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Paige’s Story

Paige, a bright third grade student on the autism spectrum, sat at home for nearly two months waiting for a school placement that would meet her needs. 

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10.26.2015 | On the evening of November 19, the ARISE Coalition (which is coordinated by AFC) and the Mental Health Association of New York City will be co-sponsoring a panel and parent speak out on behavior supports for students with disabilities. Download a larger, PDF version of the flyer in English and Spanish

behavior support speak out flyer

10.14.2015 | Congratulations to AFC Board member Caroline J. Heller, who has been named head of the firmwide Pro Bono Program at Greenberg Traurig, LLP! In addition to serving on our Board of Directors, Caroline is a superstar pro bono attorney. Last year, an 11-year-old AFC client, for whom Caroline secured placement in a private special education school, wrote her to say, "I think this letter is not enough to tell you thank you for everything you did for me. I really love my school. Not all kids have this chance but God helped to put you in my life. I’m so happy. My mom helped me to write this letter. She is so, so happy, she thinks everything is possible in this life. Thanks again and again and again."

10.01.2015 | For many years, AFC has been a federally funded Parent Training and Information Center. Today we are proud to announce the launch of the New York Region 1 PTIC Collaborative. Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, we will be working with IncludeNYC, Sinergia, and the Long Island Advocacy Center to provide training and information to families of children with disabilities, as well as the professionals that work with them, throughout New York City and Long Island.

10.01.2015 | Today both AFC and the ARISE Coalition, which is coordinated by AFC, are testifying before the City Council Committee on Education about the new DOE structure for supporting schools and families. We are pleased that the new DOE structure includes a Family Support Coordinator in each Superintendent’s office who is responsible for addressing families’ concerns. In order for Family Support Coordinators to be effective, we have several recommendations. View AFC's testimony [PDF] and the ARISE Coalition's testimony [PDF].

09.21.2015 | AFC has created a brand-new fact sheet, Questions & Answers About Literacy [PDF] (also available in Spanish [PDF]), for families of students who are struggling with reading. The fact sheet explains how to get help for your child and some of the services and supports available for struggling readers. 

In addition, we also have a new fact sheet on language access for immigrant families, Translation and Interpretation Services in New York City Public Schools [PDF] (also available in Spanish [PDF] and Chinese [PDF]).  The fact sheet explains the rights of public school parents who do not speak English and how to get translation and interpretation services.

We have recently updated many of our other fact sheets to include the latest information, including:

To download translations, or to view even more publications on a variety of education-related topics, please visit our resource library

09.02.2015 | The first day of school is Wednesday, September 9! In preparation, we've updated our back-to-school fact sheet for families of students with disabilities, which covers concerns that typically come up at this time of year, such as what to do if a child does not yet have a school assignment or the school assigned says they cannot serve the child’s needs; how to find an accessible school; and arranging for specialized transportation. View the fact sheet in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF].

If you have additional questions or need assistance, call AFC’s Education Helpline: (866) 427-6033, Monday—Thursday, 10am—4pm.

08.12.2015 | In July 2015, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) changed the structure of the offices that support schools, students, and families. We want to give you information about the new structure and let you know how to get help, especially since one of the DOE’s goals of the new structure is to make it easier for parents to get help.

If you cannot resolve problems at the school level, you should contact the superintendent’s office.

All DOE public schools other than specialized District 75 or District 79 schools are located in a geographic district (1-32). To find the district of your child’s school, go to the school’s website and look on the right hand side, or enter your child’s school on the DOE’s website, schools.nyc.gov. Each district has a community superintendent who supervises the principals of elementary and middle schools in the district. In addition, there are 11 high school superintendents who supervise the principals of high schools in one or more districts.

In the past, families could contact an office called the Children First Network when they could not resolve problems at the school level. However, most Children First Networks have closed. Under the new structure, families should contact the superintendent’s office. Each superintendent’s office will have a Family Support Coordinator who is responsible for working with families to resolve problems. If your superintendent’s office does not yet have a Family Support Coordinator, the superintendent’s office will tell you which staff member will assist you. Each office also has a District Family Advocate, who works on family engagement.

A list of superintendents, Family Support Coordinators, District Family Advocates, and contact information is available on the DOE's website. This list is still being formed, as people are still being hired. You can also find the phone number for the district superintendent’s office on the right hand side of the website of your child’s school. 

District 75:
Families of students with disabilities who attend specialized District 75 schools should continue to contact the central District 75 superintendent’s office when you are not able to get a problem resolved at the school level.

District 79:
Families of students who attend District 79 alternative schools and programs should continue to contact the central District 79 superintendent’s office when you are not able to get a problem resolved. 

Students with disabilities in preschool, charter schools, and private schools:
The ten regional Committee on Special Education (CSE) offices will continue to be responsible for special education services for preschoolers, charter school students, and private school students with disabilities. 

If you have questions about your child’s education or are having trouble resolving a problem, you can call AFC’s Education Helpline at 866-427-6033. Our Helpline is open from Monday-Thursday, 10am-4pm. 

08.05.2015 | Today AFC and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) jointly submitted comments in response to the New York City Department of Education's proposal to amend Chancellor's Regulation A-101 relating to student admissions, discharges, and transfers. We believe that there are opportunities to strengthen the proposed amendments in order to ensure that unaccompanied minors, undocumented youth, children and youth experiencing homelessness, and students with disabilities have meaningful access to a free public education. View comments [PDF]

07.23.2015 | Today the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio released the Phase I report of the Mayoral Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline. AFC advocated for the creation of the Leadership Team through our work on the School-Justice Partnership Task Force [PDF], and Executive Director Kim Sweet is serving on the Leadership Team and co-chairing the School Climate Working Group. The report's recommendations focus on reducing the use of suspensions, summonses, and arrests in schools by providing extensive training and ongoing support for school personnel, increasing the number of guidance counselors and social workers, improving mechanisms for coordination of services, and re-visiting some of the processes for evaluating schools. Read the report

06.29.2015 | AFC has a new fact sheet explaining the available appeal options for students whose Regents exam scores are keeping them from graduating from high school. Typically, students must pass five Regents exams, with scores of 65 or higher, in order to graduate. However, in certain cases, students can appeal their lower Regents exam scores and still graduate. View the fact sheet in English [PDF] or Spanish [PDF].