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MDUSD special education update

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, August 24th, 2012 at 7:59 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education.

Mt. Diablo special education administrator Carolyn Patton has posted a special education update on the CAC blog, reiterating the district’s previous commitment to hold parent meetings in September to discuss transportation changes. However, the update still does not list any times, dates or locations for these meetings.

The post also links to updated Frequently Asked Questions at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/1jYYWk0faJA6qqtaws10PqRSLZ3igqUS7IQvJYiptBxZRv5vZu8RBIx7rz2D0/edit?pli=1#

Here is the first question and answer regarding the FCMAT transportation report:
Q: “When will the final report be available?”
A: “We have received and released the draft report. We do not have a final report, but it will be released when received.”

This is very interesting, since the district has not publicly presented the draft report to the CAC or board. In fact, Trustee Cheryl Hansen said she has not received it. Although Superintendent Steven Lawrence inadvertently sent it to me, he has not mentioned it to trustees during board meetings since then. Neither has Patton. So, it’s unclear what is meant by: “We have received and released the draft report.”

Here is the final question and answer, along with an email address where parents can send additional questions:

Q: “What are the next steps in the changes to transportation?”
A: “District administrators were provided training on transportation as a related service. The district is providing door to door for all eligible students. On January 7, 2013 the district plans to change to our cluster model. Before the change occurs, parents and school staff will be notified where and when the bus
stops will occur for each child. Cluster points is most cases will be at the child’s school of residence.

If your question was not addressed above please email transportationquest@mdusd.org with your question. Common questions and responses will be posted on this page.”

Unfortunately, the response does not say when parents will be informed about bus stops, except that it will be before they go into effect on Jan. 7.

On Tuesday, I received two emails from CAC Chairwoman Lorrie Davis in response to questions I had about how information is being disseminated to parents, after Patton told the board on Monday that she had spoken with the CAC about this.

Here’s what Davis wrote in the first email:

“I have been asking Carolyn a lot of questions and she said she would get back to me this week. This is what I know so far:
At the CAC meeting on September 4 Carolyn will recap what has occurred, as she did to the board members last night.
She requested a Transportation section be added to the district website but it hasn’t been done so we are going to set something up on the CAC blog.
There is an email address that parents can use. She will email me the address.
She is going to update the Q&A that we posted on the CAC blog.
We were waiting for the FCMAT report to be presented before the parent meetings were set up because, until procedures/policies are approved, how do you know what to tell parents? We have now decided to set the dates so parents have ample time to arrange childcare. We will definitely have the dates by the September 4 CAC meeting.
I keep stating to Carolyn and staff that parents just need to be informed.
When Carolyn provides me with the info, we will send it out as quickly as possible.”

True to her word, Davis posted the information promptly when Patton provided it today.

I also asked Davis if she knew when the final FCMAT Transportation Report would be completed. Here’s what she wrote in an email:

“I asked the Superintendent again on Monday and he explained there were still corrections to be completed on the Transportation draft report. He could not give me a defininte answer as to when the reports would be distributed.”

In the meantime, here is another document I received from my PRA, which shows staff-student ratios for special education programs at each district site: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=127407098

Do you believe that the district has “released” the draft FCMAT Transportation Report?

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  • g

    The Staff/Student ratios 2011-2012 don’t seem to have any room for “bringing some children back to the district,” as they have indicated.

    If Lawrence’s Ooops release to you of the draft report counts…then yes, they’ve released it.

    What seems most interesting here is the district says it is waiting for “corrections” while FCMAT is saying there won’t be much in the way of “corrections.”

  • g

    Are we witnessing a “high noon” stand-off between Lawrence and Gillaspie?

