Somerset County School District

IMPORTANT BUDGET MEETINGS-     On May 29 at 9 AM there will be a special Board of Education meeting to submit the superintendent's proposed budget. We will review the budget and have about a 20 minute meeting. On June 27 at 9 AM the Board will meet again in an open meeting to adopt the budget for the year.
Special Education » 2018-2019 Special Education Staffing Plan for Somerset County Public Schools

2018-2019 Special Education Staffing Plan for Somerset County Public Schools

SOMERSET COUNTY

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

 

 

 

                           

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION STAFFING PLAN

 

2018 - 2019

 

 

 

Approved August 21, 2018

SOMERSET COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SPECIAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

STAFFING PLAN 2018-2019

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Introduction                                                                                                       3

 

Assurance                                                                                                         4

 

Evidence of Public Input and Administration                                         5

 

Budget Input Timeline                                                                                    5

 

Evidence of Maintenance of Effort, Consistent with

     20 USC 413 (A) (2) and COMAR 13A.02.05                                         6

 

Staffing Patterns of Service Providers                                                     6

 

Number and Type of Service Providers                                                   8

 

Special Education and Related Service Descriptions                       10

 

Staffing Recommendations                                                                       15

 

Process for Monitoring Caseloads to Ensure                                           

   Implementation of IEPs and to Address Staffing

   Concerns                                                                                                     15

 

Professional Development                                                                         18

 

Evaluation of the Local Staffing Plan for Effectiveness                    18

 

Attachment A                                                                                                 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOMERSET COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SPECIAL EDUCATION STAFFING PLAN

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            The mission of Somerset County Public Schools (SCPS) is to provide all students with an equitable opportunity to develop their abilities to their fullest potential and to obtain the knowledge, skills and values needed to succeed in a global society. Somerset County Public Schools is committed to unite the best efforts of school system employees, students, parents, and community members to achieve this goal.

 

            Somerset County Public Schools has established an inclusive special education program to ensure that all students with disabilities, birth through the age of 21, residing in the jurisdiction of Somerset County, whose disabling conditions adversely affect their educational performance, receive special education and related services in compliance with all federal and state regulations governing the educational programming of students with disabilities.

 

            Somerset County Public Schools provides students with disabilities with access to educational services provided by highly qualified personnel and to resources necessary to ensure a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, as determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) Team. IEPs are the educational roadmap for students with special needs. School teams in partnership with families develop IEPs based on diagnostic assessments and identified needs. The plan includes goals and objectives, services needed to implement the plan and a statement of how and where the plan will be implemented. Staffing becomes crucial in assuring implementation of IEPs throughout the school system.

 

            Somerset County Public Schools plan and implement systemic school improvement efforts and activities. The delivery of special education instruction and related services is an integral part of school improvement planning and instructional activities. In making decisions about special education services, school teams should be aware of the responsibility to consider each student’s needs and the supports and services necessary to provide access to and meaningful participation in general education settings and programs. A key element in the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities is the availability of appropriately trained personnel to implement each student’s IEP and access to appropriate and timely staff development to support special education and general education staff working with students with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

The Somerset County Public Schools’ Staffing Plan is a vehicle to ensure the appropriate personnel are available to deliver the services required to fully implement IEPs. Professional development for school personnel and others in the district will address the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), as well as, ongoing activities to promote understanding and implementation of instructional best practices.

 

            On an annual basis the school system must prepare a staffing plan that delineates how special education staff is assigned to schools. This plan discusses the sources of data, the sources of input and the procedures used to determine the numbers and types of service providers needed in order to provide FAPE, as specified by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR).

