Special Education Case Loads Task Force

Special Education Caseloads: Committee Draft Recommendations

Categories # 1 Paperwork

Dear Committee Members,

 

As per our discussions today, below are the board categories as outlined in the meeting.  Committee members are asked to develop 1-3 recommendations for as many of these categories as they wish.  Also please feel free to offer a sentence or two as rationale for the recommendation.

 

Example:

Recommendation:  Recommend that each form that is required have a designation as either a  Federal requirement, State law/rule or local policy with a link to the statutory or policy requirement.

 

Rationale:  Potentially could streamline processes and reduce paperwork, but would clarify for staff and parents why the form is being required.   Also could become basis for professional development

 

Categories:

1. Paperwork

2. Case Load Statute/Rule (Modifications?  if so what?)

3. Licensure/teacher supply

4. Other time requirements

5. Professional development

6. How to increase student time

7. Ways classroom/other teachers could help

8. Resource needs (funding, time)

9. Decision making

10. Which OLA recommendations should the committee consider?

Paperwork

1. Conduct a study demonstrating which paperwork requirements (very specific) are not required or needed.
2. Lower caseloads or create different ways to handle paperwork Prior Written Notice is not a necessary document.  It just summarizes what happened at the IEP meeting.  Having the annual IEP meeting, updating the IEP, and having the parents sign off should be sufficient.  The PWN is a new form that was added about 5 years ago and I don’t feel it is necessary. 
3. Recommend aligning paperwork requirements with Federal expectations would result in less time on paperwork and more instructional time for teachers and students.

4. Look int a “progress-monitoring software” or look into Enterprise Content Management (ECM) from Perceptive Software. Anchorage School District is using this system the school district has gone virtually paperless in special education and other departments.  They have indicated it has greatly reduced workload. 

5. Can some of the paperwork be shared as well between regular education and special education teacher if they are both working for the same goal for the student, it only makes sense that they both be involved 100%.
6. Use SPED administrative assistants to help with paperwork load, for example write and send letters, make appointments with team members.
7. Every school have access to a testing coordinator who completes three year reassessments and initials and writes the evaluation reports and sets IEP meetings with parents.
• Average time needed to complete paperwork/school year: caseload of 20 students:
• Annual IEP Meeting for each student 1 hour each 20 hours
• Time to review IEP (consult mainstream teachers) and write revised IEP 4 hours each 80 hours
• Time to test, write up test results of 3 year reevaluations: 30 hours ea. (ave.7/school yr) 210 hours
• Average estimate of total hours spent on paperwork/school year: 310 hours (310 hours = over 7 extra work weeks which most spec. ed. teachers use their time after hours after school or take home to complete)
8. Each special education teacher has 1 period to prep for classes and 1 period to work on due process. (See about estimated total hours spent on paperwork per school year for each special education teacher)
9. Special Education teachers spend an average of 5 hours each year per student on annual paperwork. Add in an average of 30 hours for reevaluations. This time spend on paperwork is added to their everyday duties of teaching, calling parents, working with mainstream teachers.
10. Streamline special education paperwork and get rid of redundancies as recommended by OLA.
11. For example:
a) Get rid of the Summary of Performance form the information on this worksheet can be found in the IEP, Evaluation Report and even the student transcript.
b) Prior Written Notice Form combine boxes 2 and 3 and combine boxes 4 and 5 so there are only 3 boxes to completed.
c) IEP form get rid of sections of information that contains information that is found elsewhere. ie. courses can be found on the student transcript.
d) IEP Form: The Present Levels of Academic and Functional Performance and the Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance and Educational Needs are two different sections of any IEP that duplicates information. Condense information so information is not repeated.
e) Measurable Postsecondary Goals: sections found on the transition IEP form. This information is redundant and can be found in the Present Levels when assessing the 5 Transition areas.
12. The Evaluation/re-evaluation is good for 3 years.  Create a “fluid” or 3 year IEP.  Have the goal area expandable – date the goal and have all progress reporting right under the goal.  Continue on down that same page/goal area all three years ---Date the next time the team meets, adjust the goal as needed and continue with the progress reporting under that goal. 
13. Rationale:  The goal and reporting are all together (stacked) rather than two separate documents.  The new date is recorded for the next annual meeting so you can see the flow of the due process  - makes more sense to the parent and next building or grade the student is in.  The 3 years of IEPs must relate back to the comprehensive assessment so since the assessment is 3 years... 3 year IEP.   The next assessment will then be less cumbersome and file digging to create the assessment determination form. 
14. With the 3 year IEP or annual IEP – leave out the objectives ---- unnecessary.
15. Rationale – goal is broken into 2 smaller parts - redundant. 
16. Create assessment and IEP writing teams – Take the paperwork completely out of the case managers - teacher’s hands.  
17. Rationale:  The teacher has to be present at the annual meeting.  The teacher knows the goals.  Someone else can create the document. 
18. Have better and/or annual education/inservice on how the state wants paperwork done and then have rubrics for the monitors for consistency.
19. Rationale:  consistency – need to know what the expectations are. 
20. Have a Statewide system for paperwork. 
21. Rationale: Consistent, parent friendly, case manager doesn’t have to dig to find pertinent info, monitors don’t have to dig for info.  Have it available electronically so parent can look at the goal and progress at their leisure.  (Grade book is available for student/parent now to view grades.)  Do the same for IEP.  Creates less “office management” duties/mailings/printing of paper. 
22. Each building have a Sped. ED coordinator/lead staff -  to manage timelines, follow-up with details from Eval/IEP/etc. mtgs.  Details such as following up with doctor phone calls, send releases, send IEPs/evals., send paperwork.  This person would sit in on all meetings.  Go to person for technical and legal advice.  
23. Rationale:  Prevents the revolving door problem during meetings.  The coordinator would know community programs to refer to – contact person.  Phone calls coming to the building would get a sped. minded person.  Allows the teacher to not have to answer the phone/problem solve during direct instruction time nor have to return phone calls after hours.
24. It is difficult to come up with specific recommendations since I am not in a classroom. I have tried to look at it from like, in my work, I have a group of individuals I work with in providing advocacy assistance – and I do have specific paperwork requirements that I must do. How we each advocate manage our own work varies greatly, as well as the type of support we would want or need to manage the work varies greatly. Based on that is it hard to come up with general recommendations.  That being said, I have information below:
• I think it would be beneficial to designate on the form with a link to the requirement (as stated above)
• I think the more standardized the forms are across the state
25. I don’t know how much time is spent in training to be a teacher on how to write an IEP. Is a website or something needed that has examples of good IEPs? Training on how to write measurable goals? Examples for how to write things.
26. Are there ways that administration support could be beneficial – like due process secretaries to schedule meetings, type forms, etc. (2) Would it be beneficial for teachers to dictate (or some other method) information for a form and someone else do the typing?
27. Ways classroom/other teachers could help --Are there ways regular education staff could keep the necessary data for a student spending time in that general education classroom?
28. Recommendation:  Recommend that each form that is required have a designation as either a  Federal requirement, State law/rule or local policy with a link to the statutory or policy requirement.
29.  Rationale:  Potentially could streamline processes and reduce paperwork, but would clarify for staff and parents why the form is being required.   Also could become basis for professional development.