On August 26th, I attended the Sparta Board of Education meeting at Sparta High School. It was an exciting night, as the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new turf field took place and there were many from the Sparta community in attendance. However, it was what took place after that I found extremely important…Dr. Rossi, along with members of the Special Services Department, released the results of the 2019 Special Services Audit.
This particular audit and presentation was important to me since I am not only running for the Sparta Board of Education, but I am also a parent within the district. It can often be an extremely frustrating experience when a parent is advocating for their child to receive services, knowing they are struggling, to navigate through the special services process our district has to offer.
This particular presentation helped explain the processes used to identify students in need of special services, but also where the gaps are. As part of the audit, along with a parent survey, a faculty survey was also conducted to gain further insight.
The Special Services Audit brought to light several themes that need to be addressed and resonated with me as needing particular attention. Specifically, the survey said:
- For all Teachers and Paraprofessionals: I have an opportunity on a regular basis to collaboratively plan with general/special education staff to deliver and support quality instruction to students with disabilities. RESULTS – 54% of the faculty disagree
- Special Education paraprofessionals on our campus are well trained and skilled in fulfilling their roles in providing instructional support. RESULTS – 35% of faculty disagree
- Our school’s RTI/MTSS process is effective in addressing the needs of students who are experiencing difficulty in school. RESULTS – 30% of the faculty disagree
I look forward to the public being further informed regarding how the changes being implemented will improve the faculty’s outlook on the Special Services Department. While the district plans to take steps to improve these perceptions, it is important that they also provide staff with the tools that are needed to ensure our special services students are well served.
I am running for Sparta’s Board of Education with Kim Bragg and Kurt Morris. Please follow our Facebook page. We are #3, #4, and #5 on the ballot.