At a Glance
Beaver County Career & Technology Center administrators and staff created and implemented a Special Education Communication Protocol that addresses CTE and Local Education Agency responsibilities to ensure that students with IEPs or 504 plans receive the necessary services to succeed.
The staff at Beaver County Career & Technology Center (BCCTC) developed a comprehensive plan to improve Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) services. The plan documents a protocol of recruitment, placement and support for special population students.
Components of the plan address policies and practices to ensure:
- Students are placed in programs in which they are likely to succeed;
- There is necessary staffing as stated in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to help deliver and support instruction;
- Ongoing reviews of student needs and supports are conducted; and
- Student progress is documented.
The thorough plan called for a number of changes to be made in how support services are provided. Some of the most significant requirements outlined in the plan, include:
- The school now employs a full-time special education certified Learning Facilitator and 10 full-time and two half-time paraprofessional staff to support CTE students.
- All CTE paraprofessional staff must be trained in special education procedures and practices and assigned to support special education students within programs. (Their first responsibility is special education.)
- All CTE instructors must be trained in special education procedures and practices.
- The Career School Counselor conducts yearly CTE recruitment presentations at the sending districts, and district students attend half-day visits to the CTC to learn about the programs.
- Districts must provide the CTC with access to student IEPs on IEPWriter in order for the CTC to maintain updated confidential files.
- The CTC Learning Facilitator and staff from each sending school will meet to review incoming student IEPs and student needs at the beginning of each school year. IEP meetings requested by the CTC are held there to allow more CTC staff to attend and provide first-hand information to the IEP team.
- IEP teams must document accommodations to be provided for NOCTI testing in the first IEP developed after the students enrollment in the CTC.
- A representative from the Local Educational Agency (LEA) will make scheduled visits to the CTC to meet with the Learning Facilitator to review student progress and attendance.
Origin / Implementation
BCCTC serves 595 students, 246 of whom have IEPs and an additional 31 of whom are under 504 service agreements. Given that 47 percent of the student population is eligible for support services, CTE, District and State officials recognized the need to formulate a comprehensive protocol that details the responsibilities and practices needed to improve student support services.
BCCTC staff used the Technical Centers That Work (TCTW) Key Practices as a guide to develop a plan that would improve services to students beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Specifically, the plan authors focused on five TCTW key practices: Extra Help and Transitions, Guidance, Culture of Continuous Improvement, Teachers Working Together and Challenging Academic Subjects.
Several key players helped create the plan, including PDE staff, Beaver County Special Education Contacts, Beaver County Transition Coordinators, and the BCCTC Principal and Learning Facilitator, as well as members of the BCCTC Staff.
Once the plan was developed, it was presented to BCCTC staff members, special education administrators, transition coordinators, and guidance counselors. It also is available to them as a written document.
The plan was communicated to LEA administrators, transition coordinators, guidance counselors, and CTC staff using a PowerPoint presentation. It is also available as a written document.
Results / Impact
The administration reports several positive outcomes as a result of creating and implementing the Special Education Communication Protocol. Overall, there is improved documentation of responsibilities, student / staff assignments, student progress, and intervention services.
There also is better communication between CTE and district personnel on issues related to serving special population students. There is a single point of contact for all communications between the CTC and the district. The CTC receives student IEPs and forms from the district prior to students enrolling. District staff members regularly visit the CTC to monitor student progress and then disseminate this information to all special education staff in the district including the Director. This allows for supports to be implemented as needed.
Finally, the administration has observed fewer withdrawals and program changes, and attributes this to better placement practices.