Exceptional Learners Division » Continuum of Services

Continuum of Services

The services we provide are based exclusively on the Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed for each student by his or her local school district's Committee on Special Education and approved by the district Board of Education.
Instruction aligns with the Common Core Learning Standards for achievement of their goals, as identified on their IEP. Based on their EIP, students have the option to work either towards a Regents diploma, CDOS Commencement Credential, SACC (Skills and Achievement Credential, or GED).

Student/Teacher Ratios

Our programs are structured according to student-to-staff ratio (e.g. 6:1:1, 12:1:4). Students in programs with a low student-to-staff ratio require more intensive services. Some classes are located in component school districts buildings, and some are operated in our centers. Students taught in classes in component schools have greater opportunities to interact with their non-disabled peers and to participate in the regular education program.


Instruction is provided to students grouped by similarity of needs rather than by disability classification. Similarity of needs is determined by level of academic/educational achievement, learning rate, social and physical development, and the management needs of pupils.


This class configuration offers support from additional adults (paraprofessionals) for those students whose academic/cognitive/or social needs require more management than can be offered within a regular classroom setting, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. The Skills Development classes and the School-To-Work program operate with a 12:1:2 configuration.


The B.E.A.R.S. program (BOCES Educating Autistic and Related Disorders Students) serves children on the Autism Spectrum in 12:1:4 classes. The program provides a classroom environment rich in supporting and understanding the culture of autism. The classrooms implement the approach called “Structured TEACCHing”. This approach focuses on understanding the learning characteristics of individuals with autism and using visual supports, and a well-structured classroom environment to promote meaning and independence.

This configuration provides a self-contained special class setting for students with severe multiple disabilities. The program, which is located in component schools and community settings whenever possible, serves those with two or more disabilities resulting in multi-sensory or motor deficiencies and developmental lags in cognitive, affective and psychomotor areas.


The Therapeutic Support Programs (TSP) offered at Sanford Street, SAEC, TSP North, and TSP South Center are based on a 6:1:1 configuration. They are for students who require a comprehensive therapeutic milieu, similar to a day treatment program. The programs have counseling supports in the skills room for managing student crisis, and utilize the Boystown Specialized Classroom Management system for behavior management. A mental health counselor and a consulting psychiatrist work with the programs. 

There are also two 6:1:1 classrooms at the Myers Center in Saratoga Springs, for middle school students who need smaller class sizes and more individual attention, but can be in a less restrictive environment. Also located at Myers and SAEC are 6:1:1 programs for Regents students and GED students who need a smaller, more structured environment with counseling supports and immediate crisis intervention.


The Therapeutic Support Program is intended for students who require a comprehensive therapeutic setting with mental health support similar to a day treatment program. These are center-based with a higher student-to-staff ratio. This program is offered at SAEC and Myers.     

Availability and Special Services
Special classes and related services are available during the regular 10-month and extended school year (ESY) 12-month programs. Related services and evaluations are available in the areas of assistive technology, audiology, occupational and physical therapy, speech and language therapy and counseling. Services are also available for students who are visually impaired or blind and hearing impaired or deaf. Students in more staff-intensive programs generally require higher levels of related services.