 

 

 

ASSURANCE

 

            The Somerset County Public Schools’ Staffing Plan is submitted consistent with procedures outlined by the Maryland State Department of Education for the purpose of ensuring that FAPE is provided for all students with disabilities. The staffing plan includes:

 

  • Evidence of public input

 

  • Evidence of maintenance of effort within the meaning of 34 CFR 300.231, Maintenance of Effort and COMAR 13A.02.05, Maintenance of Effort

 

  • Staffing patterns of service providers of special education and related services, including paraprofessionals

 

  • The number and type of service providers needed to provide FAPE to each student with a disability in the least restrictive environment (LRE)

 

  • How the public agency will use the staffing plan to monitor the assignment of personnel to ensure personnel and other resources are available to provide FAPE for each student with a disability in the LRE

 

  • The number of current vacancies by positions reported within the jurisdiction and how FAPE is provided when vacancies occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVIDENCE OF PUBLIC INPUT AND ADMINISTRATION

 

            The Special Education Staff and Administration of Somerset County Public Schools have been working diligently throughout the 2017-2018 school year to involve parents and the public. A local Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC) was developed in September 2003 to advise the local school system on the needs of students with disabilities within the jurisdiction and continues to meet quarterly.

 

            Public input into the plan is sought annually prior to submission of a staffing plan to the Board of Education for approval. Input is obtained through meetings with key staff members at individual schools to review caseload projections and staffing needs, public participation at budget meetings, and dissemination of a survey to all parents and staff for providing comments and input provide sources of information for the Special Education Staffing Plan. Parental input included the following concerns:

 

  1. Adequate numbers of staff, including instructional assistants, at their child’s school,
  2. Supply of necessary materials, and
  3. Appropriate equipment to meet their child’s need(s).All comments were considered by the Board of Education of Somerset County Public Schools and incorporated in the county’s budget, as appropriate. Additionally, the Office of the Superintendent provides notification of the Budget Approval Schedule to the community. The Annual Calendar is sent in September to each parent of students in Somerset County Public Schools. The calendar includes the dates that the Board of Education meets and offers public hearing and work sessions regarding the operating budget. These public meetings are also advertised in the local newspaper and through the Somerset County Public Schools ConnectED telecommunication service. Additionally, other public input is received through a survey on the Somerset County Public Schools website distributed to school administrators, special education teachers, general education teachers, parents, and community partners/agencies. The Staffing Plan is presented to the Board of Education at a regular board meeting.BUDGET INPUT TIMELINE
  4.                                                                                    
  5.  
  6.  
  7.  

Nov. 2017 – Jan. 2018

Individual School Team Meetings to review Special Education caseloads/staffing/projections

February 20, 2018

Public Budget Input Session

April 23, 2018

1st Open Board of Ed. FY19 Budget Work Session

June 5, 2018

2nd Open BOE FY19 Budget Work Session

June 19, 2018

Superintendent FY19 Budget Presentation to the Board of Education

July 17, 2018 (anticipated)

BOE Adopts FY19 Budget

 

      

EVIDENCE OF MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT,

CONSISTENT WITH

20 USC § 413 (A)(2) AND COMAR 13A.02.05

 

            The Finance Officer and the Special Education Department work collaboratively to ensure that Part B funds are used to supplement and increase special education services to students with disabilities and are not used to displace state or local funds.

 

            These two offices also ensure that local and state funds expended for the current year are at least equal to or greater than those of the most recent year for which expenditure reports are available.

 

            In considering the question of maintenance of effort, the following is included for consideration:

 

State and local costs for special education – FY 2014 – $4,625,156

State and local costs for special education – FY 2015 – $4,887,985

State and local costs for special education – FY 2016 – $5,227,517

State and local costs for special education – FY 2017 – $4,791,827

State and local costs for special education – FY 2018 – $5,170,087

State and local costs for special education – FY 2019 – $5,508,275

                                                                                                                      (Budgeted)

 

 

STAFFING PATTERNS OF SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

            Somerset County Public Schools strive to motivate and challenge students to attain educational excellence. The administration and staff believe that each student can achieve regardless of ability. It is the responsibility of Somerset County Public Schools to provide appropriate learning experiences that motivate and challenge, recognize and understand the unique nature of each student, promote the worth and dignity of each student, and strive for the educational success of every student, by providing learning activities which will guide the student toward fulfillment of his/her potential. Students who are identified as having a need for special education and related services are an integral part of this commitment that is incorporated in the Master Plan, including the budgetary component.

