MMSD Annual Report on the Strategic Framework
  • Principal Sarah Larson says that over the past three years, "collaboration between the special education team, as well as between the special education teachers and general education teachers," has been crucial to student success.

    Principal Sarah Larson says that over the past three years, "collaboration between the special education team, as well as between the special education teachers and general education teachers," has been crucial to student success.

  • Student working in workbook

    In grades 3 through 5, reading proficiency has increased by six percentage points from the 2012-13 school year, and in math proficiency, by seven points.

Our vision – that every child will graduate from high school ready for college, career and community – includes our students with disabilities. While this group has made recent gains in graduation rates and reading proficiency, we recently enhanced our strategy for serving students receiving Special Education services. We want to eliminate barriers to learning and consistently provide excellent instruction in rich, supportive environments.

In grades 3 through 5, reading proficiency has increased by six percentage points from the 2012-13 school year, and in math proficiency, by seven points.

The process to revise our strategy began with multiple rounds of feedback sessions where we gathered input from staff, families and the community. This information was used to help guide the revision process of our Special Education Plan. The new plan, set to take effect in the 2017-18 school year, provides a clear outline of the changes and infrastructure needed. The plan is organized into six primary sections:

  1. Service Delivery for Students with Disabilities 
  2. Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development 
  3. Data Use and Accountability Systems 
  4. Disproportionality 
  5. Recruiting, Hiring, Retention and Placement of High Quality Staff 
  6. Collaboration and Communication

In addition to public input, to craft the plan we drew upon the success schools have demonstrated as leading indicators. One school that has seen consistent success serving students receiving Special Education services is Elvehjem Elementary School.

As an example of how Elvehjem is a leader in this work, the new Special Education Plan calls for an improvement on teaming and collaboration practices among both special education staff and with general education colleagues, something already happening at Elvehjem.

Principal Sarah Larson says that over the past three years, “collaboration between the special education team, as well as between the special education teachers and general education teachers,” has been crucial to student success. Special education teachers co-plan with the classroom teachers they teach with and complete program plans, which zero in on how they address each goal on a student’s Individualized Education Plan.

Another component of the plan, using accountability systems and data routines to monitor student progress, is also already at work already at Elvehjem. Using data helps staff determine when additional supports, guidance or immediate adjustments are needed. According to Larson, staff use a variety of pieces information to make data-based decisions about academic interventions, as well as to inform lesson plans.