This page is a temporary home for news about 2e NYC, a listserv that serves parents of twice-exceptional children in New York City.
SEcond Personalized Learning Symposium Addressing the Needs of students with disabilities in Accelerated Learning environments
New York City, May 27, 2019
At St. Francis College, on May 23, 2019, NYC DOE Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support held its second Personalized Learning Symposium to address the needs of students with disabilities in gifted and talented and other accelerated learning environments. Link to event here- be sure to click “event details”
Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Corinne Rello-Anselmi, who has studied the needs of twice exceptional students at the University of Connecticut, addressed an audience of administrators, school psychologists, teachers, related service providers, and parents. She was followed by Chief Executive Director, Christina Foti, who, along with her team, has been working with 2eNYC (Parents of Twice Exceptional Students in NYC) to find ways to support dually identified students.
The symposium kicked off with a presentation from Arwina Vallejo, Chief Executive Director of School Based Evaluations and Family Engagement and Lauren Sullivan, Director of Evaluations and Eligibility. In the seminar, IEP Development Using Strengths-based Model of Understanding Executive Functions, the co-presenters showed the attendees how to translate a student’s executive functioning deficits while recognizing a student’s strengths to consider the impact on the student’s disability on their performance at school. With a worksheet template (see above), attendees were provided opportunities to discuss the appropriate accommodations for such students in their IEPs. Ms. Vallejo noted that tests such as the NEPSY and other batteries were available to all school psychologists and encouraged them to contact their supervisors to access them.
Meghan Duffy, Director of Primary Literacy Interventions conducted a densely packed workshop: Supports for Executive Functioning: Focus on Writing to explain the necessity of explicit instruction when teaching writing. She guided attendees to explore the ideas of Anita Archer who emphasizes modeling (I do), getting students throught the strategy (WE do), elicit frequent responses, and providing feedback.
Ms. Duffy also covered areas of Judith Hochman’s The Writing Revolution method of which she noted that training was available through NYC DOE Academic Intervention Services as well as other training provided by the DOE. Topics explored included: sentences and fragments, sentence expansion, various types of outline for paragraphs and compositions. Templates for teachers to use with students were shared.
Another workshop: Personalized Learning and Executive Functioning Supports for Diverse Learners was presented at the same time in the main auditorium.
Jackie Ortiz, OT Supervisor for the Bronx and Lauren Greenman, OT Supervisor for Brooklyn presented Classroom-Based Sensory Strategies for Rigorous Academic Environments. They discussed and explained the existence of 8, not 5 senses, the additional being Vestibular, Prioprioceptive, and Interoceptive. They discussed some measurement tools including the OT Classroom Observation Form and the Motivation Assessment Scale to measure some of the challenges faced by the students. Other topics discussed were interventions that included sensory diets to be done prior to challenging events such as circle time (see example above)
Best quote of the day: The DOE Does Sensory.
“The DOE does sensory,” said Suzanne Sanchez, Senior Director, Therapeutic Services, and Occupational Therapist at the New York City Department of Education. “The OTs in schools are certainly capable, trained, and have the expertise to treat functional based sensory disorders needs in a school based setting.” Ms. Sanchez said this in response to an attendee who said that she was told that the DOE doesn’t do sensory. She was glad for the opportunity to dispel the myth and added that what the DOE says is that they don’t necessarily need a sensory gym or very fancy sensory equipment.
The word among parents, who were a small minority of the attendees, was that the 2nd symposium was better than the first! While we will continue to pursue further progress, we are grateful to the NYC DOE Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support for this symposium. Just one year ago (click for video), our group presented our survey findings to the Citywide Council on Special Education about the plight of gifted children with special education needs in our schools. Our work and activities were even chronicled in the Hechinger Report, EdWeek, Chalkbeat, KQED Mindshift and Childmind.org.
We’ve been told there will be another symposium. Please remember that the NYC DOE would like the attendees’ feedback so please don’t forget to send. If you are a parent of a twice-exceptional child at a New York City public school, we invite you to share your challenges with us at 2eNYCtrack at gmail dot com and we invite all parents of 2e children in this city to join our listserv. https://2enyc.groups.io/g/main
-Jenn Choi 5.27.19
2eNYC asked for Teacher Training for our Gifted Learners with Disabilities and……. They Did It!
New York City, March 9, 2019 — Six months after 2eNYC published and shared the results of our survey about twice exceptional learners in NYC, the New York City Department of Education Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support presented the Personalized Learning Symposium on January 4, 2019. The symposium focused on training teachers of learners with disabilities who were in gifted and accelerated programs. Parents were also invited and attended as well. There were three tracks for learning (Parents, Teachers, and Related Service Providers). The morning sessions were dedicated to learning about the executive functioning challenges of these students and how best to help them. The afternoon session was dedicated to learning about the potential for the use of assistive technology to assist gifted students with disabilities. This was supposed to be one of two symposia dedicated to this topic. We are grateful and excited as training for teachers was a major priority for parents according to the results of our survey. The next symposium is tentatively scheduled in May 2019, we’re told. One of the sessions will include, gulp, WRITING!!!!! Stress much? All eyes are on that session for sure! -Jenn Choi 3.9.19
At Tweed Courthouse, on May 24, 2018, the 2e NYC group (Parents of Twice Exceptional Kids in NYC Listserv) gave a presentation about their recent survey of Twice-Exceptional students and families to the Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE). We were so grateful to Ellen McHugh and the CCSE for inviting us to present our survey findings! Click here to read the 2eNYC Survey Summary.
