Oct 20, 2017

  Education Development Center, Inc. to Recommend Steps Schools Will Take Under ESSA

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved a contract between the Louisiana Department of Education and Education Development Center, Inc. to conduct an external review of three schools in the state's Special School District--the Louisiana School for the Deaf, the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired and the Louisiana Special Education Center. The nationally recognized organization will evaluate the operations and academic programming of each school and make recommendations that will inform each school's plan for improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The Special School District was established by the Louisiana Legislature to provide education to students housed in state or privatized facilities and hospitals. Special School District staff oversee eligible students enrolled at the District's three schools.

"ESSA presents an opportunity to reemphasize our commitment to the service of every child," said State Superintendent John White. "This objective evaluation process will provide a more clear and comprehensive understanding of how the Louisiana School for the Deaf, the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, and the Louisiana Special Education Center are currently operating and will be used to better plan for the future."

Education Development Center, Inc. will subcontract:

  • The American School for the Deaf. Founded in 1817, the American School for the Deaf was the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States and remains a nationally renowned leader in providing comprehensive educational programs and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 
  • Perkins School for the Blind. Founded in 1829, the Perkins School is the oldest school for the blind in the United States. Perkins is a progressive, multi-faceted organization committed to improving the lives of people with blindness and deafblindness all around the world.
  • Cotting School. Founded in 1893, the Cotting School was the nation's first school for children with disabilities. The school meets the unique needs of students with a broad spectrum of learning and communication disabilities, physical challenges and complex medical conditions by providing an array of integrated services.

These entities will conduct on-site visits, interviews and focus groups, reviews of current and historical data from each of the schools, and reviews of current data and operational models at national models of excellence in the education of the specific populations of students educated at Louisiana's three special schools.

Education Development Center, Inc. will then produce a final report that outlines each school's:

  • Service delivery model and how it compares to national models of excellence;
  • Administrative and staffing structure and its ability to effectively address the needs of the school's student population;
  • Use of state and federal funds to design instructional programs that are culturally responsive to the student population and aligned to national models of excellence; and
  • Implementation of Louisiana's graduation pathways for students with disabilities.

 The final report will also provide recommendations regarding the:

  • Role each school plays within the larger system of schools, specifically the role of segregated schools serving specific populations of students with disabilities;
  • Student population to be served based on the mission of the specific school; and
  • Actions necessary to achieve a comprehensive program of excellence for students served in each school, including how these schools should coordinate with other schools and school systems across Louisiana in a functional way.

The one-year contract, funded by federal grants administered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is the result a competitive application process conducted earlier this year. It aligns with the Department's priorities for the use of IDEA funds by providing support for understanding and appropriately responding to the unique ways different disabilities manifest in the classroom, and assisting in complying with the federal law's provision to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities.

For more information about Education Development Center, Inc., click here.

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