Staffing Plan

CALVERT COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
SPECIAL EDUCATION STAFFING PLAN
School Year 2016-2017

 Introduction
    The intent of the staffing plan is to provide guidance to the Superintendent and to the Board of Education in determining the number of special education teachers and related services providers needed annually to implement the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities.  The focus of the plan is on professional staff and instructional assistants who are responsible for the delivery of special education instruction at the school level.  It does not include the professional and support staff assigned to the central office Special Education Department or the Infants and Toddlers Program.

    Calvert County Public Schools uses a hybrid census staffing model to determine its special education staffing.  The hybrid census model is based on total student population in a school and is directed towards providing the appropriate services and supports to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.  Although it permits building administrators the flexibility to use special education staff to appropriately implement students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), the hybrid census model does not have a built-in incentive for schools to over-identify students for special education services and can be used effectively as a long-range planning tool.

 Requirements 
    “A public agency shall develop a staffing plan consistent with the procedures provided by the Department, to ensure that personnel and other resources are available to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to each student with a disability in the least restrictive environment. (COMAR 13A.05.02.13D)  

            (1) A public agency shall submit a staffing plan consistent with the procedures
                 provided by the Department to ensure that personnel and other resources are
                 available to provide FAPE to each student with a disability in the least restrictive
                 environment as determined by an IEP team.

            (2) The local board shall approve the staffing plan.”   

Calvert County Public Schools Current Staffing Plan 
     One special education teacher is assigned for every 175 students in elementary, middle and high schools; although the number of students with IEPs may also be considered.  This student count is based on the total school enrollment and not “full time equivalent” counts. Each school is assigned at least one special education instructional assistant; often more.  The need for additional staff would be based on the unique student characteristics and existing staffing patterns.

Requirements Beyond Direct Service
    The continuum of services at each building ranges from consultation services to general education teachers, to co-teaching, to separate classes for students who require a more restrictive environment. In assignment of staff, consideration is given to additional tasks required of special education teachers and the time needed to complete these tasks. The following tasks are unique to special education and consume time beyond that which is allotted for daily planning:       

          * writing IEPs using the Maryland Statewide IEP
          * preparing for, attending, and presenting information at IEP meetings
          * billing for Medicaid case management and health related services
          * evaluating students for determination of a disability
          * reevaluating students at least on a triennial basis
          * scoring assessments and writing assessment reports
          * consulting and planning with general education staff
          * travel time for itinerant staff
          * conducting the daily preparation of multiple lesson plans to meet the needs of diverse  
             learners
          * informal reading, written language and math assessments
          * completing quarterly progress reports in addition to report cards.  

 Service Providers Needed to Provide a FAPE in the LRE 
     The Special Education Department will include the following providers responsible for the delivery of special education services at the school level at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year using local and restricted funding. The related services staffing is determined and assigned based on caseloads by building and time allotted to complete the tasks unique to special education as stated above.

 

                        Providers                                                   
# of Staff
 Special Education Teachers  164.24
 Instructional Assistants       158.10
 Speech-Language Pathologists         21.80
 Audiologists           2.00
 Regional Program Psychologists           5.00
 Teacher of the Visually Impaired           1.60
 Teachers of the Hearing Impaired           1.60
 Adapted Physical Education Teacher           1.00
 Physical Therapists            2.00
 Physical Therapists Assistants           1.00
 Occupational Therapists            6.60
 Social  Worker           1.00
 Sign Language Interpreters           4.00

 

REGIONAL PROGRAMS
STAFFING RECOMMENDATIONS
2016-2017 School Year  

 

Co-Taught Pre-Kindergarten         
1 teacher per 8-10 students
Co-Taught Kindergarten
1 teacher per 8-10 students
Early Childhood Intensive Structured Learning Environment (ISLE)           
1 teacher / 2 assistants* per 4-6 students       
 Special Pre-Kindergarten
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 10 students
Special Kindergarten
 1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 10 students
 Elementary Functional Skills Programs
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 5-7 students
Elementary Behavior Development Programs (BDP)
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 6-8 students
 Elementary Structured Learning Environment (SLE)
1 teacher / 2 assistants* per 6-8 students
 Elementary Intensive Structured Learning Environment (ISLE)
1 teacher / 2 assistants* per 6-8 students
 Middle School Intensive Structured Learning Environment (ISLE)
1 teacher / 2 assistants* per 6-8 students
Middle School Functional Skills Programs
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 8-10 students
Middle School Behavior Development Programs (BDP)
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 8-10 students
 High School Functional Skills Programs
1 teacher / 1 assistant* per 10-12 students
High School Behavior Development Programs (BDP)
1 teacher / 1 assistant per 10-12 students
 High School Intensive Structured Learning Environment (ISLE)
1 teacher / 2 assistants per 10-12 students
High School Integrated Academics Program (IA)
1 teacher / 1 assistant per 6-8 students
Learning for Independence (LFI)
1 teacher / 1 assistant per 4-6 students
Calvert Country Functional Skills Programs
1 teacher / 1 assistant per 4-6 students
Calvert Country Behavior Development (BDP)
1 teacher / 1 assistant per 4-6 students
* Additional instructional assistants may be needed when the nature and intensity of a child's disability warrants increased staff to provide a safe learning environment.

 

Current Vacancies
The following are current vacancies, as of 5-4-16, by category in Special Education:
Position                

Number of Vacancies  
          
Means of providing FAPE is provided as a result of the vacancy
Speech Language Pathologists (SLP)
4.0
Services are provided by contractual SLPS in most cases; in some cases compensatory services will have to be provided.
Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)
1.0 Services are provided by contractual TVI
Instructional Assistant
1.0 Services are provided by a long-term substitute.  This position became available 2016 in April.
Physical Therapist
1.0 The existing PTs and PT assistant are covering services while we fill the vacancy.
 

