School

Central Schools Present Plan for Special Education

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Submitted by Taylor Media Services

CENTRAL, La. – Central Community School officials have begun implementation of an action plan this summer to ensure that all students receive the highest quality education.

                The Central Community School Board recently called for a self-audit of the district’s special education programs and services to aid school officials in identifying areas in need of improvement. 

“Our special education programs and services are applicable to a wide array of students in our district.  It’s important that we invest in programs and personnel to strengthen our curriculums and enhance the learning atmosphere for every student,” School Board President Sharon Browning said.

                Browning said the board recently approved the appointment of Amy McLin as director of special services for the district, beginning this month.  She said McLin’s first action on the job has been to review the district’s special education audit and set forth procedures and a timeline for implementing enhancements. 

It is the board’s goal to address areas needing improvement prior to the start of the upcoming school year, Browning said.   In fact, the proposed action plan was recently forwarded to school board members and implementation began immediately, she said. 

                Browning noted that the proposed action plan includes the creation of a new policy and procedure handbook for special education services, additional training for all personnel, and the appointment of two new coordinators to oversee important aspects of the district’s special education programs and services.

“There are various state and federal guidelines governing special education programs and services, and those guidelines change quite often. There’s really an on-going learning curve with these programs,” Browning said.  “That’s why we felt it was best to do an audit of our special education programs and services before making any changes.  We want to make sure that all changes are in compliance with state and federal guidelines.”

Browning said the current proposed action plan also calls for most enhancements to be in place before the first day of classes in August, and for all to be in place within the first month of the new school year.  The 2010-2011 school year will be only the fourth year that Central’s schools have operated independently from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

                The school system last year received voter approval to implement a multi-million dollar capital improvement campaign to build a new elementary and middle school and to upgrade existing facilities. Last year also marked the first year that Central’s student test scores were included in the state’s accountability program, which ranks school district performance.  Central was rated as one of the state’s top-tier districts.

Browning said a copy of the proposed special education action plan is available on the district website at www.centralcss.org.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Stephens

    June 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Just a few personal observations
    Page 4 D Special Note-purposely limited in scope
    Page 7 3rd Paragraph-35 interviews consisting of some parents
    and 9 classifications of CCSS employees

    What would a complete audit show? Some of the same laws apply to Gifted and Talented and that program is rarely mentioned.

    Page 8 1st paragraph it became readily apparant thatconfusion and frustation among educational service providershas been steadily building due to the absence of a special education leader with the necessary and independant authority to manage and monitor-

    The school system was without a director for most of the year-Applications were taken around December 2009-The new director was hired in May/June of 2010 and was not hired until recently.

    Who was responsible for the program? The school board and the Supt. Faulk failed the students and their teachers by not filling and then monitoring the progress. To be more specific the buck stops with School Board President Browning and Mr. Faulk.

    Page 9 1st Paragraph The concept of site based managementis not completely understood at all schools and that the effect in its present form is having a deleterious (Websters-Harmful to health or well being) effect on some student services as well as staff performance and STAFF RETENTION.

    Without a director who is responsible for the program? Are we losing some of our best teachers? This is just the first time that staff retention is mentioned. The school board and more specifically Mr. Faulk should be held accountable.

    Page 9 3rd paragraph The need for clear unified direction reguarding school management practices and a better understanding of respective roles cannot be overstated.

    Who is responsible for setting the direction of all school programs and policies? The school board and more specifically School Board President Sharon Browning and Mr. Faulk.

    Page 10 3rd paragraph Discussions about the authority of school principals versus the authority imposed on special education service providers by federal and state laws and regulations must take place soon before the passage of time compounds the problem with children with exceptionalities and further affects retention of certified educators.

    Are we losing more teachers because Supt Faulk and the school system failed to fill the directors position for so long? Again Mr Faulk has failed these children.

    Page 11 2nd Paragraph The consultant readily that there was no established manuel of procedures for internal use-

    How do you run a program or business without Sop’s or a procedures manual? Where was the one from the previous year? No guidence and no direction and again Mr Faulk without a director that he failed to persue should be held accountable.

    Page 11 Paragraph 4 RTI processes are not sufficently developed or implemented in all CCSS schools at this time which poses a significant concern for the PAS team members in terms of compliance with federal and state regulations-

    Why are some schools cooperating and others not? Does non compliance with these laws jeopardize federal or state funding? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance even without a director? Mr Faulk must again be held accountable.

    Page 12 1st paragraph-There was no consistency in the kind of foldersused;the manner in which information was organized;the use of “access forms” to document name, date, signature,and purpose of individualsaccessing individual student records;and no order to the files.

    How serious is breaches of confidential records? How critical is it not to place one students confidential information in that of anothers? Could the CCSS be held liable? Without a director the superintendant must be held accountable.

    Page 12 Paragraph 3student records that are stacked in boxes, on chairs, and on the floor of the “file closet”.

    If you or your childs teacher requested your childs folder could it be found? If your childs teacher was this complacent or unorginized would he or she still be employed? Anyone who tolerates these thing should not still be employed. Mr.Faulk should be held accountable.

    There are many other problems on the following pages but I want point out some of the most serious concerns about attracting and retaining the best teachers.

    Page 24 4th paragraph It was disheartening for the consultant to hear unsolicited comments from professionals outside of the CCSS that they would not consider applying for a teaching or other position in the CCSS because of all the “negative” things that they had heard from various sources about internal conflict and poor working conditions in the district.

    Educators are no differant than you and I when it comes to speaking with others before we apply for a job. Teacher retention is not the only concern. Because of the problems mentioned above are we getting the best and brighest educators? Would you apply if someone you knew well would answer your questions about CCSS with those statements above? This problem is likely affects teachers and administrators at all levels not just Special Ed. Who is responsible to maintain continuity and resolve these internal conflicts. Even with a director that responsibility falls directly on Mr. Faulk.

    The most serious observation and the one that should have been further investigated is on;

    Page 25 1st paragraph-While there appears to have been much discourse in the CCSS and in the community, such discourse has apperantly been laced with negativism and allegations of improper conduct, including threats of dismissal of employees and firing of central office officials. Under such conditions it is not surprising that some qualified professionals who may have considered applying for teaching or other positions in CCSS, have chosen not to do so under the circumstances.

    What did the auditor learn that is not mentioned in the audit? It is apparent that he beleives that we may not be able to attract the best qualified teachers and other professionals. Who is responsible for controlling these problems and why were they not resolved before the audit? Was it only because we were without a director. Are these problems due to a lack of concern for all students, a lack of professionalism or leadership.Should Supt.Faulk be held accountable?
    Dont you think that some of these problems have been privately expressed to some of the school board members? Mr. Faulk should be held accountable as well as any school board member who was made aware and failed to investigate any of the problems themselves.

    This audit was limited in scope and included only 35 interviews. This audit mentions many many times that some teachers and admimistrators have worked extremely hard to comply with these requirements and others have resisted and dont feel the need to comply. If the auditor was able to determine this with just 35 interveiws then certainly Mr. Faulk was aware that these problems exsisted. You will hear alot of excuses and rhetoric in the next few days but take some time to read the entire audit and remember these problems were identified with only 35 interveiws.The school board should get an additional audit, terminate Mr.Faulk immediately and each school board member should do some serious and prayerful soul searching and recommit to the students to provide the very best education and to our educators to provide the best working conditions and salaries in the state.

    I have spoken with my school board member Mrs Ruby Foil about many issues and beleive her heart is in the right place. I do wish she was more independent. If some of you are thinking this is politically motivated you wont see me in this school board election!!

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