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Bowser Administration Announces Winners of the Special Education Enhancement Fund Competitive Grant, Cohort 2

Monday, September 10, 2018
Six new grantees will use research-based strategies to help students with disabilities

Media contact: Fred Lewis, [email protected]; (202) 412-2167

The Bowser Administration today announced the winners of $2 million in Special Education Enhancement Fund (SEEF) cohort 2 competitive grants, administered by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), that will help public schools in six DC local education agencies (LEAs) improve their capacity to serve and improve educational outcomes for more than 800 students with disabilities they serve.

The seven LEAs awarded SEEF competitive grants are:

  • Bridges Public Charter School (PCS), in partnership with Briya PCS (Ward 5; $385,737.45)
  • DC Prep PCS (Wards 5, 7, and 8; $385,737.45)
  • Eagle Academy PCS (Wards 6 and 8; $385,737.45)
  • E.L. Haynes PCS (Wards 1 and 4; $ 385,737.45)
  • Meridian PCS (Ward 1; $225,607.73)
  • Monument PCS (Ward 6; $231,442.47)

“Although District students overall have been improving on tests, we need to do more to close achievement gaps for our students with disabilities,” said Mayor Bowser. “The SEEF competitive grant will help schools use promising interventions to improve outcomes for our students with disabilities.”

The SEEF competitive grant is designed to support educational practices that will significantly improve academic outcomes, graduation rates, and postsecondary success for students with disabilities. Through an independent review process, OSSE prioritized awarding grants that:

  • Help educate students with disabilities in public schools in the least restrictive environment possible, in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
  • Develop partnerships between public schools, public charter schools, and/or to provide special education services and training;
  • Ensure that children with disabilities served in early intervention (IDEA Part C) receive a smooth and effective transition to special education (IDEA Part B) and support timely evaluation and services for children ages 3-6, with a focus on the beginning of the school year; and
  • Demonstrate the project’s ability to improve graduation, secondary transition, and post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities.

SEEF competitive grant winners were selected by an independent review panel for proposing innovative strategies that are most likely to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, such as implementation of research-based curricula; intensive academic and behavioral interventions for students with high needs; high-quality special education professional development for educators and administrators; the expanded use of educational technology; targeted data analysis; and robust staffing and planning to support a full continuum of services. Project summaries from the winning competitive grant applications can be found below.

In October 2017, the Bowser Administration awarded $1.5 million to six grantees in the SEEF competition, cohort 1 to implement research-based strategies to dramatically improve outcomes for students with disabilities. OSSE will provide SEEF competitive grant fiscal year 2018 (FY18) winners (cohort 1) with continuation funding in FY19, depending on completion of grant goals and spending funds appropriately in the first year of their grant.

Additional OSSE Grant Opportunities: For information on upcoming competitive and formula grant opportunities, visit OSSE’s Grants Forecast webpage, which is updated regularly.

Background

SEEF Formula Grant, FY18: To help plan for implementing the Enhanced Special Education Services Act of 2014, in fiscal year 2018 (FY18) OSSE made more than $3.7 million available to LEAs to 55 LEAs (including over $2 million to DC Public Schools) in October 2017 through the SEEF Formula grant. The SEEF Formula grant provided one-year planning grants to meet the requirements of the Enhanced Special Education Services Act of 2014, which shortens the timeline for evaluating students with disabilities, and lowers the age for developing secondary transition plans for students with disabilities from age 16 to 14.

The latest version of Mayor Bowser’s DC FY19 Budget Support Act (BSA) increases the uniform per student funding formula (UPSFF) special education compliance weight for FY19. This update results in an overall increase in funding available to support special education; however, LEAs’ exact allocations may vary as the funding will be determined by the number of special education students enrolled at the LEA. OSSE will not run the SEEF Formula grant again in FY19.

