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Teachers of Students With Disabilities: Preparing for Your Initial Planning Conference

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This checklist has been prepared to help you understand the individual needs of the students with disabilities in your class, identify issues that may be impeding their success and request professional development, materials or other assistance in a timely matter.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

  • I have a paper copy of each student’s IEP or ongoing electronic SESIS access to students’ IEPs .
    • I have been informed of IEP implementation responsibilities for each of my students by a professional staff member who is familiar with the IEP.
    • I have reviewed the IEPs of the students with disabilities I teach to learn about their instructional and behavioral needs.

Specialized Instruction and Other Services

  • The services for my students with IEPs are being delivered in accordance with their IEPs and other state and local requirements.

Class/Group Size

  • Special (self-contained) classes do not exceed the class size limits unless there is a state-approved variance.

  • The number of students with disabilities in an Integrated Co-Teaching class does not exceed 40 percent of the class with a maximum of 12 students. If there are 13 students with disabilities in an ICT class, the class opened with no more than 12 and the school provided notice and an educational justification to the State Education Department.

  • The number of students in a SETSS group does not exceed the maximum number on the IEP of any student in the group, or 8 if no IEPs recommend fewer students.


  • Special (self-contained) classes are taught by certified special education teachers. At the middle and high school levels, special education teachers are certified in the content area they are teaching.

  • Integrated Co-Teaching classes are staffed by a certified special education teacher and a certified general education/content area teacher.

  • Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) services are provided by certified special education teachers.

  • Paraprofessionals have been assigned to special (self-contained) classes for which they are required, e.g., 12:1:1, 8:1:1; 6:1:1; 12:1:4.

  • Paraprofessional services for students with health, behavior, mobility, language or other needs are provided in accordance with students IEPs.

  • The IEP documents the specific times/activities, including non-academic settings such as lunch and transitions, for which an IEP-assigned paraprofessional is required.

Related Services and Services for English Language Learners (ELLs)

  • Speech therapy, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing and other related services are provided as specified on students’ IEPs.

  • Students with disabilities who are English Language Learners (ELLS) are receiving bilingual instruction or ESL services in accordance with their IEPs.

Minimum and Maximum Service Requirements

  • SETSS are provided for a minimum of three hours a week up to a maximum of 50% of the school day.

Recommended Services Adequately Address Students’ Needs

  • The services recommended for my students are meeting the needs described in the present levels of performance on their IEPs.

Functional Grouping

  • Students with disabilities placed together for any special education service, e.g., special classes, ICT and SETSS) are grouped by similarity of individual needs in the areas of academic achievement, functional performance and learning characteristics, social development, physical development and management needs.
    • With few exceptions, the age range and achievement levels in reading and math of students grouped together for a special education service should not exceed 3 years.

Services Match Needs

  • The recommended services provide the resources (assistive technology, accessible instructional materials, etc.) and support (specialized instruction in reading or math; paraprofessional services for behavior, instruction, health or language; speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, nursing/health related services, etc.) the student needs to benefit from instruction and achieve.
  • In ICT classes and general education classes with students with disabilities, there are no students 1) who require so much of the teachers’ time that the teachers cannot give adequate attention to the needs of other students in the class; and/or 2) who are so disruptive that the education of the student or other students is significantly impaired and/or 3) who require the curriculum to be modified so significantly that it bears little relation to the instruction in the classroom.


  • I am familiar with the assessments my students with disabilities will take and I am prepared to implement recommended test accommodations for all relevant classroom assessments.
  • With the exception of students with severe cognitive disabilities who take the New York State Alternate Assessment, students with disabilities participate in the same state and district assessments, with or without accommodations, as their non-disabled peers.
  • Test accommodations needed to allow students with disabilities to participate in assessments and demonstrate what they know and understand have been recommended for students with disabilities in my class based on the individual needs documented in their IEPs.