Special Services Report

To:  Michael Green
From:  Deb Kernen
Date:   April 29, 2010
Re:  May Special Ed Monthly Update-Special Ed Preschool Update

A few years back the federal government instituted a mandate that requires special education preschool programs to provide opportunities for developmentally delayed children to interact with typically developing peers (by 2010)  and that they show an increase in acquiring knowledge and skills.  The following are 2 out of the 20 Performance Indicators the state now audits our district on a yearly basis:

Indicator 6:  Percent of preschool children with IEPs who received special education and related services in settings with typically developing peers (e.g., early childhood settings, home, and part-time early childhood/part-time early childhood special education settings).

Indicator 7:  Percent of preschool children with IEPs who demonstrate improved:

A.      Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);

B.      Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/ communication and early literacy); and

C.      Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

Last spring we came up with a creative solution to meet the inclusion requirement:  As you may recall....we offered 4 slots to district employees to have their 3-5 year olds participate in our special education preschool afternoon program.  This year we have had the same 4 children in our program with district employees that have felt very comforted their preschoolers are in good hands at no cost to them.  Three of the four will be moving into kindergarten this next year and we've already filled the slots with a new group to begin next school year.    We have seen such positive benefits occur with this model.  Our special education preschoolers have shown dramatic increases in their attending behavior which has allowed the instructional program to become focused on the important early learning behaviors/instruction, such as listening during story time or calendar time, following directions and pre-academic learning.  The language enriched modeling and appropriate play behaviors of the typically developing children has been so impacting in improving our special education preschoolers development. 

This year we also instituted a 1 hour/2 day a week visitation schedule for our students to join the Woodland Co-Op program on our campus.  This has allowed our students to spend some additional time with a larger group of their peers and have some great experiences.  These options help us meet Indicator 6 mentioned above.

This year I wrote and received $1,000 preschool mini- grant to purchase a research-based curriculum that included a three day training option for certified and classified staff.  We have purchased the curriculum and training and have found it has streamlined the preschool staff time in material prep and provided researched based instruction that is based on state early childhood standards.  This change will help us meet Indicator 7 mentioned above. 

Our special education preschool numbers have been on the decline for the last eight years.  We've noticed a much larger percentage of our Progress Center children exiting the program and not in need of 3-5 year special education services.  This is a positive trend for our community.