New York, NY, NY 10010
District 75 serves more than 23,000 children ages 3 to 21 who are on the autism spectrum, have significant cognitive delays, are significantly emotionally challenged, have a sensory impairment or have multiple disabilities.
Most children with disabilities attend ordinary New York City public schools and receive the services they need their own neighborhood school. However, those who need more intensive or specialized services may be assigned to District 75, a network of 69 schools and programs scattered across more than 300 sites.
Some of the District 75 schools have their own building. In most, the principal oversees the teaching of children who are attending classes in half a dozen or more different sites, including neighborhood schools, hospitals or work-study programs. Some District 75 pupils attend classes with their general education peers in neighborhood schools.
Questions to ask
How can a parent judge whether a school is a good fit? Each school profile on the InsideSchools website answers questions such as “Is the school safe?” or “How many teachers recommend the school?” or “Is the principal an effective manager?”
See our page on Special Education for tips on questions to ask.
Lori Podvesker, mother of a District 75 student and senior manager of disability and education Policy at INCLUDEnyc, suggests the following additional questions:
Are there opportunities for the students to learn alongside general education students? The social benefit of inclusion can lead to increased independence.
Is there adaptive physical education, that is gym classes designed to accommodate a child’s disabilities?
Is bus service provided?
Do students take class trips? Some trips help develop life skills, such as a trip to the laundromat to learn to use washing machines.
Are there travel training opportunities? Learning to travel alone on the bus or subway fosters independence and can lead to increased opportunity for employment.
Do students graduate with a regular diploma, a Regents diploma, or a special education diploma?
What types of therapies are provided?
These questions help parents not only gain an understanding of how the school helps develop academic skills, but also social and living skills.
District 75 Contacts
The main District 75 telephone number is 212-802-1500. A complete list of District 75 contacts is on the Department of Education website. The following offices may be able to answer particular questions.
Assistive Technology provides professionally trained, multi-disciplinary teams to determine if technology can help a student perform skills that she cannot otherwise do. These tech solutions include tools for handwriting, voice command devices, computers, amplifiers and more.
Contact: Karen Gorman (212) 802-1530, email@example.com
The Office of Autism makes sure that teaching practices are aligned to the individual needs of students with autism—including children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and those with severe cognitive deficits.
Contact: Jill Post (917) 256-4268, firstname.lastname@example.org
This department supports the mental health needs of students by offering individual and group counseling as determined by a student’s IEP.
Contact: Roslyn Hoff (917) 256-4273/4269, email@example.com
English language learners
The ELL department provides a huge array of services including bilingual instruction, Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE), and English as a New Language (ENL) programs for students with moderate to severe disabilities.
Contact: Maryann Polesinelli (212) 802-1624, MPolesi@schools.nyc.gov
Hearing Education Services
HES provides intensive instruction in speech, reading, auditory training and language development. The department also offers instructional support in academics, social and vocational skills, and use of oral and American Sign Language (ASL).
Contact: Helen D. Kaufman (917) 256-4236, firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel training helps students learn to take public transportation independently. Contact: Peggy Groce (212) 802-1625
Citywide District 75 Council
A mix of parents and political appointees, the Citywide D75 Council represents families of students receiving citywide special education services and the community-at-large. Members of the council review information on any matters affecting citywide special education services to students within District 75. They consult with the wider parent community and offer feedback on citywide special education policy. For a list of meetings open to the public, visit the DOE website.
Families who need more information and support should contact:
D75 District Family Advocate: Raymond Velez, (212) 802-1685, (212) 802-1614, email@example.com
The DOE also encourages families with questions to contact the Division of Family and Community Engagement.