2006 Summer Institute on Addressing Disproportionality Presentation Abstracts

Racial Disproportionality in Special Education: Issues and Legal Requirements
This keynote presentation will provide an overview of the legal requirements under IDEA 2004 that address racial disproportionality. The presentation will also focus on issues such as prevention of disproportionality, significance of regular education and classroom instruction, the 15% reservation of funds and common misconceptions associated with racial disproportionality.

Identifying and Enhancing School-Related Social Support for African American Boys
Examine how schools can acquire an asset-based understanding of the families and social worlds of African American boys. Based on findings from his current study of child-centered social support networks of fourth grade African American boys, Dr. Lewis will share findings that reveal that these boys often have school-related social support that is more complex than often assumed or known by school staff. In particular, his study suggests there is actual and potential social and cultural capital within these support systems that could be developed to increase home- and community-based support for the social and academic achievement of elementary-aged African American boys.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Methods and Techniques: The Tribal 3‘r’s of Turtle Island
The three Tribal R's of respect, reciprocity and relationship are the grid in the frame of the plan design in cultural responsive teaching methodology and techniques. The fourth ‘r’ responsibility is factored in later in the methodology cycle. The core value of personal sovereignty provides the underpinnings for the grid, and the interaction within the grid features participation learning, a form of learning that differs from that of the Western emphasis on reading and writing (although this does not mean that reading and writing are eliminated, just added or extended to basic learning form). These tactics allows usage of the bonding method with students, a strategy that uses respect between teacher and student as a base premise (mentioned in gap literature). Cultural context needs to be part of instructional program coherence (IPC) within schools. Newmann et.al. defines IPC as “a set of interrelated programs for students and staff that are guided by a common framework for curriculum, instruction, assessment and learning climate and that are pursued over a sustained period” (p. 297). They suggest IPC may make a difference in school improvement.

Classroom Environments and Practices that Promote Positive Social & Academic Identities in African American Children
This sectional presentation will examine instructional and disciplinary interactions that appear to support constructive classroom behaviors in African American children. In particular, based on research with exemplary teachers of Black children in low-income communities, we will identify characteristics of classroom teacher-student interactions that foster a sense of solidarity among African American children, including minimal hierarchical social and academic grouping, democratized support and opportunities, and pedagogical strategies that make the classroom an artifact of the children’s lives. In addition, we will address how successful teachers of urban African American students use the public nature of teaching to promote positive social and academic identities in all children.

Moving Towards Equity: Addressing Disproportionality at the Local Level
The Local Equity Action Development (LEAD) Projects are a collaborative effort between school districts, the state and the Equity Project to systematically address the causes and the effects of disproportionality in special education. The model incorporates the integral roles that both data and dialogue play in the change process and allows for a developmental approach incorporating ongoing assessment, research and action. In addition to explaining the LEAD Model, the presentation will offer participants:  background information on disproportionality  a brief overview of cultural competence  specific examples of how districts have engaged in addressing issues of disproportionality at the local level  lessons from the field  an understanding of how the LEAD model might be applied in their own school districts

Cultural Considerations and Challenges in Response-to-Intervention (RTI)
IDEA 2004 stipulates that states now have the option of discontinuing the use of an IQ-Achievement discrepancy formula and using response to intervention.(RTI) criteria as part of the special education identification process. This change has dramatic implications for culturally and linguistically diverse students. RTI models hold promise for addressing disproportionate presentation in that they provide early screening, on-going monitoring, and intensive support for culturally and linguistically diverse students in general education, thus diminishing inappropriate referrals that result from teacher and/or assessment bias. Yet we are concerned that RTI models may simply replace one deficit-based identification model with another. Unless we draw from expertise in the fields of bilingual/ESL special education, multicultural education, and English for speakers of other languages, and capitalize on known and evolving knowledge about appropriate assessments and interventions for culturally and linguistically diverse students, as was the case with previous eligibility criteria, those individuals implementing RTI models will assume that if children are not making adequate progress, their struggles must be due to internal deficits or perhaps detrimental backgrounds. In this presentation I will discuss critical issues we think should be considered when implementing RTI models with culturally and linguistically diverse students. These issues relate to assumptions about RTI models and the research that informs them, beliefs about classroom teaching, and also assumptions about culture, learning, and disability. I will finish by presenting our vision for what a culturally responsive RTI model might look like.

The Access Center’s Technical Assistance Services
The Access Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), provides technical assistance to states and districts in an effort to provide access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities. This presentation will explain the technical assistance currently being provided by the center as well as other assistance and resources that are available.

Open Dialogue: Cultural Considerations and Challenges in Response-to-Intervention
Following her keynote presentation Dr. Klinger will respond to questions and facilitate a discussion of issues related to implementing RTI models with culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Supporting School Implementation of the EOCA Framework as a Means for Addressing Disproportionality
This presentation will provide an overview of the Early Ongoing Collaboration and Assistance (EOCA) Framework, used as the systems change model in the REACh Initiative. Participants will be introduced to the four levels of the framework and discuss how these structures can help districts and schools address issued related to disproportionality. Participants will also receive information on technical assistance and resources offered through the REACh Initiative.

Stop Admiring the Problem: Practical Considerations to Address Disproportionality
This presentation will address root caused and real problems related to understanding disproportionality in larger contexts. A framework and 3-tiered rubric for analyzing the performance of students in general education will be presented and discussed. Practical suggestions will be offered that personnel can use when they return to schools this year. The emphasis of this presentation is on taking action to reduce disproportionality.

Using IDEA's Exclusionary Factors in Special Education Evaluation: Developing an IEP Team Toolkit
IDEA’2004 contains numerous criteria that are known as exclusionary factors, in that children who meet any of these criteria should not, according to federal legal standards, be classified as having a disability. This presentation will examine the (a) definition; (b) role; (c) current practice; (d) educational trends; and (e) the development of an IEP toolkit, designed to assist teams in determining the impact of exclusionary factors in special education eligibility. The goal of this presentation is to stress to practitioners that exclusionary factors, when used appropriately, provide an opportunity to ensure the appropriate level of services for all students, whether through federally-mandated special education services or through locally-based (i.e., school level) intervention services. Attendees of this presentation will gain knowledge regarding the role and application of these exclusionary factors.

Indian Education and Special Education: Partnering for Progress
Minnesota has a large American Indian community, most of whom are of Ojibwe or Dakota background and who attend public schools. About half live in urban areas. Many families throughout the state struggle financially. Students are affected by language and cultural barriers, and experience high mobility, high rates of school failure, and high rates of special education placement. This presentation will review several successful partnerships between Indian Education and Special Education at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The main focus will be the Indian Home-School Liaison program, which improves family involvement in special education and also increases cultural awareness and understanding among non-Indian special educators. They are involved in prereferral activities, as well as the assessment process, IEP development, and due process. Liaisons are hired by district special education programs and receive regular, ongoing training through the MDE. Funding, legislative authority and training for Liaisons will be described in detail, as will data on the impact of Liaisons on disproportionality. In addition, presenters will share information about Indian parent training grants, an American Indian curricular framework, and other initiatives.

For questions about this information, contact Courtney Reed Jenkins (608) 267-9183