October 18, 2021 School Board Meeting
Community Questions on the Comprehensive Plan
Q: Where can I view other parents comments? Why isn't this a community board so we can see other parents concerns and feedback?
A: Answers to questions related to the Comprehensive Plan are posted here for the community to see inquiries of others.
Q: What happens to all the data that you collect with this comprehensive plan?
A: The data that is used for the Comprehensive Plan is data that is mostly already available to the district. This would include data for Keystone Assessment results, PSSA results, STAR testing and other benchmark data routinely collected by the district. The state, in mandating a Comprehensive Plan requires districts to plan specifically for how they will use the data avaibale to them. There are some data, a school climate survey for example, that would be kept by the district to provide a logitudinal view of where the district has been.
Q: How often do you have to do a comprehensive Plan?
A: A Comprehensive Plan must be developed, approved by the School Board of Directors and submitted to the state every three years. Becasue of the pandemic, our previous plan was extended by the state for one year, due to the challenges of bringing people together to develop a new plan.
Q: Why is it now called an Equity Comprehensive Plan?
A: The technical title of the plan is the Future Ready Comprehensive Plan. As part of developing the plan, districts need to conduct a Needs Assessment. Within that Needs Assessment, there is a section titled Student Performance Data, and witin that section there is a subsection entitled Equity Considerations. The instructions for this section are as follows:
"ESSA requires states to disaggregate achievement and other data by student group, including economically disadvantaged, English Learners, students receiving special education services, and major racial and ethnic groups. Pennsylvania’s accountability system follows this facet of the law to ensure maximum transparency around student group performance. In each Future Ready PA Index metric where your LEA noted that one or more student groups is not currently meeting the interim target(s) or 2030 goal(s), examine other state-sponsored and local formative data sources in order to better understand each student group(s)’s needs."
Q: I was curious how this plan would differ from the IEPs that should already be in place for each of the identified students in the subgroups?
A: The Comprehensive Plan is an attempt to better develop a full system approach to meeting students' needs where they are. Students with an IEP have been identified using a 2 pronged identification model including 1) a disability exists and 2) there is a discrepancy in their achievement in comparison to their IQ that is likely a result of the disability. Students identified then receive supplementary services in consultation and collaboration between a team consisting of a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, and their parent/guardian. Those services align with the disability/discrepancy based on the evaluation by the School Psychologist to meet the student's needs.
An MTSS system builds tiered supports to meet a student's needs to achieve at grade level or above without an identified disability. If those supports are unable to demonstrate growth, it is likely that a student would be recommended for a special education evaluation. The MTSS system can support all students regardless of disability status. Q: Related to the “Students Considered Economically Disadvantaged”. It was stated that eligibility is determined based off who applies for free/reduced meals. It was also stated that no one had to apply for free/reduced meals for 2020 and 2021 because the federal govt made all meals free. If there is no reliable, uncompromised data for the last two years, how do you know who would be eligible for this category today? Technically, this criterion would currently put every single student into the Economically Disadvantaged category. If all students are included, why have a selection process at all? A: All students, based on the 2021-22 free lunch for all system, will not be identified as Economically Disadvantaged. In reality, the group will be underreported as it will potentially only include those show qualify based on previously submitted information. This year's status may be a challenge, but the data from previous years was used to identify the need. Data for the 2019-2020 school year would be accurate for Economically Disadvantaged children, and this is the data that was used for the purpose of the plan. Once lunches are no longer free to all students, families will need to "apply" to receive free and reduced lunches and that is where our Economically Disadvantaged data will come from in the future. Q: I was also disturbed by the statement: Kutztown was “dinged” for having a higher than state average of students with disabilities. A: The term "dinged" was way of saying that the state flagged us for having a higher than average percentage of students identified for Special Education. The state expects us to study our population and take corrective actions that are necessary. We beleive that more effective systems may allow us to realize fewer students being identified for Special Education and so our goal is to work to develop those systems. Q: In explaining the Tier 1 interventions, it was stated that the teacher would be performing the intervention. Does this mean that the student would be singled out during class, in front of his/her peers, to receive the specialized instruction? If not, when would this specialized instruction be given? A: Tier 1 interventions are interventions that take place in the regular classroom environment and are quite routine. Tier 1 Interventions are used as a part of regular differentiated class instruction. If you walk into any elementary class at various times of the day, you will see a station rotation model (or other names that have been used over time) where students are in small groups, possibly working with the teacher directly, using a targeted online program, or using a text/curriculum resource all targeted by the needs of the group. Those students, all in the same classroom, can at times be working on the daily classroom objectives, standards they have demonstrated a weakness on, or alternate assignments because they have already demonstrated mastery. A tier I intervnetion could be helping a student with executive functioning skills like staying organized. It could mean contact with parents at home to bolster support for a struggling student. It could mean the use of highlighters when reading or preferencial seating. There are many types of interventions that may be successful with students. What our plan calls for is for the Tier 1 interventions to be specifically considered when students struggle and for there to be methodical approach to implementing them as students struggle. We are planning to implement a system that does so more responsively, with targeted resources, and K-12. Q: I just wanted to clarify a point about students that fall into the subgroups of English Language Learners or Economically Disadvantaged Students. These students are not eligible for IEPs. Is that correct? Also, the third subgroup is Students with Disabilities. Would the IEP’s continue for those students once the Comprehensive Plan is in place? A: Each of these classifications are independent of each other. A student can be identified as an English Language Learner, Economically Disadvantaged, and in need of special education services. Each category has its own criteria. Students could qualify as 0, 1, 2, or 3 of those designations at any given time, based on the current information. The implementation of our proposed Comprehensive Plan does not and cannot supplant IEP's and a special education program. The support may benefit special education students, but the intent is to meet every student where they are, prevent gaps, close gaps, and help students reach new heights in achievement.