Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and State Superintendent of Education Deborah Gist announced the administration’s student tracking initiative that will begin the long-awaited overhaul of the District’s special education program. A Special Education Data System (SEDS) and a pilot case management program will be launched to provide better service delivery, improve student performance and enable effective state reporting.
A comprehensive web-based application, the SEDS will help District school officials track the special education process, enable effective and efficient state reporting, and track student performance closely to allow more targeted interventions to improve student outcomes.
“This initiative will help us keep our commitment to serve the needs of special education students in our schools,” said Mayor Fenty. “The Special Education Data System and the case management program are major steps forward in our ability to meet the requirements of the Blackman-Jones consent decree. The primary beneficiaries are the District’s special education students.”
Special Education Data System (SEDS)
The SEDS is a part of the District’s requirements under the Blackman-Jones consent decree and recent Agreement of the Parties signed on December 10, 2007. The SEDS has been developed through a collective set of requirements collaboratively defined by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), and the District of Columbia’s Public Charter Schools. Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG) has been selected to implement the SEDS project.
“Accurate and reliable data is critical to improve the outcomes for special education students in the District. I am confident that our collaborative work with the Public Consulting Group on the development of the SEDS and with First Home Care on the case management program will result in improved services for our students. These are two very important initiatives that will help improve the quality of life for our students with special needs,” said State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist.
Initial implementation of the SEDS is expected to be completed prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year and when fully functional will manage every stage of the special education process including referral and eligibility, individualized education programs (IEP), transition, discipline, transportation, Medicaid recovery and any and all due process data such as hearing officer determinations (HOD) and related timelines. The SEDS will be a critical part of the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data Warehouse (SLED) being developed by the OSSE, and as a result will eventually link to other education data systems.
Pilot Case Management Program
The pilot case management program will provide training, deployment and management of a case manager corps whose primary role will be to improve service delivery to children and young people with disabilities through partnerships with children, families and individualized education program (IEP) teams.
Approximately 30 case managers will be hired to work closely with special education students and their families. Case managers will also collect and report accurate data on the challenges experienced by District students who require special educational instruction and related services. The OSSE will work with First Home Care Corporation, one of the District’s Core Service Agencies (CSA) for the project.