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Disability Rights NJ; Education Law Center; Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; the Arc of NJ.

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Presentation on theme: "Disability Rights NJ; Education Law Center; Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; the Arc of NJ."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disability Rights NJ; Education Law Center; Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; the Arc of NJ

2  NJ had poor performance in the area of LRE ◦ Well below national average for students included 80% or more of the school day ◦ Over 85% of all preschoolers segregated ◦ Significant disproportionate representation of students of color in the most segregated placements ◦ Worst state in the nation with highest rate of out- of-district placement (3x national average)

3  Students of color struggling in the classroom are more likely than white students with similar academic & behavioral performance to be: ◦ Identified as having a disability ◦ Identified as having cognitive/intellectual or emotional disabilities (disabilities that have the highest rates of segregation) ◦ Placed in a self-contained class as the first special education placement  This over-identification & segregation has devastating consequences Disproportionality

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5  Decades of research demonstrate that students with disabilities, including significant cognitive disabilities & autism, benefit from inclusion

6  Preschoolers with disabilities develop greater speech, physical & social skills, & academic knowledge through interaction with non- disabled peers than in segregated settings  Interaction with typically developing peers is more effective in improving communication skills than one-on-one speech therapy provided in segregated settings

7  Higher expectations by parents & educators  Improved access to the general curriculum  Improved language & reading skills  Higher grades  Higher scores on standardized tests  Larger friendship networks  Improved attendance  Higher self-esteem  Higher rates of graduation  Higher rates of employment & post-secondary education

8  Students without disabilities perform substantially better in reading & math in inclusive settings & demonstrate social & developmental benefits including improved understanding of & relationships with children with disabilities  No negative impact on academics for students without disabilities

9  Longstanding advocacy efforts ◦ NJ DD Council Education Committee Still Separate & Unequal Report & follow-up reports with data, analysis, & recommendations ◦ NJ DD Council Still Separate & Unequal campaign comparing racial segregation in special education placements with racial segregation prior to Brown v. Board of Education ◦ Efforts to influence NJ DOE via participation in the State Performance Report & Annual Performance Report goal-setting & improvement activities ◦ Multiple meetings with NJ DOE & advocates to come to agreement on needed improvement steps

10  Filed lawsuit in 2007  State filed motions to dismiss alleging: ◦ Plaintiffs had not exhausted administrative remedies ◦ Plaintiffs did not have “standing” to bring lawsuit  Judge denied motions & allowed case to proceed in  NJ DOE appealed, 3 rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied their motion  Plaintiff “discovery” efforts included review of student records, parent surveys, consultation with experts; plaintiffs & defendants conducted multiple depositions leading to renewal of discussions  Intensive discussions in  Settlement finalized in February, 2014

11 PlaintiffsAttorneys  Disability Rights NJ  Education Law Center  Statewide Parent Advocacy Network  The Arc of NJ  Disability Rights NJ  Education Law Center  Freeman, Carolla, Reisman, & Grant  Lowenstein Sandler  Todd Wilson, LLC

12  NJ DOE failed to ensure that all students with disabilities, including preschoolers, school- age students, and minorities, were provided FAPE in LRE  Children inappropriately & unnecessarily sent to self- contained or more restrictive settings, including out-of-district  Children denied in-class aids, services, & accommodations needed to succeed in general education classroom  Students with disabilities disproportionately assigned to basements & other less desirable classroom locations

13 Identifying NeedsImproving Services  LRE Needs Assessment in 76 districts ◦ 9/ /31/2014 ◦ Use of collaboratively- developed protocol  On-site monitoring of 76 districts by NJDOE ◦ 10/2015-2/2016; 10/2016-2/2017; end of 3 year settlement period ◦ Use of collaboratively- developed protocol with classroom observations & staff & parent interviews  Development of annual Training & TA plans for 76 districts ◦ 3 consecutive years starting 7/15/2015 ◦ At least 4 LRE training &/or TA sessions/year/district (at least 3 hours long each) ◦ Annual topical interactive webinar ◦ Mandatory training for specific staff & inclusion facilitators for non- compliant districts

