Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'special education' Category

MDUSD may release FCMAT report on special education soon

According to a CAC update sent out last October, Mt. Diablo school district Superintendent Steven Lawrence told Chairwoman Lorrie Davis that the FCMAT Special Education Report would be released in December or January. Since it wasn’t released by the end of January, I sent Lawrence an email Feb. 4 asking when he intendended to make the report (which the district received July 26 from FCMAT) public.

Here is his respoonse:

“Our goal was to complete the review/editing process by December or January. However, with Dr. (Kerri) Mills being new coupled with the review/edit process that FCMAT goes through the process has taken a little longer than expected. We are working with FCMAT to make the study public in the near future.”

That night, I attended the CAC meeting and asked Board President Cheryl Hansen about the report. She sent me the following email the next day:

“As a follow up to our conversation last night at the CAC meeting regarding the status of the Special Ed FCMAT report, I emailed the superintendent the following four questions this morning and asked for his response today:

1.  What is the status of the SpEd FCMAT report?

2.  When will it be released to the public?

3.  Why has there been such a long delay in this process?

4.  What does the district intend to do with this report?  How will it use it?

I just received a reply from the superintendent which added nothing of substance to the general response he sent you. Here’s what he offered: ‘The question is when will FCMAT be available to present the findings to the Board. They are busy working with several districts and we are trying to get on their calendar. Once presented to the Board we will get Board direction on which parts of the report they would like us to work to implement.’

So here’s my response: I’m putting the Special Ed FCMAT report on the February 25th agenda so the Board and the public can finally get some information on something that should have been dealt with and made public a long time ago. The public paid for this report yet they aren’t getting any of the information that they paid for.

The only way to achieve transparency and accountability is if everyone involved acts with transparency and accountability, and that’s not what’s happening with these FCMAT reports.”

This is not the same procedure followed with the FCMAT Transportation report, which was never presented to the board by FCMAT. In that instance, district staff began implementing recommendations before they even presented the report to the board. And when they did present it, staff didn’t ask for direction. Instead, staff just explained what they were doing with the recommendations.

Although a date for a FCMAT presentation to the board has still not been finalized to my knowledge, a blog reader who attended the superintendent’s Wednesday feeder pattern meeting at Mt. Diablo Elementary has informed me that Lawrence told that group the report was with FCMAT for corrections and would be released as soon as it is returned next week.

So, now it appears that Lawrence doesn’t plan to wait until FCMAT has time to present the report to the board before releasing it, as he told Hansen.

This piecemeal dribbling of information is one reason it made sense for the superintendent to hold ONE Parent Advisory Council meeting so everyone got the same information at the same time. If he doesn’t want to do that, he should send out TIMELY messages to the community informing the public about what he’s telling parents at various feeder pattern meetings.

Do you think the superintendent should inform special education parents about when he plans to release the FCMAT special education report?

March 1 update: Here is the link to the FCMAT special education report: http://www.mdusd.org/NewsRoom/Documents/FCMAT-special-education-report.pdf

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2013
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 26 Comments »

MDUSD’s special ed Community Advisory Committee to hear report on district’s Disproportionality Corrective Action Plan

After being identified by the state as a district that disproportionally identifies African-American and Latino students for special education and suspensions and expulsions, the Mt. Diablo district has been working on a plan to correct this situation.

The district’s special education Community Advisory Committee is set to hear a report about this plan Tuesday, along with other monthly reports. Here is the agenda for the meeting, which is open to the public:

“COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
AGENDA
DATE: January 8, 2013
TIME: 7:00 – 9:15 p.m.
PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room (1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord)

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:05)
Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting
Please let us know if this is your first time attending a CAC meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – December 4, 2012 (7:05 – 7:10)

4. Presentation – “Disproportionality Corrective Action Plan” – Stephanie Roberts (7:10 – 7:40)

5. Chairperson’s Report – Lorrie Davis (7:40 – 7:50)

6. Old Business (7:50 – 8:20)

6.1 Interim Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Kerri Mills

6.2 Board of Education Report – Lynne Dennler

6.3 Board of Education Comments – Autumn Green

6.4 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

6.5 Equity Advisory Team – Dorothy Weisenberger

NETWORKING BREAK

7. New Business (8:30– 9:00)

7.1 QIAT – Christian Patz

7.2 Autism Task Force – Vi Ibarra

7.3 Advisory Commission on Special Education – No Report

7.4 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

7.5 Sub-Committee Updates
Parent & Community Education Committee – Julie Nibblett
Membership & Publicity Committee – Vi Ibarra
Legislative Committee – Denise Lambert
Blog Committee – Autumn Green

