The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), Special Education Services (SES) Section, continues the process of developing and refining a monitoring and improvement system for public agencies. The Continuous Improvement System is intended to balance the need for continuous procedural compliance with a focus on improving student results and outcomes.
This system includes the following components:
- Continuity. Continuous, rather than episodic; clearly linked to systemic change; and integrating with continuous feedback and support.
- Effective Balance between Process and Improved Results. Measuring the extent to which policies, procedures, programs, and effective structures are in place and measured within the context of effective classroom and school practices aimed at improved student results.
- Partnerships with Stakeholders. Continuous improvement occurring in partnership among public agency administrators, school administrators, teachers, other school staff, parents, students, other agencies, advocates, and other stakeholders in the continuous improvement of programs and services.
- Linkage with other State Accountability Efforts. Integrated with other state accountability efforts including state achievement testing and other quality improvement efforts such as implementation of No Child Left Behind.
- Data Driven. Driven by data that focuses on improved results for children and youth with disabilities (e.g., academic status; behavior; suspensions and expulsions; graduation rates; and dropout rates).
- Multiple Procedures. Utilization of multiple procedures, such as review of quantitative measures, observations, interviews, and SSRs, including qualitative and quantitative measurement, and continuous improvement planning.
- Technical Assistance and Support. Provision of technical assistance to support systems change within the public agency.
The Continuous Improvement System has as its anchor Alabama’s State Performance Plan and/or the Annual Performance Report required by the Office of Special Education Programs.As depicted in Figure 1, the Continuous Improvement System will contain the following major components:
- Focused Review to target areas of needed improvement in compliance and practice.
- System Profile Information to determine compliance and program quality strengths and challenges.
- Student File Review to gather baseline information and to study identified issues of concern within a school system, region, and/or in the state. This file review is verification of compliance with state and federal special education requirements within public agencies providing service to students with disabilities.
- Student Services Review (SSR) to determine the extent to which students are progressing successfully and the system is supporting positive student outcomes.
- Technical Assistance and Training to support system improvements.
- Special Education Plans to reflect procedural compliance aligned with local self-assessment and special education improvement planning.
Student Services Review (SSR)
The Student Services Review is a case-based review method used for:
Appraising the current status of students receiving adequate supports and/or services in response to special needs or learning problems, and
- Determining the adequacy of performance of key service system functions for the students and those who support them. The SSR examines short-term results for children with special needs and their supporters and the contribution made by school-arranged supports and services in producing those outcomes. Results may be used for understanding and improving front-line practices by student services teams.
Overall Student Status Indicators
- Least restrictive, most appropriate environment
- School attendance
- School and class participation
- Appropriate social skills
- Emotional well-being
- Parent participation in educational decisions
- Student progress in assigned curriculum
- Student progress in reading
- Student progress in school behavior (or early childhood environment behavior)
- Student progress toward IEP goals supported by related services
- Student progress toward transition goals
Overall Educational System Performance Indicators
- Understanding the student’s situation
- Adequacy of the IEP
- IEP reasoning process
- Appropriateness and applicability of services
- Successful transitions
- Implementation of services and supports
- Unity of effort
- Resource availability and utilization
- IEP review and revision
- Access to school programs and services
- Access to extracurricular activities
- System progress in risk reduction
For more information about SES Focused Monitoring, contact Special Education Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.