Williamsville Central School District

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Exceptional Education

The Williamsville Central School District is committed to providing all students with a free and appropriate public education.  In order to meet the needs of a diverse population, the District offers alternative programs, supplementary aids, and special education services.

Special Education consists of specifically designed instruction for students (ages 3-21 years) who are identified by either the District committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) or the Committee on Special Education (CSE) as having a disability which interferes with learning.  The CPSE and CSE are multidisciplinary teams of parents and professionals responsible for determining eligibility, coordinating evaluations, and recommending programs or services.  Members of the committee include the child’s parent(s), a school psychologist, a special education teacher, a general education teacher, and a CSE Chairperson.  Additional participants, such as a building principal, speech/language pathologist, and the school physician, may also be present.

The committees, appointed by and responsible to the Board of Education, hold meetings to respond to initial referrals.  The District is committed to identifying children with disabilities and providing necessary, appropriate services and support within the least restrictive environment. If you suspect your child has a disability, please contact your building principal or the Office of Exceptional Education and Student Services.

In addition, all children receiving special education services are entitled to a review at least once yearly.  The purpose of this annual review is to recommend the continuation, modification, or termination of the provision of special education programs and supports.  Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these annual reviews, typically held at the child’s school of attendance.

LINK: Procedural Safeguards Notice: Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages 3-21

Students residing within the Williamsville Central School District who are classified as having a disability in accordance with the Part 200 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education are provided with appropriate special education and/or related services within the least restrictive environment necessary to address their specific needs.  Every consideration is given by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) to provide special education services at the child’s home school and/or within the boundaries of the Williamsville School District.

Williamsville Central School District provides a continuum of services to students with disabilities.  The continuum varies from full inclusion within general education classes to full-day placement in center-based, agency-operated programs.  The CSE determines placement based upon individual student strengths, challenges, goals, desired learning outcomes and required support.

Continuum of Services

  • General Education with Supplemental Aids and Services
  • Declassification Support Services
  • Related Services
  • Consultant Teacher Services
  • Resource Room Services
  • Integrated Co-teaching
  • Special Class (District)
  • Special Class (BOCES, Other Public Schools)
  • Agency Placement

The following standards are used by the Committee on Special Education when considering placement and service recommendations.

  • Levels of academic or educational achievement and learning rates
  • Levels of social development
  • Levels of physical development
  • Management needs of the child

A student may be referred for initial evaluation (and/or subsequent review) for special education services by a variety of individuals, including the student’s parent or guardian, a principal, teacher or other professional staff member, a physician, a judicial officer, or the student, if over 18 years of age.

A referral may be initiated for the following reasons:  screening or child find obligations, poor performance in the classroom, significantly below grade level performance on New York State assessments, a severe orthopedic or sensory impairment which appears to adversely affect educational performance, previous educational experiences and/or academic history, inappropriate social behavior paired with and inability to learn, or any other concern that may lead to the concern that a student may have a disability.

Each student’s academic program is developed through a collaborative team process, which allows general and special educators, related service providers, parents and others, to work together to develop, implement and monitor each student’s plan.  This shared ownership provides a framework for staff and parents to work together in a proactive and efficacious manner. 

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is prepared for each student to document the instructional related service goals. These IEPs are reviewed and revised at least annually by the Committee on Special Education. Additionally, a re-evaluation/review is conducted at least once every three years for each student who has been receiving special education services and supports. 

Building-Based Committee on Special Education Meetings

The District conducts CSE meetings at the individual buildings. This allows parents and professional staff to have enhanced communication and input in meeting student needs.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  

Some students with disabilities who do not require special education services may receive accommodations or related services under Section 504 and ADA, consistent with the District’s policy against discrimination on the basis of disability. The Assistant Superintendent for Exceptional Education and Student Services serves as the District’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator.

Transition Services

Transition Services assists building teams with transition planning for students with disabilities.  A wide range of opportunities and experiences are available; all designed to address long range goals related to employment, post-secondary education and/or daily living.  For example, community work experiences are considered a major component of our program.  This involves utilizing the community as a classroom by providing students with the opportunity to intern at job sites chosen in accordance with individual preferences and interests.  Students typically begin his or her internship series at the age of 16, generally completing two internships per year at the outset and sometimes increasing to four different internships per school year if appropriate as the student comes closer to exiting high school.   Students may also be provided with opportunities to participate in community integration activities, job shadowing experiences, employer-led interviews, presentations, and community-based transition centered field trips.

Transition planning also facilitates consideration of the needs of students exiting high school to post-secondary education.  Team members work with students, parents/guardians, administrators, school counselors, school psychologists, special educators and other personnel, to promote awareness of the types of services available from campus disability offices and/or Acces-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services -Vocational Rehabilitation).

NYSED: Assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve and maintain employment and to support independent living

Together Including Every Student (TIES) Program

Together Including Every Student (TIES): TIES promotes the participation of children and young adults who have developmental disabilities in extracurricular and community activities by providing effective support. This support is provided by trained student volunteers.

The Williamsville Central School District participates in TIES (Together Including Every Student). TIES is a program which promotes the participation of children and young adults who have developmental disabilities in extracurricular and community-based activities by providing effective, positive, student-specific support.

Overview on Gifted Programming Services (GPS)

The goals of the Williamsville Gifted Programming Services are to search and recognize talent and strengths in all children. GPS teachers seek to support children who demonstrate strengths, talents, and sustained interests that are expressed at a high level.  Appropriate programming options are developed and provided so that students may enhance already established talents and skills.

A gifted programming plan outlining the full range of opportunities for students is available in every building.  Williamsville's gifted and talented program has been distinguished as a national model and the District's faculty has received national recognition as leaders in the field.

Exceptional Education Staff

Anthony Scanzuso, Assistant Superintendent for Exceptional Education and Student Services
Phone: 716-626-8061
E-mail: ascanzuso@williamsvillek12.org

Dr. Denise Stappenbeck, Director of Student Services
Phone: 716-626-8007
E-mail: dstappenbeck@williamsvillek12.org

John D’Angelo, Director of Special Education
Phone: 716-626-8064
E-mail: jd'angelo@williamsvillek12.org

Cheryl Lazzaro, Director of Special Education
Phone: 716-626-8065
E-mail: clazzaro@williamsvillek12.org 

Cathleen Ratzel, Teacher of Special Assignment, Special Education
Phone: 716-626-8102
E-mail: cratzel@williamsvillek12.org