Results From City’s Special Education Reforms Pilot Program | Special Education | Inclusion (Education)

NYC SPECIAL EDUCATION REFORM

Preliminary Results

February 2012
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Contents
Part 1: Background of the Reform • Major reports on special education in NYC & goals of the reform – Slide 4 • Historical trends: Graduation data – Slide 5 • What the national research shows – Slide 6 • NYC system-wide analysis supports the national research – Slide 7 • Phase 1 and non-Phase 1 schools – Slides 8-10 • Developing a group of Comparison Schools – Slides 10-11 Part 2: Phase 1 Preliminary Results • Results Summary – Slide 13 • Initial referrals to special education – Slide 14-15 • LRE recommendations – Slide 16-17 • Program Recommendations – Slide 18-21 • Attendance – Slide 22 • Key attributes central to school-level reform – Slide 23

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Part 1: BACKGROUND OF THE REFORM

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In July 2009, the NYC DOE initiated a system-wide reform of special education. Two reports on special education reinforced the need for change.
>Least Restrictive Environment: “The placement process in NYC emphasizes the notion of placement as the availability of „seats‟ in special education programs rather than as the services and environment that are appropriate to the individualized needs of the student . . . . Moreover, this process promotes the idea that special education is a „place‟ rather than a service, and places priority of such placement over what should be the most important consideration – the general education placement.” (from the Hehir Report, 2005) >Access to the General Education Curriculum & Student Achievement: “In the coming years, consistent with the principles of Children First, the Department should increase its focus on longterm outcomes for students with disabilities and empower schools, parents, and DOE staff to collaborate in building successful instructional models and strengthening the culture of inclusion for students with disabilities.” (from the Harries Report, 2009)

Drawing further from those reports and our commitment to accelerating the system-wide achievement of student with disabilities, we formulated three major goals for the reform: 1. To close the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities. 2. To increase access to and participation in the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. 3. To build school-based capacity to support the diverse needs of students with disabilities through greater curricular, instructional, and scheduling flexibility. The need for change was also clear in the system-wide graduation data.
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Although more high school graduates with disabilities earn Regents diplomas, the percentage of students with disabilities graduating from high school in 4 years is only 30.7%.
Percent of Students With Disabilities Graduating from High School in 4 Years

30.7% 26.6% 22.5%
Diploma Type
Adv. Regents Regents Local

17.1%

18.5%

18.3%

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Notes: Graduation rate totals may not equal total of diploma types due to rounding. Totals reflect data available at the time of reporting provided by NYS; August graduate data is only available for years 2009-2010.

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Also foundational to the development of the reform goals was the national research on special education which shows that the more time students with disabilities spend in a general education classroom, the…
• • • • higher their scores are on standardized tests of reading and math; fewer absences they have from school; fewer referrals they have for disruptive behavior; and better outcomes they have after high school in the areas of employment and independent living.

This was found for all students with disabilities, regardless of: • disability label • severity of disability • gender • family‟s socio-economic status

(Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Levine, & Garza, 2006)

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Preliminary results from our system-wide analysis of trends in special education programming are consistent with national research findings on the relationship between LRE and student achievement. With 19% of students with disabilities in grades 4-8 tested in 2011 who had moved to less restrictive environments within the past four years: • ELA proficiency of those students was, on average, 2.49, compared to 2.29 for students who did not move to a less restrictive environment; and, • Math proficiency of those students was, on average, 2.79, compared to 2.55 for students who did not move to a less restrictive environment.

Source: 2010-11 Elementary/Middle School Progress Reports Note: “Student Moved to Less Restrictive” is based on a comparison of a student‟s 2010-11 program setting and level of inclusion with that of the previous four years. The tiers, from most to least restrictive, are: self-contained 0-40%, self-contained 40-80%, self-contained/CTT/SETSS 80-100%, and decertified/related services only.

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In April 2010, ten networks (260 schools) agreed to begin the work of the special education reform as the “Phase 1 Schools.”
During the first year of Phase 1, consistent with the research previously cited, we began to change operational practices on how we enrolled and placed students with disabilities, and explore how flexibility within the Continuum of Services allowed schools to create more varied programs of instruction for students with disabilities.
Comparing Phase 1 and non-Phase 1 Schools
Non-Phase 1 Enrollment Students are enrolled where there is program availability; programs are assigned to schools based on historic capacity and projected program need. Phase 1 Students have same access to schools as if they did not have an IEP; school is responsible for serving the student. Students will not be transferred because of changes in the IEP. Students zoned to a Phase 1 school are offered to attend their zoned school. Schools are funded per capita; schools utilize their resources to best serve student need instead of maintaining specific programs. Flexible programming is encouraged and allows varied services, as appropriate, leading to increased LRE and access to the general education curriculum.

Funding

Elementary and middle schools are funded for classes; schools receive “empty seat” funding to make class allocations whole. Students are programmed with limited variability for either SETSS, ICT, or selfcontained.

Programming

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The Phase 1 Schools served higher proportions of Hispanic students, English Language Learners, and Students with Disabilities.

Student Demographics in Phase 1 Schools Compared to Citywide Averages *

Phase 1

Citywide 9

* Demographic data are based on the Audited Register as of 10.31.2010. ELL=English Language Learners; SwD=Students with Disabilities

Because the Phase 1 Schools had different demographics than the rest of the city, we established a set of comparison schools for our analyses. We used the following methodology to identify a set of comparison schools that served a similar group of students as those in Phase 1.
 We used Propensity Score Matching (PSM) to identify comparison schools that were similar to Phase 1 Schools in 2009-10 (the year before Phase 1 started).