 

            The Special Education Department communicates with and contributes to the various programs and departments within the local school system and individual schools. Teachers are involved in grade level meetings and instructional training and are members of the School Improvement Team and Learning Support Team at the individual school level. Special Education
administration participates in all Central Office and Administration/Supervisors meetings. There is also a close partnership between Student Services and the Instructional departments with Special Education.

 

            It is essential that the result of the development of the IEP ensures the student’s placement in the LRE; the placement where the student with disabilities participates with students who do not have disabilities, in all facets of the school program, to the maximum extent appropriate. Somerset County Public Schools is committed to providing an educational program for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment that will provide for the appropriate implementation of their IEP.

 

            Somerset County Public Schools makes every effort to provide supplementary aides and services, including inclusion services, resource rooms, and itinerant instruction to be provided in conjunction with general education instruction, as well as provisions for instruction in special classes, home/hospital teaching, and educational instruction in other institutions and detention centers. Somerset County Public Schools provides services to students with disabilities in their home school or as close to their home school as possible. Based on levels of incidence, regional or countywide programs may be necessary on a limited basis. The need for such programs will be reviewed on at least an annual basis and adjustments made as necessary. The Special Education Supervisor is responsible for ensuring the availability of services.

 

            As part of the development of the IEP, the IEP Team, in cooperation with the building administrator, ensures that all students with disabilities have access to a variety of educational programs and services available to students without disabilities in the building, including: art, music, career education, technology education, and nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities. All available activities are considered when addressing accommodations and supplementary aids and services in conjunction with the needs, interests, and requirements of the individual student. These activities are also considered as part of the process of placement in the least restrictive environment.

 

            In providing a full range of educational opportunities to each student based upon individual interests and needs, Somerset County Public Schools, in an effort to ensure these opportunities are offered in the least restrictive environment, incorporates a variety of instructional approaches within its curriculum. One such approach is team teaching. Team teaching is unique to the individuals that comprise the team. The partners must work together to develop methods that are most effective for them. Responsibilities may be shared or delegated but should always be interchanged on an equitable basis between regular and special education teachers. Various models of co-teaching are also implemented in the classroom, such as the concepts of Tag Team Teaching, Shadow Teaching, and Parallel Groups.

 

 

Collaboration with general education, linkages to school improvement plans, and school-wide initiatives are all considered when preparing the staffing plan. As required by IDEA, whatever programming is appropriate to meet student needs, as identified on an IEP, will be part of the continuum of services offered by Somerset County Public Schools.

 

 

NUMBER AND TYPE OF SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

            Somerset County Public Schools uses a formula model to assign staff to individual schools. The formula model includes consideration of a number of factors beyond the provision of direct/indirect services to students with disabilities, including:

 

  • Planning time, both individual and collaborative with co-teachers, paraprofessionals, and related service providers;
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  • Data collection, observation, and assessment;
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  • Consultation;

 

  • Development and implementation of instructional accommodations and modifications;
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  • Parent input;

 

