Multi-year renewal of special education is well underway

Multi-year renewal of special education is well underway

High quality progress on audit findings with stakeholder involvement as a guiding principle

As the first year of a multi-year renewal of the department wraps up, Director of Student Services Lea Anne Frost offered a year-end overview of 2018-19 activities for the Board of Education at its July 15, 2019 regular meeting.

The overview builds on the monthly reports and presentations at regular Board meetings and a mid-year update, which provide details in four key areas: Staffing, Professional Development, Consistency, and Message of Inclusion. The complete year-end presentation and report are available here.

Dr. Frost reported that at year-end:

  • The District’s multi-year renewal is well underway.
  • Progress has been achieved at a high quality level on addressing the key findings from internal and external audits in spring 2018.
  • Each achievement has intentionally included various stakeholder groups to ensure that changes are well-thought out and implemented with training and support provided to staff.
  • D64's Student Services Department offers many strengths, offering the solid foundation so essential for a successful learning experience for our students.

Four highlights stand as the most critical of this year’s accomplishments:

  • Development of a curriculum map with the special education teachers for launch in the 2019-20 school year. The map ensures that appropriate and rigorous curriculum and materials will be provided to D64 students with special needs. The curriculum map lays the foundation for ordering materials, training staff, and providing the necessary support to ensure proper implementation of the curriculum with fidelity. Staff will receive additional support through the Intervention Coach, which was a position approved by the Board for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.
  • Development of a new Section 504 manual for families. A new version of D64's 504 manual was created to be shared publicly for the first time to clearly identify the processes and procedures related to the District’s 504 plan. It is hoped this manual will be helpful to families whose students may qualify for 504 services by offering an easy to understand summary of what may be expected. In addition, a more detailed internal guidance manual was prepared with the Assistant Principals, who are charged with the responsibility of implementing the process to support students at their schools. This guidance manual will be utilized District-wide to ensure consistency in identifying and providing the appropriate and needed services to students.
  • Extensive Board-authorized investments (both 2018-19 and upcoming 2019-20) to add more staff with specific expertise to further support our staff and students. To support staff in addressing the individual needs of students, the Board approved the addition of a new Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) for the 2018-19 school year among a package of new positions approved. In addition, the Board has approved for the upcoming 2019-20 school year additional staffing, including a full-time Intervention Coach and an increase from part-time to full-time for an Assistive Technology Specialist position to address the growing needs of the District. (The extensive investment in staffing over the two-year period is detailed in Audit Finding #9 within the report.)
  • The successful collaboration of Parents and Teachers Talking Together (PT3). Building on initial groundwork completed in spring 2018, PT3 began the 2018-19 school year with relationship-building activities to ensure group members could collaborate in addressing priority areas of interest. Later in the year, PT3 successfully addressed these priorities, as sub-groups produced a mission statement, parent survey, and professional development needs assessment by year-end. PT3 will continue its work into the 2019-20 school year, and will also further collaborate with the newly formed All Abilities PTO/A sub-committee.