 Separate models were examined for schools with grades 3-8, grades 912, grades pk-2 only, and for new schools that opened in 2010-2011.
 The result was an overall sample of 270 Comparison Schools that would be compared to the 260 Phase 1 Schools for all subsequent analyses.  These two groups of schools did not differ in terms of total enrollment, school borough, whether the school was a new school, and school demographics including free/reduced lunch, student ethnicity, % English Language Learners, % students with disabilities, and Math and ELA proficiency for students with disabilities.
* Variables included in the PSM model: total enrollment, dummy codes for borough, %ELL, %SwD, % Asian, % White, % Hispanic, % Black, and an indicator for whether the school was new since 2002.

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When Phase 1 Schools were compared to Comparison Schools by borough and school level, Elementary and Middle Schools tended to be located in the Bronx; High Schools were more evenly distributed, with a larger number located in Manhattan.
Number of Phase 1 and Comparison Schools by Borough and School Level

PHASE 1
N=260
123 122

COMPARISON
N=270

55

60 53

57

22 7

22 9

Elementary

High School

Middle

Other * 11

* „Other‟ schools include, Early Childhood, K-12, K-8, and 6-12 schools; Across both groups, 69% of High schools are new schools

Part 2: PRELIMINARY DATA FROM PHASE 1 OF THE REFORM

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RESULTS SUMMARY:
Following are preliminary results for the implementation of the reform during September 2010 to December 2011. • • Phase 1 Schools showed greater decreases in initial referral rates than Comparison Schools since 2009-10. Phase 1 Schools had higher rates of recommendations to LRE and showed greater increases than Comparison Schools since 2009-10. Phase 1 and Comparison Schools did not have a significant difference in attendance rates. A preliminary look at the student outcomes showed no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.

• •

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PRELIMINARY TREND: Between 2010 and 2011, initial referral rates decreased twice as much in Phase 1 Schools as they did in Comparison Schools.

Initial Referrals

2010

2011

Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported. Initial referral rates are based on the number of initial referrals divided by the total number of students without IEPs as of June of each year.

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PRELIMINARY TREND: Across all grade levels, Phase 1 Schools have shown greater decreases in initial referral rates since 2009-10 than Comparison Schools. Initial Referrals

K-5

6-8

9-12

2010

2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported. Initial referral rates are based on the number of initial referrals divided by the total number of students without IEPs as of June of each year.

PRELIMINARY TREND: Phase 1 Schools showed a greater increase in recommendations to less restrictive settings. Between 2010 and 2011, Comparison Schools increased their LRE recommendations* by 1.9%, while Phase 1 Schools increased their LRE recommendations* by 11.3%. LRE Recommendations

2010

2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported. LRE=Less Restrictive Environment. * Includes all recommendations from re-evaluations and triennial conferences.

PRELIMINARY TREND: Across all grade levels, Phase 1 Schools had higher rates of recommendations to LRE than Comparison Schools.

LRE Recommendations

K-5

6-8

9-12

2010

2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported. LRE=Less Restrictive Environment. * Includes all recommendations from re-evaluations and triennial conferences.

PRELIMINARY TREND:
Phase 1 Schools showed a greater decrease in self-contained classes than Comparison Schools. Both Phase 1 and Comparison Schools showed increases in team teaching classes. Both also showed decreases in special education teacher support services (SETSS).

Program Recommendations
OVERALL TRENDS

Related Services Only

SETSS Phase 1 June 2010

Integrated Co-Teaching Comparison June 2010

SELF-CONTAINED

LRE

Placement Continuum

Phase 1 June 2011

Comparison June 2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported.

PRELIMINARY TREND:
Phase 1 Schools showed a greater decrease in self-contained classes than Comparison Schools. Both Phase 1 and Comparison Schools showed increases in team teaching. Both also showed decreases in special education teacher support services (SETSS).

Program Recommendations
Grades K-5

Related Services Only

SETSS Phase 1 June 2010

Integrated Co-Teaching Comparison June 2010

SELF-CONTAINED

LRE

Placement Continuum

Phase 1 June 2011

Comparison June 2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported.

PRELIMINARY TREND:
Phase 1 Schools showed a greater decrease in self-contained classes than Comparison Schools. Both Phase 1 and Comparison Schools showed increases in team teaching classes and in related services only. Both also showed decreases in special education teacher support services (SETSS).

Program Recommendations
Grades 6-8

Related Services Only

SETSS Phase 1 June 2010

Integrated Co-Teaching Comparison June 2010

SELF-CONTAINED

LRE

Placement Continuum

Phase 1 June 2011

Comparison June 2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported.

PRELIMINARY TREND:
Phase 1 Schools showed a greater decrease in self-contained classes than Comparison Schools. Both Phase 1 and Comparison Schools showed increases in team teaching. Both also showed decreases in special education teacher support services (SETSS).

Program Recommendations
Grades 9-12

Related Services Only

SETSS Phase 1 June 2010

Integrated Co-Teaching Comparison June 2010

SELF-CONTAINED

LRE

Placement Continuum

Phase 1 June 2011

Comparison June 2011
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Note: SESIS, the DOE‟s new data system for collecting information about students with disabilities was implemented in the 10-11 school year. This resulted in updates to data initially reported.

PRELIMINARY TREND: Phase 1 and Comparison Schools did not have a significant difference in attendance rates. Attendance Rates

2010

2011
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PRELIMINARY TREND:
Key attributes identified as considered central to reform at the school level*.

Used IEPs to plan instruction Integrated teams of all teachers

Incorporated related services Created inclusive cultures Set high expectations for all learners

Created flexibility in scheduling

Utilized staff and resources innovatively

Phase 1 Schools

Involved parents significantly

* data compiled from surveys, interviews, and schools visits.

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