  • Case management;
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  • Monitoring and communication with outside agencies, as necessary; and
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  • Travel time, as appropriate.The following underlying principles are an integral part of the approach.
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  •  
    1. The services and supports described in a student’s IEP are crucial in determining reasonable caseloads.
    2.  
    3. There must be flexibility to allow for changes in student needs, local decision-making, cost effectiveness, and unexpected situations which may arise throughout the year.
    4.  
    5. There must be compliance with federal and state special education rules, regulations and policies, including maintaining a continuum of services and serving students in the least restrictive environment appropriate to meeting their needs.
    6.  
    7. The focus must be on providing for the services and supports a student needs to be successful, rather than based on disability label or severity of disability.Based on individual needs of students with disabilities, plans may require a range of educational supports (curriculum modifications and adaptations, instruction, and social/emotional services). Factors in determining caseload and staffing needs include case management and instructional and related service responsibilities.
    8.  
    9.  
  1. Case Management
    1. Basic Case Management – This includes basic required services provided to all students with disabilities qualified to receive special education services as listed below:
    2.  
  2.  
  1. IEP meetings,
  2. Student observations,
  3. Assessment & report,
  4. Functional Behavioral Assessment,
  5. Behavioral Intervention Plan,
  6. Parent Communications,
  7. Monitoring and evaluating student progress,
  8. Instructional planning (curricular adaptations, modifications, and materials
  9. Supervision of paraprofessionals,
  10. Contact documentation,
  11. Documentation for Medical Assistance reimbursable activities
  12. Provisions of support to other professional on behalf of the student,
  13. Collaborative planning and instruction with one or more general education partners and/or related service providers,
  14. Travel time.
  15.  
    1. Extensive Case Management – In addition to the basic services, there are times when a student requires more extensive involvement of professional staff to ensure appropriate delivery of special education or related services. This may be needed if a student requires coordinated input of a variety of special education and related services staff, as well as the general education teacher(s). The staffing plan will include consideration of the following:
    2.  
  1. Collaborative and intensive planning,
  2. Supervision of support personnel, if assigned to assist with IEP implementation,
  3.  
  4. Interagency coordination,
  5. Additional monitoring and communication with home and other agencies, and
  6. Instructional/support strategies.
  7.  
  1. Instructional and Related ServicesIn addition to case management, students eligible for special education may receive instruction and related services that are specially designed for them. The factors considered include the amount of time specified for provision of direct and indirect service delivery and the location and frequency of services.The continuum of services includes the following considerations:
  2.  
  3.  
  4.  
  • The provision of accommodations and modifications to the general education environment and program, including modification and adaptation of curriculum, instructional techniques, strategies, and instructional materials;
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  • The provision of specially designed instruction and related services through cooperative efforts of special and general education teachers in the general education classroom;
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  • The provision of specially designed instruction on a limited basis by the special education teacher in the general education classroom, or in an environment other than the general education classroom, including consultation with general educators; and
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  • The provision of specially designed instruction to eligible individuals in a special education setting for part or all of the day.   
  • Somerset County Public Schools provides a continuum of special education instruction and services to students with disabilities. The Special Education Department’s goals are to provide:
  • SPECIAL EDUCATION AND RELATED SERVICE DESCRIPTIONS
  •  
  • special education instruction in the least restrictive environment
  • according to the student’s IEP,
  • screening and assessment services,
  • consultation and supports to special and general education teachers in instructional techniques,
  • behavioral interventions, 
  •  
  • assistive technologies,
  • professional development,
  • inclusive practices,
  • co-teaching, and
  • development of IEPs.Special education services and related services are provided in all schools in Somerset County Public Schools. Students with disabilities have access to all extracurricular activities. 
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Service

 

Service Description/Location

 

Resource Services

 

Resource services are designed to promote achievement in the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. Students within this model are working toward earning a Maryland High School diploma, participate in the general education assessment program, and receive these services in a setting with their typical age peers to the greatest extent possible.

Comprehensive Primary Services

Elementary-age students with disabilities in comprehensive classes have structured learning opportunities that incorporate specific interventions addressing both academic and functional educational skills. Some services may be provided in the regular education classroom to the maximum extent possible with an emphasis on meaningful inclusion. The goal of this service is to facilitate the student’s integration into the school environment and the community. Students with disabilities have access to all extracurricular activities. Typically, these services are provided in the home school.

Preschool Services

Preschool services are available to serve students who are age three to five who have a disability or a developmental delay. Services are provided according to the IEP in a variety of settings. Three-year-old children with disabilities may be served in a school-based classroom, in their home, or in a community preschool program. Four-year-old students with disabilities receive their special education and related services in Pre-K classrooms with their typically developing peers or in a community-based preschool program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive Secondary Services

Comprehensive secondary services, (i.e. Life Skills classes), provide services to students who are working toward a certificate and need independent living skills, transition planning, functional academics, and vocational skills. Services are provided in accordance with the IEP in either small, structured instruction settings or in the general education classroom, as appropriate. The focus is on developing and honing the job readiness skills that are needed to be successful in the world of work. Students with disabilities have access to all extracurricular activities. Typically, these services are provided in the home school.