Special Education Enhancement Fund (SEEF) Competitive Grant Detailed Awardee Project Summaries

Bridges PCS, in partnership with Briya PCS (Ward 5; $385,737.45)

  • Expand the continuum of settings offered by Bridges by opening a mixed-grade Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Transition classroom;
  • Increase capacity for case management and coaching for both high-level special education classrooms and general education inclusion classrooms by hiring additional special education staff;
  • Providing training to classroom staff to strengthen knowledge of best practices and the specific instructional approaches, such as ABA;
  • Adopt additional differentiated curricula and materials for use with students with special needs to facilitate appropriate, high-quality teaching;
  • Support the evaluation of students and the delivery of services for students by hiring an additional related service provider; and
  • Provide special education services and training to a partner program, Briya PCS, which services pre-K 3 and pre-K 4 students.

DC Prep PCS (Wards 5, 7, and 8; $385,737.45)

  • Improve reading performance among students with special needs who are struggling readers by having 13 special education coordinators, teachers, and literacy coaches participate in two highly effective, well-researched training programs. After training, the participants will share the knowledge gained with their DC Prep colleagues through professional development sessions and demonstration lessons;
  • Adding seven Academic Intervention Fellows (AIFs) who work one on one with the LEA’s Level 4 students with disabilities to provide academic and social support in grades K-8. DC Prep has used the AIF model since 2014 and demonstrated positive outcomes for behavior, assessments, and GPA;
  • Conduct two pilot programs to increase social-emotional learning (SEL) and clinical support for students at risk for school failure based on the attendance, behavior, course completion (ABC) framework; and
  • DC Prep also will hire two Licensed Professional Counselors to provide clinical services to students with IEPs and contract with End to End Solutions to perform evaluations and provide related services as needed.

Eagle Academy PCS (Wards 6 and 8; $385,737.45)

  • Provide intensive and sustainable interventions for struggling readers by offering staff professional development and targeted intervention services for students who have the most significant reading challenges;
  • Improve transition services, provide behavioral supports, and conduct timely evaluations for new students by hiring a full-time Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) skilled in behavioral evaluations to provide therapy primarily to students transitioning from IDEA Part C to Part B. Eagle will also contract additional school psychology services to reduce evaluation times; and
  • Increase resources for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities by contracting with George Washington University to provide two full-time instructional assistants from its Special Education for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities program to support student learning and social-emotional regulation in four self-contained classrooms.

E.L. Haynes PCS (Wards 1 and 4; $ 385,737.45)

  • Fully fund and enhance pre-K-12th Grade Behavior Support Initiative to best serve students in the least restrictive environment;
  • Hire an additional full-time school psychologist;
  • Install a sensory room at its elementary school; and
  • Launch recreational therapy through facilitated recess at the elementary school and middle school; and
  • Invest in and expanding its Behavioral, Academic, Social, and Enrichment (BASE) program at its middle and high schools.

Meridian PCS (Ward 1; $225,607.73)

  • Provide a team of specialists who have the expertise to develop a full continuum of supports and services that students need to meet their IEP goals;
  • Offer a continuum of services for students, including self-contained classrooms, an expanded resource room and supports for inclusive learning;
  • Provide training for educators in ABA to reduce student suspensions and disruptive behavior;
  • Implement Tier 2 and Tier 3 reading and math curricula, along with a social/emotional and transitional curriculum;
  • Put in place early childhood and bilingual screeners to better identify students; and
  • Provide support and transition services to middle school students to enable them to be successful in high school and beyond.

Monument PCS (Ward 6; $231,442.47)

  • Hire and train a specialized team, including an Educational Psychologist, Director of Differentiated Instruction, intervention specialists and assistant teachers;
  • Provide the appropriate intervention curricula and systems to assess and implement the necessary interventions and supports for students in the least restrictive environment;
  • Enhance its special education team by funding key staff members to develop and implement student IEP goals and interventions and supports that put them on a track for post-secondary success, supporting student learning in the least restrictive environment and collaboratively creating successful transition plans with all of the appropriate stakeholders; and
  • This team will also work with all of the other staff – instructional coaches, classroom teachers, aides, assistant teachers, well-being team/therapists – both to collect all the relevant information to create excellent IEPs and monitor and support implementation.