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Article: NWLSD Special Ed. Dept. Receives Highest Rankings

NWLSD Special Ed. Dept. Receives Highest Rankings

Northwest Local School District’s Special Education Department recently received the highest indicator rankings by the Ohio Department of Education on the District’s Special Education Profile. 
LISTEN: Click the link to listen to our monthly Super Chat Podcast as we discuss this year’s Special Education Profile rankings: January Super Chat Podcast: Special Education
What is a Special Education Profile?
Special Education Services across the country are guided by a federal law called The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). The Ohio Department of Education - Office of Exceptional Children uses this law to guide how we evaluate implementation of IDEA through the Special Education Profile which established a series of special education indicators to measure services and outcomes for children with disabilities.  Some indicators are related to compliance of implementation, while others are focused on outcomes for students preschool through age 22. The Ohio Department of Education works with stakeholders to establish annual targets - or goals - for these indicators, in essence, the Special Education Profile is the District’s special education report card.

How often does the District receive the Special Education Profile?
Every year, districts receive the Special Education Profile which shows their progress over time in meeting their goals for students with disabilities. The design of the Special Education Profile helps districts use data about the academic growth as well as how students are served to keep improving their special education programs. 
These indicators have been organized into five essential questions to help guide continuous improvement:
  • 1. Are young children with disabilities entering kindergarten ready to learn?
  • 2. Are children with disabilities achieving at high levels?
  • 3. Are youth with disabilities prepared for life, work, and postsecondary education?
  • 4. Does the district implement IDEA to improve services and results for children with disabilities?
  • 5. Are children receiving equitable services and support(s)?
What did the profile show for the district this year?
      This year, Northwest Local School District met all the indicator targets that were measured including:
  • IDEA Compliance 
  • Disproportionality for Identification
  • TimelyInitial Evaluations
  • Early Childhood Transition
  • Secondary Transition
  • Timely and Accurate Data
  • The District had no findings in the audit of IDEA funding.
The Special Education Department worked collaboratively with building and district administrators, building level teachers, and related service providers to assure the needs of students with disabilities are not only met, but provided in the least restrictive environment. Meaning, students are being served as much with their general education peers as possible. 
Describe indicators that have not yet been rated
There are indicators that are pending a rating including reading and math proficiency, participation in state testing, student and family interviews regarding post school outcomes and services. 

"I believe that we will continue to show growth for students with disabilities," said Heidi Stickney, District Administrator for Special Education. "Based upon our prior Special Education Profiles and our Value Added Data from district report cards, we received A’s and B’s showing that we are closing the achievement gap for students with disabilities."
What do you attribute to the success of the ratings?
  • Staff collaboration
  • Use of research based interventions
  • Highly skilled teachers and related service providers
  • Support provided by special education supervisors 

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