Jan. 21, 2015 Special Ed. Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Special Education Subcommittee
Wednesday, January 21, 2014 6:00 pm
Coddington Building

  1. Transition Planning - Ms. Todd

  2. Professional Development Update - Ms. Todd

  3. QPAC Update - Ms. Nabstedt
    * 2014-15 Goals Update
    * Upcoming Events
    * QPS/QPAC Collaboration
    * General Parent Concerns

  4. Next Special Education Subcommittee Meeting: March 25, 2015

  5. Adjournment/Thank You!


Quincy School Committee
Special Education Subcommittee Meeting
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A meeting of the Special Education Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Noel DiBona, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mr. Dave McCarthy, and Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Mrs. Catherine Carey, Mrs. Donna Cunningham, Mr. Richard Kelly, Mrs. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy; Ms. Judy Todd; Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education Board Members Ms. Beck, Ms. Gichuhi, Ms. Nabstedt; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mrs. Mahoney called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Ms. Todd and Mrs. Cunningham reviewed Transitional Planning, which students are eligible for beginning at age 14. Transition plans are based on a combination of the student's vision for his/her future, the parent's vision for their child, and Team assessments. Transition plans are required for students who will turn 14 during the IEP period and every year thereafter. The Transition Planning Form identifies disability-related needs, identifying skills that can become and IEP goal or plan for related services. Transition services include instruction in skills needed to fulfill requirements for graduation or post-secondary education; community experience and employment skills.

Mr. Kelly reviewed that special populations have specific needs including daily living skills. Specialized training includes vocational training opportunities include the Raider Cafe at North Quincy High School and the school store. All students leave the transitional phase of the program with a resume and a list of references to assist them in gaining employment. Mrs. Carey discussed transitional job training at partner sites. Skills include counting and packaging mailing, photocopying, restocking shelves and assisting in distribution. In all settings, students have the opportunity to use appropriate social skills in the community.

Ms. Gichuhi asked about the ICE program, but the grant has expired and will not be renewed. Ms. Gichuhi asked at what age the job training begins. Students begin training inside the school setting at age 14 and do not go outside to age 18. Ms. Gichuhi asked if student interests are taken into consideration. Mrs. Carey said that the staff works with the students to match training and opportunity to the student interests. Ms. Gichuhi asked how the effectiveness of Transition planning is evaluated. Ms. Todd said the guidelines are evolving and considerable resources are deployed to assist as many students as possible. Mrs. Carey cited several examples of students who found local employment. Mrs. Cunningham said that transition planning includes moving students into being supported through adult-focused agencies, we carefully plan for how students move into adulthood.

Mr. Kelly said the goal is to increase the repertoire of experience to give these students as many options as possible. Ms. Gichuhi asked about students outside of CARES/the Learning Center; at QHS, there are in-school classes for life skills along with the CTE program/Freshman Seminar. Ms. Gichuhi suggested that these life skills programs could be a summer program available to all students.

Mr. McCarthy thanked Ms. Todd and the team; transition planning is key in all areas, elementary to middle, middle to high school, high school to adulthood.

Ms. Todd then reviewed recent Professional Development opportunities for the Special Education staff. The Reteach Math team recently worked on lessons that are a creative new approach to reach students. The OT/PT team are working on executive skills and helping students reach their potential. Elementary resource teachers are working on mid-year assessments and new achievement tests for use next year. Elementary and Middle School CARES teachers are working on curriculum alignment. The Language Development team was involved in the social-emotional skills training.

Ms. Gichuhi asked if other curriculum area general and special education teachers are collaborating. Ms. Todd said that all special education teachers participate in content-area professional development with regular education teachers. Ms. Gichuhi said a parent concern is how do regular education teachers differentiate instruction and Ms. Todd said that most professional development have a segment on differentiating. Ms. Gichuhi asked about outside training groups. Ms. Todd said there are outside trainers used for Special Education and Literacy.

The QPAC Update was presented by Ms. Nabstedt and Ms. Beck. Lego and Play-Doh Workshops are planned for later in February. QPAC is in the process of updating online resources and links on the website, including references for services, courses, and consultants.

General parent concerns include paraprofessional training requirements. Ms. Todd confirmed that not all teachers or paraprofessionals are restraint trained and the CARES staff is CPI trained. Ms. Todd said that all paraprofessionals are required to have a two-year degree or pass the Para-Pro test. Training is assignment-specific and done by the classroom teacher and/or a member of the Special Education department staff. Ms. Todd said historically, general training has not been successful since it is not applicable to most paraprofessional jobs.

Ms. Gichuhi suggested future meeting agenda items: Physical Restraint regulations are changing, so School Committee Policy will need to be amended. There will be a DESE Parent Survey released in January and QPAC would like to assist in publicizing. Ms. Gichuhi requested additional information about the MassHealth letter that was sent out and to review the Corrective Action Plan from Coordinated Program Review.

Ms. Gichuhi asked about DESE/DDS program which is focused on preventing restrictive placements. The program provides services including behavioral training, therapeutic equipment, social skills training, inclusive events, and therapy outside school hours. The program is through Circuit Breaker funding and maybe there are students that can benefit from these support services.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked Ms. Beck and Ms. Nabstedt for the Enchanted Village outing and the gingerbread house event both held in December. QPS would like to collaborate with QPAC on future events involving parents. Dr. DeCristofaro suggested a presentation on the new Elementary Report Card at a future meeting.

Mrs. Mahoney complimented the gingerbread event and suggested that future events could be assisted by community and school volunteers.

Mr. McCarthy made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:00 pm. Mr. DiBona seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.