I think there will be a few readers here who will say, "I told you so." I myself have told various Board members, through the years, that in Seattle Schools, if there is smoke, there IS a fire somewhere.
Evidence that your voice(s) can make a difference. I believe in this case, that it has. (Bold mine)
Dear Seattle Public Schools principals, teachers and staff,
Making sure each and every student has access to a high quality education is our goal at Seattle Public Schools. As part of this work, we have spent the last several years working to improve our Special Education services.
More than 7,000 students receive Special Education services and we know we need to do a better job to meet their needs. Last year, the state Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) directed the District to develop and implement a Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (C-CAP) to help improve results for our students in special education. We have made some improvements, but we still have work do to.
The School Board will vote next month on a revised C-CAP that will outline our work for the 2014-15 school year. As part of that plan, we will focus on writing and implementing new internal procedures, outlining a professional development plan and improving both our program and fiscal accountability, which will help us better support our students.
Last spring, the Special Education department worked with a consultant to help meet the requirements of our C-CAP. The department issued a request for proposals and considered four consultants. In April, the District signed a contract with the TIERS Group (Teams Intervening Early to Reach all Students) to evaluate special education services and make recommendations for improvement.
TIERS visited the District this spring to collect data for initial analysis on the special education department. They released a report on July 22 that highlighted 12 recommendations to improve the department.
On August 5, the District learned that all proper procedures may have not been followed during the contract procurement process. While we review this, a second contract with TIERS has been put on hold. We know there are likely many additional questions and we will move quickly to resolve this matter.
I want to assure our staff that we will not waiver in our commitments to improving Special Education services. We will work swiftly to meet the requirements and timelines outlined in our revised C-CAP.
Seattle Public Schools