Assessing and Improving Special Education: A Program Review Tool for Schools and Districts Engaged in Rapid School Improvement

By Debra Grabill, Lauren Morando Rhim

Produced by National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, The Center on School Turnaround

Assessing and Improving Special Education
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Description

Special education programs are a key component of school improvement efforts. This program review tool is designed to assist school districts and leaders in beginning and engaging in conversations about, and reviewing and improving the quality of, their special education programs.

The tool was developed through the use of Leading by Convening, a stakeholder-engagement strategy that engages individuals representing different stakeholder groups in an approach to program improvement that is based on shared goals; in this case, the goal is having a high-quality special education program in every district.

Participants from 19 agencies and other organizations identified 16 features that they consider essential to a high-quality special education program and, for each feature, provided examples of practices that demonstrate the highest standard, an acceptable standard, and an unacceptable standard.

The tool consists of three parts:

  • An overview of the program features with examples of the features at three different levels of quality (i.e., high, acceptable, and unacceptable)
  • A template for conducting a special education program review inventory
  • A template for developing a quality improvement plan based on results of that inventory

The templates can be completed directly in the document.

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