14 Preschool StudentsSchool-Age Students  Contracts with preschools  Inclusive school climate  Analyzing data  UDL & Model Curriculum Scaffolds  Modified curricula  Differentiated instruction  Supplemental aids & services  Adapted curriculum, instruction, materials  Co-teaching models  Use of itinerant providers  Transportation  Facilities planning  Design & implementation of appropriate policies & programs  Providing support in typical early childhood settings  General education supports  Inclusive school climate  Analyzing data  UDL & Model Curriculum Scaffolds  Modified curricula  Differentiated instruction  Supplemental aids & services  Adapted curriculum, instruction, materials  Co-teaching models  Use of itinerant providers  Transportation  Facilities planning  Design & implementation of appropriate policies & programs

15  See all Preschool & School- Age topics  Additional topics: ◦ Cultural/racial/ethnic awareness, culturally- responsive education, & culturally-competent & non- discriminatory evaluations ◦ Intersection of patterns of race, disability, & Limited English Proficiency ◦ Strategies to address disproportionate placement in more segregated settings

16  Survey (Professional Development Evaluation) administered to each individual participant at end of each training & TA session; results shared with Stakeholder Committee within 30 days  NJDOE must assess implementation & efficacy of each Annual Training & TA plan, including: ◦ Classroom observations ◦ Review of individual IEPs & other student records ◦ Review of placement data including race/ethnicity ◦ Review of district procedures ◦ Interviews of staff & parents using mandated tool ◦ May include review of lesson presentation & co-teaching methods

17  76 districts in 18 counties ◦ 45 preschool(4 non-compliant) ◦ 38 school-age (8 non-compliant) ◦ 10 disproportionality ◦ 3 across all 3 groups; 11 across 2 groups ◦ At least 1 district in every county except:  Hunterdon  Sussex  Warren  Represent 25-30% of all students with disabilities in NJ

18  Barnegat Township  Bayonne  Bloomfield Township  Bridgewater-Raritan Regional  E. Windsor Regional  Edison  Englewood City  Evesham Township  Gloucester Township (Camden County)  Hackensack  Hamilton Township (Mercer County)  Hillsborough Township  Howell  Jackson Township  Jefferson Township  Jersey City  Livingston  Manalapan-Englishtown Regional  Manchester Township  Marlboro Township  Monroe Township (Gloucester County)  Mount Laurel  Mount Olive Township  New Brunswick  Newark  North Bergen  Ocean Township (Monmouth County)  Passaic City  Paulsboro  Pittsgrove  Plainfield  Rahway  Randolph Township  Rockaway Township  Sayreville  Stafford Township  Trenton  Wall Township  Washington Township (Gloucester County)  West Deptford Township  Westfield  Woodbridge Township  West Orange

19  Asbury Park  Atlantic City  Burlington Township  Camden City  Carteret Borough  East Orange  East Windsor Regional  Edison  Elizabeth  Elmwood Park  Franklin (Somerset)  Garfield  Greater Egg Harbor  Hackensack  Irvington  Lakewood  Lenape Regional  Linden  Livingston  Middle Township (Cape May County)  Morris School District  Newark  North Brunswick  North Plainfield  Passaic City  Pennsauken  Perth Amboy  Plainfield  Pleasantville  Rancocas Valley Regional  Roxbury  South Orange-Maplewood  Trenton  Union City (Hudson County)  Westwood Regional  Willingboro  West Orange  Woodbridge Township

20  East Windsor Regional  Elizabeth  Jersey City  Lakewood  Millville  Montclair  Newark  South Orange- Maplewood  Toms River  Trenton

21  All 3 groups: ◦ East Windsor Regional ◦ Newark ◦ Trenton  2 groups: ◦ Edison ◦ Elizabeth ◦ Jersey City ◦ Hackensack ◦ Lakewood ◦ Livingston ◦ Passaic ◦ Plainfield ◦ South Orange- Maplewood ◦ West Orange ◦ Woodbridge Township

