New York State Regulations
Updated October 6, 2015 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: no requirements
- Registration: optional
- The commissioner of education governs the registration of nonpublic high schools. 8 Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (CRR-NY) §13.1.
- Nonpublic schools are permitted to register. Only registered nonpublic high schools may issue diplomas and administer Regents Examinations. 8 CCR-NY 100.2(p).
- A nonpublic school may be registered as a nursery school and/or kindergarten. Change in ownership nullifies the registration. 8 CCR-NY 125.10. Requirements for those schools are found in 8 CCR-NY Part 125.
- Registration may be placed under review when students in a registered nonpublic school scores are below the criteria list in 8 CCR-NY 100.2(p)(13).
- A nonpublic school must submit information and allow an on-site visit to the school by a staff member in the New York State Education Department’s Bureau of School Registration in order to register with the Board of Regents per New York State Education Department Manual for New Administrators of Nonpublic Schools, State Requirements and Programs.
- Licensing: no requirements
- Recognition: optional
- An entity seeking authorization or approval to operate a nonpublic school in New York State must incorporate in the following manner, depending on school type. A religious nonpublic school that is affiliated with a religious institution is considered incorporated under the auspices of the religious institution; a religious school that wishes to become independent may obtain a charter and have separate incorporation as an educational corporation, but this is not required. An independent school may be either not-for-profit or for-profit. An independent not-for-profit school must obtain a provisional charter from the Board of Regents, which serves as incorporation as an education corporation. An independent for-profit entity must incorporate with the New York State Department of State after being approved by the education department through a commissioner’s consent per New York State Education Department’s website.
- Instruction may only be given by a competent teacher. New York Education Law (N.Y. Edn. Law) §3204.2.
- All professional instructional and supervisory personnel at private schools providing public placements for children with disabilities must be appropriately certified. 8 CCR-NY 200.7(b)(6).
- Coaches of high school extra-class nonpublic school athletic activities must meet and stay current in training requirements in first aid and adult cardiopulmonary resuscitation. N.Y. Edn. Law §3001-c.
- The department of education has established a teacher career recruitment clearinghouse, which provides nonpublic schools with (1) an applicant database; (2) information regarding financial assistance for students interested in careers in education or employment opportunities in education; and (3) information about certification and licensure requirements. N.Y. Edn. Law §3034.
Length of School Year and Days
- Unless shorter instruction time has been approved by school authorities as substantially equivalent in amount and quality, students attending nonpublic schools must attend for at least as many hours as required in public schools. In addition, permitted absences must follow the general rules and practices of the public schools. Absence for religious observances and education are permitted under rules established by the commissioner. Holidays and vacations must not exceed the amount allowed by public schools. N.Y. Edn. Law §3210.2.
- A full-time day school must be in session for not less than 190 days each year, inclusive of legal holidays during the term and exclusive of Saturdays. Accounting for the 10 state public holidays, schools must be session 180 days. N.Y. Edn. Law §3204.4.
- Nonpublic schools receiving state aid must have a minimum of 2½ instructional hours for half-day kindergarten, five instructional hours for full-day kindergarten and grades one through six, and 5½ instructional hours for grades seven through 12. 8 CCR-NY 175.5.
- Instruction given to a minor elsewhere than in a public school must be substantially equivalent to the instruction given at the local public school. N.Y. Edn. Law §3204.2.
- The course of study for the first eight years of public school must include arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, civics, hygiene, physical training, the history of New York state, and science. Beyond the first eight years, instruction must include the English language and its use, civics, hygiene, physical training, American history including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, and may include a course in communism and its methods and its destructive effects. N.Y. Edn. Law §3204.3.
- English is the language of instruction, and textbooks used must be written in English, except for a limited time (3 to 6 years) for students with limited English proficiency. N.Y. Edn. Law §3204.2.
- As part of health education, all schools must provide instruction to discourage the misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; and promote attitudes and behavior that enhance health, well-being, and human dignity. N.Y. Edn. Law §804.
- Students may be excused from health and hygiene if it conflicts with their parent or guardian’s religion and is certified by a representative of their religion. N.Y. Edn. Law §3204.5.
- Private schools offering instruction deemed substantially equivalent to public schools must offer courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship, and human rights issues (with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust) for students over 8 years old, and instruction in the Constitution of the United States and New York and the Declaration of Independence for students in grades eight through 12. N.Y. Edn. Law §801.1, 2.
