Workgroup 3—Delivery Systems
 meeting minutes from
 7/10/2007

Group Leader: Rebecca Cort
Attendees: Michael Grossfeld and Mary Curtis (via video conference); Susan Constantino Harouna Ba, and Sheila Skippington (via telephone conference); Donna Noyes, Mark Jasinski, Judy Gerson, Sandy Rybaltowski (in Albany)

Observers: Pam Madeiras (Greenburg Traurig), Jessica Morelli (NYSAC) in Albany; Gayle Kligman (Children’s Therapy Services), Jane Ryan (All about Kids), Barbara Green (TheraCare) all by video conference.  

Absent: Lisa Timoney (NYS Division of Budget)

Facilitator: Donna Meixner               
Recorders: Tina Goodwin Segal and Denise Corbett

Introduction and Delivery Work Group Charge
After brief introductions Becky asked that the minutes from the last work group session be accepted. There were no additions or revision to the minutes. The facilitator then reviewed the agenda and the supporting information handout (materials were available electronically before the meeting and hard copy packets were available at the meeting). The following working agreements were accepted:

 After some discussion it was agreed that the role of the substitute/representative at the Work Group meetings will be broadened to include more participatory action than is possible at the full task force meetings. Since the goal of the work groups is to share information, invite expertise, and explore ideas/solutions it was agreed that all work group members or their representatives will be asked to contribute.

The task force charge was reviewed and the following section was highlighted as the most relevant for the delivery systems work group.

(3) conduct a comparative study of the systems of delivery of preschool special education programs and services in New York and other states, including their methods of financing preschool special education, and make recommendations for inclusion of the best practices from other states which shall include other states with comparable need and service levels and for changes in New York's system of delivery of such programs and services that will promote the cost-effective delivery of appropriate programs and services to preschool students with disabilities in compliance with the federal individuals with disabilities education act;

The proposed work schedule was included in the handout materials and reviewed with the members to remind everyone of the tight timelines.
 
Prioritization of the Key Issues/Areas
Becky reviewed the priority level ratings based on the rating forms she had received from work group members since the last meeting. There was nearly unanimous agreement that two of the six categories were the most important for the group to consider. These were Funding Authority and Government Structure and Quality Standards and Best Practice. The next highest priority based on the rating forms was Continuum of Service. The moderator asked for discussion of prioritizing categories. Becky asked that the group consider taking the two categories rated as the highest priority as the most important for the group to address and suggested that issues relating to continuum of service could be merged in the Quality Standards and Best Practice set of issues. Mike Grossfeld stated his perspective that the highest priority for the group to address was in the area of Standardized Testing and Training (which he had noted on the form as Other). His perspective is that this area is critical to how decisions are made about who gets services.  There was discussion about whether this fits with the role of the Delivery Systems work group. There was generally agreement that it is not the charge of this group to review or to re-write eligibility for services i.e., who gets services and who does not get services. It was agreed that the issue of standardized testing could be incorporated/considered in the discussion of Quality Standards and Best Practice.

Becky provided priority ratings from the members’ forms about the issues within each of these broad areas. After some dialogue by the group and some merging of ideas, the following framework was identified as the areas and issues that the work group would address (see Table 1)

Table 1


Area 1: Funding Authority and Government Structure

Issue 1.1 Look at role of county versus school district

Issue 1.2 Look at 0-5 seamless delivery system

Issue 1.3 How do standards and oversight systems impact quality of service delivered?

Area 2: Quality Standards and Best Practice

Issue 2.1 How do early services set the stage for later progress in general education system?

Issue 2.2 What is the continuum of service in other states and NYS and what criteria do they set?

Issue 2.3 Identify and examine innovations in service delivery (e.g. distance learning, technology,    
               consultative process)

Further Development of Each Priority Area
Before moving on to further refining the issues/questions, Becky gave a brief overview of the results of the online Other States Survey. Some of the most salient points were that NYS has the highest percentage of preschool population receiving services, is among the highest in per pupil expenditures, and is one of only a few with a large percent of county and no LEA funding. Additional follow-up questions will be developed by this and other work groups to obtain more specific data from a few selected states to better understand their system(s) for delivering special education services. This work group will suggest that GA, PA, OH, and FL be contacted with additional follow up questions. VESID will contact NECTAC and ask if there is an additional state that should be included in the study.

When it comes to issues that are specifically within NYS, these will have to be addressed by obtaining factual data from state agency database resources; informational data from providers and counties will come from regional forums/inviting qualified experts to Work Group and/or full Task Force Meetings.
 
Table 2 is a summary of the group’s collective thinking about what the important questions are for each of the issues in the first priority area (where possible data source(s) were identified).

Table 2


1.1 Look at  role of county versus school district (this is a NYS issue not likely to get data from other states)

Questions

Data source(s)

  • What is the role of the county? Funding without control?

Need county comparison data; where is the variability?

  • Should the NYS system be a “3-21” system? Is there an advantage to doing this?

Ask the second part of the question as a follow-up item to other states

  • Look at the comparison between preschool and school age, how do the systems differ?

