109 Forming Special Education Committee

Parents to be included with administrators and teachers.

Parents of Deerfield Public Schools District 109 students who want to sit on a committee to help determine procedures to assure a full range of services to special needs children now have that opportunity and can apply for membership.

This committee, which will include at least two parents as well as six administrators and six certified staff members, according to provisions set out in the collective bargaining agreement reached in April.

Earlier: Update: Deal Good for Students: Jensen

“We met with the DEA leadership and at this time have identified only one characteristic (for membership),” District 109 Superintendent Renee Goier said. “(The person must be the) parent of a child with an IEP (individual education plan) for at least one year.”

The committee will be selected by Goier and Deerfield Education Association teachers’ union President Dennis Jensen.

“So far it has been a very cooperative environment between us and the administration,” Jensen said. “We want to see what their (potential committee members) experience in special education includes,” he added of perspective members.

Both Goier and Jensen are clear the minimum number of parents is two but there is no upward limit.

“When we met with the DEA, we agreed that we would not limit ourselves to the number of parents on this committee,” Goier said. “I am always hopeful that any committee, especially one involving multiple stakeholders, will help our students and our district.”

Jensen is in agreement there is no maximum number of committee members. “We’ll see what their experience in special education includes,” he said. “It should include people who will add a different perspective.”

People who wish to participate are encouraged by the District to complete a required form and read the appropriate portion of the collective bargaining agreement between the District and the union.

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D'skidoc October 01, 2012 at 12:23 PM
How about 2 administrators, six teachers and parents (4 with IEP kids and 2 gen ed.)?
D'skidoc October 01, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Sorry....pressed submit early. This committee seems top heavy. So do they want input, or just window dressing?
Richard Heller October 01, 2012 at 02:12 PM
There seems to be a missing element: What is the charge given to this committee? What are it's responsibilities, authorities, accountabilities and expected outcomes? A group without a purpose is just a useless committee meeting. Without a purpose, the committee will just be window dressing. This isn't to say I disagree with the concept. It's a good start. However, I would also like to see a representative from the professionals in our community . . . psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. These professionals also deal with the issues that the IEP students face. That being said, the structure of 14 members creates an unwieldy organization and is a plan for failure. (Haven't academic studies indicated that committees with more than 7-9 members are ineffective to start with?) In this case, a quorum would consist of 7-8 members. Even the school board has difficulties getting all 7 members to every meeting. Perhaps a committee of 2, 2, 2 and 1 would make more sense. I'm interested in hearing more about the goals, size, and expectations for this committee. My concern is that it will fail from the start without more thought put into it.
John Russillo October 01, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Let's not forget, the board and admin were dead set against this committee in the first place. The parents and teachers wanted it. So, is the admin motivated to allow this committee to have a real effect on special ed policies? The next board meeting will address the action plan the district will put in place to correct the special ed problems brought to light in the past year. It will be interesting to see if there is an actual plan or just more "window dressing" that we've seen in past meetings.
Violet Flemenbaum October 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I guess those parents of students with 504 plans don't count. We're somehow invisible even though our kids may receive services and accommodations that are very similar to IEP students.
Curious Resident October 01, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Unfortunately, with everything I've heard, seen, and continue to hear about with special education, I am not confident that this committee is going to make a difference. I'm happy that they are going forward with this, but I certainly believe that it should be less administration and more parents. Until the board and Goier leave nothing will change with special education. Used to be the district that families came to for special ed services, and now it is the district in which you will be lucky to get appropriate and legal services.


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