Special Education

The Rensselaer City School District Office of Special Education is here to ensure your understanding of the special education process that, at times, can appear overwhelming.  Your child’s education is our highest priority, and you are encouraged to contact this office with questions that are not readily answered by this website.  Parents and families are critical partners along with school personnel, in the education of children and our staff is here to assist you.

Special education means specially designed instruction or services to meet the identified needs of students with disabilities.  While good teachers and good schools continuously individualize programs to meet the needs of students, special education is a more formal and comprehensive process of five basic steps:

  1. Referral for Special Education
  2. Individual; Evaluation
  3. Determination of Eligibility for Special Education Services
  4. Individual Education Programming
  5. Annual review and re-evaluation(conducted at least every three years)

If you feel that your child is having difficulties in school and may be a student with a disability, first speak to the child’s teacher.  Our schools offer many supports for students within regular education, such as counseling, speech and language services, curriculum and instructional modifications and Academic Intervention Services.  Not all school problems are a result of a disability.  School counselors, psychologist(s), and building principals are aware of the school’s support and can help match student’s needs to services.  While a parent always has th right to refer their child to the Committee on Special Education, the special education regulations require pre-referral strategies through general education programs before determining that the child is unable to make adequate progress in a program designed for typically developing students.