The UESF Special Education Committee meets monthly. See the UESF calendar for the next meeting.
Special Education Committee Takes Solution Oriented Approach
Reprinted from the December 2015 SF Educator
Quick Link: Special Education Solutions
This November, members of the UESF Special Education Committee gathered to take a new approach to address the many problems confronting both special educators and general educators. With issues piling up, including severe staffing shortages, the educators on the committee are deeply concerned that the needs of students with IEPs are not being met. Instead of taking on individual problems and advocating for the district to correct them, committee members instead took part in a pro-active process to find solutions for the district’s special education program.
“Teachers, paras, and support staff understand deeply the problems in the SFUSD’s delivery of services to students with IEPs,” says UESF Executive Vice-President Susan Solomon, liaison for the committee. “We gathered in November to take a different perspective – how can we as educators develop our own concrete policy recommendations, and then how do we get them implemented?”
Taking a solutions-oriented approach, at the November meeting committee members put together a draft document on how the SFUSD could better support the special education program. The “Solutions for Special Education” document, which now has twenty specific recommendations, lists solutions both large and small that could help transform the delivery of services. While major proposals such as adequate staffing and support for new teachers are included in the document, other solutions are much more specific, including switching out fluorescent lighting for sensitive students.
Susan Solomon shared the solutions document with special education parent leaders in the district, who responded very positively to the content, and are eager to see where it goes. She also sent it over to the Union Building Committee at Feinstein Elementary for their thoughts. According to Feinstein Building Rep Aaron Neimark, their site thinks the document is fantastic, and they are ready to get to work on implementing many of the suggestions.
“Our next step is to translate the ideas in our solutions document to concrete policy recommendations, and to prioritize which items are of the greatest need and which can be implemented quickly,” continues Susan Solomon. “To do this we need the input and participation of more rank-and-file educators.”
According to Susan, ultimately the plan is to move the policy recommendations directly to the joint UESF/SFUSD Special Education Committee, and to the Superintendent and the Board of Education.
UESF 2012-2013 Special Education Survey
Response to Instruction & Intervention
- Core Components – As spelled out by the California State Superintendent of Schools.
- RTII Process Cannot Delay/Deny Evaluation for Eligibility under IDEA – A US Department of Education memo clearly stating that RTII cannot by used to delay/deny an evaluation for eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- RTII Guidelines from the CA Department of Education – Determining Specific Learning
Disability Eligibility Using Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2).
Special Education Teaching Resources:
- Teacher Rights in IEPs (State Education Code & Q&A)
- CTA Special Education Resource Guide (2.1 MB) – A comprehensive guide to Special Education resources and advocacy from the California Teachers Association
- More Resources from the CTA – Resources from the Instruction and Professional Development Department of the CTA, including a presentation on how best to empower yourself through your union to advocate for students with IEPs.
- Autism Symptoms Chart
- Autism Teaching Tools
- Council for Exceptional Children
For teachers and other service providers about special education issues for students with disabilities, and/or the gifted
- International Dyslexia Association
- LD Online
- LD Resources
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
- Special Education Network Inclusion Home Page
- Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism
- Wrights Law
Parents, advocates, educators, and attorneys come to Wrights Law for accurate, up-to-date information about special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.