MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION - DOC - DOC by 6AR88a0

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									                MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
                   OFFICE OF ACADEMIC EDUCATION
                    OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION


                          Central High School Building
                            359 North West Street
                                  P.O. Box 771
                           Jackson, MS 39205-0771
                            Phone (601) 359-3498
                              Fax (601) 359-1829

                                 March 9, 2005



                        Focused Monitoring Report
                  on Services for Students with Disabilities




                          South Pike School District

                             Dr. Maggie L. Griffin
                           Superintendent of Schools

                              Dr. Linda G. Taylor
                         Director of Special Education




Approved by:

____________________________
Dr. Melody Bounds
State Director of Special Education
                                 South Pike School District
                            Summary of Focused Monitoring Process

      Statutory Authority for State Department of Education Monitoring
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides federal funds to
assist states in educating children with disabilities and requires each participating
state to ensure that school districts and other publicly funded educational
agencies in the State comply with the requirements of the IDEA and its
implementing regulations. (1) Mississippi State law requires local school districts
to provide appropriate special education and related services, and requires the
Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to establish, monitor, and enforce
regulations governing special education programs in the Mississippi public
schools and in all institutions wholly or partly supported by the State. (2) The
MDE has adopted regulations implementing those requirements. (3) The Office
of Special Education (OSE) supervises and conducts the focused monitoring
process in furtherance of the State’s obligation under the IDEA and Mississippi
law.

                                             The Monitoring Team

The MDE authorized the following team of monitors and consultants to conduct
on-site monitoring in the South Pike School District from January 17 to January
20, 2005.

                                                   Team Leader
                                                  Cathey Aultman

                    Team Members                                                   Team Consultants
                    Beverly Hennis                                                 Joy Conner
                    Shirley Miller                                                 Vivian Whitson – MDE
                    Sterling Smith
                    Joan Watkins




________________________________________________________________
Footnotes
1. The IDEA regulations require the State educational agency to ensure that the federal regulatory requirements are
carried out statewide and that all educational programs for children with disabilities in the State are under the general
supervision of the State educational agency and meet the state’s educational standards. 34 CFR Sec. 300.600
2. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is authorized under 37-23-5 of Mississippi Code 1972, to “foster,
inspect, approve and administer a program of education for exceptional children.” It is the responsibility of the Mississippi
Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSE) to ensure implementation of the mandates of federal and
State laws and regulations regarding the provision of programs, services, and protections to all Mississippi children and
youths with disabilities.
3. The current State special education regulations for Program Improvement Monitoring are included in the Mississippi
Department of Education (MDE) Policies and Procedures Regarding Children with Disabilities under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA 97), Attachment Z.




     South Pike School District                                                                         Page 2 of 19
          Introduction: Mississippi Program Improvement Monitoring

Mississippi Program Improvement Monitoring (MPIM) is a new way of
determining compliance with federal and State special education laws and
regulations while also addressing educational benefit. MPIM emphasizes two
major areas of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997:
access to the general curriculum and improved educational performance for
children with disabilities.

While MPIM includes some aspects of traditional monitoring of public schools,
such as on-site visits, file reviews, interviews with staff members, students and
parents, and corrective actions to address findings of noncompliance, it differs
from traditional in other aspects:

   MPIM uses information from the Mississippi Student Information System
    (MSIS) to select districts with wide variances from the state averages on key
    indicators for students with disabilities. These variances cover the most
    important compliance issues, as well as measurable aspects of educational
    benefit.
   Monitoring visits and corrective actions/improvement plans focus on the
    specific processes related to the indicators selected from the District Data
    Profiles within each Enrollment Group. The focus monitoring site-visits are
    geared toward helping districts improve their performance on those specific
    indicators.

In 2003, a group of stakeholders identified three (3) key focus areas for
Mississippi school districts. The focus areas are:

   Least Restrictive Environment (LRE);
   Disproportionality in the over-identification of Specific Learning Disability
    (SLD); and
   Under-identification of Emotional Disability (EmD).

The methodology and rankings for the selection of districts for focused
monitoring are explained on the MDE/OSE website at
http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/special_education.

The site visit report can be viewed on the OSE website as well.




    South Pike School District                                          Page 3 of 19
                                 South Pike School District

The MDE/OSE’s monitoring team would like to share some of the positive
aspects noted during the focused-monitoring visit.

   The administration, staff and district personnel demonstrated positive
    attitudes and appeared willing to do what is required to ensure students
    with disabilities receive services in their LRE.

   Leadership at the district and school level was evident and recognized
    by team members as having those qualities necessary to implement
    changes beneficial to serving students with disabilities in their LRE.

   Inclusive practices appeared to be working well in second and third
    grades at Eva Gordon Elementary School.




