Boulder Valley school board hears an update on district special education improvements

The Boulder Valley school board heard a report Tuesday on progress toward improving special education services with the goal of closing achievement gaps.

Superintendent Rob Anderson previously requested an independent review of the special education program to provide feedback on strengths and make recommendations for changes. The review was completed in December 2020.

The district has 3,549 students, or about 12% of the district’s total enrollment, who qualify for special education services. The largest category, with about 33% of students, is learning disability.

District services include school-based intensive learning centers, with 20 school-based programs for students with autism, 15 programs for students with emotional disabilities, and 14 programs for students with intensive needs. Halcyon School offers a therapeutic day treatment program.

The review identified more than 100 recommendations that fall into one of four themes: communication, systems, resources, and structures. So far, the district has taken action on 50 of those recommendations and is working on another 20 this spring, according to the report.

“We are creating very personalized supports for students, personalized supports for our staff,” said Michelle Brenner, executive director of special education for Boulder Valley.

On the resource side, the district will add writing instructional materials later this month, provide professional learning two to five times a year, and reinstate a part-time special education mentor teacher, with plans to fill the position at full time next school year. The mentor would focus on the new intensive learning center special education teachers, a group that has a higher turnover rate than other teachers.

Spread the love

What do you think?