As a parent and/or community member, I support the recommendations of The Children’s Agenda
to improve special education. I urge the RCSD Board of Education to approve a 2018-2019 budget that addresses the following areas.
1. Align Continuum of Special Education Services – Programs and services that best meet students’ needs should be consistently available across school buildings. Every program or building change for a student with disabilities is disruptive to the learning process. To align different programs for so many students across such a large school district is very complicated. This requires a comprehensive multi-year plan with parent and community input. While all programs cannot be available in every building, there should be a good faith effort to make program availability more predictable and consistent.
2. Consistent Mandatory Professional Development – Issues with compliance, student placements, and the quality of instruction are all impacted by a lack of consistent professional development. Every staff person interacting with students with IEPs should have the proper training to support those students, and to understand a tiered system of intervention and supports.
3. Address Disproportionality in Suspensions – Students with disabilities continue to be suspended at higher rates than their general education peers. Suspensions are harmful to a student’s academic progress and should only be used as a last resort. It is important that all suspensions of students with disabilities are reviewed to ensure those students are not being removed from the classroom for behavior consistent with their disability. More work must be done on the prevention side, including proper placement of students, social-emotional supports, and training of staff.