8. Public Comment (9:00 – 9:10)
Public comment is an opportunity to share concerns and comments with the CAC. In the interest of time, speakers are limited to three (3) minutes each with a total of fifteen (15) minutes for all speakers. Please respect student and personnel privacy. CAC members and district staff might not be able to respond to individual concerns in this forum, but will take your contact information and follow-up with you.

9. Information Items/Announcements/Adjournment (9:10 – 9:15)

DON’T FORGET – - BRING A FRIEND TO THE MEETING!!”

It is interesting that the board has not yet received a presentation regarding the disproportionality corrective action plan. The board also doesn’t receive monthly updates from several other district committees whose meetings are under the radar.

The CAC used to also include reports from the PAC, until it was disbanded.

In contrast, the WCCUSD board invites the following “standing reports” at every meeting:

“D.5 Standing Reports
Representatives of the following committees and employee unions are invited to provide a brief update to the Board. Representatives from these groups need to sign up to speak prior to the beginning of this item on the agenda by submitting a ‘Request to Address the Board’ form. Five minutes may be allowed for each subcommittee or group listed below:
Academic Subcommittee
Public Employees Local 1
Bayside Parent Teacher Association
Safety Committee
Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee
School Supervisors Association
Community Budget Advisory Committee
United Teachers of Richmond
Facilities Subcommittee
Youth Commission
Ivy League Connection
College and Career Readiness Academies”

MDUSD’s board invites comments from organizations including unions, Bond Oversight Committee, the CAC and the PTA. But I have never heard reports from the Budget Advisory Committee, Parent Advisory Committee, Equity Advisory Team, Technology Advisory Committee, Bay Point Master Plan Committee or Graduation Requirements Committee. And if the district’s Facilities Subcommittee had presented reports in the past, perhaps the district’s solar plans wouldn’t have come as such a surprise, when Trustee Gary Eberhart assured the public in his blog that the Facilities Subcommittee had been discussing it for months.

The Pleasant Hill Education Commission meetings also include reports from representatives who serve on district committees.

Do you think the MDUSD school board should receive regular public reports from district committees?

JAN. 9 UPDATE: Here are links to video clips of the portions of the meeting I recorded (the CAC requires members of the audience to announce in advance any intention to record portions of the meeting):

Part 1 of Draft Disproportionality Corrective Action Plan presentation: http://qik.com/video/56699411

Part 2 of disproportionality discussion, including questions from CAC members: http://youtu.be/nTxQ8DXYu94

Part 3 of disproportionality discussion: http://youtu.be/dKy0Jqw6l3k

Chairperson’s report: http://youtu.be/Rn1VYIIlXq4

Assistant Superintendent’s report: http://youtu.be/z62KJ1Q-_J8

Posted on Monday, January 7th, 2013
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 49 Comments »

MDUSD special education Community Advisory Committee meeting is tonight

Here is the agenda for tonight’s Mt. Diablo school district special education Community Advisory Committee meeting tonight:

COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

AGENDA

DATE: December 4, 2012

TIME: 7:00 – 9:15 p.m.

PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:10)

Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting

Please let us know if this is your first time attending a CAC meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – November 6, 2012 (7:10 – 7:15)

4. Presentation – Autism Magnet Program – Jenny Carvalho (7:15 – 7:35)

5. Chairperson’s Report – Lorrie Davis (7:35 – 7:45)

5.1 New CAC Member Nomination – Janine Payne

6. Old Business (7:45 – 8:15)

6.1 Interim Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Kerri Mills

6.2 Board of Education Report – Lynne Dennler

6.3 Board of Education Comments – No Report

6.4 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

6.5 Equity Advisory Team – Dorothy Weisenberger

NETWORKING BREAK

7. New Business (8:25– 9:00)

7.1 QIAT – Christian Patz – No Report

7.2 Autism Task Force – Lorien Quirk

7.3 Advisory Commission on Special Education – No Report

7.4 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

7.5 Sub-Committee Updates
Parent & Community Education Committee – Julie Nibblett
Membership & Publicity Committee – Vi Ibarra
Legislative Committee – Denise Lambert
Blog Committee – Autumn Green

8. Public Comment (9:00 – 9:10)
Public comment is an opportunity to share concerns and comments with the CAC. In the interest of time, speakers are limited to three (3) minutes each with a total of fifteen (15) minutes for all speakers. Please respect student and personnel privacy. CAC members and district staff might not be able to respond to individual concerns in this forum, but will take your contact information and follow-up with you.

