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LINDA CARTWRIGHT: Hello and welcome to our webcast for parents. My name is Linda Cartwright, parent consultant in the PaTTAN King of Prussia office.
This brief session will introduce you to a very important aspect of your child's special education experience. It is an overview of the Pennsylvania state performance plan parent survey.
Here you see the mission statement of PaTTAN, the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network. Our charge is to support public, charter,
and cyber charter schools, school districts, intermediate units, or IUs, and IEP teams, including parents, to build capacity to serve students receiving special education services.
The Pennsylvania Department of Ed, or PDE, is committed to the federal and state regulations, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
or IDEA, and chapter 14 of the Pennsylvania school code regarding educating students with special needs in the least restrictive environment, or LRE.
PDE's goal is that IEP teams consider placement of every child in the general education setting, with his peers without disabilities, before any non-inclusive, separate educational setting
Here are the outcomes we hope to accomplish by the end of this session.
We hope you become familiar with the PA state performance plan indicator eight parent survey, and we'll talk a little bit about that as we go on.
Understand how Pennsylvania measures schools' facilitation of parent involvement, and recognize the value of participating in the indicator eight parent survey.
The state performance plan is one of the many facets of federal regulations that are designed to improve the education of students with disabilities.
These indicators detail the accountability requirements of LEAs, or local education agencies. We will be using the term LEA frequently in this webcast.
The 20 indicators of performance are the framework for continuous improvement in special education.
Indicator eight is essential to the other 19 indicators as research shows that parent involvement has a positive effect on a child's success in all aspects of education.
So here you see the actual indicator. It states that it is the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services
who report that schools facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities.
Okay, so we're going to go through now the actual indicator. First you see that states must collect data from parents.
States are charged with obtaining the opinions from families to complete this requirement. Parent means the biological mother or father, or a grandparent, relative,
or other legal guardian who has educational decision-making responsibility for the child or children receiving special education services.
So it also shows that Pennsylvania uses a random sampling designed to obtain a representation of parents of students receiving special education services.
So the way it works is that one-fifth of the state's LEAs or local education agencies are surveyed on a six-year cycle. Of that one-fifth percent --
or I'm sorry, one-fifth of the total, a random sampling of families will be surveyed. This provides the state with a good representation of the opinions of families for that LEA.
So these are the parents who report their views. The states collect the parents' opinions, and the survey is mailed directly from the Leader Services to parents.
So it's very important that parents' opinions are reported and considered. And this survey is just one of the ways to accomplish this.
It is an anonymous survey, and that's a good way to take the pulse, if you will, of a group of people on a particular topic.
Leader Services is an outside, independent group who distributes, collects, and calculates the survey.
That is why school districts and other LEAs cannot tell who received or participated in the survey. The LEA gets the final results after the survey is completed and calculated.
So the parents report that their schools -- what their schools do regarding parent involvement. The states are required to report the results for Pennsylvania as a whole,
as well as the individual LEAs. So they -- Pennsylvania has to report the results to the federal government for the whole state, as well as the individual LEAs that were surveyed.
The results are reported to the federal government in the APR, or the annual performance report. And the results for each LEA surveyed are posted on a website for the public to view.
What you'll see is the percent and the calculated response from that LEA survey group. So for instance, it'll show something like 94% of parents in XYZ district reported that they strongly agree
that their child's teachers are available to speak with them. That's just one example of a question in the survey. So the district level results you can find
on the publically reported website. It's called penndata, and here is the link. If you'd like to copy that down, http://penndata.hbg.psu.edu. Okay.
So what does it mean for schools to facilitate parent involvement? And what does parent involvement meant to you? Take a moment to think about this.
So the survey is asking about how your school performs in involving you in your child's education. Think about your child's school for a minute.
Do they try to reach out to you? Do they send you invitations to school events? Do they correspond in different ways to make sure that all families receive the information?
For example, do they send notice as email? Do they send it in the regular mail? Is the information accessible through the website? Is it accessible in different languages?
Do they notify you as positive as well as negative happenings with your child, with the school, with the district? Do they provide resources or tools
that will make it possible for you to participate in school events and in your child's education? Do they ask your opinion on things that help shape school policies, curriculum, and events?
Do they invite you to be members of groups, of committees, of special projects? And if they do any or all of these things, are you listening? Do you engage?
