HES Consultation Committee Meeting Minutes: November 2016

Date: Wednesday, November 30

Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 First Ave., 5th floor, Manhattan

In attendance: Helen Kaufman, assistant superintendent; Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES chapter leader; note taker Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES-related services teacher and delegate; Judy Cohen, Manhattan audiologist coordinator; Janet Palumbo-Katz, Staten Island HES-related service teacher and UFT delegate and Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES-related services teacher and UFT delegate.


Ms. Cortez asked how teachers can expedite the process of getting supplies from Audiology. Mr. Leher stated that Audiology FM orders are taking a long time. Two of his students have been waiting three months for units and school administrators are questioning the length of time that has elapsed. Ms. Kaufman said that is an unusually long waiting period. Ms. Cohen will check into this matter.

Ms. Kaufman added that the long waiting time can be related to funding issues and cases in which the child in need of an FM was identified. Ms. Cohen noted that sometimes there is a paperwork issue or medical clearance is needed. Ms. Cohen informed us that Phonak sends replacement microphone clips for free to the audiologists. Teachers can request those free supplies for their students.

Ms. Cohen said orders placed up to Oct. 18 are being reviewed now. MS. Cortez and Ms. Kaufman suggested giving a form to our teachers in which they can state their audiology needs. Ms. Cortez said that we can also email our audiologists directly. The question of how the teachers should assert their audiology needs remains.

Ms. Cohen will raise the issue to the protocol committee on Dec. 6. If HES teachers need audiology supplies, they can send their audiologists a list of their needs. Audiologists will then give the list to the coordinator, Ms. Cohen, or teachers can email her directly.


Ms. Cortez addressed a concern that other related service providers, speech teachers, for example, have received laptops. Ms. Kaufman reminded us that HES does not bill Medicaid because we are instructional staff, not medical staff. We provide instructional services, not medical services. The laptops were purchased as a result of Medicaid paying speech teachers for speech services.

HES will not be receiving money for computers. The budget will not be increased. Ms. Kaufman said that she will not ask for an increase in the budget.


Ms. Cortez has asked for counseling for hearing-impaired students in Brooklyn East, some of whom are not receiving counseling.

Ms. Kaufman said that she needs specific information about students — names and IDs — who have counseling on their IEPs and are not receiving it.

The question is whether they attend a D75 or community school. Every hearing teacher should find out if a hearing-impaired student is not receiving counseling or other services. Hearing counselors can be sent to the school to advise the school counselor, if necessary, or to determine if the student has counseling issues related to their hearing loss to see if the student needs HES counseling.


The issue of curriculum for elementary self-contained classrooms was revisited from last month. MS. Kaufman said that she has asked all the HES supervisors if the HES teachers in self-contained classes have curricula. The HES supervisors have said that all HES teachers in self-contained classes have everything they need. Every HES teacher in a self-contained class in elementary school has a curriculum in their class.

Ms. Kaufman commented that part of the problem was that teachers can purchase only large packages of materials, and we have small classes. It is too expensive to buy a curriculum for a class when you have only 12 students. She asked Ms. Cortez to find out if everyone has the materials they need. If not, the teachers should provide their names and a list of their needs. There were some issues in the Bronx, but they were still able to download materials.


Ms. Cortez asked Ms. Kaufman about self-contained classes at P4@P109K and PS K721 Brooklyn Occupational Training Center that do not have interpreters. P4 does not have interpreters and the teachers would like them. Ms. Kaufman said that she will speak to their HES supervisor about this issue tomorrow.

PS K721 has a self-contained class where the students do not know sign language. They do not need an interpreter, she said. She also said that the teacher is hearing-impaired.


Mr. Lehrer had a question about SESIS “first attend” dates and make-ups. Ms. Kaufman said that make-ups are a tremendous problem.

She said that the issue came up because of focused reviews by the State Education Department. Ms. Kaufman said that the only time staff do not have to make up a service is if the child is absent. Providers’ absences should be made up. She stated that staff should make up the session if possible.

Parents and principals sometimes ask for make-ups. Ms. Kaufman said that staff should do that when possible. Children can stay after school for an excess of make-ups, which can be done as per session.

First attend dates are very important. There is often a gap between the first day of school and the first attend date. This is because SESIS does not mark a session as a first attend date unless the time mandate is met and recorded.

Mr. Lehrer stated that at the beginning of the school year, it is hard to do a full session because the staff will want to see all of the students as soon as possible. He asked what can be done about this. Ms. Kaufman said that she will discuss it with the state.


Ms. Kaufman said that if a teacher has a disability they should get a disability permit and not a permit from the Department of Transportation. Links were sent to supervisors regarding handicapped permits.


Ms. Cortez asked if there was any news about hiring an audiologist for the CSE in upper Manhattan to serve hearing-impaired students. There is a need for an audiologist in the CSE office since the dismantling of Hearing Handicapped/Visually Impaired.

Ms. Kaufman said that she has not heard anything. She said that many CSEs have no audiologists. Upper Manhattan is not the only one. Staten Island, certain parts of Queens and certain parts of Brooklyn do not have an audiologist in their CSE. She does not know if any of those centers will receive an audiologist.

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