9. Information Items/Announcements/Adjournment (9:10 – 9:15)

DON’T FORGET – - BRING A FRIEND TO THE MEETING!!”

Do you think Mills should answer the CAC’s remaining questions related to the FCMAT transportation review?

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Under: Election, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 4 Comments »

MDUSD special education Community Advisory Committee meeting dates set

I received an email from the Mt. Diablo school district’s Community Advisory Committee blog about upcoming CAC meetings, but when I went to the blog to try to link to it, I didn’t see it. So, I am posting it below:

“CAC Meeting
Tuesday, September 4
7:00-9:00pm
Board Room
Mt. Diablo School District Office

CAC meetings are open to all members of the public with an interest in special education. When you attend a CAC meeting, you may ask questions, get information, express concerns and opinions, give recommendations and meet the people who make decisions about special education in the Mt. Diablo School Distrtict. Every CAC meeting includes time for ‘Public Comment’ where anyone can raise a topic for discussion or let CAC know of a general concern. Below are our meeting dates for this school year. Hope to see you there.

2012-13 Meeting Dates
September 4, 2012
October 2, 2012
November 6, 2012
December 4, 2012
January 8, 2013
February 5, 2013
March 5, 2013
April 9, 2013
May 7, 2013

Lorrie Davis
CAC Chairperson”

However, no agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting has been posted. Also, I noticed that the CAC blog reported that Dr. Kerri Mills’ appointment by the board the as Interim Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services and Special Education was unanimous: http://mtdiablosped.blogspot.com/2012/08/mdusd-appoints-interim-superintendent.html.

Actually, Mills was appointed in a 4-1 vote, with Trustee Cheryl Hansen voting against it because she wanted the contract language to be changed to provide the opportunity for public input into the decision to make the appointment permanent in June: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5789&mtgId=347.

CAC member Denise Lambert also asked the board to consider allowing the CAC to have input into the decision.

Do you agree with the board’s decision to allow Mills’ appointment to become permanent, as long as she receives a positive evaluation from Superintendent Steven Lawrence in September?

Posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
Under: Education, special education | 3 Comments »

MDUSD special education update

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?

Posted on Friday, August 24th, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 18 Comments »

MDUSD may overhaul transportation and special education programs

Through a Public Records Act request, I have received several emails and documents from the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) related to the Mt. Diablo school district’s contract for two studies:
1) providing findings and recommendations related to the district’s transportation programs; and
2) providing a review of the district’s special education program.

As noted in recent blog posts, these findings and recommendations have not yet been presented to the school board or the public. However, the district sent a June 20 letter to parents informing them of transportation changes it claimed were recommended by FCMAT.

I have previously pointed out that some of the ideas for these changes came from the district itself, instead of from FCMAT. This came to light after Superintendent Steven Lawrence inadvertently sent me a copy of FCMAT’s draft transportation report, which did not directly support some of the changes being implemented by the district.

After Lawrence sent me that report, he followed up with an email saying that he expected the final report to be presented to the board Aug. 13. Subsequently, the Aug. 13 meeting was postponed to Aug. 20 (tonight), because two trustees were unavailable last Monday.

Contrary to Lawrence’s assurance, however, no FCMAT reports appear on tonight’s agenda. Instead, the board will consider three transportation-related staff recommendations, without any backup material from FCMAT.

The first is a contract for nearly $1.7 million to transport 132 Non Public School and County students to and from school. Neither the staff report nor the contract reveal to the board or the public how many students are in-district, how many travel outside the district or how many use wheelchairs.

According to the contract, the district pays $40 per day for ambulatory students sharing rides within the district; $120 for students in wheelchairs within the district; $70 per day for ambulatory students sharing rides outside the district, and $140 per day for students in wheelchairs traveling outside the district. In addition, the district may pay $25 per hour for ambulatory students and $40 per hour for students in wheelchairs. The board and public deserve to see a breakdown of these costs. Absent such a breakdown, it appears that the district intends to spend an average of $12,743 per student per year on this contract.

