Available in PDF Format for Printing                         

                                                                      September 2006

 

 

TO:

District Superintendents

  Parents and Individuals Concerned with Special Education
  Superintendents of Public Schools
  SETRC Professional Development Specialists
 

Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services

 

FROM: 

Rebecca H. Cort 

 

SUBJECT:

Targeted Activities to Improve Results for Students with Disabilities

 

    The purpose of this memorandum is to notify school districts of new monitoring, technical assistance and enforcement actions the Office of Vocational and Educational Services with Disabilities (VESID) will be initiating beginning in the fall of 2006.  These actions are designed to provide assistance, including, in some cases, grant funds and interventions to school districts to assist them in their efforts to improve their results for students with disabilities. 

    New York State’s (NYS) Part B State Performance Plan (SPP), as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), establishes statewide baselines in key performance and compliance areas relating to the performance of students with disabilities.  For each of these areas, NYS has set rigorous targets for improvement for the next six years.  NYS must show substantial improvement in performance and compliance.  Consistent with the requirements of section 616 of IDEA, NYS will monitor school districts using quantifiable and qualitative indicators of performance to improve results for students with disabilities.   

    The performance of students with disabilities in some NYS school districts clearly demonstrates the need for VESID to restructure and focus its actions to directly impact on instructional practices to improve results.  The 2001 statewide total cohort[1] data and 2004-05 State assessment data.

    VESID is taking the following actions to monitor school district performance and improve outcomes for students with disabilities:

  1. Tracking performance and compliance data for all school districts.

  2. Setting annual State targets for improvement in outcome areas for students with disabilities.
  3. Issuing public reports on State and individual school district performance in relation to the State targets.

  4. Using performance data on graduation and drop out rates and performance on State assessments to identify school districts with the poorest performance for assistance or intervention.
  5. Reviewing the instructional practices of the school districts with the poorest performance to identify the instructional issues impacting on poor student performance and assisting schools to identify specific improvement activities.

  6. Directing VESID's technical assistance resources such as Special Education Training and Resource Center (SETRC) professional development specialists to support the school's improvement activities in areas most directly relating to instruction such as literacy, behavioral supports and services and quality delivery of special education services.

  7. Identifying successful schools and districts and facilitating the replication of effective practices.

  8. Directing school districts to spend their IDEA funds on specific improvement activities when a school district's performance data is significantly below the State targets.

1.  Tracking Performance and Compliance Data for All School Districts

2.  Setting Annual State Targets for Improvement  

 

3.  Public Reporting of Data

 

 

 

 

4.  Designation of School Districts for Levels of Intervention by the State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Monitoring Reviews of a School District's Instructional Programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Technical Assistance

 

 

 

7.  Effective Practices 

8.  Directing a School District's Use of IDEA Funds

 

·      Eighty-eight (88) percent of the State's IDEA funds are provided to school districts through IDEA, Part B grants.  In cases where school districts are in need of assistance, intervention or substantial intervention, the State may exercise its authority to redirect and/or, in extreme situations of noncompliance, withhold a school district's IDEA funds. 

  

    VESID will be focusing its improvement strategies on quality technical assistance to assist school districts to improve results for students with disabilities.  We look forward to working with school districts for continuous improvement.  Questions regarding this memorandum may be directed to your Regional Associate at one of the following SEQA Regional Offices:

 

Central New York

(315) 428-3287

Eastern Region

(518) 486-6366

Hudson Valley Region

(914) 245-0010

Long Island

(631) 884-8530

New York City

(718) 722-4544

Western Region

(585) 344-2002

 

Attachment -  Targeted Actions to Improve Results for Students with Disabilities


LEVELS OF INTERVENTION:
Targeted Actions to Improve Results for Students with Disabilities

 

    New York State’s (NYS) Part B State Performance Plan (SPP), as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), establishes statewide baselines in key performance and compliance areas relating to the performance of students with disabilities.  For each of these areas, NYS has set targets for improvement for the next six years.  NYS must show substantial improvement in performance and compliance.  Consistent with the requirements of section 616 of IDEA, NYS will monitor school districts using quantifiable and qualitative indicators of performance to improve results for students with disabilities. 

