Substantial Equivalency Review (SER) Service

  • CoSer: 470.5917

    Nassau ֱ Substantial Equivalency Review (SER) will provide support to participating districts in evaluating nonpublic schools within their geographical boundaries. Education Law §§3204, 3205, and 3210 require the Local School Authority (LSA) to ensure that students of compulsory school age 6 -16 (or 17 in some localities) who reside within the boundaries of their school district are receiving an education. Local public-school officials must ensure that the education received by students is substantially equivalent to that received in district public schools. Nassau ֱ, at the request of districts, will provide assistance in reviewing non-public schools.

    Based on the regulations, Nassau ֱ will make a recommendation to determine if the non-public schools are substantially equivalent regarding instructional practices. The results of the review will be reported to the Local Education Agency (LEA). In collaboration with the LEA, Nassau ֱ will, if necessary, review the non-public and attempt to remediate instructional practices so the school can move toward substantial equivalency.

    The LSAs are responsible for substantial equivalency determinations except in the case of Registered High Schools, State-Approved Private Special Education Schools, State-Operated or State-Supported Schools, Accredited Schools, International Baccalaureate Program Schools, Federally Approved Schools, and schools that offer standardized summative assessments; these schools are already subject to Department review.

    While conducting such reviews, the LSA must use the criteria outlined in the . For schools that meet the criteria for a Commissioner’s final determination, the LSA conducts the review using the appropriate criteria and makes a recommendation to the Commissioner for his/her final determination. If there are concerns about the substantial equivalency of the instruction, the regulation recommends, among other things, that the LSA and nonpublic school work collaboratively to develop a clear plan and timeline, including benchmarks and targets, for attainting substantial equivalency in an amount of time that is reasonable given the concerns identified. After careful review and consideration of the information provided, Nassau ֱ will inform the LSA in writing of the recommended determination.  The LSA should send written notification to the administration of the nonpublic school and provide a letter for the nonpublic school to distribute to parents. The LSA must notify Office of Religious and Independent School Support (ORISS) of the positive determination. 

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