Programs for Students with Emotional Disabilities

The majority of students with an emotional disability receive their services in their home schools, but some receive services at the Somerset Transition Program. The goal of these programs is to provide the student with academic and behavioral supports in order to assist the student with skills that would enable them to return to their home school.

Early Intervention Services (EIS)

The Somerset County Infants and Toddlers Program is a multidisciplinary, interagency program that provides services to infants, toddlers, and their families through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). This program serves children age birth to three years of age who have developmental delays or who are at-risk for a developmental delay. The infants and toddlers receive their services in natural environments (i.e., the child’s home, childcare settings, or community-based settings) on a year-round basis. Early intervention services are designed to address needs in the areas of physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, or adaptive development. If children are eligible for special education services at age 3, families may choose to continue receiving early intervention services through an Extended IFSP until age 4 (Pre-K eligible).

Alternative Learning Center

The Somerset Promise Academy is a specially-designed learning center for students with behavioral concerns. The special education teacher in the Alternative Learning Center provides direct support for students with disabilities and collaborates with the student’s home school.

Partners for Success

The purpose of the center is to provide a resource that will enable families of children and youth, birth to 21 years (including those with disabilities), and professionals to function as equal partners in the educational decision-making process and to assist families in accessing services for their child. A parent partner and an educational specialist coordinate the activities of this program.

 

 

 

 

 

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology equipment and materials are provided for students as described in their IEP. Assessment and evaluation of individual student needs are provided by appropriate related service providers or are contracted with outside agencies and/or individuals who are qualified examiners.

Transition Services

Transition planning is a mandated part of the IEP process for each student with a disability, starting when the student turns fourteen years of age. Transition services are carefully coordinated to assist the student as they move from school to post-school activities. School-based special education teachers work collaboratively with the transition specialist to implement the transition goals listed in the IEP.

Elementary and Secondary Resource Teachers

These teachers support special education staff by providing direct instruction to students, offering instructional support for regular education teachers, conducting evaluation and assessments of students suspected of having a disability, mentoring new special education teachers, assisting with professional development, and ensuring compliance with special education regulations.

School Psychology

School psychology services are provided to all students with disabilities. These services include, but are not limited to, observation and assessment, IEP and IFSP team participation, counseling, conducting functional behavior assessments, supporting the IEP team in developing appropriate behavioral intervention plans, providing consultation with staff and parents, and assisting with educational planning.

Speech Pathology

Speech-language pathologists provide services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. Services are provided to assist identified students to access the general education curriculum through learning effective communication skills.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists provide services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. Physical therapists work with students to facilitate normal movement for gross motor skills, to build accessibility, and to assist with the selection of adaptive equipment.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists provide services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. Occupational therapists assist students to improve fine motor, sensory motor, oral motor, and/or self- help skills.

 

 

Audiology

The audiologist provides services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. The audiologist’s services include: hearing screening, audiological assessment, hearing aid evaluations, support with assistive technologies, and consultation to staff and parents.

Teacher of Hearing Impaired

A teacher of the hearing impaired (part-time) provides services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. This teacher provides assessment, direct instruction, and consultative services.

Teacher of the Visually Impaired

A teacher of the visually impaired provides services to children identified through the Infants and Toddlers Program as well as to students identified as having a disability through the special education process. These teachers, provides assessment, direct instruction, and consultative services. Services also include the use of assistive technologies as well as orientation and mobility instruction.

Interpreter

An interpreter is provided to a student who is deaf to facilitate instruction and communication between the student, the teaching staff, and the student’s peers.