 

Designations of Levels of Intervention for School Districts

 

School districts that fall significantly below the State’s baseline average each year for the performance of students with disabilities in the areas of graduation, drop out, and performance on the State assessments will be identified for a “level of intervention.”  The three levels of intervention required by IDEA section 616 are:

Identification Criteria for the 2006-07 School Year:

 

For the 2006-07 school year, a school district will be identified for a level of intervention based on its performance results for students with disabilities using 2004-05 school year data in the areas of:

1.    Graduation and Drop Out Rates:

 

     For school districts that have at least 30 students with disabilities in the 2001 total cohort:

 

     For the 2006-07 school year, VESID has identified school districts that have at least 30 students with disabilities in the 2001 total cohort whose district data for graduation and/or drop out rates is significantly below (or above) the SPP baseline:

 

Target Category

State Performance Baseline for 2004-05

District in Need of Assistance

District in Need of Intervention

Graduation (2001 total cohort after four years)

37.3%

Higher than 18.5% but less than or equal to 35%

18.5% or less

Drop Out (2001 total cohort after four years)

18.9%

At least 20% but less than 33%

33% or higher

 

AND/OR

 

2.     Performance on 4th and 8th grade ELA and math assessments:

 

     A.  For school districts that have at least 30 students with disabilities in the 2001 total cohort:

 

          For the 2006-07 school year, VESID has identified school districts that had at least 30 continuously enrolled students with disabilities tested and whose school district performance index is below the statewide average for the students with disabilities subgroup and the district did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in two or more areas for this subgroup.

Target Category

Performance Index for Students with Disabilities

for 2004-05

Below Statewide Average Performance Index for Students with Disabilities for 2004-05

Grade 4 ELA percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

102

Less than 102

Grade 4 Math percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

141

Less than 141

Grade 8 ELA percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

85

Less than 85

Grade 8 Math percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

82

Less than 82

 

     B.  For school districts with less than 30 students with disabilities enrolled in grades 4 or 8 in the 2004-05 school year:

For the 2006-07 school year, school districts with more than 30 students enrolled in 2004-05 for grades 4 and 8 ELA combined and whose combined three-year performance of the percentage of students with disabilities at levels 2, 3 or 4 on the 4th and 8th grade ELA and math assessments was significantly below the statewide average performance in two or more areas.

 

Target Category

Statewide Average for 2004-05

Significantly Below the Statewide Average

Grade 4 ELA percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

71.6%

53.7% or lower

Grade 4 Math percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

84.4%

63.3% or lower

Grade 8 ELA percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

70.8%

53.1% or lower

Grade 8 Math percent at levels 2, 3 and 4

57.7%

43.3% or lower

 

CRITERIA FOR REMOVAL AS A DESIGNATED SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

A school district’s performance and progress in relation to the State’s targets will be reviewed annually to determine whether a school district continues to meet the State’s criteria in a designated year.  A district will no longer be identified as a district in need of assistance or a district in need of intervention when it has made sufficient progress in relation to the criteria for identification. 

 

For the 2007-08 school year, the criteria for designation as a school district in need of assistance or as a school district in need of intervention based on graduation rate and/or drop out rate will be the same as the criteria used for the 2006-07 school year.  The 2007-08 school year criteria for performance on State ELA and math assessments will be modified based on revisions to the Performance Index and calculations of AYP to accommodate the combined results from grade 3 through grade 8 State testing program results in ELA and math.

 

DISTRICTS IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE

         

A designation of “In Need of Assistance” indicates that a school district requires technical assistance in order to improve performance.

 

For the 2006-07 school year, if a school district is designated as a district in need of assistance based on the above criteria, the State will take one or more of the following actions.  The determination of the district’s required actions will be based upon consistent statewide parameters and made by the Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) Regional Office in consultation with the District Superintendents and/or the school districts.  SEQA may make any one or more of the following determinations for a district in need of assistance:

 

DISTRICTS IN NEED OF INTERVENTION

 

A designation of “In Need of Intervention” means that a school district’s performance is so far below the target that it requires directed assistance or intervention in order to improve performance or compliance.

 

If a district is designated as a district in need of intervention based on the above criteria, the State will take one or more of the actions listed below.  The determination of the district’s required actions will be based upon consistent statewide parameters by SEQA in consultation with the District Superintendents and/or the school districts.

 

DISTRICTS IN NEED OF SUBSTANTIAL INTERVENTION

 

The State may designate a school district as “In Need of Substantial Intervention” under the following circumstances:

At any time the State determines that a school district needs substantial intervention, the State will take one or more of the following actions:

In addition to any of the actions identified for the three levels of intervention, the State may utilize any other authority available to it to enforce the requirements of IDEA.


 

[1] The statewide total cohort includes all students who first entered ninth grade anywhere in the 2001-02 school year (or for ungraded students with disabilities who reached their 17th birthday during the 2001-02 school year) and did not leave the State, transfer to nonpublic schools or die.