The second transportation-related item is a $307,500.00 contract with AA Med Trans to transport 24 medically fragile students. This averages $12,812 per student per year — or about $69.50 more per year per student than the Pawar charges.

Although FCMAT specifically addressed outside transportation contracts in its draft transportation report, the district is not presenting FCMAT’s findings and recommendations.

Here is what the report said: “…the district should closely evaluate the need for a third-party transportation provider. This transportation is generally provided in a one-on-one fashion and may be less efficient than transportation on a school bus.”

In addition, FCMAT recommended: “…improve transportation request forms and checklists and cluster stops for students who can reasonably get to their local school or nearby bus stop. These changes should be clearly communicated to parents well in advance.”

As has been noted in previous blog posts, the idea for clustering students came from a third-party legal analysis provided by the district to FCMAT, which both FCMAT and the district are refusing to publicly release, citing attorney-client privilege.

The third transportation-related item up for discussion tonight is the elimination of “overflow” busing for students who must attend a school that is not in their neighborhood, because there is not enough space at their home school. This would apply only to students who are traveling to schools that are less than 5 miles from their home schools.

This item is somewhat hidden on the agenda under the title: “13.20 Revision to Board Policy 5116 – School Attendance Boundaries.”

The agenda attachment does not provide any rationale for the proposed change in policy. Instead, it merely proposes that one paragraph in the policy be changed.

Currently, it states:

“Occasionally the district cannot serve a student at the neighborhood school because a particular grade level is full. In this case, the student is assigned to a nearby school with available space, thus becoming an ‘overflow’ student. For middle and elementary school students, TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE CLOSEST AVAILABLE SCHOOL. If such a student is assigned to an impacted school, the student shall be able to continue at the impacted school through the remainder of the school year. At the beginning of the next school year, each ‘overflow’ student assigned to an impacted school shall return to the neighborhood school.”

Lawrence is recommending that the above language that is in all caps (my emphasis) be deleted and replaced with: “transportation will only be provided if the closest available school is more than five miles away from the student’s home elementary school.”

Lawrence is not providing the board or public with any information about how many students this would affect or how much this would save the district. He is also not providing information related to overflow busing that is included in the FCMAT’s draft transportation report.

FCMAT wrote that the district’s current board policy and administrative regulation require elementary students to live 1.25 miles from their schools to be eligible for home-to-school service and middle school students to live 3 miles from their schools to be eligible.

“Over the years,” FCMAT wrote, “the district has increased regular home-to-school transportation walking distances, but has not amended policies to reflect those changes. Therefore, some students technically qualify for transportation according to policy, but service is not provided. In addition, the policy does not mention providing transportation to NCLB (No Child Left Behind) or overflow students.”

In 2010-11, FCMAT wrote, 272 overflow students were transported to schools other than their home school. It’s unclear why no data from the 11-12 school year was included. FCMAT recommended limiting the schools that students could choose to attend to reduce transportation logistics and costs.

However, FCMAT did not specifically recommend increasing distances for transportation eligibility. Instead, it made two recommendations related to overflow busing:

“1. Review and amend board policy and administrative regulations to reflect the district’s desired service level.

2. Limit the number of eligible schools that students can choose to attend for NCLB and overflow reasons.”

Emails that I received from FCMAT show that FCMAT sent a second draft of the transportation report to Lawrence for review July 27, seeking comments by July 30, “so we can proceed to finalize the report.” It’s unclear why it is apparently taking so long to finalize.

Here is a link to the emails related to the transportation report: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=127203845

Note that FCMAT sent the first draft transportation report July 18, saying that it would be finalized after it received corrections or suggested changes. That email did not mention a second draft.

Before FCMAT sent its draft report to Lawrence, it had sent Lawrence a June 5 “exit letter” outlining its preliminary transportation findings and recommendations. Here is the link to that letter: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=124879803

Although this letter had been privately provided to the board and to the CAC Executive Committee, it has not been presented to the public. After I requested it from Lawrence, I posted it on my blog so readers could get an idea of possible upcoming changes in transportation.