Resource Instructional Assistants (Paraprofessionals)

These staff members work under the direction of special education teachers to assist with providing instruction and support to students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

Comprehensive Instructional Assistants (Paraprofessionals)

These staff members assist students with disabilities who have more intensive cognitive, medical, emotional, and/or physical disabilities. These staff members work under the direction of special education teachers to assist with providing instruction and support to students with disabilities in the comprehensive classrooms.

IEP Aide (Temporary Support Person)

These staff members are hired on an as needed basis, as determined by the IEP team to provide assistance to students in general education and comprehensive classrooms, allowing a student to access the educational curriculum in the least restrictive environment.

Supervisor of Special Education

The Supervisor of Special Education oversees all special education services and programs, including the Infants and Toddlers Program, to ensure that these programs meet compliance with the state and federal laws and regulations. The supervisor monitors and evaluates special education services, develops and maintains budgets, observes special education staff, works collaboratively with general education staff, provides professional development, and is responsible for the overall functioning of services to students with disabilities.

Coordinator of Special Education

The coordinator assists the Supervisor of Special Education with all special education services and programs to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.

Clerical Staff

 

Two part-time positions currently assist with the day to day operation of the special education department at the Central Office. In addition, each school has access to an IEP Clerk that helps to schedule IEP meetings and record minutes for the IEP team meetings.

 

 

STAFFING RECOMMENDATIONS

 

            Attachment A displays the number and type of service providers necessary to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to FAPE ensuring that each student’s unique needs are met through special education and related services.

 

Attachment A also shows the need for instructional assistants and individualized services based upon student need, as well as accounts for the IEP driven services, except administration and clerical support. Partnerships with outside agencies, such as Eastern Shore Psychological Services and Chesapeake Health Services additionally provide mental health services based on student need.

 

PROCESS FOR MONITORING CASELOADS TO ENSURE IMPLEMENTATION OF IEP TO ADDRESS CONCERNS/ADJUSTMENTS

 

            The caseload of special education teachers is monitored on an ongoing basis in each building by the school special education team, in cooperation with the building principal and the Supervisor of Special Education.

 

            Several methods are used to determine staffing needs. Caseloads of special education staff in each school are formally reviewed twice annually (December and April). However, there is continuous monitoring of the caseloads of special education teachers and related service providers to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education and to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Specific data reviewed includes Special Services Information System (SSIS) data submissions; instructional assignments; individual staff schedules; service hours per special education student; projected number of referrals; administrative time required per staff member regarding testing, meetings, travel, paper documentation and the severity of disabilities; and behavior and emotional issues of students. Adjustments and staffing needs which may be indicated from this review are discussed with each principal for consideration in staffing and budgeting formation. The reassignment of staff or the hiring of personnel to address concerns or changing needs is utilized.

 

            Despite efforts to ensure that all positions are filled, a vacancy may occur due to emergency or medical leave, childcare leave, or a lack of available, qualified personnel. Vacancies of this type most often occur in the areas of speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy. In most instances, there is resolution by securing contractual services, providing coverage with substitute, temporary personnel, or redistribution of existing staff, as appropriate. Parent notification is provided, if such occurs, and make-up services are provided, if necessary, due to any missed IEP services.

 

            Instructional collaboration between special and general educators is implemented to ensure that all students have access to and receive instruction in the general education curriculum. The general classroom teacher contributes in team planning, participates in IEP meetings and development, assists special education in understanding the regular education curriculum, and shares in developing and implementing adaptive teaching methods. The responsibilities of the general educator, in collaboration with the special education teacher, is to provide instruction; write lesson plans; correct papers; make adaptive materials; create classroom environments; manage physical environments (seating, room arrangements); and manage behavior, classroom rules/consequences and homework. They provide direct instruction to all students in the classroom, including special education students. The collaboration with special education staff provides opportunities for adjustments as needed.

