Special education balancing student achievement with idea compliance
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Special Education: Balancing Student Achievement with IDEA Compliance. CERA Conference December 1-2, 2011 Anaheim, California. Pamela McCabe Marion Miller. Getting to know YOU. What’s your name? Where do you work? What is your role? How are you involved in IDEA compliance?.

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Special Education: Balancing Student Achievement with IDEA Compliance

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Special Education: Balancing Student Achievement with IDEA Compliance

  • CERA Conference

  • December 1-2, 2011

  • Anaheim, California

Pamela McCabe

Marion Miller

Getting to know YOU

  • What’s your name?

  • Where do you work?

  • What is your role?

  • How are you involved in IDEA compliance?

Balancing Compliance with Achievement Outcomes

  • Explore procedures to streamline IDEA compliance monitoring

  • Become familiar with key practices that influence achievement for students with disabilities

Something Has Got to Change: Rethinking Special Education

  • Aligning Management Skills with Responsibilities:

  • Student Learning

  • Special Education Daily Operations

  • Student Social and Emotional Needs

  • Finance and Operations

Levenson, N. 2011

  • $50,000

  • Average cost of a due process hearing

  • $90 million

  • Annual expenditure for conflict resolution

It’s Hard

  • 723

  • Number of compliance items monitored by CDE in 2010-11

More than half of the states fail to ensure full compliance with:

  • Transition

  • Free appropriate public education

  • Procedural safeguards 

  • Least restrictive environment

National Council on Disability

What happens when you’re out-of-compliance with IDEA?

  • The Superintendent of Public School can apply sanctions

  • At risk for family disputes

  • Student consequences

“Clearly, we must improve how we work

together as parents, teachers, and

administrators – and focus on constructively

resolving our differences in a way that allows

us to focus our best energies and the bulk

of our resources on securing positive

outcomes for our students.”

Fred Balcom, Director

California Department of Education

Special Education Division

Least Restrictive Environment

In General Education Classroom

80% or more

California Achievement Gap - 2011 AYP

All Students and Students with Disabilities

Thirteen Disability Categories

CA: Dec. 2010

Improving Outcomes for SWD

  • Research Says . . .


  • University of Massachusetts

  • AIR California Schools

A Study of Achievement and Promising Practices in Urban Special Education: A Summary of Field Research Findings

  • Study conducted by Donahue Institute in October 2004

  • Districts were selected using statewide achievement data

  • Interviewed administrators, teachers and other support staff in ten schools

Achievement and Promising Practices in Urban Special EducationUniversity of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

  • A well disciplined academic and social environment

  • Pervasive emphasis on curriculum alignment with state standards

  • Emphasis on inclusion and access to the curriculum

  • Effective system to support curriculum alignment

  • Culture and practices that support high standards and student achievement

Achievement and Promising Practices in Urban Special EducationUniversity of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

  • Use of student assessment data to Inform decision making

  • Unified practice supported by targeted professional development

  • Access to resources to support key initiatives

  • Effective staff recruitment, retention, and deployment

  • Flexible leaders and staff that work effectively in a dynamic environment

  • Effective leadership is essential

Lessons from California Districts Showing Unusually Strong Academic Performance for Students in Special Education

  • California Comprehensive Center

  • American Institutes for Research (AIR) – January 2011

  • Identified eight unified districts in California with unusually strong academic performance for special education population

Lessons From Successful Districts

  • Inclusion and access to the core curriculum,

  • Collaboration between special education and general education teachers

  • Continuous assessment and use of RtI

  • Targeted professional development

  • The use of explicit direct instruction.

    (AIR, Jan 2011)

Activity: Identify Common Themes

  • Find a partner and identify common themes from the two studies.

  • Describe to your partner your district’s level of implementation for each theme.




Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success

Academic Systems

Behavioral Systems


Special Education









Evidence BasedIntervention Programs

  • Florida Reading Research Center

  • IES What Works Clearinghouse

  • National Center on Response to Intervention

"The biggest mistake schools make is failing to teach children how to read,”

Peter Wright of Wrightslaw.

Components of Inclusive Schools

Educational infrastructure to support inclusive education. The campus is physically accessible and classroom environments are conducive to learning. Adequate time is allocated for special educators and general educators to collaborate.

Instructional capacity where teachers are well prepared to deliver standards-aligned instruction and utilize instructional strategies that have been shown to be effective for a broad range students, including students with disabilities.

School culture and site leadership that shows a commitment to high expectations for all students and a shared ownership for all students. The site leadership ensures that resources are available to support inclusive practices.

Family and community participation that reflects a strong partnership for student achievement. The site offers training and resources to assist families. Students and families actively participate in planning and implementation of educational goals.

Most Effective Strategy

  • A Proactive Plan

Study Your Compliance Data

  • District Annual Performance Report

  • Due Process History

  • Results of Verification Reviews or Self-Reviews

  • Compare your LRE data with the state average and state targets

  • Check with your CDE FMTA consultant

Study Your Achievement Data

  • Disaggregate AYP data by disability category, ethnicity, gender, English learner status

  • Examine CST, CMA,CAPA, CAHSEE scores

  • Look at your achievement gap

Make an Action Plan

  • Use compliance and achievement data to identify needs

  • Determine which compliance items need monitoring

  • Determine achievement progress monitoring tools

  • Include professional development plan: curriculum, progress monitoring, collaboration, IEP development, supplementary aids and services

Accountability Checks - ComplianceQuarterly

  • Random IEP Reviews for specific items related to compliance data

  • Review Initial Eligibility Evaluations

Accountability Checks – ComplianceMonthly

  • Due dates for IEPs

    • Initials

    • Annual

    • 3-year re-evaluations

  • Number of suspension days

Accountability Checks - AchievementQuarterly

  • Progress Monitoring results aligned with interventions

  • Benchmark Assessments

Jigsaw: Beyond Compliance Toward Improvement

  • Get in groups of 4

  • Number off 1-4

  • Follow reading assignments from guided notes

  • Each person reports key concepts from their section

Best Wishes

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