PAUSD Special Education Review – Preliminary Findings & Recommendation

June 15, 2016

The Preliminary Findings and Recommendation from the Review of Special Education conducted by Tom Herir & Associates are now available.

Harvard Review Preliminary Findings

The review team visited our district, reviewed student-level data and conducted online surveys. The independent survey prepared by Harvard in May 2016 was intended to provide additional information to the Review team. It was reported to the CAC that over 906 parents (families of students with and without Special Education services) and 369 teachers/aides/administrators completed surveys.

This preliminary recommendation was presented to the PAUSD School Board at their retreat on Monday, June 13th. The session was open to the community between 8:30am-4pm. Actions were not taken — decisions will be made at a future regular board meeting (possibly June 21st).

The Preliminary Recommendations of the Harvard Review are:

  1. Define the purpose and goals of Special Education in PAUSD
  2. Include students with disabilities in the PAUSD Equity Plan
  3. Consider building capacity to provide Universally Designed curriculum and instruction to all students
  4. Districtwide, increase the knowledge of effective strategies to use for specific disabilities
“Since the vast majority of students with disabilities are included in general education classrooms, collaboration between departments across the district is required…the engagement of parents and students in the work improving special education systems has been a foundation of IDEA since its inception. We have seen the powerful results when families and schools work together on behalf of students.”  – Tom Hehir & Associate
Palo Alto Community Advisory Committee (CAC) executive board representatives will attended the June 13th meeting. If you wish to comment or have questions, there are several options:
  1. The Harvard Review Study team will return to Palo Alto for community feedback and discussion later in the Summer or in early Fall (Date & Location TBA).
  2. Contact Monica Ng, the Harvard Review study director at
  3. Contact the Palo Alto CAC at or submit an anonymous comment here:  We will relay your input to the Board.
  4. Submit your comments directly to PAUSD School Board Members