Similarly, FCMAT sent a June 19 letter to Lawrence outlining its preliminary findings and recommendations related to special education. This letter was also provided to the board, but not to the CAC. I obtained it as part of my PRA. Here is a link to that letter: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=126735701

Here are the emails I received from FCMAT related to the special education report: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=126792923

Note that the first set of emails also includes some information related to the special education review, including May 14 and May 15 emails from Bill Gillaspie to Bryan Richards mentioning the need to do a parent morale survey. The first set of emails also includes a May 4 email from Richards to Gillaspie about the superintendent’s concerns about the special education study and timeline.

The second set of emails — specifically related to the special education review — includes one dated July 26 to Lawrence, which states that the draft special education report is attached. It asks for corrections or suggested modifications, then states: “Upon receiving this information, we can finalize the report.”

It has now been nearly four weeks since that email was sent. It’s unclear why the report is taking so long to finalize.

The second set also includes a May 17 email from Lawrence reducing the scope of work. “I will ask that Bill included (sic) the CAC parent leaders as a group to interview,” he wrote, “but we are not going to do a full blown parent survey at this time.”

Here is the revised scope of study:

“FCMAT Study: Special Education Mt Diablo Unified School District
June 4, 2012

Scope of Study: Provide recommendations to address the necessary balance between providing a full continuum of services required by law for students with special needs while providing full consideration of the financial effects that the funding has on the district as follows:

1. A review of the special education administrative structure and compare with single district SELPA districts of comparable size with recommendations for cost savings, if any.

2. Analyze the internal operations of all administrative positions in special education and make recommendations for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness, if any.

3. Analyze the classified support positions within the administrative structure that support internal special education operations.

4. Provide an analysis of staffing ratios, class and caseload size using statutory requirements for mandated services and statewide guidelines. Must include FTE and caseload as of May 1.

5. Provide an analysis of all staffing and caseloads for designated instruction providers: speech therapists, psychologists, occupational/physical therapists, behavior specialists, adaptive physical education and others. Must include FTE and caseloads as of May 1.

6. Review the use of resource allocations for nonpublic schools and agencies and mental health services, alternative programs and make recommendations for greater efficiency.

7. Review the costs of due process, alternative dispute resolution and mediations for the past three years.”

Here is another document I received regarding information requested from the district by FCMAT:

“May 4, 2012

TO: ERIC SMITH, FCMAT JOB LEAD

FROM: TIM PURVIS, MIKE REA

RE: MT. DIABLO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT DOCUMENTATION AND INTERVIEW LIST

Eric, based on the scope of this study, these are the documents we will need to have prepared in advance of, or for our arrival at the district. There should be two sets of documents (three if you want them as well).
• Last 2 years TRAN Report
• Budget elements showing Transportation revenue and expenditures for last year (actuals or unaudited actuals), and this year’s budget.
• School transportation fee information if district charges fees for home to school transportation.
• Map showing district boundaries, school sites, and the bus routes. Include the bell times.
• District calendar indicating student days of attendance.
• Detailed bus routes (including right and left turns) showing driver, bus number and student load for each run (Both home to school and special education). Student names and addresses for special education.
• Information on any contracted home to school or special education transportation service including transportation provided by taxis or non-public schools. This would include most recent invoices and formal contracts, if any. Include any service provided by the County Office of Education or SELPA.
• Detail of any revenue to be transferred by the CCCOE to district for special education transportation.
• Field trip detail to include the average number of trips scheduled each year and the rate charged to district users. If student transportation is provided in non-school district vehicles, include any published district practices on their use and any district requirement for drivers.
• A fleet list showing buses and all district support vehicles (year, make, model, passenger capacity, wheelchair capacity, current mileage).
• District Organization Chart and Transportation Department Organization Chart.
• Transportation Department roster of employees, job classifications, and their regular work hours (hours per day, months per year).
• District Policies and administrative regulations relative to pupil transportation: walking distances, pupil transportation fees, field trip policies and procedures, policies and procedures relative to parent driven trips or trips in district vans or automobiles other than school buses.
• Last two year’s CHP Terminal Grade reports (we will review on site random records to include vehicle maintenance histories, 45-day/3000 mile inspections, purchasing procedures and inventory control).
• Collective bargaining agreement with all representative units in the Transportation Department.
• Current Salary Schedule.
• Transportation Department handbook
• Transportation Safety Plan
• School bus evacuation records for home to school and special education for the 2011-12 school year.

