Special Education Parent Meeting
February 7, 2018
IN VIEW: Superintendent Laurie Heinz, Interim Director of Student Services Mike Padavic
The slide presentation used at the meeting may be viewed below. It includes a short video on an instructional strategy that supports inclusion, called co-teaching, prepared by Roosevelt School.
Highlights of the Meeting
Parents/guardians are invited to email Interim Director of Student Services Mike Padavic to volunteer:
- Participate in Special Education audit
- Staff and Parent Sub-group: Mission and Vision for D64 SPED that builds on the D64 Mission: Inspire every child to discover, learn, achieve and care
- Help Interim Director set agendas for future SPED parent support group meetings
- Interview Committee process and involvement for D64 permanent Director of Student Services
Mark your calendar
Upcoming meetings will be held at Lincoln Middle School (Learning Resource Center), 200 S. Lincoln, Park Ridge on the following Wednesdays from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.:
- March 7, 2018
- April 11, 2018
- May 2 , 2018
Superintendent Laurie Heinz and Interim Director of Student Services Mike Padavic provided an Overview of District 64 Strategic Plan Objectives and Special Education. [Slides are provided above.]
Mr. Padavic provided a brief overview of his background in special education and support services, and introduced other members of the department as well as teachers and other administrators in attendance. Three members of the Board of Education also were present.
Strategic Plan and Overview of D64 Approach
- Special education services are part of the D64 mission to inspire every child to discover, learn, achieve and care. The first three objectives of the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan address how we are achieving this mission:
- Strategic Objective 1: Develop students who master the 4C's: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking.
- Strategic Objective 2: Provide a rigorous education for all students.
- Strategic Objective 3: Differentiate to meet the academic and social/emotional health needs of all students.
- District 64 provides a "continuum of services," which is the range of services that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has identified must be available to students so that they may be served in the least restrictive environment.
- In turn, the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) has identified least restrictive environment (LRE) to mean that a student with a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate.
- In District 64, the placement continuuum includes:
- General education with no supplementary aids or services
- General education with supplementary aids or services
- Resource support (placement in a special education classroom less than 40% of the school day)
- Self-contained placement (placement in a special education classroom more than 40% of the school day)
- Separate special education day school
- Residential placement
- Home-hospital placement
- District 64 considers all placement and service options for every student. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must determine which specific scope of services is most appropriate for that student.
Data Review - How does D64 compare?
- Utilizing the most current data publicly provided by ISBE (2015-16), District 64's percentage of students with IEP's is 14.2%, which tracks the state (14.3%).
- D64 has 643 students of 4,537 with IEPs.
- Reviewing D64's own data for race/ethnicity, slightly more white and black students have IEP's than are represented in D64's student population; all other categories (Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Native Amercian, Two or More Races) are the same or slightly lower.
- Among 14 categories of disabilities, speech/language impairment is the highest percent of D64's IEP students at 27.5% followed by specific learning disability at 23.8% and developmental delay at 17.9%.
- D64's speech or language impairment 27.5% is significantly above the state's at 17.6%.
Looking on the educational environment of D64 students, Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic reported on significant progress:
- In four years, D64 has improved from 52% to almost 72% of students spending 80% or more time in the general classroom.
- In 2017-18, only 2.47% of students spend less than 40% of their time in the general classroom.
Co-teaching is a highly inclusionary practice now being used in District 64. In a co-teaching setting, two teachers share instructional responsibilities for a group of students, including both general and special education. Having two teachers in the classroom generates opportunities for differentiation to meet the needs of all learners. Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic shared a video prepared recently about co-teaching at Roosevelt School to illustrate how this practice works. VIEW CO-TEACHING VIDEO HERE.
Opportunities for Special Education Parent Support Group
Looking ahead, Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic reviewed four opportunities for participation this spring:
- Parents and Teachers Talking Together (PT3) - This is a facilitiated conversation that brings parents and teachers together to focus on outcomes for students. Following the dialogue, there is a process for identifying common priorities that assist with the development of an action plan. Mr. Padavic related his positive experiences using PT3 in his previous work in Oak Park District 97, and suggested this workshop model could be used to develop a mission and vision for D64's special education that builds on the D64 mission.
- Special Education Audit - Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic noted that an audit would be conducted this spring to provide a baseline about the current operation of the program to identify strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. Similar to the audit D64 conducted using the Consortium for Educational Change in 2015, parents will be invited to provide their thoughts about the program. The audit will be used to create a roadmap to prioritize improvements just as was done with the five-year 2020 Vision plan. An important outcome from the CEC audit was identifying ways that D64 could become a school system rather than a system of schools; this has significance in ensuring instructional practices and expectations for students are the same across the District. Mr. Padavic also reviewed the main areas that the special education audit would address from the ISBE rubric.
- Agendas for Future Meetings - Mr. Padavic noted that three additional monthly meetings of the parent group have been scheduled through the end of the 2017-18 school year. He invited parents to volunteer to work with him to set the agendas for these meetings.
- Special Education Director Interview Committee - Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic invited volunteers to serve as part of the larger committee that will participate in the interviews of finalists under consideration to become the permanent Director of Student Services (who will begin work with D64 on July 1).
Parents had the opportunity to ask questions or offer opinoins throughout the meeting. A wide range of topics was brought forward. Among the topics that garnered high interest were: social-emotional learning for general education as well as special education students; opportunities to raise awareness and acceptance of students with disabilities in the schools and community; topics of interest for additional training/professional development for special education staff; the increased identification of students with autism; the need to build understanding of the continuum of services already in place in D64; the importance of the parents' role in the IEP meeting and building understanding of the IEP process; and D64's budget and support for special education.
Dr. Heinz and Mr. Padavic affirmed the importance of nurturing partnerships with special education parents through this new Support Group, which is modeled on the PTOs at each school. They encouraged parents to attend upcoming meetings as a way to come together and explore topics of mutual interest.
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