One SMC District Embracing Full Inclusion Is Improving Outcomes

Bayshore Elementary School District is the ONLY San Mateo County School District that IMPROVED from Level 2 (Differentiated Assistance) in 2017 to Level 1 (General Assistance) in 2018, meaning that is no longer had any student groups does not meet performance standards for two or more LCFF priority areas. California Education Code (EC) Section 52071(c). See Chelsea's 10.5.19 Blog Post for more Information.

Bayshore is currently in its third year of embracing the Special Education law requirement of "Least Restrictive Environment" for students with disabilities under a full inclusion model, whereby the district attempts to serve the needs of most students with disabilities, for as much instructional time as possible, in its general education environment with supports and accommodations for these children to access their education pushed into the classroom, with as little pull-out instruction and separate placement of students in "special classes" as possible.

Has this helped overall achievement levels? It's not a certainty, but I will be interested to see the outcomes in 2019... and whether this trend toward better outcomes continues.


Countywide Performance Standards for LCFF Priority Areas

 

California's System of SupportCalifornia's system of support is one of the central components of California’s accountability and continuous improvement system.

See https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/csss.asp

The overarching goal of California’s system of support is to help local educational agencies (LEAs) and their schools meet the needs of each student they serve, with a focus on building local capacity to sustain improvement and to effectively address disparities in opportunities and outcomes.

Characteristics

The characteristics within California's system of support are:

  • Reduce redundancy across state and federal programs
  • Integrate guidance and resources across state and federal programs
  • Support LEAs to meet identified student needs through the LCAP process

Levels of Support

California’s system of support includes three levels of supports to LEAs and schools.

Support for All LEAs and Schools (Level 1)
Various state and local agencies provide an array of support resources, tools, and voluntary technical assistance that all LEAs may use to improve student performance at the LEA and school level and narrow disparities among student groups across the LCFF priorities, including recognition for success and the ability to share promising practices.
*Differentiated Assistance(Level 2) *As of 2018, includes 9 of 23 Districts in San Mateo County
County superintendents, charter authorizers, the California Department of Education (CDE), and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) provide differentiated assistance for LEAs, in the form of individually designed assistance, to address identified performance issues, including significant disparities in performance among student groups. 
  • County offices of education (COEs) must offer differentiated assistance to a school district if any student group does not meet performance standards for two or more LCFF priority areas. California Education Code (EC) Section 52071(c).
  • COEs received additional funding through the Budget Act of 2018. What are the requirements around how COEs can use these funds?

    Although sometimes described in short-hand as "funding for differentiated assistance," these are unrestricted funds (i.e., not a categorical) intended to ensure COEs have resources to support their school districts. These funds are an add-on to the existing LCFF formula for COEs (which is also unrestricted funding), recognizing that the differentiated assistance work is "new" work resulting in additional workload. Specifically, EC 2575.2, which creates the add-on, includes a base allocation for each COE and then the rest of the formula is tied to number of districts receiving differentiated assistance within each county on a rolling three-year average (two year average for 2018-2019).

    Additionally, pursuant to EC 52066(i), COEs must annually develop a summary in conjunction with their LCAP that describes how the COE is supporting its districts in general and includes a more specific description of the supports provided to districts receiving differentiated assistance (including source of funds for those activities). So COEs are expected to transparently explain how they are supporting their school districts in general and more specifically for those receiving differentiated assistance. These summaries will be compiled and publicly posted by the CDE.

    Accordingly, while LCFF funds are unrestricted, COEs will have to annually document the supports provided as part of differentiated assistance and more generally to school districts. While COEs should prioritize these funds to enhance the supports they provide to school districts in differentiated assistance, there is no limitation of making those supports more broadly available within the county.

    Is there a formula that will be used to allocate the additional funding provided for COEs in the Budget Act of 2018?

