Educating Students: ‘All Means All’ in North Colonie
We want to take the opportunity to share with our community facts and information regarding our special education program. During the 2020-21 school year, 14 percent (848) of the 5,905 students enrolled in North Colonie CSD receive some form of special education programming. This is when specific educational plans are written for a student to ensure they are receiving the services they need.
The theme of our 2022-2023 school year in North Colonie is belonging. Which is only fitting. We have a historical commitment to “all means all,” and that includes receiving the best education support possible at North Colonie CSD schools.
Casey Bardin, Director of Pupil Services said North Colonie staff is committed to developing programming to meet the needs of all students. In fact, only 1.2 percent – or nine – of our special education students were placed in programs outside of our North Colonie district in 2018-19. Defined as, “separate setting” by the state, our percentage is lower than comparable size districts and the state, 5.0 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. For the current 2022-23 school year the number of students placed outside our school district remains at nine.
“When you look at comparable size districts, we have the fewest outside placements of any district in the Capital Region and possibly the state,” Bardin said. “This commit is a foundational belief that students belong in their home district. We look at it as an obligation to provide educational access to our students in the least restrictive environments.”
Over the summer, we provided interviews to a Times Union reporter. The Times Union has published a report on districts across the Capital Region, using data obtained through a FOIL request that focuses on two specific areas: timeout rooms and use of physical restraint.
There are some important points regarding timeout rooms we want our community to know and understand:
- A timeout room’s use is a legal process, requiring overall collaborative agreement by an individual student’s Committee on Special Education (CSE). THE CSE includes the parent, student, special and general education teachers, school psychologist, and public services’ staff.
- North Colonie considers the use of timeout rooms as “tools of last resort.”
Restraint is using a physical means to prevent a student from harming themselves and possibly others. It is only utilized in significantly dangerous situations, Bardin said.
Multiple strategies to de-escalate instances where a student is having difficulty physically or emotionally controlling themselves are always used first. Staff receive training in appropriate strategies, Bardin said. At the heart of these strategies is always prioritizing the safety of students and staff.
Superintendent D. Joseph Corr said North CSD has a historic commitment to educating and providing services to all North Colonie students.
“We also have a commitment to continually improving our care and delivery of our service and providing the safest environment possible for our students and staff,” he said. “Not always captured well about our program is the progress students make.”
“We have true partnerships with our families,” he added. “They trust us to let us help and provide support. Parenting a special needs child is profound and life altering and never ends.”
Witnessing the positive outcomes over time is gratifying for both the district staff and families. In partnership with Siena College, students ages 18-21 receive job training. Several have joined the Siena staff as kitchen and custodial service employees after leaving North Colonies special education services programs at age 21.
Please look for additional features and stories regarding our special education services throughout the 2022-23 school year. Our Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SPTA) meets monthly. Our next meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 7-8 p.m. at Goodrich Building, 90 Fiddler Lane.
If you have any questions regarding our special education services please contact us at email@example.com
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