Committee on Preschool Special Education

Overview: One of the most critical periods of growth in the development of a child occurs during the first five years of life. A child's interest and love for learning is shaped during the preschool years. While parents are the main teachers of the child at this young age, research and experience tell us that quality early education programs can make a difference and increase a child's opportunity for successful learning and later life accomplishments. Each child possesses unique traits, qualities and learning styles. While some children benefit from enrollment in early educational programs without the need for additional intervention, others need additional supports to strengthen their foundation for school-aged educational programs.

The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)
is responsible for identifying and arranging for the delivery of special education services for preschool children with disabilities from ages three to five. The CPSE is responsible for guiding parents in a process which includes evaluation and, if eligible, the recommendation for placement in approved programs and services for each preschool student with a disability. The educational programs and services for preschool children with disabilities are the responsibility of the school district in which the student resides in accordance with New York State Education law, Article 89. When parents contact the CPSE in Spencerport, they must establish proof of residency.

  • The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) and Committee on Special Education (CSE) are regulatory processes derived from Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, in New York State, the committees are implemented under two different systems within the same set of regulations. The district has programmatic but not fiscal responsibility for CPSE services. The district works collaboratively with the County, which holds fiscal responsibility for CPSE services, and preschool service providers to make the CPSE process work effectively.

    The CPSE holds meetings including initial referrals, program reviews and annual reviews. Pursuant to the regulations of the State Commissioner of Education, the CPSE makes recommendations to the Board of Education based on the needs of the students.


    The required members of the CPSE include:
    • a parent/legal guardian (s)
    • general education teacher
    • special education teacher
    • school psychologist (incoming Kindergarten meetings only)
    • CPSE chairperson (district representative)
    • county representative
    • a parent member if requested by the parent
    • representative from agencies providing service
    • related service providers/others with knowledge of the student


    Eligibility: Preschool students may be identified as having a disability if they exhibit a significant delay in one or more functional areas related to cognitive, language and communicative, adaptive, social emotional or motor development which adversely affects the student’s ability to learn. The CPSE considers all evaluations and compares the child's performance to accepted milestones for child development. The criteria for eligibility are:

    • a 12 month delay in one or more functional area(s);or
    • a 33% delay in one functional area, or a 25% delay in each of two functional areas; or

    • if appropriate standardized instruments are individually administered in the evaluation process, a score of 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one functional area, or score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in each of two functional areas; or
    • meet the criteria for a disability as described in the terms for school aged students

    Referral: A preschool student suspected of having a disability will be referred in writing to the CPSE chairperson. A referral may be made by the student’s parent/legal guardian, a physician, or a judicial officer. If a child is receiving early intervention services (ages 0-2), an early intervention official will notify the school district with parent consent. A transition conference may be convened upon parental consent by the early intervention official, service coordinator, and CPSE chairperson.

    Evaluation: Upon the consent of the parent/legal guardian, and the parent’s selection of an approved evaluator, a multidisciplinary evaluation will be conducted. The resulting report will include a detailed description of the student’s needs.

    Recommendations: If the CPSE determines that the student has a disability, the Committee will recommend a program and/or services for the student. The committee is required to consider a continuum of services starting from the least restrictive to the most restrictive services. If a student is found to be ineligible for services, the recommendations shall indicate the reasons for ineligibility.

    IEP Implementation: Services for a student identified as having a disability must be implemented no later than 30 school days from the CPSE recommendation. The IEP is developed and distributed to all appropriate staff.

    Annual Review: The IEP of a preschool student must be reviewed annually by the CPSE.  After a student’s annual review, prior written notice of recommendation and copy of revised IEP will be provided to the parent/legal guardian.

    Related Services: Related services are recommended by the CPSE to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability as set forth in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Related services may be provided in conjunction with other preschool special education services.

    Related services include, but are not limited to:

    • Speech therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Counseling
    • Vision services
    • Teacher of the deaf services
    • Assistive technology
Additional Preschool Resources for Families:

NYSED Preschool Website

NYSED Guide for Determining Eligibility