- Similar physical education courses to those required of public schools shall be prescribed and maintained in private schools in the state, and all pupils in grades kindergarten through 12 shall attend such courses. 8 CCR-NY 135.4.
- Private and parochial schools must provide instruction in fire and arson prevention as prescribed by the commissioner of education. Instruction must be given at least 45 minutes every month while school is in session. N.Y. Edn. Law §808.
- Private schools offering instruction deemed substantially equivalent to public schools must offer instruction in highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety. N.Y. Edn. Law §806.1.
- The New York State Theatre Institute offers guidance and consultation on arts and education programs in private elementary and secondary schools. New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law (N.Y. Arts & Cult. Aff. Law) §9.07.
- A registered nonpublic school operating prekindergarten and/or kindergarten programs must adopt and implement curricula aligned with the state learning standards that provides continuity to the instruction of early elementary grades and through grade 12. Information on the standards to be included can be found in 8 CRR-NY 100.3.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- The commissioner of education is under a statutory duty to establish procedures for a statewide system of assigning unique student identification numbers for all students in public and nonpublic schools for student tracking and state reporting purposes. N.Y. Edn. Law §305.22.
- Teachers are required to keep an accurate record of attendance as prescribed by the commissioner of education. Principals must ensure attendance records are maintained and produced if requested by school authorities. The principal must notify school authorities in writing of any student transfers or discharges. Additionally, the nonpublic school must have a comprehensive attendance policy as elaborated in 8 CCR-NY 104.1 (i). 8 CCR-NY §104.1 and N.Y. Edn. Law §3211.
- Boards of Cooperative Educational Services of New York State are authorized to enter into contracts with nonpublic schools to provide data processing service for pupil personnel records and other administrative records of the nonpublic schools. N.Y. Edn. Law §1950.4.h.4.
- Nonpublic schools that are members of the University of the State of New York must complete verified reports as prescribed by the regents or the commissioner of Education. N.Y. Edn. Law §215. In addition, these schools must provide information to the regents for their annual report to the governor and the legislature concerning the schools of the state. N.Y. Edn. Law §215-a.
- Nonpublic schools must maintain individual pupil records. If a nonpublic school discontinues operation, it must notify the commissioner and the chief school administrator in the district where the school is located. If the pupil academic records are not transferred to another school or agency, the nonpublic school that has discontinued its operation must transfer the records to the school district in which the school is located, and the chief school administrator will be responsible for permanently maintaining such records. 8 CCR-NY 104.2.
- Nonpublic schools may make purchases, except of printed material, through the State Division of Standards and Purchase, Office of General Services. Boards of education may permit nonpublic schools to make purchases through the local school district provided administrative costs are paid by the nonpublic schools. N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law §109-a.
- The commissioner of education is under a statutory duty to give timely notice to nonpublic schools of alternate sources of funding, including competitive grants. N.Y. Edn. Law §305.2.
- Nonpublic schools must provide a comprehensive assessment report for the three school years prior to the reporting school year. The report must include student test data, student enrollment, data on diplomas and certificates, information on the number of students transferred to alternative high schools, high school equivalency preparation programs as described in 8 CCR-NY 100.7, and additional information the chief administrative office of the nonpublic school finds relevant or the commissioner requests. 8 CCR-NY 100.2 (m)(5).
Health and Safety Requirements
- Students attending private schools must have certificates of immunization unless a physician certifies than the immunization is detrimental or if immunization is contrary to the genuine and sincere religious beliefs of the parents or guardians. School principals may not admit students in excess of 14 days who do not have a certificate. (The period may be extended to 30 days if plans for the immunization are in progress.) School principals have a duty to inform parents or guardians of the necessity of immunization and the availability of free immunizations through the local health officer. If students are excluded from school for lack of immunization, principals must notify the local health authority and the parents or guardians and provide an opportunity for immunization through the local health authority if the parent consents. New York Public Health Law (N.Y. Pub. Health Law) §2164.
- Smoking is prohibited in all private schools and on school grounds, with an exception for adult faculty and staff members, who may be permitted to smoke in designated areas during non-school hours. (School hours include periods when any student activity or any officially sanctioned school event is supervised by faculty or staff.) N.Y. Pub. Health Law §1399-o.
