Amherest-Pelham Regional School District Special Education Program Evaluation and Executive Summary

Program Evaluation

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Amherest-Pelham Regional School District Special Education Program Evaluation and Executive Summary by Mind Map: Amherest-Pelham Regional School District Special Education Program Evaluation and Executive Summary

1. Introduction/Methodology

1.1. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the effectiveness of supporting students with special education services as well as to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the delivery of services.

1.2. Document review, interviews and focus groups, parent and staff surveys

2. Parent Perceptions of Program Effectiveness

2.1. The IEP Process-Responses by Grade Level

2.1.1. The IEP Process and Transition/ most parents stated that the IEP team discussed transition into high school/45% (grades 9-12) stated the IEP team did not discuss transition/parents indicated that high school IEP teams are not consistent in goals related to postsecondary options

2.2. The IEP Process-Responses by Child's Disability/ half of the parents agreed that the LRE for their child was discussed/60% of parents agreed that their child with autism was receiving the services listed on their IEPs/ 25% disagreed/18% was unsure

2.3. Parent Satisfaction/ 4-point rating scale was used/60% or less agreed with an item (disagreeing)

2.3.1. Parent Satisfaction with Their Participation by Grade Level/ 83% they were an equal member of IEP team/the responses from the survey found very different experiences with parent participation in developing the IEP/half of the parents (K-2 level) and 48% (grades 9-12) felt the school responded to their concerns and needs/ half the parents (grades 9-12) and 55% (grades K-6) felt that their child's progress review communications the positive progress/lack of progress

2.3.2. Parent Satisfaction with their Participation by Child's Disability/the highest % of parent satisfaction was found in students with autism and multiple disabilities/ the lowest parent satisfaction was found with students of neurological impairments and SLD disabilities

2.3.3. Parent Satisfaction with Their Child's Program and Progress by Grade Level/ grades Pre-K through grades 7-8 (70% of parents) were satisfied with their child's overall education program (these parents also had the highest % of parent satisfaction)/ the lowest % of parent satisfaction was found in grades 9-12

2.3.4. Parent Satisfaction with Their Child's Program and Progress by Disability Group/Developmental delay disability category had the highest number of parent satisfaction/the responses from parents in the disability groups had a low level of parent satisfaction with the IEP as a working document

2.3.5. Transition Services/ there was a relatively low percentage of parents who were satisfied with the transition services

2.3.6. Parent Training/ the results found a lack of knowledge or participation for the trainings available to parents and less than half of the parents responded that the sessions were helpful

2.4. Parent Open-Ended Responses

2.4.1. Parent Responses About What Schools Do Exceptionally Well/programs and services/staff commitment/communication and support/staff expertise/the IEP process/instruction/administration and responsiveness/ positive school environment

2.4.2. Parent Focus Group Responses About Program Strengths/ program and services/staff commitment/ communication and support/ staff expertise/IEP process/instruction/responsiveness

2.4.3. Parent Responses About What Needs Change or Be Improved/IEP process/communication and support/programs and services/ instruction/parent involvement/administrative and responsiveness/progress reports/professional development/delay in services/transition/support for Autistic children/other

2.4.4. Parent Focus Group Response About Issues/Concerns and What Needs to Improves/IEP process/programs and services/instruction and child progress/parent involvement/administration/staff and professional development

3. Characteristics of the APRS Special Education Population

3.1. Range of disabilities served

3.1.1. SLD (34%); OHI (8%); Emotional Impairment (8%); Autism (7%); Neurological Impairment (4%)

3.2. Demographic characterisitics

3.2.1. Hispanic population was analyzed because of their higher representation within the special education population

3.3. Major population shifts within 3 year period

3.3.1. Trends by gender/ males had a significantly higher percentage in the special education population

3.3.2. Trends by disabilities/ remained constant in regards to grade levels; steady increase of students with communication impairments (20-25%) and a decrease in SLD (29-25%) at the K-6 level; steady increase in SLD (34-39%) at the 7-8 level; and an increase in students diagnosed with Autism (8-13%) at the 9-12 level

3.3.3. Trends by school/ no major shifts found (with the exception of the Pelham school (there was a 5% increase and Wildwood had a decrease (18-16%)

3.3.4. Trends by the % of time within the general education setting/ the trends did not vary much over the 3 year period (demonstrates the district's commitment of inclusion)

4. APRS Special Education Student Outcomes

4.1. Attendance Patterns/ overall, the data showed that the schools within the district had motivating positive engagement for a majority of the students/ important note- they found about 40% of high school special education students had a higher percentage of absence that need to be addressed in the future

4.2. Attendance/MCAS Performance- the lower MCAS performance may be a result of a higher absence in some instances

4.3. MCAS ELA and Mathematics Achievement Trends

4.3.1. General and Special Education Achievement Trends/ there were uneven patterns of performance within the 3 year period, which included improvements and declines at some grade levels for the overall achievement trends for APRS students

4.4. Achievement Gaps

4.4.1. ELA: Grades 4,8, and 10= decreases in achievement; Grade 6 had an increase of 9%

4.4.2. Mathematics: Grades 4 and 8 had a decrease; Grade 10 had a 4% increase

4.5. MCAS Performance by Disability

4.5.1. ELA Trends by disabilities/ grades 7-8 had more positive results compared to grades 3-6

4.5.2. Mathematic Trends by disabilities/ grades 3-6 had more positive results compared to grades 7-8

4.6. MCAS Performance by % of time in the general education setting

4.6.1. ELA and Mathematics trends for grades 3-6/ almost half of the students in gen. ed., 80% of them achieved proficiency on the ELA assessment/ students in the gen. ed. 40-79% of the time scored at the warning level (more than 40% of the students)