There were approximately 30 members of the 2e NYC group in attendance at the meeting. Additionally, other members of the Department of Education also attended including Christina Foti, Chief Executive Director, Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support and various members of the Special Education Office. Additional DOE members in attendance included Veronica York, Assistant Principal, Townsend Harris, Georgia Brandeis, Special Ed Coordinator, Townsend Harris, and Bandna Sharma, Family Leadership Coordinator, District 30. View the video above for the presentation. The slides of the presentation are available below, just click the graphic or here:
The members of 2e NYC were thrilled to participate in this meeting. They brought questions about their own experiences as well as questions about how best to move forward. Christina Foti graciously answered all the members' questions. Stay tuned here for more information. - Jenn Choi 5.25.18
Twenty of us went out to dinner together right after the CCSE meeting. Parents of twice-exceptional students in preschool to high school; state-approved and non-approved non-public, non-special ed private, G/T with and without ICT, Gen Ed with and without ICT and don't forget ASD NEST! Despite the diverse settings, we are joined by the uniqueness of our circumstances.... our kids want to be successful but we need trained educators in environments ready to take on gifted kids who have real challenges. We are cautiously optimistic and ready to work! 5.24.18 Tribeca
Read the 2e NYC Parent Survey Here
Thursday, 5-9-2018, New York City -
In just two weeks, this online group of parents of twice exceptional children in New York City managed to have over 500 people respond to our survey. I am so proud to be a member here.
I think the parent comment quote on the title page shows our urgency and why we are so fed up and able to get this done so quickly. I firmly believe this is something that is not only going to help 2e children but will help others as well.
“ There isn't currently a place for students who have disabilities but are acceleratedacademically. This results in many challenging behaviors for my son. If we weren't sendin him to private school, I believe that he would be on a pathway to frequent suspensions. This feels like a ticket to the schools-to-prison pipeline for students whose families cannot affor private school, services, and attorneys. Teachers working with G & T classes (my so attended one a few years back) do not have special education training. Special education classes cannot differentiate up for gifted students. ”
Here is a link to the 2e NYC Survey Summary
We would be grateful and honored if you shared with anyone who cares about twice-exceptional children and equity in education for all.
Jenn Choi, proud member and founder of the Parents of Twice-Exceptional Children in NYC Listserv
Parents of Twice Exceptional Students in NYC Approach the NYC Department of Education
March 19, 2018
On Thursday, March 15, 2018, 8 parents of twice-exceptional (2e) students attended the CCSE meeting at Tweed Courthouse. I was among the 8. Some of us had never met each other face to face.* We were excited to be there and support the parents who planned in advance to say a few words about the plight of 2e students in the New York City school system.
The guest speaker of the meeting was Raymond Orlando, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance at the NYC Department of Education. I missed a lot of this talk because I arrived late. However, it was my impression that attendees found learning about SAMs to be very interesting. The chair of the CCSE, Ellen McHugh invited the parents of twice-exceptional group to ask questions to Mr. Orlando.
One parent asked about how at her elementary school, budgeting was given as the reason why ICT services couldn’t be provided at her school. Both the speaker and Christina Foti, Chief Executive Director, Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support, Special Education Office, NYC DOE, attempted to explain how that should not be correct. Ms. Foti explained further and in an attempt to jot down what she was saying, I took out my phone visibly and said that I have trouble taking down notes and to just sum up quickly of what she said, I asked her to say what she said again and hit record:
The Tape and Transcription:
Here is the tape: (please remember, this is NOT entire meeting. I just wanted to get this down since my hands can't write that fast and it sounded important)
Here is a transcription that is NOT professionally completed. I do not certify this or anything that causes enough trouble to make me have to take this down. I have noted uncertainty with "?" and sometimes I will say why I think the verbage is unclear ie. two people were talking at the same time.
Here is the little snippet. Again, I don't believe you can submit this as evidence but maybe it can help you open up some doors. Good luck! (FYI- Parent 1 is me)
Christina Foti: In fairness, if we could have a conversation after the meeting
Parent 1: Oh, but like really quickly, to sum up what you said, you said that if students are having trouble, they shouldn’t feel alone, if students are having trouble, where should they call?
Christina Foti: Sure. No parent or student should ever feel alone. If you ever feel alone, you know.. Our hope is that you are able to resolve things at the school level. This is de-escalation.
Parent 1: Right.
Christina Foti: If you cannot resolve things at the school level, then we ask that you certainly reach out to your superintendent.
Parent 1: Reach out to your superintendent- that’s step number 1, after going to the school, correct?
