Special Education and Inclusion

Special education in the Elmira City School District is designed to provide specially designed services and programs that meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Across the District, we are becoming part of the inclusion revolution, a movement created by the Special Olympics organization to celebrate its 50th year, that raises awareness and promotes the inclusion of individuals with special needs in our schools, communities and society.

Our goal is to provide services to students in the least restrictive environment, whether that is in an inclusive setting in a general education classroom or in a self-contained or BOCES program. Support services are also available to eligible students.

New York State Education Department Procedural Safeguards Notice, Part B | Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages 3-21

Due Process Hearing | New York State Education Department

What is the Committee on Special Education (CSE)?

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) makes recommendations about appropriate special education services and programs for students with disabilities. The committee must ensure that each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) enables him or her to progress as far as possible in the general education curriculum. Parents and teachers provide valuable information to assist the committee in making decisions about a child's strengths, appropriate programs and services, and placement to meet the child's unique needs. If a child is referred to special education, his or her parent automatically becomes a member of the CSE.

What is Inclusion Education?  

Elmira City School district has focused on our inclusion initiative since 2017, and our staff and students are committed to gaining a better understanding on how to support and celebrate our neurodiversity. The term inclusion captures, in one word, an all-embracing societal ideology. Regarding individuals with disabilities and special education, inclusion secures opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms.
>>click here for more information on Inclusion and Neurodiversity in Education

I Suspect My Child Has a Disability - What Do I Do?

If you suspect your child has a disability, please contact your building principal to discuss the process of making a CSE referral. For more information, please contact Heather Donovan, Special Education Supervisor, at 607-735-3085 or hdonovan [@] elmiracityschools.com 

Assistant Supervisor of Special Education: Suzanne Comstock
CSE chairperson for Fassett Elementary, Ernie Davis Academy, Broadway Academy and Riverside Elementary
Phone number: 607-735- 3030
Email: scomstoc [@] elmiracityschools.com

Assistant Supervisor of Special Education: Emily Sadler 
Committee of Preschool Special Education (CPSE) chairperson for Diven Elementary and Pine City Elementary
Phone Number: 607-735-3015
Email: esadler [@] elmiracityschools.com

Assistant Supervisor of Special Education: Theresa Cain
CSE Chairperson for Beecher, Hendy, Coburn, and Broadway Elementary
Phone number: 607-735-3051
Email: thcain [@] elmiracityschools.com

Assistant Supervisor of Special Education: Sarah Woodward
CSE Chairperson for Elmira High School and Notre Dame High School
Phone Number: 607-735-3033
Email: swoodward [@] elmiracityschools.com

Assistant Supervisor of Special Education: Kristen Wilson
CSE Chairperson for Finn Academy
Phone number: 
Email: krwilson [@] gstboces.org

Supervisor of Special Education and Student Support Services: Heather Donovan 

Susan Moe : Administrative Assistant, Phone number: 607-735-3082

The CPSE office is in the Administration Building. The district office for the Committee for Preschool Special Education is located in the District Administration Building. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Parents who are concerned about the development of their preschool age child (ages 3-5) may refer their child to Elmira City School District Committee for Preschool Special Education (CPSE) to request an evaluation. The CPSE determines the eligibility and authorization of special education services. Services that are offered include Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy and other services for special needs.

Please contact Emily Sadler, CPSE/CSE Chairperson, 607-735-3015, with any questions or concerns that you might have regarding your child.

How to Become Involved - Seeking Parents for CSE Committee

The Elmira school district is recruiting parents of students with special needs who live in the school district to serve as representatives on the Committee on Special Education.

Parent reps attend CSE meetings and help other parents understand the proceedings and services being discussed or offered. This is an excellent opportunity to help parents who are new to the CSE process. If you are interested in volunteering as a parent rep, please call 607-735-3082.