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Consultants release Special Ed Review report

School board members listened to a report Monday night outlining the strengths of the district’s special education programs and areas in need of improvement.

The report is the product of an independent study requested by Superintendent Erin Prince and Student Services director Kathleen Walker. Special education consultants  Di-Anne Fentress-Rowe and Tass Morrison spent four months, from October to January, reviewing academic data and surveying staff, parents and special education specialists.

The consultants gave accolades to the high level of competence among special education staff and strong relationships between general education and special education teachers. The district also was commended for a number of innovative school programs, consistently meeting annual “maintenance of effort” requirements, its collaborative problem-solving systems, and newly implemented outreach strategies to parents.

The report listed five general areas in need of continued improvement. The consultants offered recommendations related to programs missing in the continuum of special education services, the need for more building input in the staffing process; more consistent professional development opportunities for special education teachers; coordination of curriculum and instruction between general and special education programs and the need for increased communication between parents, school staff and the Student Services department.

“I am extremely grateful to our staff and special education parents for participating in this in-depth review of our special education program,” Walker said. “The consultants were very thorough and have offered us several positive recommendations for improvement. I look forward to working with our special education team as we move ahead in our efforts to meet the needs of all of our students with special needs.”

The district’s next steps include forming various focus groups to discuss the issues raised in the consultants’ report and creating a special education task force to build an action plan to address the its recommendations.

                                    2-27-12 Special Education Review Report                    2-27-12 Special Education Review PowerPoint