    Yes, all COEs with two or more districts will receive base funding in the amount of $200,000 annually. COEs will received additional funds based on the size and number of districts identified for differentiated assistance. (EC 2575.2(b)) The formula is as follows:

    • $100,000 multiplied by the number of small school districts (2,499 ADA or less)
    • $200,000 multiplied by the number of medium school districts (at least 2,500 ADA but not more than 9,999 ADA)
    • $300,000 multiplied by the number of large school district (10,000 ADA or more
    How will these funds be disbursed to COEs?

    COEs will receive these additional funds through continuous appropriations, as part of their Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).  Funds will be added to their LCFF state aid and paid in monthly increments per the Principal Apportionment (PA) payment. The PA payment schedule will be posted on the PA web page at every certification period.

Intensive Intervention (Level 3)
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction may require more intensive interventions for LEAs with persistent performance issues and a lack of improvement over a specified time period.

Special Education in San Mateo County is Under Review

Environments, outcomes, and other indicators for the success of special education students in San Mateo County are not meeting the levels required by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Performance Indicator Review (PIR) is a component of the Annual Submission Process (ASP) for the Annual Performance Report. The APR consists of 17 Indicators (5 for compliance, 11 for performance, and 1 for both).

The County's SELPA is charged with assisting the LEA's in determining the root causes of their failure to meet the target for the specified indicators, and in determining strategies and activities to address root causes as well as other improvement strategies, resources needed to support the strategies and activities, who will carry out and be responsible for the activities, the anticipated dates of completion, and the methods and standards that will be used to measure progress toward meeting the specified indicator targets in the future.

 

 


California Focus on Dyslexia is an Opportunity to Better Meet Students' Needs

California began to take positive steps toward addressing the impacts of dyslexia in our schools with the passage of Assembly Bill 1369 in 2015 law (Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley) and with the 2017 Development of the Dyslexia Guidelines, a 132-page document, which while not mandatory, is the result of years of lobbying by parents who watched their children agonize over learning to read. The guidelines provide an opportunity for proactive work to help our kids, rather than the typically reactive modes of assistance we often employ. “The devil is in the details — now we need to look at how we convert [the Guidelines] into practical and implementable practice in our public schools,” said Meyer of Decoding Dyslexia California.

See Dyslexia, once the reading disability that shall not be named, comes into its own in California, August 20, 2017

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.

What are the rights of a person with dyslexia?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define the rights of students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. These individuals are legally entitled to special services to help them overcome and accommodate their learning problems. Such services include education programs designed to meet the needs of these students. The Acts also protect people with dyslexia against unfair and illegal discrimination.

See https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-basics/

This is an opportunity for all Districts to serve kids better, ideally in general education with some supports and accommodations.

Has your district taken action to implement any portion of the State's Dyslexia Guidelines?

Are kindergartners being screened?

Are new strategies to meet the needs of dyslexic kids being utilized?


Special Education Funding in San Mateo County

"The current SELPA funding model is based on California legislation passed in 1997 (AB 602) that implemented a “census-based” special education funding structure. The formula allocates funding based on a SELPA’s total average daily attendance (ADA), with the remainder distributed based on specific circumstances, rather than on the number of students identified to receive special education services." See https://www.schoolhealthcenters.org/start-up-and-operations/funding/mental-health/selpa/

*Special Education Funding is supplemental to the funding allocated to every student under the State funding model.

About SELPA's - https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/as/caselpas.asp

San Mateo County's Summary of Special Education Funding in 2018-2019:

 


Teachers are our Kids' Greatest Resource in San Mateo County

In the face of a well-documented, Statewide teacher shortage trend, we must do everything we can to support our current teachers and to build a strong base of new teachers.

Current actions include grants for teacher training programs, teacher housing initiatives by independent Districts, partnering with local universities for certification support and professional development, and more.

As a County, our entire education system depends on our teaching professionals, current and developing. Countywide collaboration on certification & housing efforts, and of course, continued and fierce advocacy for increased State funding and professional incentives for our teachers must be a priority.

CTA resources:

https://www.cta.org/en/Issues-and-Action/Teacher-Shortage.aspx



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