    South Pike School District                                  Page 4 of 19
                                 Selection Criteria

The South Pike School District was selected for focused monitoring during the
2004 - 2005 school year under the following area: Least Restrictive
Environment (LRE). Data from the MDE, MSIS Accountability Data System
showed 18.552% of students receiving Resource Special Education services and
24.434% of students in Separate/Self Contained Special Education.

                                  Additional Data

Other district data reviewed and analyzed prior to or during the on-site visit
included the following:

          Information from interviews with district personnel including
           administrators, regular and special educators, and parents;
          Record reviews;
          MSIS data;
          Classroom observations;
          Discipline records by school, 2003-2004 to present;
          District Handbooks;
          Student Handbooks;
          Student schedules;
          Professional development plans;
          2003-2004 Special Education Data Profile;
          Current census data for the South Pike School District;
          Special education enrollment by exceptionality and service level;
          Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); and
          Student class rolls/schedules.


                          District Demographic Information

The South Pike School District includes three (3) elementary schools, one (1)
middle school, and one (1) high school including the alternative school. The
district serves approximately 2,038 students including 228 students with
disabilities. The district employs 137 teachers, of whom ten (10) are special
education teachers, and five (5) are related service staff to support students with
disabilities. The ethnic makeup of the district is 19.73% % White, 80.18 % Black,
and .09 % Hispanic.




   South Pike School District                                          Page 5 of 19
                                 Dates and Sites Visited

   January 17, 2005                  Parent Focus Group Meeting, Magnolia
                                      Elementary Cafeteria, Eva Gordon Complex

   January 18, 2005                  Superintendent’s Office, Eva Gordon Elementary
                                      School, Magnolia Elementary School, and South
                                      Pike High School

   January 19, 2005                  Eva Gordon Elementary School, Magnolia
                                      Elementary School, Osyka Elementary School,
                                      South Pike High School, and South Pike
                                      Vocational School

   January 20, 2005                  Superintendent’s Office


                 Team Strategies, Methods, and Activities On-Site

In conducting the on-site visit, the team carried out the following activities:

   Received input from five (5) parents during the parent focus group meeting;
   Reviewed sixty-nine (69) student records, which included IEPs, evaluation
    reports, report cards, and student class schedules;
   Reviewed district professional development activities;
   Interviewed two (2) district administrators and program coordinators;
   Interviewed twenty (20) school site personnel in five (5) schools, including
    regular educators, special educators, and principals;
   Reviewed twenty-one (21) parent surveys and conducted telephone
    interviews with five (5) parents; and
   Observed the provision of services to students with disabilities in special
    education and regular education classrooms.




    South Pike School District                                          Page 6 of 19
        Methodology for Identification of Findings of Noncompliance

The team gathered information from the following sources: (1) parent interviews,
(2) staff interviews, and (3) record reviews, which included IEPs, cumulative
student records, Teacher Support Team (TST) information, standardized test
scores, Local Survey Committee (LSC) documentation, and other documentation
provided by the district. Systemic noncompliance was established when
evidence was gathered from at least two (2) of the above mentioned sources.

A team leader compiled the monitoring team’s on-site findings of noncompliance
and submitted them for review to the MDE/OSE. A draft of this report was
prepared by the MDE focused monitoring team and has been reviewed, revised,
and approved by the MDE/OSE.




   South Pike School District                                      Page 7 of 19
                        Summary of On-Site Noncompliance

An analysis of the district’s practices and policies involving LRE determined
systemic noncompliance in the following areas:

1. IEP committees do not make placement decisions for students with
   disabilities, which consists of a group of persons including the parent and
   other persons knowledgeable about the statement.

2. Supplementary aids and services are not provided in regular education
   classes or other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities
   to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

3. Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education
   curriculum to meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the
   public agency that apply to all children.

The supporting documentation is discussed in the section of the report entitled
“On-Site Noncompliance”. The report will conclude with the South Pike School
District developing and implementing a corrective action/improvement plan,
which addresses the following components:

      Area(s) of noncompliance;
      Activities which are related to the evaluation of evidence;
      Specific timelines for completion of each activity;
      Title of personnel responsible for monitoring the implementation of
       activities;
      ‘Why’ the implementation of selected activities will support the district in
       achieving compliance;
      Deliverables, products or materials used with specific activities;
      District Follow-up Self-assessment, evaluation of evidence monitors the
       measurable criteria that must demonstrate positive ‘change’ for children
       with disabilities; and
      Resources.

An electronic copy of the template for the Improvement Plan will be sent (via
email) to the Superintendent and Special Education Director. The South Pike
School District will be required to maintain communication with the OSE until the
Improvement Plan is approved and implemented.




