Feb 10, 2022

Guidance Series to Support School Systems in Cross Departmental Planning to Improve Outcomes for Students With Disabilities

BATON ROUGE, La. – In January 2022, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) released its first issue of Guidance for Leading Inclusive Special Education Programs: Leveraging Data to Align Budgets and Spending to Priorities. Tuesday, LDOE released its second issue: Creating Complaint Systems for Student Success

“Now, more than ever, school systems are facing unprecedented challenges in meeting the emerging needs of students with disabilities,” said Dr. Jenna Chiasson, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. “These guidance documents provide school systems with practical and timely resources to work cross-departmentally to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.” 

School systems face unique and complex challenges in improving outcomes for students with disabilities. Oftentimes, planning to address these needs are siloed within special education programs, which leads to less than effective outcomes for students with disabilities. This series will support school systems to improve special education programming by leveraging cross-departmental collaboration best practices. This series will cover a broad swath of topics, including stakeholder engagement, student-centered compliance practices, and strategies for effectively supporting the behavior needs of students with disabilities. 

Each month, LDOE will release one guidance document and hold a webinar to support implementation. In partnership with and alongside school system leaders, special education leaders are invited to participate in an hour-long webinar on the topic of Creating Compliant Systems for Student Success on February 22 at 1 p.m. 

This series was developed as a result of an expressed need from special educators for additional support to improve special education programming. Content for this series is adapted from SPED Fellow Academy (a comprehensive development program for novice special education leaders) and in partnership with a diverse group of advisors. Advisors are Special Education leaders across Louisiana who provide a unique perspective on the challenges facing school systems in meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Advisors include Lynn Hathaway from Ascension Public Schools, Dr. Shayla Guidry Hilarie from New Orleans Public Schools, Cheramie Kerth from St. Bernard Parish Public Schools, Dr. Sheila Lockett from Caddo Parish School Board, Mary Riley from Bienville Parish Schools, Emily Waterfield from KIPP New Orleans, and Roxane West from DeSoto Parish Schools.

“It is an honor to be a part of a project that starts with equity as the foundation for the work that we do as special education leaders,” said Dr. Shayla Guidry Hilaire, Chief Student and School Support Officer, New Orleans Public Schools. “The LDOE listened to the needs of special education leaders and created ongoing support that addresses those needs in an authentic way. Our special education community has experienced many challenges during the pandemic and these guidance materials and webinars provide hope during a time when educators are in need of ongoing support to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable learners.

Guidance documents will be released in the Weekly School System Newsletter and posted to the School Improvement Library.