Special Education in the Turnaround Context: Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles
Green Dot Public Schools is a charter management organization based in Los Angeles that was created in 1999 in response to concerns about poor academic results within the Los Angeles area.
Since that time, Green Dot has opened 10 successful charter schools and, with impressive results, embarked on a goal to have a greater impact on students by entering the school turnaround space.
This brief examines one particular aspect of Green Dot’s school-turnaround approach — its intensive effort to improve special education and related services for students with disabilities.
Interviews with key stakeholders revealed some key actions perceived as critical to helping students with disabilities succeed:
- Examine data to identify problem areas
- Review and update individualized education programs (IEPs) to ensure not only compliance, but quality (e.g., having up-to-date goals and supports) and appropriateness (i.e., reflecting the student’s specific needs and academic goals)
- Optimize inclusive instructional settings and minimize segregated placements that limit students’ access to the general education curriculum
- Align staff hiring and assignment with student needs (i.e., ensure staffing reflects services outlined in students’ IEPs)
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