Superintendent's Oct 19 2018 Board Update (excerpts related to Spec. Ed.)

Superintendent’s Oct 19 2018 Board Update (excerpts related to Spec. Ed.)

October 30, 2018
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From 10/19/18 Board meeting. Read full update here

Excerpts related to Special Education:

From Strategic Initiatives and Operations

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT: SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT FORUM

The first Thursday of every month, the Special Education Division of the Department of Strategic Initiatives and Operations hosts a Special Education Parent Forum. The forum is intended to enhance two-way communication with PAUSD and its parent stakeholders. It will address issues related to Special Education with a spotlight feature on a particular topic of interest. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions and give regular feedback during a Q&A session at each meeting. Feedback from the October session indicated a strong desire to have school administrators in attendance. The Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives will distribute the invitations to include PAUSD staff. Parents and staff are encouraged to be prepared to engage in conversation with a positive approach focused on continuous improvement. The next forum is November 1, 2018, and will spotlight Dyslexia.

SPECIAL EDUCATION PARAPROFESSIONALS TAKE ON DYSLEXIA

Paraprofessionals (i.e. aides) serve a vital role in our District’s ability to address the needs of students with disabilities. Our Special Education Aides, in particular, provide a high level of support to the Special Education and general education teacher. However, we acknowledge that more investment is needed in our paraprofessionals. With the increase of aide support, it was imperative to find ways to build capacity to address student needs. On October 4, an elementary Special Education aide from every elementary school and their teacher supervisor participated in a hands-on full-day training to implement the PRIDE Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction. PRIDE is based on an evidence-based teaching methodology that has been shown effective for students with Dyslexia. The PRIDE program is unique in that all of the planning and instructional components are already prepared. This makes it easy for an aide to implement under the supervision of a certificated teacher. Each lesson is scripted, each activity is engaging, and most importantly, every lesson meets the recommendations of the California Dyslexia Guidelines! We will continue to identify opportunities to build the capacity of our aides to support teachers in the classroom.

SPECIAL EDUCATION RETHINKS LEADERSHIP

The Special Education Division is rethinking its decision to continue with a 2-Director model of leadership for Special Education. As the Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives reviewed school and parent needs, it became clear that there was a need to redefine the role of the coordinators to better serve school sites and families. Rather than two Directors, a fourth coordinator will be added. This will allow better coverage of family and school site concerns as well as ensure that Coordinators get involved early to address parent concerns. In the past, the coordinator has been perceived as just support for teachers and administrators.  However, the parent may seek support from the District Special Education Coordinator if he/she believes that their concerns are not being addressed. Each coordinator will be trained in conflict/dispute resolution and facilitated IEP’s rather than rely on one expert in the District. Coordinators will be distributed across levels

UNITY DAY CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF

School celebrations that promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion in honor of Unity Day will begin next week. PAUSD elementary and middle schools will celebrate Unity Day on or around Wednesday, October 24. The high schools will hold events the week of October 29 following their Homecoming Celebrations. Please check your school’s calendar for events.