The following key staff members should also be scheduled for individual interviews (individual interviews to be approximately one hour for CBO, at least one half hour for all other positions, and approximately 3 hours for Transportation Director):

• CBO or direct administrator over school transportation
• Transportation Director
• Operations supervisors or driver supervisors
• Driver Instructors
• Dispatchers
• Routers/schedulers
• Shop Supervisor
• Several Mechanics
• Several drivers
• CSEA or Union President or job steward

Also on-site we will review the driver training function, driver training records, dispatch function and any other necessary elements.”

I also received a few other documents, which I haven’t yet uploaded to DocStoc. These are related to interviews and documentation regarding current special education programs.

Do you agree with Lawrence’s decision to eliminate the parent morale survey?

Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 6 Comments »

Mt. Diablo special education parent advisory committee to meet Tuesday

Now that the school board is meeting on Mondays, the special education Community Advisory Committee (CAC) has moved its meetings to Tuesdays. Here is the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting:

“COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE AGENDA
DATE: January 10, 2012
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room (1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord)

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:05)
Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – December 5, 2011 (7:05 – 7:10)

4. Presentations – NorCal Transitions – Doug Dildine (7:10 – 7:30)

5. Chairperson’s Report – Lorrie Davis (7:30 – 7:40

6. You Make A Difference- Hilary Shen (7:40 – 7:50)

7. Old Business (7:50 – 8:20)

7.1 Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Mildred D. Browne

7.2 Board of Education Report – Lynne Dennler

7.3 Board of Education Comments – Lisa Huynh

7.4 Parent Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

7.5 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

7.6 Equity Advisory Team Report – Dorothy Weisenberger

7.7 EL Master Plan Task Force – Morena Grimaldi

NETWORKING BREAK

8. New Business (8:30 – 8:45)

8.1 Nurses’ Report – Christine Miric

8.2 Extended School Year – Carolyn Patton

8.3 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

8.4 Sub-Committee Updates

Parent & Community Education Committee – Julie Nibblett

Membership & Publicity Committee – Vi Ibarra

Legislative Committee – Denise Lambert

Blog Committee – Autumn Green

9. Public Comment (8:45 – 8:55)
Public comment is an opportunity to share concerns and comments with the CAC. In the interest of time, speakers are limited to three (3) minutes each with a total of fifteen (15) minutes for all speakers. Please respect student and personnel privacy. CAC members and district staff might not be able to respond to individual concerns in this forum, but will take your contact information and follow-up with you.

10. Information Items/Announcements/Adjournment (8:55 – 9:00)

DON’T FORGET – - BRING A FRIEND TO THE MEETING!!”

Here is the link to the NorCal Transitions website: http://www.norcaltransitions.com/Home.html. According to the site, the organization is “dedicated to providing quality benefits, housing and employment transition services empowering individuals seeking to live independently.”

Do you believe the Mt. Diablo district provides adequate support to families when students transition into adulthood?

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 2 Comments »

MDUSD Special education Community Advisory Committee meeting tonight

The Mt. Diablo school district’s special education Community Advisory Committee will meet tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the district office.

Since the district does not post the agenda on its website, I am posting it below. The public is invited to attend and to comment about anything not on the agenda during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
AGENDA
DATE: November 7, 2011
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:05)
Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – October 3, 2011 (7:05 – 7:10)

4. Presentations – Seneca Glenbrook Mental Health Collaborative – Daren Dickson (7:10 – 7:40)

5. Chairperson’s Report – Lorrie Davis (7:40 – 7:50)

6. Celebration of Success Update- Hilary Shen (7:50 – 8:00)

7. Old Business (8:00 – 8:20)

7.1 Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Mildred D. Browne

7.2 Board of Education Report – Lynne Dennler

7.3 Board of Education Comments – Dorothy Weisenberger and Audra McDonald

7.4 Parent Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

7.5 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

7.6 Equity Advisory Team Report – Dorothy Weisenberger

7.7 EL Master Plan Task Force – Morena Grimaldi

NETWORKING BREAK

8. New Business (8:30 – 8:45)

8.1 Nurses’ Report – Lori Oxman

8.2 Extended School Year – Carolyn Patton

8.3 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

8.4 Sub-Committee Updates

9. Public Comment (8:45 – 8:55)
Public comment is an opportunity to share concerns and comments with the CAC. In the interest of time, speakers are limited to three (3) minutes each with a total of fifteen (15) minutes for all speakers. Please respect student and personnel privacy. CAC members and district staff may not be able to respond to individual concerns in this forum, but will take your contact information and follow-up with you.