Develop a flow chart for preschool and school age system to compare (VESID)

  • What is the impact of our current system on program delivery and student outcomes?

Ask at regional forums

  • Does it make sense for the county to bear the cost and the LEA to not have to?

Other state survey report
Ask at regional forums

  • Is there an impact from LEAs generally not being involved in conducting evaluation, e.g. are they less familiar with students’ characteristics when they make IEP decisions?

Ask at regional forums

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of state, county, LEA funding? 

Ask as a follow-up question to other states Ask at regional forums

  • Ask other states to report on who their eligibility team and IEP team members are and do they vary from preschool to school age?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • Explore any changes that might be made – how can we maintain the capacity and expertise as we make changes?

Ask at regional forums

1.2 Look at 0-5 seamless delivery system (this is a transition issue—refer to Work Group 1)

Questions

Data source(s)

  • Does the current transition age to preschool make sense?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • Does the split make sense (DOH & SED)?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

1.3 How do standards and oversight systems impact quality of service delivered?

Questions

Data source(s)

  • Who are the oversight agencies in the service provision areas?

Get input from different oversight agencies – State and local

  • Should there be alignment of standards (learning standards, licensure) across programs/areas nd what are the barriers to alignment?

Get input from different oversight agencies – State and local
Ask at regional forums

  • What are the SED standards for children ages 3-5?

Invite Cindy Gallagher to the work group to talk about early learning standards (VESID)

During the group discussion about this first priority area, it was agreed that one of the issues generated at the initial task force meeting—Understand per child costs in benchmark states—should be referred to Work Group 2.

Table 3 is a summary of issues, questions and data sources for the second priority area.

Table 3


2.1 How do early services set the stage for later progress in general education system?

Questions

Data source(s)

  • What is the most appropriate level of integration of preschool students with disabilities?

Ask at regional forums

  • How do we measure outcomes and progress for children? What data is currently available?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states
 Check NECTAC, ECO at SRI, and NYS data

  • Examples of best practices that lead to successful outcomes.

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • How does structure impact successful outcomes?
    • Is there a (perceived) link between the way other states are funded and the outcomes they are getting?
    • What are other states doing that makes the system effective? (clarify what a best practice is?)

Ask as follow-up questions to other states

  • What are other states eligibility standards for preschool special education?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • How do other states train IEP teams and evaluators? Do they have a professional development system?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states
VESID will try to obtain results from a study on Training and Technical Assistance (University of Connecticut)

2.2 What is the continuum of service in other states and NYS and what criteria do they set?

Questions

Data source(s)

  • Need to do a comparison study of what different counties are doing in NYS—how the continuum is reflected across counties?

Need county comparison data

  • Need to obtain data that present(s) the differences in the number of children who enter Special Education when they enter school—it would be expected that these numbers would go up since many learning disabilities may not be picked up until the child is school age.

How many Special Education kindergartners do we have in NYS? (VESID)

  • Do any of the other states have outcome data as it relates to placement?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • Comparison of percentage of children being served in “least restrictive environment”? Other states have large percentage served in “special class”, are they serving only the more involved children?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • What happens when children exit the program? (in NYS and other programs)

Need data for Table 5b of the state survey report (VESID)
Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • How often are children evaluated? Differentiate between ongoing assessments for planning or instruction versus re-evaluation(make this clear when asking other states).

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

2.3 Identify and examine innovations in service delivery (e.g. distance learning, technology, consultative     
     process)

Questions

Data source(s)

  • How do other states use the consultative process versus direct service — both with related service providers and special education teachers?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • Are other states training both general education teachers and parents?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

  • What services do other states provide to families?

Ask as a follow-up question to other states

The discussion around this second area of issues was focused on two main points 1) the need for outcome measures or some way of knowing/documenting that a child is making progress and 2) the need to explore the relationship between “indirect” and “direct” services and how these services are designated at the time of the IEP and how they actually play out in practice.
 
Report Outline
There was a handout provided in the packet of information that provided a more detailed potential outline of the final product. The facilitator asked the group to review and provide any feedback about the report outline to Becky.
Meeting Wrap-up
The facilitator provided a quick review of the work that was accomplished. Becky agreed to present the issues and questions that Work Group 3 developed at this meeting to the full task force at the meeting next Tuesday. She asked for the group’s participation in being the spokesperson for Work Group 3 to the full task force and suggested that the responsibility for presenting at future task force meetings should be rotated among the work group members. There was general agreement with this request.   

Becky asked Harouna Ba and Sheila Skippington if they would be able to do the follow-up case studies with each of the selected states. They agreed and asked about the timeframe for the study. Becky stated that the full set of questions will be developed after the next task force meeting (Tuesday July 17th) and that the information from the case studies will need to be available by August.

The facilitator complimented the group on successfully meeting the goals for this work session and reminded everyone about upcoming meeting dates/times.

NEXT FULL TASK FORCE MEETING: TUESDAY JULY 17TH 10:00- 3:00

NEXT GROUP 3 MTG: AUGUST 6TH
TIME:  10:30-1:30
LOCATION: One Commerce Plaza