- Private school authorities may ask students to be examined for drug abuse and submit to a urine analysis upon written consent of the parents. N.Y. Edn. Law §912-a.
- Private school administrators have a duty to train pupils to exit the building in a sudden emergency. Fire drills must be conducted at least 12 times each school year; eight of the drills must be held between September 1 and December 1; one-third of the drills should use fire escapes on buildings if provided; and at least one drill should instruct students how to leave the building during lunch period. With regard to boarding schools and summer programs, additional drills are prescribed in N.Y Edn. Law §807. An administrator failing to comply with this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor. N.Y. Edn. Law §807.
- Private schools must submit the most current plan and specification of their school building to the local fire and law enforcement officials. N.Y. Edn. Law §408-b.
- Administrators of private schools (i.e. those with a kindergarten with six or more pupils and establishments other than public schools with 25 or more pupils) must have the school buildings inspected annually for fire hazards. Inspections must be conducted prior to December 1, and a report must be filed with the state fire administrator on forms provided by the commissioner of education. The provision is inapplicable for school authorities in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers. N.Y. Edn. Law §807-a.
- Private schools located in areas with local fire departments unequipped with electronically operated fire alarm reporting systems may have their internal school firm alarms interconnected with the fire alarm reporting location or system. Installation and maintenance costs must be apportioned to the school authorities. N.Y. Edn. Law §807-c. Private schools having a central annunciator panel identifying activated alarms must locate the panel so it can be read without entering the building. N.Y. Edn. Law §807-d.
- Private and parochial schools must have a pesticide notification procedure for staff and parents or guardians if pesticide application occurs on school grounds. If parents or guardians wish, they can register with the school to receive notification 48 hours prior to application. The schools must also provide the staff and parents or guardians an accounting of pesticide applications during the year within 10 days of the end of the school year and within two days of the end of winter and spring recess. N.Y. Edn. Law §409-h.
- The commissioner of general services in consultation with others must establish and amend guidelines of what environmentally sensitive leaning and maintenance products should be used in elementary and secondary schools, including private and parochial schools. N.Y. Edn. Law §409-i.
- The Division of Criminal Justice Services must disseminate a missing children’s bulletin to the state education department for public and private school use. The division will help the private schools develop education and prevention programs concerning child safety. N.Y. Exc. Law §837-f.
- New York restricts retail liquor licenses for on-premises consumption within 200 feet of a building used exclusively as a school. N.Y. Alco. Bev. Cont. Law §64.7.
- Administrators of private schools must arrange for every participant in shop or laboratory classes involving dangerous activities, as specified, to wear eye safety devices in accordance with state regulations. N.Y. Edn. Law §409-a.
- Nonpublic school administrators must require that batboys and bat girls participating in baseball and softball competitions wear protective headgear when on the field and the game is in play. N.Y. Edn. Law §409-c.
- New York State has a healthy and safe school environment grant available to nonpublic schools. N.Y. Edn. Law §549.
- Nonpublic schools are permitted to have licensed registered professional health care personnel train unlicensed personnel to inject prescribed glucagon or epinephrine auto injectors in emergency situations, where an appropriately licensed health professional is not available, when there is written permission of a physician and written parental consent. N.Y. Edn. Law §921.
- In New York City, smoking or using electronic cigarettes is prohibited on school grounds of private schools. NYC Admin Code §17-503.
- The commissioner must develop rules and regulations to require fingerprinting of prospective employees of nonpublic schools. The nonpublic schools that elect to fingerprint have the responsibility to inform the prospective employee of requirements for fingerprinting and a background check. N.Y. Edn. Law §305.30.
- The New York Constitution allows the state legislature to provide transportation for students to and from private schools. New York Constitution Art. XI, Sec. 3.
- Non-city school districts are required to provide transportation for students living up to 15 miles from their school. Transportation is provided for all children residing within the school district who are in need (students in kindergarten through grade eight residing more than 2 miles from school and those in grades nine through 12 residing more than 3 miles from school. City school districts are not generally required to provide transportation; but if provided, transportation must be offered equally to all children in like circumstances. Transportation from centralized pickup points at public schools may be provided to pupils attending nonpublic schools under certain circumstances. Superintendents of cities in excess of 1 million must notify nonpublic school officials who have requested transportation of the school calendar for the following year by June 1. N.Y. Edn. Law §3635.1.a-c; 2-a.
