Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Community Advisory Committee Meeting for Special Education

Aug 26 Community Advisory Committee Meeting for Special Education (6:30 - 8:30 PM)

The State Education Code mandates that each Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) have a Community Advisory Committee (CAC). The purpose of the CAC for Special Education is to advocate for effective Special Education programs and services and to advise the Board of Education on priorities in the SELPA. The State Education Code mandates that each SELPA have a CAC and that a majority of CAC members be parents. In San Francisco, CAC meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and December). The meetings are from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. The first half hour is an informal discussion with CAC members. The formal public meeting is called to order at 7:00 p.m. These meetings are open to the public; everyone is welcome to attend. Joining the CAC gives you an opportunity to have your opinions heard and make a difference in the way Special Education is conducted in our area -- Please Join Us!
Meetings are held at Support for Families - 1663 Mission Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco (click for map)

* Free childcare and Interpretation are provided.
* You MUST call 920-5040 in advance to reserve these services.
* For more information and to confirm meeting date and location please call (415) 920-5040

Up Coming Meetings

* Thursday, August 26, 2010
6:30 pm
Guest Speaker: Rachel Norton, Board of Education Commissioner
* Thursday, September 23, 2010
6:30 pm
* Thursday, October 28, 2010
6:30 pm
* November - To Be Announced
* Thursday, January 27, 2011
6:30 pm
* Thursday, February 24, 2011
6:30 pm


  1. Cecelia Dodge, SFUSD's newly appointed Assistant Superintendent of Special Education, will also be at this meeting to introduce herself.

    Come say hello!

  2. When is the Board of Education going to have the augmented committee meeting on student assignment FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION, like they promised a few months ago? Does anyone know when that is scheduled?
    Nothing, in all the new documents about student assignment, addresses the unique problems we parents of children in special education programs face in this city, with the assignment system the way it is.

  3. 6:28 am -- hi, Rachel Norton on her blog says the first meeting will be September 14th to address special ed. By the way, since we are all looking at this notice, I'm wondering if the special ed parents worried about the middle school situation should caucus here about what we want from the school district. I know our kids are all over the place in their needs and that makes it hard. But I also know that the District, given the budget situation, is going to be resistent to doing lots of things. My son is in fifth grade in inclusion and the middle school that his elementary feeds into does not have inclusion now. So I'm really worried about what the district is going to do. Could those of us with inclusion kids perhaps communicate here as to our bottom line needs or is there someway that we can all get together somewhere and try to hash out what we want? Is there some way perhaps we could meet after or before the meeting mentioned here to try to all get on the same page before September 14th?

  4. 'My son is in fifth grade in inclusion and the middle school that his elementary feeds into does not have inclusion now. "

    Well, they will have to make it an "inclusion school" now, because that is where all his peers will be going, and they can't just banish him from attending that school.

    State at your IEP meeting that you expect him to go to that school, that inclusion is a SERVICE, not a "program" and if they receive federal money to operate, they are not legally allowed to discriminate against your son.

    If SFUSD keeps banishing children from attending certain schools, there will be a class action, civil rights lawsuit.

    Come to the CAC meeting tomorrow night and ask this question to the new superintendent and to Rachel Norton.

  5. 1:31 -- I hear you. But our situation is more complicated (isn't it always) because we are not sure he'll do well in that middle school, since its grade size is so big. We'd rather have him at a K through 8 where the grade size is smaller. The problem with that is that the only K through 8 with inclusion is Lillienthal and it is impossible to snag an inclusion slot there. (The very nice special ed people there said they'd only seen one inclusion slot open up there in an upper grade in 30 years!) And I don't think I'm the only inclusion parent who is really worried about my kid's ability to survive in one of the big middle schools. Some special ed parents opting for Special Day might stick with inclusion at the middle school level if there more small grade options given them. Then there are these weird things about some of the large middle school's inclusion programs. There seem to be some which really aren't functioning. For example, at Lick, which we loved, the principal said they might be phasing out inclusion there, and then also said they literally had only one inclusion student there! One kid ain't a program. Indeed, last year someone posted here that 75% of the inclusion slots at middle school are concentrated at only three middle schools -- Giannini, Hoover and Roosevelt. So what I and others want is kind of more complicated. Definitely more K through 8schools offering inclusion; maybe more large middle schools offering it. Finally, I have already asked Rachel this question. And I know she wants to improve special ed. But Rachel is only one Board member and, bless her soul, but I don't know how much one person can move the mountain. So I think what we should all be thinking about is what is reasonable -- which K through 8s could we press the district to add inclusion for (perhaps those with extensive special ed programs now)?; which large middle schools do we want real inclusion programs (not ones where no one is in it because the school's administration doesn't like it); and, finally could some of the kids now going into middle school special day classes do inclusion if the programs were run right?

