individual learning and linguistic needs. Your child will have access to peers to engage and practice language skills in whole class and small group settings. The provision of bilingual instruction and English as a New Language (ENL) will be provided, remotely, in accordance with state mandates.

Blended

Depending on the model selected by your child’s school, instruction will consist of a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Bilingual instruction and English as a New Language (ENL) will be provided remotely and/or in person, in accordance with state mandates. Your child’s school will provide information on the implementation of the bilingual education model -- either dual language or transitional bilingual education (TBE). On in-person days, emphasis will be placed on opportunities to practice language using activities and lessons to develop academic language.

During both remote and blended learning, leveraging the home language is necessary to support your child on their language-learning journey. The school-based team will prepare and plan lessons based on your child’s IEP and language development needs.

If a bilingual teacher is not available to serve your child, a bilingual alternate placement paraprofessional will be assigned to support your child's language needs, both for in-person and remote instruction.

Related Services

For blended learning, some or all related service sessions will be provided remotely, and some or all may be provided in-person at school. To ensure safety while addressing your child’s educational needs, in-person services may be delivered in a location different from what is recommended on the IEP. For example, if your child’s IEP recommends that services be delivered in the classroom, they may instead be delivered in a separate location at school, to minimize health risks.

For remote learning, it may be more effective to deliver related services in an environment different from what is recommended on the IEP. For example, if the IEP recommends services in the classroom, the provider may instead schedule separate remote sessions, based on what is most effective and appropriate for your child's needs and remote learning circumstances.

The related service provider(s) assigned to your child will contact you to discuss the schedule and method for service delivery, including any adjustments from the IEP recommendation. Please share your preferences and feedback with the provider. If you have any questions or concerns regarding how your child's related services will be provided, please contact the principal. If you need further support, please email relatedservices@schools.nyc.gov or call 311.

Paraprofessionals 

IEP-assigned paraprofessionals (for behavior support, health, toileting, and orientation and mobility), and classroom paraprofessionals (for 12:1+1, 8:1+1, 6:1+1, and 12:1+(3:1) classes), will continue to support students in-person and remotely. The teacher will address the details of the paraprofessional's role with you in discussing the PAD for your child.

Examples of a paraprofessional’s role in a remote learning environment: 

  • Preparing and uploading remote learning materials
  • Leading small instructional groups
  • Supporting individuals or small groups of students with learning activities
  • Assisting you and your child in accessing remote learning platforms
  • Consulting with you to provide recommendations for supporting the individual needs of your child
  • Discussing how you can support you child in social distancing and wearing a mask
  • Assisting you in reinforcing Positive Behavior Support systems
  • Support your child during related service provision

Examples of a paraprofessional’s role in an in-person instructional environment:

  • Leading a small instructional group while a teacher supports the rest of the class
  • Assisting individuals or small groups of students with health, behavior, or toileting needs, including appropriate hygiene practices and the application of health and safety precautions
  • Supporting a group of students receiving remote learning as part of a blended group, where some students are receiving in-person instruction from a teacher

Students Age 21+ 

Continued Instruction

Students who are working toward a diploma and were unable to complete the credits needed due to the transition to remote learning will be invited back to school. This applies to all students with 33 or more credits, as well as other students who would be able to graduate if they were given up to one more year.

Students with IEPs who have missed instruction and/or services, or do not have postsecondary plans in place because of the transition to remote learning, and/or who are showing signs of regression and have not met their IEP goals, will also be eligible to be invited to continue school to receive instruction and/or related services.

Transition Support Consultancy Services

Students with IEPs who need to be connected with adult/postsecondary services or instruction but have otherwise completed school will be offered individualized services to meet the needs of the student, depending on their post-school goals.

This includes assistance with:

  • Intakes at adult services agencies
  • Intakes at vocational programs
  • College applications and supporting documents
  • Any other connections or referrals that need to be made in order to ensure that the student will be engaged in the appropriate adult programs and services

IEP Meetings

IEP meetings will continue to be conducted by phone or videoconference. Someone from your child’s IEP team will contact you to discuss how the IEP meeting will be held and to ensure you have the materials you need to participate effectively.

For any questions about your child's IEP, or to request an IEP meeting, please contact your child's special education teacher or related service provider. You can also email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311 if you need help contacting your child's school.

Evaluations 

Special education evaluations will continue using remote methods, and in-person assessment only when necessary.

School psychologists will first use a comprehensive data-driven model for all open and new evaluations (unless it was previously determined that an assessment needed to be conducted face-to-face). All aspects of this form of assessment can be conducted remotely and through socially distanced classroom observations and clinical interviews, if needed.

If the school psychologist determines that face-to-face assessments for your child are necessary, the school psychologist will conduct only the testing needed to identify a disability, to avoid unnecessarily prolonging assessment interactions.

To request an initial evaluation or reevaluation, make a referral to your child's school. You can also email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov or call 311 if you need help contacting your child's school.

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