Evaluation of Staffing Plan

The Special Education Department administrative staff will be responsible for evaluating the staffing plan through:  

     *  The review of special education teachers’ and related services providers’ schedules, as 
         necessary, to ensure that staff-to-student ratios are adequate and that sufficient time is
         included to meet the needs of students as prescribed by IEPs.  

     * Meetings between the Director of Special Education and principals to discuss staffing as
        needed to plan for the current and following school year.

     * Meetings with special education administrative staff as needed to assess adequacy of
        staffing.

     * Ongoing communication with the Human Resources Department to address vacancies and 
        potential candidates.

The staffing plan will also be monitored by:
* The number of Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) complaints filed related to
   staffing.
* The number of requests for mediation/ due process hearings directly related to staffing.
* Results of meetings with principals and other special education staff regarding the adequacy
   of staffing.

 
Public Review‚Äč
      The Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC) provides public comment on the staffing plan each year. The SECAC is made up of representatives from community agencies and support groups, parents, and general and special education teachers and administrators. The group meets on a regular basis to discuss issues and concerns regarding special education in CCPS.

      The Special Education Staffing Plan was reviewed and discussed with the SECAC on March 15, 2016.  Any feedback from the Committee will be added to the plan in the public comment section.

       The plan was presented to the CCPS Board of Education on May 12, 2016.  The plan was posted on the CCPS Website for public review for four weeks.  The plan was approved by the Board of Education on June 9, 2016.

Public Comment
June 6, 2016

The Calvert SECAC is in support of the recommended Special Education Staffing Plan for the 2016-2017 school year.  We continue to support the ratio of one special education teacher for every 175 students in elementary, middle and high schools, based on total school enrollment and taking into consideration the number of students with IEPs. We understand the need to close the achievement gap that exists between general and special education students and feel this cannot be done without adequate staff as indicated in the Staffing Plan. 

We also fully support the staffing recommendations for the special education Regional Programs.  The high staff to student ratio in these programs is necessary to provide highly structured instruction to address the needs of low incidence populations of students who share similar learning, language, social and behavioral characteristics.

The Calvert SECAC strongly recommends staffing for Intensive Structured Learning Environment (ISLE) preschool remain 1 teacher and 2 assistants per 4-6 students.  This level of staffing is supported by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Autism Task Force report which recommends a highly supportive learning environment to include “A low staff to child ratio (1:1 or 1:2), particularly during the initial period of intervention.”

We support the current Staffing Plan for instructional assistants as well, with the understanding that additional instructional assistants may be required as the Special Education Department responds to changing classroom dynamics or determines the nature and intensity of a child’s disability warrants increased staff.  These elements ensure the County provides a safe and proper learning environment so students learn and demonstrate progress on their IEP goals and objectives.

In compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq., 34 C.F.R. Part 300 and the Code of Maryland Regulations, Title 13A.05 and 13A.08, Calvert County Public Schools is legally obligated to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities. Any reduction in staffing will make it difficult for students to receive the services as indicated on their IEPs and may jeopardize the opportunities for students to receive instruction in the general education setting to the maximum extent possible. 

We support the Special Education Staffing Plan as it will help maintain Calvert County Public Schools reputation for having an outstanding Special Education Department that is responsive to students and parents but most importantly because it will meet the needs of our students. 

Respectfully submitted by Shelley Miller, Calvert SECAC Chairperson, on behalf of SECAC

 

Definitions

 (Note:  Since different terms are sometimes understood differently, these definitions are provided as clarification regarding the terms throughout this plan. There is no intent that these definitions must be accepted as standardized, but are simply to assist understanding the recommendations of this report.)

Caseload – the number of students assigned to a teacher, clinician, or therapist, as well as the other work tasks for which the individual is responsible.

COMAR- Code of Maryland Regulations. Title 13 of COMAR includes all regulations adopted by State Board of Education for the provision of public education to students in the state of Maryland.  Within Title 13A, the following chapters are specifically applicable to students with disabilities:

               · COMAR 13A.05.01 Provision of a Free Appropriate Education
               · COMAR 13A.05.02 Administration of Services for Students with Disabilities
               · COMAR 13A.08.03 Discipline of Students with Disabilities
               · COMAR 13A.08.04 Student Behavioral Interventions

Consultation – services provided by someone who give professional advice and/or assistance to the classroom teacher.

Continuum of services – a progression of special education services ranging from least to most restrictive.

Department- the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)

FAPE (free appropriate public education) – special education and related services that (a) have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; (b) meet the state and federal requirements; (c) include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education, and (d) are provided in conformity with the individualized education program (IEP) as required under Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).

Individualized Education Program (IEP) – a written description of the special education and related services provided for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with IDEA.

 

Instructional Delivery – the method for delivering special education services, and includes:

             Direct services – those services provided to the student

             Indirect services – those services provided to general education teachers, 
             parents, instructional assistants and others on behalf of the student.

LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) – an educational environment which best meets the needs of a student requiring special education and related services as set forth in the student’s IEP and which to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s needs, ensures that the student will be educated with non-disabled peers.  LRE is individually determined for each child.  LRE requires the school system to maintain a full continuum of placement options to meet the needs of each child.

Related Services – transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education (including speech-language pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, therapeutic recreation, social work services, counseling services, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only).  The early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children is also included.

Special Education – specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including (a) instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and (b) instruction in physical education.

Supplementary Aids and Services – aids, services, and other supports that are provided in general education classes or to other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with section 612(a)(5) of IDEA.

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