Definition of roles: Teachers and support staff

School Psychologist

Psychologists conduct psycho-educational evaluations for students who are experiencing difficulties in school. These evaluations include assessment of students’ cognitive abilities, academic skills, and/or social-emotional status. In addition to evaluations, psychologists may consult with teachers and parents regarding a variety of issues, counsel students individually or in groups, and deliver classroom lessons. The combination of activities in which a psychologist engages varies from building to building.

School Counselor

Elementary school counseling is a developmental and preventive program, which supports positive personal, social, and emotional growth for all students. Counselors help students reach their academic goals through counseling (individually and in small groups), large group guidance (i.e., whole class lessons), and consultation with teachers and parents, and collaboration with school and community agency staff members.

Speech Therapist

Speech therapists address students’ speech and language needs (i.e., fluency, articulation, receptive/expressive language and pragmatic language) through individual or small pullout group sessions. They may also provide services within the context of the classroom to facilitate generalization of skills. The manner in which services are provided may vary from building to building.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers are divided into two groups: those who are responsible for a 12:1:1 self-contained program and those who address students’ needs through less restrictive services on the continuum (i.e., consultant teacher, resource, 15:1 special class). Teachers who oversee a self-contained program generally do not provide any other services along the continuum. The degree to which other special education teachers provide consultant teacher, resource, and/or 15:1 services will vary from year to year depending on the needs of the students. Service delivery models also vary across buildings.

Academic Intervention Service (AIS) Teachers

These teachers provide academic support to students who are at risk for failing the New York State ELA, math, and social studies tests. A two-tier system of criteria exists to determine which students qualify for AIS services. Students receiving special education services may also qualify for AIS services. A wide range of services falls under the umbrella of academic intervention. These services replace services formerly known as remedial reading and math. In addition to AIS teachers, classroom teachers may also provide AIS services. The type of service provided is determined according to students’ needs. Service delivery models vary across buildings.


Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Preschool Special Education (CPSE) – The chairperson is a specially trained district administrator who will facilitate all district level CSE and CPSE meetings. This person’s role is to help the committee come to consensus on decisions regarding your child. A CSE chairperson will work particularly hard to ensure that a parent’s voice is heard. This person is also knowledgeable about the programs and services available to students with disabilities.