Christina Foti: Yeah, and if you’ve had a conversation with your principal? (someone coughed) Sometimes parents are worried about the relationship that they developed with their teacher and they’re worried about that next step you and they also recognize that contacting a superintendent after you’ve spoken to a principal is also a scary step. Nonetheless, people, you know educators want to serve families, right? And serve students and so if you ever feel like you are encountering roadblocks along the way, the special education inbox, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org is an inbox monitored by my office.
Parent 1: Your name is… I’m sorry..
Christina Foti: Christina Foti. And what we do is we get back to every parent within 24 - 48 hours just to say we have it and we are looking into this. We resolve those issues as soon as possible, the way that we resolve them is we work with the Field Support Center and the Superintendent and the school itself to resolve issues that are unresolvable. If it’s a larger policy issue, we work with advocates and advocacy organizations to really determine what citywide policies are going to work with that and we look to the CCSE to be partners in that process and we take what we get from meetings like this and really use them to help make shifts citywide.
Noah Gotbaum, CCSE Member: How would you suggest, there is clearly a group of (inaudible because two people are talking at once) there is clearly a desire for a program ..
Ellen McHugh, CCSE Chair: (Inaudible because two people are talking at once) Are we finished with budget questions ladies and gentlemen?
Parent 2: I have a budget question. Can we also talk about the mirror image of that? We have a child in a GT school that doesn’t have an ICT class and (inaudible) for one reason or another. Now we have him in general ed with an IEP class that’s like awesome but it doesn’t work his gift or whatever you want to call it. I mean it doesn’t support that so maybe that’s another SAM? Like so, you push in the service for the kind of giftedness which is a kind of special need and require service special education and maybe that’s cheaper and easier because that’s like a little 20% weight or whatever you have there and rather than trying to kind of invent something and for one reason or another is it happening in the GT schools, I think it would probably be good if it did, you know because there is nothing magical about the GT program, some of them. Some of them are just like one class in an otherwise general ed school and you got bright kids in the class but there is nothing all that.. But you know bringing some services to – I mean we’re in this weird position of looking at his report card and being disappointed when he does well
Ellen McHugh: Can I ask you to separate out your question– It’s a budget question?
Parent 2: Yeah it kind of is a budget question. Where is that sort of SAM, I guess for the special need which we all kind of see in our children where they need all their support they need in an IEP setting. It’s like amazing - like they get the behavior stuff that he’s going through but he’s a little, I’m not saying he’s on his own, I mean he’s got us and stuff but he’s on his own from an academic perspective. He can do this stuff that is put in front of him but it’s not getting a lot more, right? It’s like the mirror of that. They both work.
Christina Foti: I hear your questions. I think our process is about inviting this type of feedback from parents, from the community, we are open to a policy conversation around this very topic that both of you are bringing up and would be happy to do that. I think let’s work with the CCSE to set that up if that’s something that the CCSE agrees to, but we’d be happy to have a larger conversation. If you have specific individual issues and I appreciate the sharing of your stories but if you have specific issues that need attention now, Lauren and I are here from the Special Education Office and we’d be happy to take your information.
Ellen McHugh: Is there any other specific budget questions?
Parent 1: Yes, specific budget absolutely. If there is a student who, ICT services are usually given to students in grades 6-12 for core classes only, but if a student requires ICT services for non-core classes, is that a budget issue?
Christina Foti: No
Raymond Orlando: Absolutely Not
Christina Foti: If a student requires ICT services for non-core classes and (somewhat inaudible chatter ensued here).. on the IEP then the budget follows the IEP. You know from Ray’s perspective, the budget follows whatever is on the IEP.
Parent 1: So it’s not a budget issue.
Christina Foti: It’s not a budget issue.
Ellen McHugh: Any more for budget? One more here.
Parent 3: Who decides when you have enough kids for certain classes so a principal might say we don’t have enough for an ICT class. What does that mean? I feel like there’s a really slippery slope.
Christina Foti: Our hope is that a principal would do that in conjunction with enrollment, then his ___ Field Support Center to see um when we open specialized programs for example we have heat maps that we do and an example of a specialized program is an ASD program, the ASD Nest program so we look at heat maps on the application progress from the Special Education officers’ perspective that we open up based on need but from a school’s perspective though, in terms of making school based decisions. Our hope is that they be working with enrollment, and field support center and the superintendent to make decisions about what programs to offer.
Ellen McHugh: Correct me if I’m wrong but state guidance says up to 40% doesn’t it must be forty percent so in theory you can have 39%.
Christina Foti: Yes, Yeah.
Ellen McHugh: So it’s up to 40%. It doesn’t have to be 40%.
Christina Foti: And if there are plaguing issues that you have at your school you’d like to us to take into, we would do that in partnership with the school. It would not be… it would only be in the service of exploring what is possible. We would be happy to take that partnership on.
The Problems, Suggestions, and A Good Story:
Soon after those questions were answered, the meeting opened to questions from attendees and that is when a couple of us spoke up. I recorded as much as I could and another parent took over recording when I went up to speak. Here is the video
*I'm not including names here, but I will include them if I get permission later on.
Oh yes, there are.
If you are a parent of 2e kids in the NYC area, you can join us to hear updates on the movement to find more appropriate education for 2e kids. Here's our group page or just use the box below.