  • Theresa Harrington

    g: It’s possible. As I previously mentioned, Gillaspie told me there were very few “corrections” to the first draft and that he expected to finalize the transportation report by July 30-31.
    Then, a “second” draft appeared in the emails and although FCMAT appeared eager to finalize both reports, the district suddenly did not.
    I have also previously reported that Gillaspie told me districts cannot re-write the reports if they don’t like what they say. They can only correct factual errors.
    If Lawrence doesn’t like what the reports say and FCMAT is unwilling to let him rewrite them, there could be a stalemate. Still, the public deserves to know why this is taking so long and when they can expect to see the reports.
    As Davis said, she was waiting to schedule the parent meetings until the FCMAT reports were finalized, so she would know what the district was planning. Without the final reports, the parent meetings may simply result in more unanswered questions.
    But, since the district is now claiming that it “released” the draft report, parents should feel free to email questions about it to the email address provided.

  • Anonymous

    The staff:student ratios are from last year, things have changed.

  • Doctor J

    Steven Lawrence’s “connection” to newest State Board of Education member: Josephine Kao of Roseville, a Senior at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento, was appointed to the State Board of Education. Interestingly, she lives in Roseville, Lawrence’s old stomping grounds where he was Asst. Supt., but she chose NOT to attend his high schools in his former district, but instead chose to attend Mira Loma in the San Juan district — the same district where Lawrence was NOT chosen as the new Supt. Sometimes the world is a small place. Congratulations to Josephine. She will be a voting member and last year the student board member broke a tie vote between Board members. http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ms/mm/index.asp

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just received a forwarded email from a parent who didn’t realize his child would not be getting transportation to school this year, despite having received the form letter in June. He thought the district would follow up with more information, if it pertained to him.
    Instead, it appears the form letter may be the only notice that many parents get that their children won’t be getting busing. I wonder how many other parents will be caught by surprise…..

  • Theresa Harrington
  • Anon

    That parent is not the only one. With this restructure of transportation many special Ed kids are cut off or are now on a bus for more than an hour.

  • Anon

    Well, based on the 2nd article our district seems to fit her perfect. I am hopeful but I am not going to hold my breath. I just wish we had someone at the helm before the goofy goobers at the dent made all these changes.

  • Doctor J

    Kerri Mills said she met with the CAC recently. Wouldn’t that be a violation of the Brown Act ?

  • Anon

    I don’t know about the brown act but, it sure would be nice if the cac made it so all parents in special Ed could feel welcome.
    On a positive, for a group of parents they do try. It’s just hard for outsiders to come in

  • Anon

    Remember the CAC “leadership” is very tight with Lawrence and Eberhart. So whatever the big boys say goes.

  • Doctor J

    Maybe we will actually get to see the secret FCMAT Spec Ed report. http://www.noozhawk.com/article/121111_santa_barbara_special_education

  • Doctor J

    Here is the FCMAT report for Special Education while Kerri Mills was in Santa Barbara and worked with. It might give some heads up about what her experience is and some changes you might expect to see her recommend, if Lawrence will let her. http://wwwstatic.kern.org/gems/fcmat/SantaBarbaraSDfinalreport612.pdf

  • Theresa Harrington

    The CAC leadership does not always appear to be “tight” with Lawrence and Eberhart. One CAC rep stood up and asked for the CAC to be given more input into whether or not Mills’ contract is extended in June, supporting the idea that the board review item 12 in the contract.
    And CAC Chairwoman Lorrie Davis has repeatedly asked Lawrence when he will release the FCMAT reports, since she wants that information for the upcoming special education parent meetings.

  • Anon

    does anyone know what the consent decree says about how long a special ed. child can spend on the bus?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s an interesting short article that popped up on Google alerts regarding “Transforming an OT/PT Program Through Sustainable Best Practices – Mt. Diablo Unified School District”:
    http://services.progressustherapy.com/transforming-otpt-program-through-sustainable-best-practices-mt-diablo-unified-school-district

  • Theresa Harrington

    Please note that I have added a new blog post with the CAC meeting dates for the 2012-13 school year: http://bit.ly/NGpjEs

    Also, anon, I noticed that the CAC blog has links to the consent decree: http://mtdiablosped.blogspot.com/