NOTE: The following does NOT constitute any kind of official response from SpEd PTSA or SEAAC. It's just me.
I have been fielding a lot of questions regarding SpEd and PTSA. Here is my standard email response to questions regarding special education and the "New Model." It is likely SEAAC and SpEd PTSA will have more of a consensus once the interim plan is out there.
"We have had lots of questions about these kinds of issues the last few days. The first thing that people need to be aware of is that the current model is only a draft and will be revised by next Friday, October 18, when a new draft will be presented to the board. When the next draft is ready, SpEd PTSA and SEAAC will be primed to review it (as will many other PTA’s.) Final presentation and voting at the school board level will be on Wednesday, November 20 at the regular school board meeting. A great resource page is available at http://bit.ly/1bEDgOH. Clicking on some of the links for handouts is very useful.
I have identified four concerns from people's comments:
1. That the new growth boundaries need to support the "New Model" of special education service delivery
2. That English Language Learner (ELL) services are available to any student who qualifies for both special education services and ELL
3. That students who receive special education services are not being redlined or being forced to travel too far to buildings to receive services
4. That there should not be a disproportionate amount of special education services being delivered at one or more buildings.
The handout of linked schools, http://bit.ly/15Y27VY for some reason, discusses ELL and APP, but not SpEd. The information about the location of "intensive services" at elementary schools is located here: http://bit.ly/1hzaoVt. Intensive services are labeled Behavioral, Contained and Distinct in the new model (BCD). Access(A)is the name for “resource room type services” combined with access to general ed for those students in the more intensive models when gen ed access is desired.
The following elementary schools are being designated as capacity for intensive special education continuum services to support new service delivery model (this would include Hawthorne.) Space is set aside at twenty planned sites:
o Arbor Heights (ELL available at Roxhill)
o B. F. Day
o Daniel Bagley (ELL available at B. F. Day)
o Graham Hill
o Highland Park
o Leschi (ELL available at John Muir)
o Lowell (ELL available at Stevens)
o Loyal Heights (ELL available at Adams)
o Olympic View (ELL available at Olympic Hills)
o Pathfinder K-8 ?
o Queen Anne ?
o Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill (ELL available at Gatewood)
o South Shore PreK-8 ?
o Thornton Creek ?
o Van Asselt
o View Ridge (ELL available at Sand Point)
o Wing Luke
Location of sites may change based on final design of new service delivery model and due to changing student needs over time. Some West Seattle special education preschool services will be consolidated as part of an Early Learning Center to serve students with disabilities along with typically developing peers. This will be located at current Schmitz Park building after Genesee Hill building opens.
I have coded the schools to indicate availability of ELL services.
- Schools with nothing after their name have ELL services available in the building.
- Schools which don't have any services have the "linked" schools after their name. I was not able to identify whether or not there were ELL services available at 4 K-8 schools. These schools' names are followed by a question mark.
- Of the remaining 16 schools, half (8) have no in-school ELL services and are have a linked school for ELL services. (ELL services are available at all middle and high schools.) This would seem like it would mean families would have to choose between ELL and SpEd services, which is illegal. I need clarification on this issue from Tracy Libros.
In conclusion, it does seem there has been an effort to identify schools for full implementation of the ABCD model. ELL services and SpEd services should be available in these buildings and fully half do not accommodate that mandate. This point needs some sort of explanation or adjustment. The effect that this has on certain buildings may mean a higher concentration of SpEd students as well as a drop in capacity.
Rollout of the ABCD model this year has been minimal. There are 7,000 students who receive special education services. The rollout has begun in seven schools with the Access (A) program only, so it has impacted about 70 students or 1% of the special education enrollment. From what I have heard from SpEd leadership, there are some kinks in the program that need to get ironed out. I have not heard any complaints from any families who are receiving the new services. People need to keep in mind that the ABCD model AKA the "New Model" of special education service delivery was developed with parental input. It is being rolled out slowly to prevent the kind of issues that happened with the rollout of the previous inclusion model that flopped due to lack of planning and support.
I don't know the district well enough to know if the amount of rumor that is being generated about this issue is normal in this situation or not, but there are a lot of rumors floating around. For one school in particular that I have heard comments on, and that "Questions" also mentioned, the drop in capacity may also be attributed to an incorrect room census. Someone from enrollment services went to B. F. Day today to recount the classrooms.
That's what I know/think at this point.