From comments made by AutismMom on a previous thread:
"Special education has been treated pretty equitably by the closure process. The only problem I saw, which has been raised, was that of the EBD dispersal. Minor and Meany EBD students shouldn't have been dispersed. That seems unfair to a historically and grossly underserved population, overwhelmingly minority.
BUT!!!!! I did attend the special education ptsa meeting Thursday night along with around 200 others. MGJ was there as a "guest speaker"... but said practically nothing. She simply pointed at people asking questions, selecting people for Fred Rowe to answer. Her child was there running around. While cute at first, many people thought her lack of ANY participation and the fact that she brought her child... represented a lack of serious attention to special education. Would she have done that at ANY other meeting?
(edited 1/31 per AutismMom's request) The big news dropped here was that Fred said "NO SPED PROGRAMS starting next year". !!!! Wow. Next year? That is huge. In fact, you just use regular enrollment and sign up where ever you want. (or so they say) West Seattle autism parents wanted to know if their request for an inclusion middle school program had gone through? SPS says, "NO MORE PROGRAMS... get it? Go sign up at Madison, there's a self-contained program there now, it will be gone, and they will do it for you. We're now serving everyone from everywhere." Hmmm. How will a program and school dedicated to self-containment (and lack of service) suddenly be willing to provide service? It has never been able to do that before? Seems unlikely. In any case, general education should be expecting severely disabled students starting NEXT year. (high time in my opinion, but they are not ready)
Also notable, was the blended K's weren't going to be able to kick out all their graduates. Good. High time the McGilvra's and the Bryant's started pulling their weights. (The district did say they might kick out some.. if they were too difficult. A bit of a contradiction if "everyone can be served everywhere" isn't it).
So now, nobody knows which way is up. Anybody can sign up for any school???... any school is supposed to serve you...but no guarantees... you could be arbitrarily sent anywhere. Where are there going to be sped teachers and aides? And how many? It seems more problematic now. In fact, parents have already tried to use the enrollment center for pre-registration... multiple times... only to be kicked out. "no you can't use it" "computer bombed" etc. So these families, with siblings, have NO working enrollment process.
As to the Lowell sped issue. Indeed there are people VERY dissastisfied with the exclusionary nature of the school. Very highly disabled Lowell students want significant inclusion... eg. 1/2 day or so.... but are offered nearly nothing. 20 minutes twice a week as a bone. And the "social inclusion" is also grossly inappropriate: "food prep" for kids using a feeding tube is meaningless. When you actually talk to the families, you understand what they need. Evidently, the district does have a valid point with LRE... BUT, these families also noted that the other options were actually less inclusive. This just shows how far we have to go.
So, the big promise? The promise is... "SPS will give disabled students the support they need, without participation in programs. The programs had provided a "critical mass". Now there will be no critical mass... so likely much more expense OR reduction in service. All students will be included in general education. Disabled students, currently self-contained, will have a better experience without a 'self-contained program', even if they get a lot of 1 on 1 and small group instruction." That's the promise."
To clarify, they say aren't adding NEW programs, and the OLD programs aren't going to be considered programs. So, anybody can sign up for that building and be served if they are assigned... (presumably by the staff now teaching in the programs. EG. Presumably IDP will get different disabilities in... over time.).
So, for those OLD programs in closed schools, the staff and students, they will indeed be moving as advertised. And as to Summit IDP, that's great they have a successful program... but other families have felt Summit was very exclusionary to other disabilities and was intransigent about adding other programs, and serving students inclusively. You're either an "inclusive" school or you're not... cherry picking indicates not. And to clarify, NO people don't have to move out of their program.... in fact, they are guaranteed a spot in their school (without transportation) if their OLD program age range ends, at least for the blended K's. I'm not sure about the other dead-end programs, it wasn't mentioned. But, the blended K families have been very vocal and angry about getting booted out of schools they were forced into.
That's what Fred said, in any case. BUT, so far the enrollment center hasn't worked the way it is supposed to.(that is, people have been turned back, computer has dumped their request, etc) Nobody's actually been enrolled using the enrollment center, but they've gotten a word of mouth from and ed director that "Yes, you're enrolled" in some cases, but without paperwork confirming it.
Also, Fred did leave the district an out. He said, "We'll make sure you can be served at your assigned school IF WE CAN". Well, that's a pretty big hole. And IF THEY CAN'T, it would seem more problematic, because they haven't said where or how they would serve those others.
BTW. This could be great, it all depends on whether or not the services are really provided.
No, the program (teachers, aides, and students) at John Hay will not end. But, anyone in the reference area can sign up for John Hay, and be served by the program. They will not be denied access. So, lots of new and different students may be showing up next year to John Hay.
Yes, the program was specifically designed as "autism inclusion", and now it is specifically being undesigned. This is not a bad thing, unless there isn't enough staff. Will there be?
Did you noticed no disabled students families have attended disability K tours? That is because preschools weren't told of the transition plans. Fred also mentioned that people should just go on regular tours to check out the schools. No special tours.
And this from a comment by TeacherMom
"Well, they haven't told special education staff about any of this yet......if that's any indication. I have heard vague references about it indirectly from three non-special ed staff. I am still waiting for some kind of introduction to our "new" interim director.
There has also been no real training for special education teachers in the district for at least two years, other than an introduction to IEP writing and non-violent behavior intervention.I would guess that rolling this out will require some excellent staff development for principals, classroom teachers, and specialists. We can use the extra money in the budget for that.I agree that this is long overdue, Autismmom, but if it is not done planfully, it will not be good for kids.
Maybe there will be a design team miracle. We will also need additional special ed staff to carry this out, and there have consistently been 12-20 open special ed teacher positions throughout the school year for the 10 years I have been following SPS' career opportunities website. Additional aide support will be needed for the various levels of inclusion at each school as well...........and we may need a full-time special ed director."