Education and Our Schools

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Opening our schools in the time of COVID-19 is a big responsibility, and we’re up to the challenge. Click here to read our plan and learn about all the things we’re doing to keep students and staff safe.

Northern Rivers Family of Services provides a spectrum of early enrichment, child development, and primary and secondary special educational services to help youth reach their academic potential. Our education programs, located in Albany and Schenectady, serve youth from throughout the region through a nurturing, therapeutic environment, individualized attention, and a vibrant, encouraging atmosphere:

  • Early Head Start (Schenectady) is a school- and home-based federally funded program serves impoverished families who are pregnant or have children from birth to age 3. Our staff helps parents with the changes and needs of their family that come with having a small child, and parents learn ways to help their children meet all milestones, including helping the family ensure the child is healthy, developmentally on target, and ready for the world.

  • Neil Hellman Preschool (Schenectady) is a multiservice early childhood center serves children ages 3–5 through preschool special education, early intervention services, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, social work services, preventative childcare with and without social work, psychological services, subsidized day care, and universal prekindergarten.

  • Neil Hellman School (Albany) is a New York State Education Department–certified 853 special education school providing students with serious emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges in kindergarten through grade 12 with integrated educational services 46 weeks per year and clinical services 52 weeks per year. Staff members provide therapeutic, educational, and vocational services to empower students to achieve their goals.

  • Neil Hellman Day Treatment Program (Albany) provides integrated year-round clinical and educational program for students in grades 1 through 12 who live within 50 miles of our Albany campus, helping students and families address social, emotional, psychological, psychiatric, and educational needs.

  • School at Northeast (Schenectady) is a New York State Education Department–certified 853 special education school serving students in grades 6 through 12 who cope with multiple issues including educational disabilities, family instability, emotional trauma, delinquency, mental illness, truancy, and substance abuse. The school offers a full curriculum in structured and supportive learning environment, providing students with a variety of academic, recreational, and vocational opportunities.

  • School at Northeast Day Education (Schenectady) helps helps students in grades 6 through 12 who live within 50 miles of our Schenectady campus overcome academic, behavioral, and social challenges through an integrated of intensive clinical and educational supports.

Education Services - overview [Print]

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

With regard to education information, parents and students have certain rights. You have a right to know how student information is used, protected, and may be disclosed; how you can get access to this information; and how to file a complaint if you have concerns. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, provides parents with the right to inspect and review their children’s education records; the right to seek to amend information in the records they believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or an invasion of privacy; and the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their children’s education records.

Click here to view FERPA in English [Print]
Click here to view FERPA in Spanish [Print]


Smart Schools Bond Act
Neil Hellman School and the School at Northeast
October 2019

The Smart Schools Bond Act, passed by New York voters in November 2014, awarded $2 billion to all public schools based on enrollment and state aid formula. Both of Northern Rivers 853 special education schools received an allocation. Learn more about the Smart Schools Bond Act.

Northern Rivers Chief Education Officer and Chief Information Officer worked with various stakeholders, including the Education Technology Committee, which created a plan for the Neil Hellman School in Albany and the School at Northeast in Schenectady.

The Northern Rivers Board of Directors approved the Smart Schools Investment Plans (SSIP) for both schools at their meeting on October 1, 2019.

The New York State Department of Education’s Review approved the SSIPs for both the Neil Hellman School and the School at Northeast on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.