  6. Placement decisions, by law, should be made at IEP meetings and not by lottery.

    Have an IEP meeting as soon as possible and hash this out.

    Inclusion should be available at every K-8 in the city.

    I changed my kids' IEP designation to RSP and enrolled him in a K-8 that did not have inclusion but, uh, now they do, because my son is there.

    You could try switching schools NOW, and get a 5th grade spot at a K-8.

    Roosevelt is a smaller Middle School you may want to check out.

  7. Thanks. We toured Roosevelt last year, and it is smaller, but we got a negative vibe from the administration there about their commitment to special ed. Plus it is out of the way for us. But thanks for the suggestion. We hear that Giannini's program is well regarded, but the student body there is pretty academic, and we are fairly certain that's just going to make it even harder for our kid to stay mainstreamed. Of all, Lick interested us the most, but what I described above has made us cautious about it.

  8. The first half hour (6:30-7:00 pm) is for networking. If they have name tags, perhaps we could identify ourselves with first name and second line that reads "Mom (or dad) with child in Sp Ed). Then we could seek out each other for introductions and discussion. My son is in third grade with IEP for inclusion. I am motivated to get involved with CAC, as middle school and OMG! high school inclusion battles will be just around the corner, and I need to arm myself with facts. Cat, are you still reading this blog? Hope to meet you some day, as you have posted helpful advice in the past.

  9. Thank you to all the parents who came to the meeting last night.
    Our next meeting is on September 23rd, again, at at 1663 Mission Street, 7th floor.

    Please also attend the Board of Education Meeting on September 21, 555 Franklin Street, 6pm.

  10. I have an idea for those looking for inclusion in a smaller middle school environment. I went back through the school district catalogue for last year and saw that, in addition to Lick, Hoover, Giannini and Roosevelt offering inclusion, Horace Mann is also on there as offering inclusion. You'll see elsewhere on here that there is a blog about how parents are going to start turning around that school. And, on that blog, it sounds like the maximum Mann can grow to is 500 students, or about 170 kids per grade. That is MUCH smaller than any of the other middle schools. Even Lick is at the approx. 700 kid level. On the blog, Sanchez is quoted as saying that the class size there is really small as well -- 22 kids. Lick is at 25 kids and the others are up at 33 or so in a grade. What I don't remember (maybe Katy knows?) is how many inclusion kids Mann is actually handling. I'm guessing the number is fairly small. It is also not clear how committed the management at Mann might be to special ed kids. But what do you all think of Mann as a smaller alternative?

  11. Horace Mann, last year had 12 "inclusion" openings and 6 spots available, so it's probably easy to get in to.

    Small schools seem better for kids in inclusion, depends upon the kid, and what the other kids at the school are like.

  12. I'm wondering if it makes sense for those of us with fifth grade inclusion students to go together on the middle school tours, once they start? Maybe we could call up the schools in advance, tell them that we all have inclusion students and go as a group on a particular date and time? I did a few general tours last year just to see what was going on at the middle schools and, while the school management tried to answer my questions, they were so overwhelmed with the other parents' questions about the gen ed program that I had a hard time getting my questions answered. If we all went together and spoke to the school beforehand, the school might be able to have a special ed person talk to us directly, which would really give us all a chance to meet them in person. What do people think of this idea?

  13. My kid goes to a K-8, so unless I switch schools, I don't need to tour. Sorry.

  14. 3:18 pm -- I would go if something like this were arranged.