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Real and meaningful change slated for Special Education division

July 24, 2017

Redesign & Implementation Team Members

Melissa Eberhardt
Kristen Lashway
Brent Pierce
Sharon Swain
Stephanie Warlik
Related Service Providers
Lucy Brady
Flora Fasoldt
Kimberly Patterson
Teaching Assistants
Colleen Condolora
Natalie Powell
Jalinda Soto
Component District Representatives
Kellee deOlde, Guilderland
Kenn Handin, Scotia-Glenville
Mary Neitzel, Duanesburg
Janelle Yanni, Watervliet
County Agency Representatives
Norine Hodges, Schoharie
Elizabeth C. Bruce, LMHC, Schenectady

A plan for implementing the recommendations of the in-depth and independent review of the Special Education division has been completed and was approved by the BOCES Board of Education at its July 17, 2017 meeting.

The plan — developed between January and June 2017 by a 17-member redesign and implementation team under the direction of BOCES’ leadership and consultants Rita Levay, Ed.D, Diane Albano, Ed.D. and Amanda McNeal, M.S — focuses on areas that were flagged as in need of improvement in last year’s review of the division. These include the student intake process, behavioral supports, approaches to classroom management and literacy instruction. Learn more about the recommendations for the redesign of the Special Education division and download the plan.

“This process was unique in that all the stakeholders — teachers, administrators, school district CPSE/CSE chairs, service providers, school district and county representatives — were involved,” said Levay, who, following the retirement of Special Education Deputy Director Peter Taormina, will be coming on as the Interim Deputy Director of the division this September.

"I can't say enough about the dedication of the members of the redesign and implementation team who worked with us," Levay continued. "Each of them spent many hours before our sessions preparing and reading relevant research, and came together with a commitment to 'dig in' to create a solid and informed plan designed to make meaningful and lasting change happen in the organization. This will ensure that BOCES can meet the changing needs of students, now and in the future."

First phase of work to begin Fall 2017

Beginning this fall, the first phase of work will involve development of the internal processes and procedures to move the plan forward. This includes changes in leadership assignments to best support the work ahead and ensure sites are guided by one central principal. Changes, as recommended to programs and other aspects of the division, will begin during the 2018-19 school year.

The redesign team will meet quarterly to assess how the plan is progressing, based on key performance indicators that the committee has established.

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