Special Education Services
Students with disabilities participate in the general curriculum in the Amherst Central School District to the maximum extent possible. Students are classified by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and a comprehensive Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed based on the individual needs of each student. The following is a list of the available services as part of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) approach:
Related services such as Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Counseling or Social Work services are provided to students with disabilities as identified on their IEP. Related service providers may implement services in individualized, small group, general education, or special education settings.
Special Education teachers generally provide a daily period of support to students who have been identified as Students with Disabilities through the district Committee on Special Education. Students who receive resource room services are enrolled in general education academic classes, and are provided pre-teaching and re-teaching of essential information as part of the resource room model. These students meet the same performance standards as their non-disabled peers. Students who receive resource room services at the high school are enrolled in either Regents or Developmental Regents classes. Students work individually or in small groups to develop and strengthen skills in specific areas identified in their IEP. Students participating in this program are working toward a Regents diploma or Regents diploma with distinction.
Consultant Teacher Programs
Special Education teachers are available to support students either directly or indirectly, through consultation with general education teachers, throughout the school day or when prescribed by their IEP. Students requiring consultant teacher support do not necessarily need direct academic intervention on a daily basis.
Integrated Co-Teaching Program
Special Education teachers team teach (co-teach) with general education teachers at each of the four buildings in Amherst. Special Education teachers are working in selected academic classrooms on a daily basis. The Special Education teacher’s role in the classroom is to support and help students meet their IEP goals, but they also innately support the class as a whole by adding to the instructional support available to all students. In addition to consultant teacher support in the general education classroom, students may also receive one period of instructional support daily at the middle and high school levels.
This program is specific to the high school for students who may be struggling academically and who may require more support than that available through the integrated co-teaching model. These students are included in general education classes on a daily basis. These students may participate in some co-taught classes. Most of these students receive two periods of special education support daily beyond classroom support. Diploma status is determined on an individual basis.
Functional Inclusion Program
The 12:1:1 programs are available at the middle and high school levels. These students are included in general education classes on a daily basis to the extent appropriate given individual needs. Additionally the students may participate in community-based instruction or vocational experiences outside of the school. In each setting, either inclusion or community-based, teachers and assistants work with students individually or in small groups to develop and strengthen skills in specific areas identified in the IEP. The components of this program may focus on academic, physical, social, emotional, and/or management needs. Special Education Teachers also work on transition planning with all inclusion students. Students participating in this program are generally assessed using the New York State Alternate Assessment and are working toward a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.
Academic (8:1:1) and Functional (8:1:3) Self-Contained Programs
Amherst has developed self-contained classrooms to address either academic and behavioral, or functional needs of some of our students who have not found success in the inclusion general education setting. These programs were developed to maintain placement of our students in our buildings as opposed to looking to agency settings outside of the district. Once students find success here, many are then appropriately re-integrated into the general education classrooms with support of the staff, often in our integrated or co-taught classrooms.