By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Special education goals and indicators
School notes
Placeholder Image
In part six of our series on the Georgia Department of Education performance goals and indicators, we will continue to look at goal 3: “Improve the provision of a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities.” Today we will focus on objectives 4 and 5.
Objective 4 is to decrease the percentage of SWD who are removed from their school or placements for disciplinary reasons. What this objective is actually measuring is whether the district has removed a student from school in excess of 10 school days, without providing special education services. Last year was the first year this data was provided to everyone. It is measured by a suspension risk ratio.

Ratio     ratio category    GA    LCSS
-1.99 — at risk        1.4
-3.99 — discrepant
4.0+ — significant discrepancy    5.6

At this time, LCSS is not in a category that shows we are discrepant. Because the district has the Ombudsman program, when students are expelled from their home school, there is a place for them to attend school and receive special education services.
Objective 5 is to decrease the disproportionate representation of SWD due to inappropriate policies, procedures and practices. Once again, this objective is measured by using a risk ratio formula. The subgroups of concern for LCSS were African-American students labeled intellectually disabled and white students labeled other health impaired.

Weighted ratio    ratio categories
-1.19    Not at Risk
1.20-1.99    At Risk
2-2.99    Disproportionate
3-3.99    Significant Disproportionality
4+    Most significantly disproportionate

African American, intellectually disabled students    
Year    GA    LCSS
2005-06    2.55    3.20
2006-07    2.35    2.78
2007-08    2.25    2.57
2008-09    2.16    2.31

White, other health impaired students
Year    GA    LCSS
2005-06    1.78    2.26
2006-07    1.80    1.47
2007-08    1.77    1.49
2008-09    Not Yet Posted

At this time, the GADoE is sanctioning only districts with risk ratios of 3 or higher. While LCSS is still disproportionate for African-American students with intellectual disabilities, we have reduced the risk ratio every year for the past three years. The Division for Exceptional Learning continues to provide training to staff in the proper identification of students. It is critical that information is gathered from a variety of sources.  We are also taking a “fresh” look at students who may have been inappropriately identified years ago and no longer meet the criteria.

School notes is an opinion piece written by staff members of the Liberty County School System covering areas of their expertise. Kelly is executive director Liberty County Division for Exceptional Learning
Sign up for our e-newsletters