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Improving Special Education Services (ISES) June 2011

Improving Special Education Services (ISES) is a collaborative stakeholder group convened by the California Department of Education, Special Education Division. The State Performance Plan (SPP), Annual Performance Report (APR), and State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) are guided by these stakeholders in addressing issues such as personnel development, statewide assessment, and progress monitoring through a unified planning process. ISES is the unification of what were previously the Partnership Committee on Special Education (PCSE) and the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) group. The committee is a broadly diverse and representative group of individuals involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities. ISES meets twice annually. This meeting was June 9, 2011, and the next meeting is scheduled for December 9, 2011.

June 2011's meeting had a typical number of participants, with 71 stakeholders supported by 5 workgroup facilitators and 5 CalSTAT staff members. More CDE staff attended than were recorded due to a large number of unregistered attendees who walked in.

ISES Meeting June 2011 Page 2 The meeting included three major activities:

Indicator workgroups are a focal point of the ISES meeting, where participants discuss progress and collaborate to generate recommendations. Recommendations are reported out to all ISES participants in a final group session, are posted online, and inform development of the SPP and implementation of improvement strategies.

Workgroups Topics Discussed in the Workgroups
Workgroup #1

Disproportionality: SPP Indicators #4, #9 and #10, facilitated by Patricia Skelton, Ralph Scott, Dough McDougall and George Triest.

Workgroup #2 Transition and Postsecondary: SPP Indicators #12, #13 and #14, facilitated by Meredith Cathcart, Jill Larson, and Dan Boomer
Workgroup #3 SPDG facilitated by Janet Digmon, Anne Davin and Li Walter

Anonymous end-of-event surveys were distributed to participants at the beginning of the event and collected at the end. Of the 81 participants who registered, 33 completed end-of-event surveys. Due to the fact that many of the facilitators and CDE staff feel completing a survey would be inappropriate, this number suggests a response rate of roughly 50% among other participants.

Participants rated the meeting from one ("poor"/"no") to five ("great"/"definitely") in response to four questions. Responses ranged from 1 to 5, with an average response between 4.1 and 4.2. Participants were also invited to respond in more detail to the open-ended questions which are summarized on page 4.

Number of Comments What were the most positive aspects of this meeting and why?
11 Discussion, Brainstorming and Opportunity for Input
"Discussion, ideas for improvement." "Time for focused, small workgroup discussions." "Another great opportunity to a large group of stakeholders to discuss these important issues that affect us all!"
9 Updates and Dissemination of Information
"Listening to the work that has been done so I can take that back to constituents at home." "Latest on APR." "Learning how the SPDG and CalSTAT work and how goals are developed." "The ability to synthesize the amount of information into specific presentations that help guide the discussions and workgroups."

Leadership and Facilitation
"Great facilitators and morning presentation." "Assignment of good leadership." "Chris Drouin's review."

4 Networking
"Networking and collaboration." "Connections."
3 Workgroups
"Discussion in small group." "Group work." "The afternoon session."

Other Positive Comments
"Overall, productive meeting." "Keep doing what you're doing." "Nametags are great, thank you." "We hope so—need to implement recommendations!" "Great day! Thank you!"


Number of Comments Number of Comments How could we improve future meetings?

Suggestions Around Workgroups
"More workgroup time." "Too much in the beginning—more worktime." "Liked three sessions versus more sessions."


Post Materials for Review Sooner
"If possible, post materials for review earlier." "Potentially sending out information (studies, research, articles) ahead of time to help prepare the participants on the topics (if able and available)." "Have PowerPoint info available BEFORE meeting so that time is better spent brainstorming."


Provide Previous Recommendations for Review
"Have last year's recommendations available with online materials to refresh our minds and check progress." "In workgroup, last year's recommendations should be available during discussion"


Provide Specific Information Around SPP and SPDG]
"Focus on aligning SPDG and SPP and using student data and evaluation on effectiveness of IDEA funded activity." "Make goals available earlier so purpose of task is more clearly defined."


Distribute PowerPoints
"Have all PowerPoints materials in the hand‐outs." "Provide PowerPoints at meeting."


Use Microphones
"A microphone should always be used in large groups. There were a number of hard‐of‐hearing people in the audience who could not really hear everything." "Use a mic all the time (universal accommodations)."


More Emphasis on Parents
"Re‐visit parent involvement with all aspects of grant/program." "Need more parent representation, advocates."


Other Suggestions and Comments
"More discussion of indicators focused upon update of projected planning." "Better speaker." "Combo of pre‐school transition and post‐secondary transition somewhat odd. Pre‐school not my area of experience/interest." "Sometimes it feels like we have been working on the same issues year after year."






IDEAS that Work!

Project READ is a California Department of Education, Special Education Division project funded through a federal competitively-awarded State Personnel Development Grant to California (#H323A120019) provided from the U.S. Department of Education Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.