Pupil Services

Child Find

The Greater Johnstown School District has an obligation to evaluate, with parental consent, and offer to students determined to be disabled who reside in the District, a free and appropriate public education. If you believe your child has a disability that requires specialized instruction or special accommodations to access our programs and services, please contact your child’s building principal or the Director of Special Education at (518) 736-1708 to discuss the process to initiate a referral to the Committee on Special Education or the §504 Team. If you suspect your child has a disability that adversely affects his/her educational performance and that may require special education and you are enrolling your child in a nonpublic school and are seeking supports for your child while he/she attends school there, you may initiate a referral by writing to the CSE in the school district where the nonpublic school is located.

What should you do if you feel your child needs special education?

If your school-age child is having difficulties in school, first talk to his or her teacher. There are many supports for students within regular education such as psychological services, speech and language improvement services, curriculum and instructional modifications and Academic Intervention Services. Each school has a Child Study Team that can develop a plan for the child utilizing the supports mentioned above and others. If you, the teacher and principal have not been able to help your child, your child may have a disability that affects his or her learning. To find out, you can make a referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE).

What is a referral for special education?

A referral is a written statement asking that the Greater Johnstown School District evaluate your child to determine if he or she needs special education services. This written statement should be addressed to the chairperson in your school district’s Committee or your school principal. The referral may result in a request to have your child tested to see if he or she needs special education services. In some cases, you may want to meet with the principal before agreeing to test your child to discuss other ways to assist your child.

Who else can make a referral for special education?

You, the parent, can always make a referral for your child. Your child’s teacher or a professional in your child’s school may also make a referral to the Committee. Additional people who may make a referral include doctors, judicial officers (such as a family court judge or a probation officer) or a designated person in a public agency. In addition, someone may also make a referral from an Early Childhood Direction Center, an approved preschool program, or an Early Intervention Program that serves your child from birth to age three. A student over 18 and younger than 21 who is an emancipated minor may refer him/herself.

What are the steps in the special education process?

  • Teacher/Parent requests help for student
    • Building Child Study Team
    • Strategies Developed and Tried
      • Child Study Team
      • Formal Referral to CSE (“Yes” goes on; “No” stops here)
  • Parents notified, consent requested
    • Consent received Proceed
      • To CSE for recommendations on classification and placement (IEP)
      • Parent Consent to initiate services
      • Services Initiated
        • Program Review (minimum 1 time per year)
        • Annual Review at CSE (1 time per year)
        • Triennial Review at CSE (every 3 years)
        • Transition Services (to begin at age 14, if not before)
          • Graduate! Regents, Local, IEP, etc.
          • and now the real world!

Click here for a flowchart of the process. (PDF)

Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their children’s education. We appreciate your feedback. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us at 736-1708 or e-mail us at slewis@johnstownschools.org.