• The New York State Department of Eduation's (NYSED's) interpretation of terms used in the substantial equivalence regulation. 

    Bilingual program, as it relates to the criteria for a Commissioner’s determination enumerated in Education Law § 3204 (2) (ii)-(iii), means that a school regularly delivers a meaningful portion of instruction in two or more languages.  Bilingual program includes, but is not limited to, a program provided for English language learners pursuant to Education Law § 3204 (2) and (2-a). 

    Competent teacher means instructional staff employed by the nonpublic school who demonstrate the appropriate knowledge, skill, and dispositions to provide substantially equivalent instruction in the required subject areas.  A competent teacher need not be certified (8 NYCRR 130.1[a]). 

    Identifying Label means BEDS code.

    Local School Authority (LSA) means the trustees or board of education of the 
    school district that serves the geographic area in which a nonpublic school is located; provided that in the case of the city school district of the City of New York, such term shall mean the Chancellor of the city school district of New York or, to the extent provided by law, the board of education of the City School District of the City of New York.   

    Nonpublic school means a religious or independent school located in New York State that provides elementary and/or secondary education (any grades 1 through 12) and such education is intended to fulfill the compulsory education requirements of Article 65 of the Education Law for the students that attend such school (8 NYCRR 130.1[d]). 

    Office of Religious and Independent School Support (ORISS) is the NYSED office that has the primary responsibility for serving the needs of nonpublic schools. ORISS is composed of two units.  One provides programmatic support and oversight for religious and independent schools called the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools (SORIS) and the other provides business- and finance-related oversight and support.  This includes coordination of the process for schools’ recognition by the state, high school registration, implementing certain state and federal grant programs, and for ensuring that religious and independent schools are providing substantially equivalent instruction for their compulsory school aged students.  The terms ORISS is used as a modifier by NYSED to refer to a variety of functions and other items related to religious and independent schools, e.g. ORISS code (defined below). 

    ORISS (Formerly SORIS) Code is a code provided by NYSED that recognizes that nonpublic schools in multiple locations are members of the same school organization and is related to but different from a BEDS (Basic Educational Data System) Code which is an administrative identification number issued to a nonpublic school and assigned to a specific nonpublic school site to recognize such site by the Department. 

    Substantial equivalency of instruction for a nonpublic school means an instructional program which is comparable to that offered in the public schools and is designed to facilitate students’ academic progress as they move from grade to grade (8 NYCRR 130.1[b]).  Comparable should include consideration of any artifacts that collectively show that age- and grade-appropriate instruction of suitable depth and breadth is implemented in all mandatory subjects and is designed to facilitate students’ academic progress from grade to grade.  Substantially equivalent does not mean that a religious or independent school must have the same schedule or teach exactly the same content as the public school.