The district serves approximately 23,000 students in Junior Kindergarten - twelfth grades. The special education department is the smaller organization that I have elected to observe within the district. There are currently approximately 2,500 students receiving services under the auspices of special education. This exceeds the commonly held guideline of 10% of the total population. The special education department provides services ranging from speech and language to more restrictive learning environments including special day classes.
District leadership spans from the superintendent and assistant superintendents to department directors. The director of special education oversees special education staff and programs. In addition, it is her responsibility to supervise health services and the crisis response team for the district. The special education department members that she directly supervises are coordinators and school psychologists. The present director is in her third year of service in this capacity, having previously worked as a Learning Center/Resource Teacher and middle school assistant principal.
While an honest assessment of my choice in examining this department would include mention of convenience because of my own connection with the special education department as the principal of a school with four special day classes, I believe that I have a sincere desire to grow as well. In examining the practices of the department in conjunction with my site practices and beliefs, it is hoped that I will be open to seeing room for growth and seeking to improve - both locally and in connection with our sister schools, the special education department, and the district as a whole.