4.6.2. Trends for grades 7-8/more than 80% of the students who were in gen. ed. for 80% of the day scored proficiency for ELA/ students who were in the gen. ed. class for 80% of the time, between 35% and 46% of students achieved proficiency; students who were in the gen. ed. class between 40-79%, 70% of students scored at the warning level

5. The APRS Special Education Program

5.1. Administrative and Staffing Structure

5.1.1. Transition in the Administrative Structure/ has experienced continuous changes/ lack of stability

5.1.2. Special Education Staffing at the School Level

5.2. The APRS Continuum Model and Student Support Process

5.2.1. The CST Process and Identification and Referral at the Elementary Level/ various interventions were not systematic and the data collection was inconsistent

5.2.2. Elementary Use of Assessments/ most were used infrequently/ lack of consistency for initials and triennials need to be addressed

5.2.3. Identification and Referral Processes at the Middle School Level/ pre-referral was frequent, but there needs to be more collaboration

5.2.4. Middle School Use of Assessments/ psychological assessments were the largest number and OT/PT were the second largest

5.2.5. Transition into the Middle School/area of concern

5.2.6. Identification and Referral Processes at the High School Level/ the pre-referral process is inconsistent

5.2.7. High School Use of Assessments/most fell in the psychological assessment, which could be the result of how many students are in separate alternative programs and high school

5.2.8. Transition to High School/tracking students with IEPs progress was found to be problematic/ web-based programs are not being used by all teachers (this is not be monitored)

5.2.9. Progress Monitoring/it is considered not systematic at the elementary level/there is little consistency with focus groups and interviews at the middle school level/there is no formal progress monitoring happening

5.2.10. Exit from Special Education/ very few students are being exited

5.3. Special Education Programs/Services

5.3.1. Academic and Therapeutic Support for Students Not in Specialized Programs/recommended for district to provide paraprofessional support in small-groups rather than 1:1 aide support

5.3.2. Where Special Education Teachers and Paraprofessionals Deliver Services/ Grades K-6 (pull-out model); Grades 7-8 (50% is served in gen. ed. setting/40% receive pull-out/12% receive support completely outside of gen. ed.); Grades 9-12 (73% receive pull-out/46% completely outside of gen. ed./27% are out more than 50% of the time)

5.3.3. Related Services/most are provided at the elementary level

5.3.4. Special Programs/ Language Learning Disability Program/Academic Individualized Mainstream Support Program/Intensive Learning Needs Programs/Therapeutic Programs

5.4. In-District Programs Versus Out-of-District Placements

5.4.1. Cost Comparison/comparing local to out of district placements, out of district will cost more

5.5. Conflict Resolution and Response to Parent Concerns

5.5.1. The Parent Experience in Conflict Resolution

5.5.2. The Parent Experience in Response to Concerns

5.5.3. The Staff Experience in Response to Parent Concerns and Conflict Resolution

6. Staff Perceptions of Program Effectiveness

6.1. Staff Perceptions of Special Education Processes and Communication and Support

6.2. Staff Perceptions of Special Education Processes/ 40% or more responded that the special education program reflected effective practice

6.3. Staff Perceptions of Special Education Processes/more than 95% felt their school provided high-quality education programs/85% felt their schools conducted comprehensive evaluations/most of respondents felt sped. students had an opportunity to participate in school-sponsored activities

6.4. Staff Perceptions of Communication and Support/less than 45% in grades 7-8 felt there was sufficient communication/less than 20% felt time was dedicate to collaboration and planning/about a third of teachers felt special ed. and gen. ed. followed a clear model for collaborative instruction/66% felt the paraprofessionals were effectively assigned and 35% felt they were not/half felt the district provided a useful professional development in meeting the needs of sped. students/62% felt the paraprofessionals were trained properly (grades 9-12, this percentage dropped to 50%)

6.5. Staff Open-Ended Responses

6.5.1. Staff Responses About What Schools Do Exceptionally Well/staffing commitment and expertise/programs and services/curriculum and instruction/communication and collaboration/the IEP process/identification and referral/ progress monitoring/administration/ and professional development

6.5.2. Staff Responses About What Needs to Change or Be Improved/ communication and collaboration/curriculum and instruction/professional development/IEP process/paraprofessionals/ programs and services/identification and referral/progress monitoring and staffing

7. Recommendations

7.1. Shared responsibility between gen. ed. and special ed./ establish a structure for all students

7.2. Involvement of general and special education staff/ develop actions plans for improvements

7.3. Response to parent concerns/ work with SEPAC and administration to identify and address issues brought up by parents

7.4. Pre-referral interventions/develop a more systematic approach

7.5. Assessments used for referral and re-evaluation and progress monitoring/must be critically reviewed/define a core set of assessments that can be consistent and used in all schools

7.6. Teacher collaboration and co-teaching and paraprofessional support/collaborative teaching needs improvement

7.7. Transition/needs improvement at all levels

7.8. Inclusion in the general education classroom/develop clearer guidelines for pull-out models

7.9. Reporting of student progress/must critically review the system and provide clearer information to parents

7.10. Professional development/needs to be a long-range of PD plan for all staff

8. Reference: Lachat, M. A., and Pardy, A. (2010). Amherst-Pelhman regional school district special education program evaluation. Public Consulting Group, 1-228. Retrieved from https://learn-us-east-1-prod-fleet01-xythos.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/5b7ade7761e43/1768711?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%2A%3DUTF-8%27%27sample%2520district%2520Special%2520Education%2520Program%2520Evaluation_June%25202010.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Date=20190209T215228Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=21600&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIBGJ7RCS23L3LEJQ%2F20190209%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Signature=1cc7ea5e3ad4a8f52901946fc87efb489f2ef3c11cdb0be3e580016368ae3e4b