   South Pike School District                                        Page 8 of 19
Area of Noncompliance #1
IEP committees do not make placement decisions for students with
disabilities, which consists of a group of persons including the parent and
other persons knowledgeable about the student.
Federal Regulations: 300.552(a)(1);
Mississippi Policies and Procedures: V-1

Supporting Evidence:
Based on interviews from parents, teachers and administrators, placement
decisions are not made on an individual basis with consideration given to the
unique needs and abilities of children that lead to success.

In 15 of 32 records reviewed included the child’s disability area and functioning
level in the PLP, but did not address the unique strengths and needs of the child.
The IEPs were developed after placement decisions had been made.

Corrective Action:
The district must provide technical assistance, professional development, and
sufficient supervision to ensure that IEP teams make placement decisions for
students with disabilities, including the parents and other persons knowledgeable
about the child.

      Timeline for implementation is July 2005.

Required Evidence of Change:

Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in
conjunction with interviews, documentation must be evident that the district
ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for students with
disabilities.

      Timeline for resolution is February 2006.




   South Pike School District                                       Page 9 of 19
Area of Noncompliance #2
Supplementary aids and services are not provided in regular education
classes or other education-related settings to enable children with
disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum
extent appropriate.
Federal Regulations: 300.28

Supporting Evidence:
11 of 11 records reviewed indicated a set of supplementary aids and services
nearly identical. The unique strengths and weaknesses of each child are not
addressed in determining the supplementary aids and services for LRE.

Corrective Action:
The district must provide technical assistance, professional development, and
sufficient supervision to ensure that supplementary aids and services are
provided in regular education and other educationally related settings.

       Timeline for implementation is July 2005.

Required Evidence of Change:
Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed in conjunction with
observations, documentation must be evident that students with disabilities have
sufficient supplementary aids and services provided in regular education and
other educationally related settings.

       Timeline for resolution is February 2006.



.




    South Pike School District                                     Page 10 of 19
Area of Noncompliance #3
Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education
curriculum to meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the
public agency that apply to all children.
Federal Regulation: 300.26 (3)(ii)

Supporting Evidence:
Based on parent interviews and classroom observations, general education
textbooks were not available to students with disabilities.

One (1) student was observed working higher-level math problems while placed
in a classroom with severely disabled students.

6 of 13 records reviewed had no goals/objectives in the academic areas.

Corrective Action:
The district must provide technical assistance, professional development, and
sufficient supervision to ensure that students with disabilities have meaningful
access to the general curriculum; the same curriculum utilized for nondisabled
students.

      Timeline for implementation is July 2005.

Required Evidence of Change:
Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in
conjunction with observations, documentation must be evident that students with
disabilities have meaningful access to the general education curriculum; the
same curriculum utilized by nondisabled students.

      Timeline for resolution is February 2006.




   South Pike School District                                        Page 11 of 19
                                                                 Improvement Plan
                                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                                       in the
                                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: IEP committees do not make placement decisions for students with disabilities, which consists
of a group of persons including the parent and other persons knowledgeable about the student.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                                                   District Follow-up
                     Timeline            By Whom                    Why                Deliverables                                           Resources
  Actions                                                                                                      Self-assessment

Technical        Specific date(s)   Who is responsible       Why was this          What products,         This section must be
Assistance       the activity is    for the                  particular activity   materials,             “measurable” – establish
                 scheduled          implementation of the    deemed to be the      documentation, or      criteria.
Activities:                         activity?                most                  action plans will be
                                    (Title of personnel)     appropriate?          developed? (i.e.,      How will the district
                                                                                   outcomes resulting     measure progress?
                                                                                   from training,
                                                                                   training materials,    How will the district know if
                                                                                   agenda, and/or         the activity is effective?
                                                                                   summary of records
                                                                                   reviewed.)             How will the activity be
                                                                                                          documented/
                                                                                                          demonstrated?

Professional
Development

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                                                           Page 12 of 19
                                                 Improvement Plan
                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                       in the
                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: IEP committees do not make placement decisions for students with disabilities, which consists
of a group of persons including the parent and other persons knowledgeable about the student.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                       District Follow-up
                     Timeline     By Whom          Why           Deliverables                              Resources
  Actions                                                                          Self-assessment

Sufficient
Supervision

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                        Page 13 of 19
                                                                 Improvement Plan
                                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                                       in the
                                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education curriculum to meet the
educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                                                   District Follow-up
                     Timeline            By Whom                    Why                Deliverables                                           Resources
  Actions                                                                                                      Self-assessment

Technical        Specific date(s)   Who is responsible       Why was this          What products,         This section must be
Assistance       the activity is    for the                  particular activity   materials,             “measurable” – establish
                 scheduled          implementation of the    deemed to be the      documentation, or      criteria.
Activities:                         activity?                most                  action plans will be
                                    (Title of personnel)     appropriate?          developed? (i.e.,      How will the district
                                                                                   outcomes resulting     measure progress?
                                                                                   from training,
                                                                                   training materials,    How will the district know if
                                                                                   agenda, and/or         the activity is effective?
                                                                                   summary of records
                                                                                   reviewed.)             How will the activity be
                                                                                                          documented/
                                                                                                          demonstrated?

