EXTRA: Meeting Special Needs

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The Montgomery Public School District is under fire from parents. Is the school system giving special needs students the proper resources to thrive? Some parents don’t think so, and we put their questions to school leaders. Several parents with children with special needs who are having issues within the district. Many claim teachers are not trained on how to deal with children with special needs while balancing the needs of other students in class.

A report from the Alabama State Department of Education in January of 2015 randomly surveyed 35 special needs students of MPS. It cited several issues, including “no documentation that each teacher and provider is informed of the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided in accordance with the IEP.

IEP Stands for Individualized Education Program. It’s a written document designed to meet a child’s individual needs. The program varies from child to child.

IEPs are funded by the legislature, then passed down to the Alabama State Department of Education, which allocates the Money to MPS. Overall MPS received more than 31 million dollars for special education in this year’s budget. The majority of that money goes towards teacher training, and students with special needs.

The Alabama State Department of Education conducted a follow up assessment later in 2015. This time the state pulled eight random documents of special needs students. It showed MPS made improvements, but still had issues when it came to the Individualized Education Program. We also checked to see how Montgomery Public Schools measured against other counties which were also assessed. Autauga county had fewer non compliance issues compared to MPS, but the school system appeared to have fewer issues of non compliance compared to Lowndes and Macon County. MPS says it wants to continue to find ways to improve the program to better prepare teachers and educate parents.

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