10. Information Items/Announcements/Adjournment (8:55 – 9:00)

DON’T FORGET – - BRING A FRIEND TO THE MEETING!!”

There is no transportation update scheduled this month.

Do you believe that the district has resolved all of its transportation issues related to special education?

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 6 Comments »

Mt. Diablo district parents complain about special education bus problems

Since school started Aug. 30 in the Mt. Diablo district, hundreds of parents of special education students have complained that their children have been stranded with no bus, dropped off at the wrong address, or have missed class time because buses were late.

The school board voted last year to begin transporting all special education students on district buses this year to save money, by discontinuing a contract with Durham Transportation through the Contra Costa County Office of Education. But the plan has not been well-executed, district officials and parents say.

Several parents and special education assistants discussed the problems during a Community Advisory Committee meeting last Monday, where they expected to receive an update on the district’s transportation system.

But Mildred Browne, superintendent of special education, told the group that the administrator in charge of busing had taken an abrupt 30-day medical leave of absence, which she found out about just two hours before the meeting. She said she had received more than a 100 phone calls a day complaining about busing problems.

Here is a link to video of that discussion: http://qik.com/video/44239715.

Parents expressed frustration at the lack of information they received.

“The situation is pretty dire,” said parent Wendy Citron. “Parents don’t know who’s picking up their kids.”

Brown agreed that the system wasn’t working.

“It’s a huge concern that we don’t know who’s going to be over the department for a month,” Browne said.

Even Superintendent Steven Lawrence couldn’t answer that question, she said.

“I just think that at this point there are so many holes in the system that we all need to sit down and perhaps have a conversation about what triage and concerns need to be addressed first,” Browne said. “We have several different scenarios. We have students that are getting to school, but they are getting to school late. We have students that aren’t getting to school at all and they’re also not getting picked up. We have some students that are getting to school, but it may not be the right school.”

Other students, she said, are spending long periods of time on the bus before or after school. She suggested that the district might want to first address students who aren’t being picked up at all.

“I don’t know how to do routing or bus transportation,” Browne said. “So, I don’t have that information.”

One parent said her son relied on bus assistants, which Durham provided, to maintain order between students on the bus. The district hasn’t provided an assistant on his new bus and he was concerned about his safety while riding with another student, she said.

Citron said her daughter was almost dropped off at her home when no one was there, instead of at the address she had provided to the district.

“I don’t know that the board knows how critical these issues are,” she said.

Browne said board members had been informed and that she would meet with Lawrence Tuesday to discuss the issues.

Committee Chairwoman Lorrie Davis said she was disappointed that neither Board President Gary Eberhart nor Trustee Lynne Dennler — who are the board liaisons to the committee — were at the meeting. Trustee Linda Mayo attended and said she was aware of the problems.

Parent Mike Mayo (no relation to Linda Mayo) said his son was left at school every day the previous week. He also spoke to the school board about the bus problems Tuesday.

At the Teacher of the Year awards dinner on Thursday, I asked Linda Mayo, Superintendent Steven Lawrence and trustee Cheryl Hansen about the problems.

Hansen said she had received several e-mails from parents.

“I’ve had quite a bit of horror stories,” she said, adding that Lawrence was tackling the issue.

Lawrence said some of the problems stemmed from new students who arrived in August and some bus drivers taking on new routes. He said principals were given information about the routes Thursday.

“We’re busing 2,200 kids,” he said.

Most are in special education and some are “overflowed” to other campuses because of overcrowding at their neighborhood schools. The district also buses some children who would normally attend poor-performing schools to other campuses, according to No Child Left Behind.

“Most are being transported properly,” he said.

Mayo said district staff was working to remedy the problems.

“I do know that more children were picked up today,” she said.

Do you agree with the board’s decision to discontinue its contract with Durham Transportation?

SEPT. 22 UPDATE: As I noted in my previous blog post about special education, we cannot name special education children either by name or by association and any comments that do that are being edited or deleted.

Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, special education | 43 Comments »