Do you participate? Or is it easier to let other parents do that? The survey -- the survey also gets your mind thinking about how important you are to your child's education.
So the specific purpose of the survey is to find out what parents are thinking about the schools' facilitated involvement in their children's education. So to find this out,
the survey asked parents how much they agree or disagree with 25 statements. These statements have to do with the way schools treat parents, how they give them information, listen to their ideas,
address their concerns, ask for your opinion, and consider them as equal partners in making decisions about their child's special education services.
The survey is divided into three sections. The first 12 statements focused on the school's efforts to partner with parents.
Questions are specific to the parent experiences at IEP meetings, such as at the IEP meeting, we discussed how my child will participate in state-wide assessments.
Response choices range from very strongly agree to very strongly disagree.
The next set of statements pertain to things that teachers and administrators do to facilitate parent engagement.
Questions like teachers and administrators seek out parent input. And that's an example of what's in this section.
Lastly, in the third section,
the survey addresses how the school is structured to facilitate parent engagement through statements like the school gives me choices with regard to services that address my child's needs.
So here you can see kind of a summary of what I just explained. You see an example, a copy of a sheet of the actual survey.
And then at the bottom is the link to the website that you can get information about the parent survey. The parent survey is sent to parents of students with disabilities in the LEAs,
and each LEA is surveyed once every six years. Again, it is distributed and collected by Leader Services. It does not require a name or any demographics of the family members.
It is totally anonymous. And if you have questions about it, you're encouraged to call the Pennsylvania special ed consult line at 1-800-879-2301.
So if you are randomly selected to participate in the survey, you will receive it in the USPS mail, in your mailbox, from Leader Services.
Please don't throw it away thinking it is junk mail. Again, not all families of students with disabilities will receive the surveys. It's random.
And if your school is surveyed and you didn't receive one, don't think it was on purpose. Your school does not choose the families,
nor does it ever know which families received or participated in the survey. The survey is double-sided with one side in English and the other in Spanish.
Again, if you have any questions regarding the survey, you are to contact the Pennsylvania special education consult line,
which is a toll-free information helpline for parents of children with disabilities who have questions or concerns about the education of a school-aged child.
The consult line specialists answer questions and provide information about special education. And a bilingual specialist is also available to serve the Spanish-speaking callers.
So the consult line is a call bank. If you have any questions about anything regarding your child's education, you call the 800 number and you will leave a message,
and usually they will get back to you within two to three business days and give you a call.
And this gives them time to get your recorded message and figure out which consultant is best able to answer your question or your concern.
So here's an example of an indicator eight parent survey timeline.
Somewhere early in the year, and you see here February, educators should view an online webinar to familiarize themselves with the indicator eight parent survey.
And most of them already know about it. And then in the spring, that LEA gets a list of who's in the cohort. They get a letter to say you are in this year's cohort.
And a cohort is just a group of people, a group that will participate that year. The letter comes from the Bureau of Special Education, and it informs them of their required participation.
The LEA, in turn, sends letters out to parents of students receiving special education, informing them of the upcoming survey.
It's good practice for the LEA to encourage parents to complete the survey. Next, the survey is randomly mailed by Leader Services directly to the families.
They complete the survey and return it in the postage paid envelope. The following winter, the results will be published for LEAs and the public to view.
And as you can see, the whole process takes about a year, then the next cycle begins.
If you receive the survey, it is critical that you take the time to complete it. The results help not only your child's local school,
but the overall services of special education provided in the state. Like people, organizations like to get acknowledgement for what they do well,
and want to be aware of areas where improvements are needed. Everyone is very busy, and that is why the survey is short and easy to fill out. There's only 25 questions,
all using a rating scale, so you don't have to compose anything, write a narrative. You simply mark the box that corresponds to your level of agreement with the statement.
And again, it does matter to improving the outcomes of not only your child, but all children with disabilities and their families.
Here you'll see some resources. These can all be accessed through the PaTTAN website,
which is shown down at the bottom-left of your screen, www.pattan.net. Our website has a great deal of information and online trainings helpful to parents and educators.
And finally, here is the parent consultant information. You can see we're broken up into the three PaTTAN offices.
And myself and Jacqui are the parent consultants for the east, Amiris Dipuglia in the central, and Judy Baker in the west. We hope this webcast has been informative.
If you have any questions, feel free to call your parent consultant or the Pennsylvania consult line. Thank you for listening. Have a great day.