Special Education Services

New York City’s Special Education Reform
The Department of Education is making significant improvements in the way we deliver services to students with disabilities. The goals of this reform are:

  • to close the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities;
  • to provide increased access to and participation in the general education curriculum; and
  • to empower all schools to have greater curricular, instructional, and scheduling flexibility to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities.

The Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners is supporting this transformation by providing professional development and creating instructional supports and tools, while working to achieve the necessary operational changes. If you have questions or concerns about the reform, please contact the our School Based Support Team or email specialeducationreform@schools.nyc.gov.

Referring a Child for Special Education Evaluation:
When a student is suspected of having a disability, a written referral for evaluation must be made to the principal of the public school the student attends (or is eligible to attend), or to the Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education Office.  Parents referring their child should write a letter stating that they would like to have their child evaluated.

Timelines for the evaluation process:
Consent for EvaluationWithin 30 days of receiving a request for initial evaluation of a child from either the child’s parents or a public agency, the school district of residence will either obtain parent’s consent for an initial evaluation or provide the parents prior written notice stating that the school district does not suspect a disability and will not be conducting an evaluation.  The child’s parents should document the request for an evaluation in writing.

Conducting the Evaluation:  Within 60 days from receipt of parental consent to evaluate a child, the school district will conduct a comprehensive initial evaluation of the child to identify the child’s educational needs and to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

For more comprehensive  information about the Referral, Evaluation and Placement process for Special Education, please see the “Standard Operating Procedures Manual” published by the NYC Department of Education

Understanding Special Education in New York City Schools
The Division of Students with Disabilities has created a comprehensive website for families regarding Special Education.  Please visit their site for more information at 

PS 87 Resources – Please email PA Committee at 
Citywide Resources