22  Full-day mandatory LRE training for NJ DOE complaint investigators prior to school year  NJDOE employees with training in inclusive practices & who have experience in providing training & TA on inclusion/LRE (State Inclusion Facilitators) made available to districts  State Inclusion Facilitators must reach out to each district at least monthly to offer to provide assistance, including on-site assistance if appropriate, re: LRE  Must provide on-site assistance to each designated district that requests it up to combined total of 5 on-site visits multiplied by # of compliant districts Other Settlement Components

23  Parental input ◦ NJDOE must contact each SEPAC prior to each district monitoring to offer to talk with random sampling of 20 parents of students representing variety of placements, disabilities, racial/ethnic groups, grades ◦ SEPAC members invited to attend at least 1 training in each district each year

24  Review of: ◦ LRE Needs Assessments & written summary of patterns of need ◦ Monitoring reports & placement data ◦ Draft annual Training & TA plans & webinar topics ◦ Evaluations of each LRE training & TA session  Recommendations for: ◦ Areas of need ◦ Proposed annual Training & TA plans & webinars  Opportunity to attend LRE trainings to which parent advisory groups are invited Stakeholder Committee

25  Mary Ciccone, Disability Rights NJ  Sue Gottesman, NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities  Debra Jennings, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)  Paula Lieb, NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education  Jerry Petroff, The College of NJ  Renay Zamloot, Advocate

26 Needs AssessmentsTraining & TA  LRE Needs Assessment (9/ /31/2014)  NJDOE develops written results of needs assessments & written summary of patterns of need & shares with Stakeholder Committee by 1/15/2015  NJDOE holds meeting with Stakeholder Committee within 21 days to discuss  NJDOE must consider feedback & implement as appropriate  NJDOE provides draft Annual Training & TA Plan by 3/15/2015 including webinar topic  NJDOE holds meeting with Stakeholder Committee within 21 days to discuss  NJDOE provides at least 4 training/T A sessions to each district starting on 7/15/15  NJDOE holds topical interactive webinar  NJDOE provides Year 2 & 3 Training & TA Plans to Stakeholder Committee by 6/15/16 & 6/15/17

27 Annual MonitoringFinal Monitoring  NJDOE monitors each identified district between 10/2015-2/2016 to determine LRE compliance  NJDOE provides copy of completed monitoring to Stakeholder Committee  NJDOE meets with Stakeholders within 21 days to discuss  NJDOE monitors each district between 10/ /2017 (same process)  NJDOE completes final monitoring at conclusion of Year 3 Training & TA activities  NJDOE provides Stakeholder Committee with final LRE Monitoring Reports within 10 days of issuance  Settlement is concluded with NJ DOE submission of final LRE Monitoring Reports to Stakeholder Committee

28 Inclusion FacilitatorsComplaint Investigators  By 7/2015, NJDOE directs each non-compliant district to designate at least 1 teacher, CST member, or administrator, who is knowledgeable about LRE, to be a resource person for, & provide TA to, other district staff regarding LRE during Settlement period  District may contract with experienced LRE/ inclusion expert  By 9/1/2015, NJDOE contracts with designated LRE expert to provide full day of mandatory LRE training for complaint investigators

29 In covered districts  Share information about the settlement with parents & professionals  Go to School Board meetings & SEPAC meetings to ask questions about implementation  Informally monitor implementation; share concerns with Stakeholders & Plaintiffs Not in covered districts  Share information about the settlement with parents & professionals  Review the LRE Needs Assessment & Monitoring tools; share with School Board, Superintendent, principal, SEPAC, others for possible use in your district  Monitor your district’s LRE data

30  Disability Rights NJ ◦ Joe Young, Mary Ciccone or ◦ Ruth Lowenkron ◦  Education Law Center ◦ Elizabeth Athos ◦  Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) ◦ Diana Autin or Debra Jennings ◦ x 105  The Arc of NJ ◦ Tom Baffuto ◦


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