The Board of Education unanimously accepted the 2013-14 goals and objectives on Tuesday after several suggested changes were made.
The goals and objectives will come before the board one last time to ensure that the additional changes were made.
Following a complaint by a group of parents in late March about what have been confirmed by the state Department of Education as systematic violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, increased parent communication is now a goal.
"In cooperation with the Special Education Advisory Committee, develop improved systems for communication both in the district and community regarding issues related to special education," the goals read. Finer details include the spread of information related to special education law, terminology and processes as well as coordinating ongoing workshops that will involve speakers from within the district on topics of "importance regarding special education."
During his report, Superintendent Stephen Falcone indicated that there will be training sessions for the new special education procedures for Board of Education members, general education teachers and parents. He said the sessions for the board members and parents would take place at the end of September and training for general education teachers would occur around Columbus Day.
Training sessions, being led by attorney Theresa DeFrancis, for administrators and special education instructors already have started, Falcone said.
DeFrancis was hired during a state Bureau of Special Education investigation into the Darien schools' special education program in response to a complaint filed by parents with the state Department of Education. The parents complained that the schools' special education policies, introduced by Deirdre Osypuk, director of special education and student services who was hired last summer, were in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by removing the "team" aspect of the planning and placement team meetings. A student's programs are determined in the meetings through a combined effort of the parents and educators.
"I've indicated to all those groups that I've hit the reset button," Falcone said.
One of the changes made includes the administration of online surveys to parents and students once or twice a year about the impact of the professional learning community on the instruction.
The implementation of the student success plan was also included for middle and high school students. The SSP model is put in place to "provide each student with support and assistance in setting goals for academic, career, social, emotional and physical development," according to the goals and objectives.
Aspects of the SSP include communication of the model with those involved in the school community, analyzing the data and determining ways to electronically store the data.
At the end of the 2012-13 school year, the Board of Education made the decision to move to a six-day schedule rotation at the elementary schools. Part of the goals and objectives is to conduct a review of the new rotation and measure the impact on the schools. Surveys are anticipated to be sent to staff and parents to discover any changes that may need to be made.
To address spacing issues at the elementary schools, the six-day schedule plan would allow for more adequate space for physical education classes, Assistant Superintendent Judith Pandolfo said at the April 23 Board of Education meeting, and it would add another foreign language section, which would include a part-time world language teacher.
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