- The commissioner of transportation has authority to regulate for safety all motor vehicles transporting passengers to and from schools, for hire, or owned and/or operated by any private school. N.Y. Transp. Law §140.2.a.(i).
- Nonpublic school vehicle operators may apply for reimbursement of the motor vehicle tax expended exclusively in education-related activities. N.Y. Tax Law §289-c.3.e.
- Upon request, local school districts have the power and the duty to loan textbooks free of charge to children enrolled in nonpublic schools. Textbooks must be designated for use by public schools or approved by school authorities. School districts must loan textbooks to public and nonpublic schools on an equitable basis. N.Y. Edn. Law §701.3,4.
- The loan of free textbooks to parochial schools does not violate the New York Constitution. Bd. of Education v. Allen, 228 N.E.2d 791 (1967).
- School districts have the power and duty to loan school library materials to pupils attending private schools. The materials must be designated for use in any public elementary or secondary school of the state or approved by the board of education, trustees, or other school authorities. N.Y. Edn. Law §712.
- Students at a registered nonpublic high school are eligible to receive a Regents Diploma or a local diploma if they complete the curriculum described in 8 CCR-NY 100.5.
- Alternative testing can be used for students determined by the committee on special education as having a handicapping condition or students whose native language is other than English, with restrictions concerning the Regents Competency Tests in reading and writing. Nonpublic schools must report the use of alternative testing procedures to the New York State Department of Education. 8 CCR-NY 100.2 (g).
- A nonpublic school, not including a registered high school, will be placed under department review when the school scores below one or more of the review criteria discussed in 8 CCR-NY 100.2(p). These criteria include results of assessments. 8 CCR-NY 100.2 (z).
- Upon a parent or guardian’s written request, nonpublic schools students may receive services for gifted pupils, occupational and vocational education, and education for students with disabling conditions and related services provided the instruction is given to public school students. Transportation is provided if the distance between the nonpublic school and the public school exceeds one-quarter mile, except students with disabilities receive transportation according to their needs. Students are considered dually enrolled for the purposes of receiving the services. N.Y. Edn. Law §3602-c.
- School districts may provide students with disabilities special services or programs through contracts with private residential and nonresidential schools approved by the commissioner. N.Y. Edn. Law §4401.2 (e), (f), and (g).
- All professional instructional and supervisory personnel at private schools providing public placements for children with disabilities must be appropriately certified. 8 CCR-NY 200.7(b)(6).
- School boards must provide suitable transportation up to a distance of 50 miles to and from a nonpublic school which a child with disabilities attends to receive special education services. N.Y Edn. Law §4402.4 (d).
- The state department of education has a duty to audit nonpublic schools receiving public money for services to children with disabilities. N.Y. Edn. Law §4403.5.
- A nonpublic school may issue a high school individualized diploma to a pupil with a disability as defined in 8 CCR-NY 200.1(mm). 8 CCR-NY 100.9.
Nursing and Health
- Upon request, local school districts must provide all health and welfare services and facilities that are available to public school students to students attending schools other than public ones. Services may include, but are not limited to, those performed by a physician, dentist, dental hygienist, nurse, school psychologist, social worker, or speech therapist; maintenance of health records; and emergency care programs for ill or injured pupils. N.Y. Edn. Law §912.
- Private schools are eligible to apply to the office of mental health for education grants for the identification and treatment of adolescents who are at high risk for suicide. N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law §41.49.
- Nonpublic secondary schools must have a guidance and counseling program for students in grades seven through 12. 8 CCR-NY 100.2 (j)(2).
- In New York City, the department of education must provide at least one full-time nurse to a private primary or intermediate school with at least 200 students that submits a written request and has a suitable medical room. NYC Admin Code §17-187.
- Upon request, local school districts will loan computer software to private school students free of charge. Software programs must be designated for use in any public school or approved by school authorities. 8 CCR-NY 752.
- Upon request from an individual or group of individual nonpublic school students, local school districts must loan smart schools classroom technology free of charge. N.Y. Edn. Law §755.
- Twenty-first century (public) schools cannot be exempted from the part of the state education regulation that requires teacher, staff, and parent participation and involvement; maintenance of effort; or equitable participation of students and staff in nonpublic schools. N.Y. Edn. Law §309-a.
- The commissioner of education may approve applications from school districts and boards of cooperative educational services for funding for approved learning technology programs, including services benefiting nonpublic school students pursuant to §550 of Chapter 170 of the N.Y. Laws of 1994. 8 CCR-NY 144.8(a).
