At its meeting last Tuesday, April 26, the School Committee announced the formation of three special education study committees, in response to a special education report created last December.
However, the administration has raised concerns that staffing numbers were inaccurate in Special Education Departments throughout the Lexington Public Schools.
“We cannot establish a high-performing special education team unless we bring together all of the stakeholders and establish a common vision,” Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash wrote in a letter to the School Committee.
The three committees will address eligibility and disability, service delivery and district-wide programs.
The Eligibility and Disability Type committee is charged with exploring what criteria the special education team needs in order to answer questions on an eligibility flow chart. The Service Delivery committee will look into who the type, frequency, duration, group size and location of services are determined for eligible students. And, finally, the District-wide Programs group will look at when and how it is determined that a student needs to be placed into a district-wide program.
“We are going to take time for an internal review to see how our schools can function better,” Ash said during the meeting, “And how to support struggling students.”
Specific questions mentioned in the School Committee's draft of the Special Education Study Committees included what steps should be taken by the general education team prior to special education referral; what are indicators that a student require special education service, and what should the special education team be required to consider before transitioning a student from the program.
“We need to establish criteria across a district-wide basis,” said Linda Chase, director of student services. “This is the purpose of this study.”
By mid-May, volunteers throughout Lexington Public School's administration will be assigned to the Special Education Study Committees. And, although no timetable has been set, these committees will function after the school year ends.