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11.16.2012 | AFC's NYS-TEACHS, our project focusing on students in temporary housing, has a new flier on the educational rights of students who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Download the flier here, and visit www.nysteachs.org for even more resources. 

11.05.2012 | Advocates for Children hopes you and your loved ones made it safely through Hurricane Sandy. The New York City public schools have experienced a number of disruptions due to the storm. We hope the following information and resources will assist you and your family as students transition back to school. 

SCHOOL CLOSURES AND RELOCATIONS

The majority of New York City schools reopened today. A number of schools, however, sustained severe damage from the storm and remain closed. Those schools will be temporarily relocated, and the Department of Education says they will reopen to students on Wednesday, November 7. You can find a list of relocated schools, as well as the schools that will host them, here. In some instances, schools will be relocated across multiple sites. Additional schools remain closed today because they are serving as shelter sites or do not have power. Students in those schools can return on Wednesday, November 7.

All schools will be closed on Tuesday, November 6 for Election Day.

For the most current information on school closures and relocations, visit the Department of Education's website.

STUDENTS LIVING IN TEMPORARY HOUSING

Many families have been displaced by the storm and are currently staying with friends or relatives, or at a motel or shelter. These families are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Under McKinney-Vento, homeless children residing outside their original school district have the right to continue to attend their school of origin OR enroll in a school closer to their temporary residence.

Displaced elementary and middle school students who wish to attend the zoned school for their temporary residence can find their zoned school by visiting schools.nyc.gov or calling 311. If there is no zoned school for an address, you should visit an enrollment office. To find the enrollment office nearest you, visit schools.nyc.gov or call 311. All displaced high school students should visit an enrollment office if they would like to enroll at a high school that is closer to their new residence. Displaced students do not need to provide any documents in order to enroll.

For more information on students' rights under the McKinney-Vento Act, visit the website of Advocates for Children's New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) at www.nysteachs.org or call the NYS-TEACHS toll-free Helpline, 1-800-388-2014.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you or your loved ones have been affected by Hurricane Sandy and are in need of assistance, you can register with FEMA for aid. To do so, call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 or register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

The Red Cross has shelters throughout affected areas. Visit their website for a listing or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Distribution locations for food, water, and blankets can be found here.

Information on Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available here.

Additional information about the relief effort can be found at www.nyc.gov, www.governor.ny.gov, and www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy.

For other questions related to the NYC schools, AFC will try to help. Call the Jill Chaifetz Education Helpline, 1-866-427-6033, Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm.

10.26.2012 | AFC has a new guide to Section 504! This guide explains what Section 504 is, how it applies to children in public schools, and how to get Section 504 services or accommodations for your child. View the guide

10.25.2012 | Today AFC testified before the Education Committee of the New York City Council, expressing concerns about the NYC Department of Education's network-based structure for supporting the City's 1,700 schools. Our concerns center on two different problems: (i) the structure diffuses accountability by separating the supervision of principals from their support; and (ii) it diminishes opportunity for collaboration and resource sharing between schools that are geographically close to each other. View testimony

10.22.2012 | In honor of National Pro Bono Week (October 21-27, 2012), AFC would like to thank our Pro Bono Partners. Our Pro Bono Partners Program significantly increases our capacity to provide as many families as possible with intensive assistance and legal representation so that their children can get the education they deserve. Last year, we co-counseled 74 cases with 118 volunteers.

We currently partner with the following New York City law firms:

Arnold & Porter LLP
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Dechert LLP
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Foley & Lardner LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Holland & Knight LLP
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Nixon Peabody LLP
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Sedgwick LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Learn more about AFC’s Pro Bono Partners Program.

10.22.2012 | AFC has updated our guide to the "Turning 5" process. The guide provides a detailed overview of all families with children with disabilities need to know when transitioning from preschool special education to kindergarten, including information on eligibility, referral, evaluations, the kindergarten Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting, and placement. View the guide in English and Spanish.

10.18.2012 | Tell the New York State Department of Health that you oppose regulations that would prohibit the same agency from evaluating and providing services to a child and family in the Early Intervention Program.  The proposed regulations would make it challenging to serve English Language Learners and children with certain needs.

View action alert

Read AFC's public comments regarding this proposal

10.10.2012 | Today AFC testified before the New York City Council Education Committee, expressing concerns regarding transportation for students with disabilities this school year. Transportation services remain a significant source of frustration for parents of students with disabilities. We have spoken to multiple families who reported delays, confusion, busses arriving hours late, busses not arriving at all, busses arriving but not accessible to students who use wheelchairs, or busses presenting other safety concerns. This is a matter of grave importance and signifies something much more than inconvenience to these children and families. When a child is kept from school for part of the day as a result of endless bus rides, or for all of the day, sometimes for weeks at a time, this is nothing short of a denial of that child’s legal right to receive a free and appropriate public education.  View testimony

10.03.2012 | Today AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Mental Health, expressing concerns about implementation of the NYC Early Intervention Program’s embedded coaching initiative.  View testimony

10.01.2012 | Today AFC and The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released a paper entitled "Policy Recommendations: Effective Accountability Mechanisms for New York State's English Language Learners." The paper sets forth key principles for a sound ELL accountability framework in New York State.  View the report