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SOESD / Special Education / STEPS / STEPS Program Proposal / 2012-13 STEPS Changes

2012-13 STEPS Changes

BACKGROUND:
•Southern Oregon ESD is one of 19 ESDs in Oregon which provide services to school districts in technology, school improvement, & special education.
•About 70% of SOESD’s General Funds are allocated to special education, and STEPS is the largest SOESD service.
•Both school districts and SOESD have experienced decreased funding from the state along with increased costs of providing education, and allocated ESD funding doesn’t always cover the costs of requested SOESD services.
•All school districts in the region using SOESD STEPS services were interested in having SOESD find ways to reduce STEPS costs.  Medford School District indicated that it would provide a different program for their STEPS-eligible students unless SOESD reduced STEPS costs from nearly $30,000 to $25,000 per student.
•Because of the impact throughout the region - as a result of closing the centrally located STEPS classrooms in Medford attended by students from other districts as well - the 13 school districts in SOESD’s region engaged in a study to identify efficiencies and reductions to hit the $25,000 target.
•The identified efficiencies and reductions were shared with STEPS parents and staff and input and ideas solicited in meetings and through surveys.
•Based on their feedback, some modifications to the proposed changes were recommended by area special education administrators and approved by superintendents.
 
 
SUMMARY OF FEEDBACK RECEIVED:
Mostly Positive Feedback
•Make changes in the way substitute teachers and education assistants are used
•Reduce travel to meetings through use of more electronic communication
•Reduce school psychologist time for testing
 
Mixed (Both Positive & Negative Feedback)
•Reduce the number of administrative work days
•Use a trained, supervised Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA) instead of an Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
•Reduce educational assistant transition (ages 18-21 years) service hours
•Save rental/facility costs of Woodlands transition site
 
Mostly Negative Feedback
•Reduce educational assistant preparation time
•Implement teacher furlough days
•Consolidate 4 classrooms (cut teacher & assistant positions)
 
 
CHANGES WHICH WILL BE MADE IN 2012-13 SCHOOL YEAR:
Italicized text represents modifications made as a result of parent & staff feedback.

Administration
1) Reduce administrative contracts 
2) Make substitute changes but try to assign the substitutes to the same classrooms each time so they will know students in the other classes.
3) Reduce travel
 
Support
4) Reduce educational assistant preparation time but ensure at least 30 minutes of preparation time by staggering assistant work hours & build in at least 1 additional hour per week for staff communication & planning.
5) Use an SLPA instead of an SLP with adequate SLP time for supervision of the SLPA & for tasks that can’t be done by the SLPA; find the right person who has both knowledge and experience with STEPS students and the required SLPA training.
6) Reduce school psychologist time for assessments

Services
7) Implement teacher furlough days by aligning the furlough days with district furlough or non-student attendance days.
8) Reduce educational assistant transition service hours but ensure that needed services are provided (per IEPs) and do more to prepare families for the change from school-age to transition services when their children are younger.
Classroom Consolidation
9) Consolidate 4 classrooms (cut teacher & assistant positions) with the determination of which classrooms to close based on these criteria:  the number of students who would have to move to another classroom, the space needed for an increased number of students per class, impact on students who are medically fragile or easily distracted (who might be disproportionately impacted by more students per class), relationships with peers & adults, community & inclusion opportunities, and transportation time to/from school.  
10) Save Woodlands facility costs and be sensitive to keeping friends together and providing other opportunities for students to get together who are no longer in the same site.
11) Provide opportunities for students who will be moving to another classroom next year, and their parents, to visit the new classroom and begin to become familiar with the new classroom and people between now and next fall.
12) Where possible, transfer adults from classrooms being closed to classrooms receiving the students from those closed classrooms to maintain adult/student relationships.



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