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Special Education

Debby Sharpe-Defries, Director of Special Education
75 Watervliet Ave.
Albany, NY 12206
Phone: 475-6150

Fax: 475-6136


March parent workshop to focus on learners with executive-function challenges

The City School District of Albany Department of Special Education Services will hold the third of four parent workshops this school year from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13 in the media center at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, located at 75 Watervliet Ave.


The topic will be "Strategies to Support Learners with Executive Function Challenges."  Executive functions consist of mental skills that help the brain organize and act on information. These skills enable people to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention and get started on tasks. They also help people use information and experiences from the past to solve current problems.


At the workshop, participants will learn about and discuss how executive function skills support learning and how executive function challenges affect people with disabilities. The workshop also will provide resources and tools to support teaching life skills. In addition, participants will share ideas about supporting school-age children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, behavior challenges and other



All district families are welcome to attend the workshop, which will be conducted by the Parent Network of the Capital Region.


Please click here to register for the workshop.


For more information, contact Debby Sharpe at 475-6135 or


All district families are welcome to attend the workshop, which will be conducted by the Parent Network of the Capital Region. The last workshop will be held on May 1. Click here for information about topics to be discussed at that workshop.


Special education services

The City School District of Albany is committed to making sure all students receive a quality education that fits within the framework of their individual needs. The Special Education Department provides specially designed instruction, services and programs to help meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.


The district provides a full range of special education services including:

  • Speech and audiology

  • Psychological therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy and counseling

  • Consultant teacher services

  • Resource room services to provide supplemental instruction

  • Transitional support services

  • Integrated class services, full-time in-class support

  • Day treatment

  • Residential program

  • Home or hospital instruction

Determining special education placement

All special education placements are determined by the Committee on Special Education, the Subcommittee on Special Education and the Committee on Preschool Special Education.


These committees, in conjunction with parents and teachers, help develop individual education plans (IEPs) for each school-age or preschool-age pupil with a disability on an annual basis.


The IEPs include information about the unique learning needs of each student, such as learning rate, levels of social and physical development and the students' management needs. The document also includes annual goals and short-term objectives in academic, social and other areas for the student's school year. The IEP will serve as a curriculum plan of action and a source of evaluation for the student's progress during an entire school year.


Equal rights

All students with disabilities are given access to school activities, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Art

  • Music

  • Library

  • Adaptive and regular physical education

  • Career skills

  • Technology

  • Conversational French and Spanish

  • All extracurricular activities

In addition, the district conducts an annual district-wide speech screening system to insure appropriate detection of speech impairments. Programming for pupils with speech impairments is made available through in-district speech programs provided by 19 speech therapists.


State requires review of suspensions

The State Education Department (SED) has notified the City School District of Albany that it has been identified for VESID state performance indicators related to the suspension of students with disabilities. The specific indicators are:

  • High suspension rates for students with disabilities for more than 10 days in a school year

  • Significant discrepancies in the rates of suspensions and expulsions of more than 10 days by race and ethnicity, specifically black students

    • Hispanic and white students are at risk, meaning we are close and likely to meet the criteria for notification in subsequent years unless data patterns change.

The district completed a self-review monitoring process in May 2015, which was a review of the district’s policies, procedures and practices relating to the development of individual education plans (IEPs), the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and procedural safeguards. The results of the process were sent to SED, and the district anticipates further communication about suspension status and further guidance from SED in 2016.



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