Over the course of the last month, the CCUSD Board of Education reviewed plans to strengthen structures for students who need extra support, including students with disabilities, those who are chronically absent, those not meeting graduation requirements and those who need wrap-around services like housing, nutrition and social/emotional skill-building.
Both the January 24 regular Board of Education meeting, as well as the January 31 Special Board Meeting addressed the importance of Inclusion: Last school year, the District brought on New Earth to support students who have been identified as having social-emotional needs, missing many school days, being at risk of not meeting graduation requirements and/or struggling with behavioral issues on campus. New Earth provides mentor-based arts, educational, vocational programs and wrap-around services that empower at-promise youth ages 13-25 and their families. The nonprofit began working with CCUSD students in fall 2022 with the charge to support 400 students who are having challenges, especially coming back from the pandemic. New Earth is now ready to step in and help in particular the class of 2023 seniors who are still credit-deficient due to pandemic closures and remote instruction. The team will meet one-on-one with these students to do career counseling and goal setting and introduce them to numerous post matriculation internship opportunities. They are also supporting the district using restorative justice practices with students and providing professional development in trauma-informed best practices for teachers and staff.
The Board also held a special workshop to focus specifically on inclusive practices, whereby CCUSD students with disabilities are general education students first. Director of Special Education, Dr. Diana Fannon, provided an overview of the department’s recent past and set out the following vision for students with disabilities.
Each student with disabilities is:
● Prepared for college
● Prepared for the workplace
● Prepared for personal success
● A general education student, first
Dr Fannon shared data on the race, ethnicity and gender breakdown of the District’s special education population as well as the results of a recent inclusion survey, which was completed by 207 general and special education teachers, instructional aides and other educators. These data and results will be shared by principals with their parents and community members in the coming weeks.
Please save the date for a special presentation by WestEd Senior Program Officer Jennifer Wolfsheimer, formerly with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), who will be speaking at Robert Frost Auditorium on April 27. She will be the first in a series of guest speakers on inclusion.