Special Education Teacher Support Services

Generic image - HS class with laptops

SETSS provides:

  • Specially designed and/or supplemental instruction to support the participation of the student with a disability in the general education classroom.
  • Consultation to the student's general education teacher.

These services are designed to be flexible, helping students to remain in the general education classroom and use the combined expertise of both the general and special education teacher. They may be provided within the general education classroom or in a separate location. Group size for SETSS provided in the general education classroom or in a separate location may not exceed a maximum of eight students.

SETSS teachers provide legally mandated services for students with disabilities that are necessary to support their progress in schools. It is essential that providers adhere to their program. SETSS providers should not be used in other capacities (e.g., class coverage) or assigned to other duties in the school that prevent the provision of mandated services that are in accordance with students’ IEPs except in extraordinary circumstances.

As a result of the special education reform, many special education teachers are no longer assigned to one program.  Instead, they may be providing instruction in self-contained classes or integrated co-teaching classes in addition to providing SETSS services. The reform did not change teachers’ rights with respect to program preference.  Special education teachers at all levels have the right to express a preference for program designation (ICT, self-contained, SETSS, etc.) and age range.

Documenting SETSS on the IEP

Direct and Indirect Services

Special Education Teacher Support Services may be all direct, or a combination of direct and indirect. The student's IEP must indicate the amount of time that the student will receive Special Education Teacher Support Services, the distribution of the time between direct and indirect services, and the location of services (i.e. the general education classroom or a separate location). When recommending services in the general education classroom, the IEP must indicate the general education classes or subject areas in which the student will receive services.

Direct Services provide specially designed instruction and/or supplementary instruction delivered by a special education teacher through individual and/or small group instruction to provide the student with compensatory skill development and remediation activities. They address the areas of deficit that have been identified for that student and strengthen the student's cognitive skills. Direct Services are provided to address educational needs directly related to the student's disability and not to provide additional academic instruction.

Indirect Services provide collaborative consultation between the special education teacher and the general education teacher which focuses on adjusting the learning environment and/or modifying and adapting instructional techniques and methods to meet the individual needs of the student in the general education classroom. Agreed-upon strategies are delivered by the special education teacher and/or the general education teacher.

Minimum & Maximum Service Requirements

SETSS are provided for a minimum of three hours a week up to a maximum of 50 percent of the school day. If the intensity of the student's need warrants special education teacher support services for more than 50 percent of the school day, other supplementary aids and services, provided in the general education setting, in addition to Special Education Teacher Support Services may be considered.

Providing SETSS in Academic Support Classes

Academic support classes may be developed to provide special education teacher support services. Academic support classes offer individualized and small group instruction to supplement instruction or reinforce a concept or skill. A student's IEP must identify the number of periods to be spent in the academic support class and the academic areas in which the student needs support. The academic support class may include both students with disabilities and students without disabilities.


The total number of students with a disability assigned to a resource room (SETSS) teacher in New York City may not exceed 30 students at the elementary level or 38 students with disabilities in grades 7 through 12 or a in multi-level middle school program operating on a period (departmentalized) basis.

State Regulations: 8 NYCRR § 200.6(f)

Functional Grouping

Students with disabilities placed together for purposes of Special Education Teacher Support Services must be grouped by similarity of individual needs in accordance with the four need areas: academic achievement, functional performance and learning characteristics, social development, physical development and management needs. Group size for SETSS provided in the general education classroom or in a separate location may not exceed a maximum of eight students.

Arranging SETSS Services

Students who received SETSS services in the prior school year should be served the first day of the school year. Students whose placements have been deferred to September and students newly recommended for SETSS services during the school year should be served within two days of the start of the school year or within two days of acceptance of the final notice of recommendation respectively.

If a DOE teacher is not available, an authorization for SETSS Services form (a “ P-3 Authorization”) should be issued within an additional five school days. The parent must be provided with information on available providers and instructions on how to invoke the P-3. The parent must also be given information regarding whom to contact at the DOE for assistance.

The issuance of a P-3 letter does not relieve the school of the obligation to provide services in accordance with the IEP. The school remains responsible for serving the student until the parent secures all of the services to which the student is entitled.

Standard Operating Procedures Manual, p. 126


State Regulations

UFT Teacher Contract Provisions

Special Education Positions and Assignments
Posting Requirements, Return from Leave, Filling Vacancies Article 7, F1

Retention, Excessing and Layoff, Article 17B
Rule 1-C, 3-D, 8, 9-A and 9-B

User login
Enter the email address you used to sign up at UFT.org.
If you don't have a UFT.org profile, please sign up.
Forgot your password?