- No state policy currently exists.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- The state commissioner of education annually apportions to qualifying schools (nonprofit, nonpublic schools providing instruction in accordance with N.Y. Edn. Law §3204) the actual cost incurred by each school for compliance with state requirements of the pupil evaluation program, basic educational data systems, Regents Examinations, the statewide evaluation plan, uniform procedures for pupil attendance reporting, and other similar state-prepared examinations and reporting procedures. 1974 N.Y. Laws, chapter 507, as amended by chapter 508. The current list of mandated actions that are eligible for reimbursement is found here.
Home Education Programs
- Parents of students of compulsory school attendance age must submit written notice to the superintendent of schools of their school district of residence of their intention to educate their child at home by July 1 of each school year. If parents decide to commence home instruction after the start of the year, they must submit the written notice within 14 days. 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- Within 10 business days of receiving the parent’s notice of intention, the school district must provide parents a copy of 8 CCR-NY 100.10 and a form to submit an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP). 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
- The parent must submit a completed IHIP within four weeks of receiving the materials, or by August 15, whichever is later. If the parent needs assistance in preparing the forms, the district must provide it upon request. 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
- The school district must notify the parent within 10 business days, or by August 31, whichever is later, whether or not the IHIP complies with state requirements. If the IHIP is found deficient, the school district must provide written notice of its deficiency. 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
- If the IHIP is found deficient, the parent must submit a revised IHIP correcting the deficiency within 15 days of receiving notice of the deficiency or by September 15, whichever is later. 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
- The IHIP must include the child’s name, age, and grade level; a list of the syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks or plan of instruction to be used in each of the required subjects; the dates for submission to the school district of the parents’ quarterly reports; the names of the individuals providing instruction; and a statement that the child will be meeting the compulsory educational requirements of Education Law, section 3205 through full-time study at a degree-granting institution. 8 CCR-NY 100.10.
Curriculum and Instruction
- Required courses for grades one through six are arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, science, health education, music, visual arts, physical education, and bilingual education and/or English as a second language where the need is indicated. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (e).
- Required courses for grades seven and eight are English, history, geography, science, mathematics, physical education, health education, art, music, practical arts, and library skills. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (e).
- Required courses for grades nine through 12 are English; social studies, including American history, government, and economics; mathematics; science; art and/or music; health education; physical education; and three electives. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (e).
- All grades must cover the following subjects: patriotism and citizenship; health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (e).
- Instruction must be the substantial equivalent of 180 days each school year. Cumulative hours of instruction are mandated as 900 hours for grades one through six and 990 hours for grades seven through 12. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (f).
Assessment and Diplomas
- Parents must submit a quarterly report for each home-instructed child indicating the number of instructional hours during the quarter, a description of material covered, a grade in each subject or narrative of the child’s progress, and an explanation if less than 80 percent of the course materials set forth in the IHIP. 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (g).
- With the filing of the fourth quarterly report, the parent must also file an annual assessment, which must include the results of a commercially published norm-reference achievement test or an alternative method listed in regulations of 8 CRR-NY 100.10 (h). 8 CRR-NY 100.10 (h).
- If a child’s annual assessment does not comply with the requirements of 8 CCR-NY 100.10 (h), the home instruction program will be put on probation and the parent must submit a remediation plan. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the home instruction program is not in compliance with these regulations, the superintendent of schools can conduct or send a representative for a home visit after providing three days’ written notice. 8 CRR-NY 100.10 (i).
- Solely for the purpose of providing services to students with disabilities in a home instruction program, those students are considered nonpublic school students. N.Y. Edn. Law §3602-c (2-c).
Public School Access
- A student is eligible to participate in interschool competition if the student is registered in the equivalent of three regular courses within 15 days of the beginning of the semester, is meeting the physical education requirement, and has been in regular attendance 80 percent of the school time. 8
- 135.4 (c)(7)(ii)(b)(2).
Information and Legislative
- New Your State Education Department: Home Instruction
- New York State Education Department: Nonpublic Schools
- New York State Education Department: Manual for New Administrators of Nonpublic Schools
- New York State Education Department: Policy & Guidance
- Code, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York
Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
Nonpublic and Private Schools: (518) 474-6541
U.S. Department of Education, New York
Updated October 6, 2015