“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

Robert M. Hutchins


Archive for April, 2011


April 22nd, 2011

Private Special Education Schools are centered in NYC. Find out about Approved and Independent private special ed schools in NYC in Skyer Law’s blog series.

New York City is the epicenter of Private Special Education Schools.  As I explained in the last blog, Private Special Education Schools,  there are two categories of Private Special Education Schools -  Approved and Independent.   Here is an abridged list of some of the Independent Special Education Private Schools serving special needs students:  Aaron, Bay Ridge Prep, Brooklyn Center for Autism, Children’s Academy, Columbia Grammar LRE, Cooke Center and Academy, Dwight Quest, Eagle Hill, Forman, Forum, Foundation, Gateway Middle, Gersh, Hear our Voices, Ideal, Imagine, Manhattan Children’s Center, Manhattan Day, Mary McDowell Friends School, McCarton School, Reach for the Stars,  Rebecca, Robert Louis Stevenson,  Smith School, Stephen Gaynor, Sterling, West End Day, Windward, Winston Prep, Vincent Smith, Xaverian Legacy and Equity, Y.E.S.S., York Prep Jumpstart.

The salient feature that sets these Independent Special Education Private Schools apart from the Approved  special education private schools is that they do not appear on the New York State list and therefore they cannot be recommended or funded directly through the school district.  There are also other noteworthy distinctions.  The Independent Private Special Education Schools are not bound by many of the restrictions of the State Education Department, and thus can set their own admissions criteria, class size, curriculum, staffing requirements.  Since they do their own screening they rely heavily on the reports of private evaluators.  Many of these private special education schools provide parents with a list of evaluators that are familiar with their school and whom they recommend.  The independent schools are not required to follow a child’s IEP, and don’t even require that a child have one.

An Independent Private Special Education School can set their own tuition rate, and since they require payment from the parent they each set their own terms of enrollment and most require a parent to enter into a contract with them.  Many of the parents who enroll their children in these independent special education schools hire attorneys and bring a lawsuit against their school district seeking tuition reimbursement.  These lawsuits are based on parents’ belief that the school district failed to offer their special needs child a “FAPE” (Free Appropriate Public Education).  Any parent that is thinking about this route regarding special education schools should consult an attorney who specializes in this area of law early in the process. Many parents are under the misconception that there is an automatic reimbursement program – this is simply not the truth and my next blog will attempt to clarify this myth….so stay tuned….



April 7th, 2011

New York City is home to more private special education schools than anywhere in the country or world.  When we speak of private special education schools we actually mean two distinct categories of schools:  Approved and Independent.  Today’s blog will discuss the Approved private special education schools and what this means for parents.

To receive New York State Approved status a school has to apply and meet standards and criteria set forth by the New York State Education Department, located in Albany.  To become an approved school is not an easy process.  It is time consuming and expensive.  After meeting  hefty requirements and conditions, the school then has to agree to the tuition rate set by the State Education Department.  In many instances the tuition rate is far less than what it costs to actually educate a student.

The appealing benefit of Approved School status to a parent is that when the IEP review team determines that there is no appropriate public school for a child, they can recommend and fund placement at an approved private school.  This is referred to as funding and it is why these schools are often referred to as “funded schools.” For a complete list of the New York State approved schools go to:    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/privateschools/home.html

Because there is a possibility of prospective funding and parents not having to expend tuition fees, the Approved schools are very popular.  Within the five boroughs of New York City I estimate 25 such schools.  There are other schools that are out of the city in nearby suburbs that also have Approved status.  These schools serve different types of children and are licensed only to accept certain classifications.  It is important to speak with someone who is familiar with your child and these schools to get a list of which school might best serve your child.

The next three blog posts will continue to deal with Private School placement and funding.  I will address the category of Independent Private Special Education Schools and how the funding process works.  Stay posted…