Professional
Development

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                                                           Page 14 of 19
                                                 Improvement Plan
                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                       in the
                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education curriculum to meet the
educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                       District Follow-up
                     Timeline     By Whom          Why           Deliverables                              Resources
  Actions                                                                          Self-assessment

Sufficient
Supervision

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                        Page 15 of 19
                                                                 Improvement Plan
                                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                                       in the
                                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education curriculum to meet the
educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                                                   District Follow-up
                     Timeline            By Whom                    Why                Deliverables                                           Resources
  Actions                                                                                                      Self-assessment

Technical        Specific date(s)   Who is responsible       Why was this          What products,         This section must be
Assistance       the activity is    for the                  particular activity   materials,             “measurable” – establish
                 scheduled          implementation of the    deemed to be the      documentation, or      criteria.
Activities:                         activity?                most                  action plans will be
                                    (Title of personnel)     appropriate?          developed? (i.e.,      How will the district
                                                                                   outcomes resulting     measure progress?
                                                                                   from training,
                                                                                   training materials,    How will the district know if
                                                                                   agenda, and/or         the activity is effective?
                                                                                   summary of records
                                                                                   reviewed.)             How will the activity be
                                                                                                          documented/
                                                                                                          demonstrated?

Professional
Development

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                                                           Page 16 of 19
                                                 Improvement Plan
                                            For Students with Disabilities
                                                       in the
                                             South Pike School District


Area of Noncompliance: Students with disabilities do not have access to the general education curriculum to meet the
educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Required Evidence of Change: Based on a random selection of records to be reviewed by the MDE in conjunction with
interviews, documentation must be evident that the district ensures IEP committees are making placement decisions for
students with disabilities.
 Corrective                                                                       District Follow-up
                     Timeline     By Whom          Why           Deliverables                              Resources
  Actions                                                                          Self-assessment

Sufficient
Supervision

Activities:




     South Pike School District                                                                        Page 17 of 19
                                    APPENDICES


APPENDIX A – Federal Regulations

§300.552 Placements.

In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, including a
preschool child with a disability, each public agency shall ensure that—
(a) The placement decision—
       (1) Is made by a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons
           knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the
           placement options; and

§300.28 Supplementary aids and services.

As used in this part, the term supplementary aids and services means, aids, services,
and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-
related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled
children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with §§300.550-300.556.

§300.26 Special education.
      (3) Specially-designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the
      needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of
      instruction—
             (ii) To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that he or
             she can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public
             agency that apply to all children.




    South Pike School District                                           Page 18 of 19
                                        APPENDICES

APPENDIX B – Mississippi Policies and Procedures

VI. LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT
Authority: 34 CFR 300.130; 300.220, 300.305; 300.306, 300.307; 300.550 – 300.553;
and 300.555, and 300.556

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

It is the policy of the MDE that each child with a disability be educated with children having no
disabilities in his/her age range to the maximum extent appropriate, including children in public
or private institutions or other care facilities. No special classes, separate schools or other
removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occur unless the
nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of
supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Children with disabilities will
be afforded an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and
activities. Local school districts and other agencies that provide special education and related
services to children with disabilities are required to adopt this policy and the procedures
necessary to implement it. The placement of each child with a disability is determined by the
IEP Committee utilizing the policies and procedures of this section.

PLACEMENT

Each child's educational placement, including preschool children, is determined at least once a
year; this placement will be based on the IEP of that child and determined by the IEP
Committee (refer to Section V for IEP committee membership and responsibilities). Federal law
requires students with disabilities to be educated "to the maximum extent appropriate in the
regular education classroom." While, education in a regular classroom may not meet the needs
of all students with disabilities, there is a strong preference in favor of educating students with
disabilities in regular classrooms. As placement decisions are made, the following general
principles will be considered:

       A. The child's placement is as close to his/her home as possible.
       B. The child attends the school he would attend if he/she did not have a
          disability, unless the IEP requires some other arrangement.
       C. The placement shall not produce harm to the child that cannot be addressed
          through supplementary aids and services.
       D. The child is not removed from education in age appropriate regular
          classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum
          or the failure to provide supplementary aids and services.

Additionally, to ensure that students with disabilities are educated to the maximum extent
possible in regular classroom settings LEAs must consider the following two-part test.




    South Pike School District                                                   Page 19 of 19

								
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