 

Special educators and general educators work collaboratively to provide appropriate instruction for students with disabilities. Instruction can be delivered to students with disabilities by the general education teacher with the special education teacher providing consultation or modification of materials. Co-teaching is also utilized to provide services to students with disabilities. This model allows for general education and special education to share the responsibility of instruction whether students are receiving large group or small group instruction. Professional development activities are provided to staff through the special education department as well as through each school’s school improvement planning process. To ensure all students are able to access the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible, special education staff is included in countywide professional development opportunities, as well as training specific to students with disabilities and special education issues. A needs assessment is conducted of special education teachers, related service providers, and administrators to acquire input regarding professional development needs.

 

As students’ IEPs are developed throughout the school year, changes may occur in the staff plan in order to implement the IEPs. The Supervisor of Special Education coordinates with building administrators to make any adjustments to the staffing plan that are needed to address the students’ needs. If changes cannot be made at the school level to address the staffing concern, then the Supervisor of Special Education, with the approval of the Assistant Superintendent, may request a temporary employee; that is an additional teacher or paraprofessional from the local school budget or request an additional teacher or paraprofessional from the federal budget. If the staff changes needed cannot be funded by the federal or local budget, then the request is submitted to the Director of Finance who takes the request to the Board of Education for approval.

 

As of July, 2018, there are seven vacancies in special education; one Coordinator of Special Education, one part-time teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, two special educators, two job coaches, and one occupational therapist. Recruiting is currently taking place and it is hoped that the positions will be filled before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

 

In order to fill any unoccupied position, the Supervisor of Special Education works with Human Resources or contracting agencies to fill the vacancy until a permanent employee can be hired by Somerset County Public Schools. If a vacancy occurs in a teaching position, a long-term substitute is hired. Substitutes are hired when instructional assistants or physical management support staff is absent in order to insure that student’s needs, as identified on the IEP, are addressed. Parent notification is provided if staff changes occur and make-up services are provided, if necessary, due to any missed IEP services.

 

As a part of the process for monitoring caseloads, the following will be done throughout the school year:

 

 

September

Special education staff is asked to update caseload information charts that are generated from the Maryland Online IEP system (MD OIEP) and send this information to the Department of Special Education at the Board of Education. The caseload data is reviewed by the Department of Special Education and, if required, changes are made, as appropriate, to address changes in caseloads.

October

Caseload lists are resubmitted and then reviewed by the Department of Special Education prior to the October child count. Information on the caseload lists includes annual review dates and evaluation review dates.

December

Special education staff is asked to update caseload information charts that are generated from the MD OIEP and send this information to the Special Education Supervisor. The caseload data is reviewed by the Department of Special Education and, if required, changes are made as appropriate to address changes in caseloads.

January

The Department of Special Education reviews MD OIEP school numbers and determines projected staffing needs in preparation for the development of the upcoming fiscal year’s staffing plan. Plans are made to meet with building principals regarding their staffing needs prior to the writing of the staffing plan.

March

Special education staff is asked to update caseload information charts that are generated from the MD OIEP. The caseload data is reviewed by the Department of Special Education and, if required, changes are made as appropriate to address changes in caseloads.

April

The staffing plan is prepared and submitted to the Board of Education for review. A list of students transitioning from 5th and 8th grades is compiled by case managers in preparation for team planning meetings.

May/June

The staffing plan is presented to the Board of Education at their monthly meeting for approval. The Department of Special Education continues to address and make changes at individual schools.  Anticipated graduating student lists are sent to the Special Education Supervisor, indicating whether the student is a certificate or diploma candidate, along with status and graduation date verified.

 

 

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

            Somerset County Public Schools provides professional development opportunities for both special and general education teachers. Providing teachers with the skills and resources necessary to meet the diverse needs of students is critical in achieving adequate yearly progress and in recruiting and retraining highly qualified teachers. A needs assessment is conducted of special education teachers, related service providers, and administrators to acquire input regarding professional development needs. To ensure all students are able to access the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible, special education staff is included in countywide professional development opportunities, as well as training specific to students with disabilities and special education issues.

 

            A systemic professional development plan has been adopted over the next three years to address the topics of Universal Design for Learning and co-teaching across all grade and content levels as well as inclusion for early childhood. All of these topics will include general education and special education teachers as well as planned follow-up throughout the school year.

 

 

EVALUATION OF THE LOCAL STAFFING PLAN

FOR EFFECTIVENESS

 

            The results of the on-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the FY 2019 Staffing Plan indicates that Somerset County Public Schools is meeting the needs of the special education students by ensuring the implementation of IEPs, addressing the concern of personnel and parents, and adjusting staffing to address changing needs so that each student receives a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Further evidence of effectiveness is found in examining the MSDE’s data, through the observation of staff, and in reviewing the findings of monitoring and audits by MSDE. In addition, no mediation or due process hearings were held with MSDE.

           

One change to the 2019 Staffing Plan includes making adjustments to staffing in several schools due to changes in caseloads and overall student needs.

 

It is anticipated that several priority issues will continue to be addressed, including:

 

  • recruiting and retaining staff,
  • ensuring LRE is consistently addressed and appropriately determined,
  • providing professional development that addresses our students current disabilities and needs,
  • incorporating professional development opportunities within staff schedules,
  • ensuring IEPs are aligned with the Maryland Core Curriculum,
  • ensuring students with disabilities have access to the general curriculum,
  • meeting staff requirements for “highly qualified” special educators and instructional assistants,
  • ensuring the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and
  • ensuring that related services are delivered in accordance with the student’s IEP.

 

            The on-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the FY 2019 Staffing Plan will include reviewing Maryland State Department of Education data, surveys, monitoring, observations, compliance in the implementation of IEP services, the number of formal and informal parent complaints and due process hearings, and the Master Plan. The Supervisor of Special Education is responsible for the evaluation of the FY 2019 Staffing Plan in May 2019.

 

            The on-going evaluation of the Staffing Plan for effectiveness includes the following considerations:

 

  • We do not anticipate the hiring of short-term and long-term substitutes because of inability to employ staff.
      • Students at this time will not need to be moved to other classrooms or other schools due to unavailability of staff.
      • Sufficient time is included to provide educators, related service providers and others the ability to consult with each other and with families through scheduled meetings, parent conferences, IEP meetings, and Learning Support Team Meetings.
      • The Special Education Advisory Committee (SECAC) meets quarterly to advise Somerset County Public Schools on the needs of students with disabilities.
      • The Central Office Staff meet on a monthly and as needed basis.
  • Administrators and Supervisors’ Meeting is held once a month which includes Central Office Staff and Building Principals.

 

  

 

 

 

 

Attachment A

 

PROJECTIONS FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2018-2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resource/Speech

(LRE A)

WES

DIS

GES

PAES

SIS

WHS

CHS

ALT Program

TOTAL

TOTAL

68

21

72

34

62

97

32

 

386

# SLP Cases Managed

13

6

10

20

5

2

0

 

56

# Teachers Cases Managed

55

15

62

14

57

95

32

 

330

# Teachers

4

1

4

2

4

6

3

 

24

# Paras

1

1

1

1

2

1

1

 

8

# 1-1's

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

 

3

TEACHER RATIO

13.75

15.00

15.5

7.00

14.25

15.83

10.67

 

13.75

STAFF RATIO (does not include 1-1's)

11.00

7.50

12.4

4.67

9.50

13.57

8.00

 

9.03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELF CONTAINED

(LRE B & C)

WES

DIS

GES

PAES

SIS

WHS

CHS

ALT Program

TOTAL

# Students

12

0

11

13

10

25

19

18

108

# Teachers

1

0

2

1

1

2

2

2.5

11.5

# Paras

3

0

2

2

2

3

2

1

15

# 1-1's

3

0

1

0

0

3

2

0

9

# Nurses

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

TEACHER RATIO

12.00

0.00

5.50

13.00

10.00

12.50

9.50

7.20

9.39

STAFF RATIO (does not include 1-1's)

3.00

 

2.75

4.33

3.33

5.00

4.75

5.14

3.96

 

.