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What else is new in exceptional ed
School notes
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In a previous series of articles, I talked about our concern that we increase the number of students with disabilities who graduate from our high schools with a regular diploma (not a diploma of completion, formerly known as a special education diploma).
While we have implemented several initiatives to increase that number, today I would like to discuss just one of those initiatives.  With the use of federal stimulus money, the Division for Exceptional Learning is funding tutorials for those SWD who have taken and failed one or more portions of the Georgia High School Graduation Test.  
Each high school in the county selects two content specialists (general education teachers) who tutor SWD after school, in one subject area only. Tutoring begins immediately after the administration of the GHSGT and continues until the next administration of the test. Each time the test is administered, the high schools have the opportunity to choose the same or different subjects to be tutored.
By concentrating on only one test at a time, and by receiving instruction from the content teacher, our hope is that more of our SWD will pass these individual graduation tests.
Last year we implemented this initiative, but only provided one tutor who tutored only one subject between administrations of the GHSGT. We saw impressive gains in the scores of our students and saw many students pass the test in the tutored subject.
It was because of the success of this plan, that we chose to spend some of the federal funds to expand the program and offer tutoring in two subjects between each administration in an attempt to reach more students.
We do believe that this initiative is one of the main reasons we saw the first gain in at least four years in the number of SWD who completed high school and received a regular diploma this past year.
In 2005, only five SWD received a regular diploma. This year, counting our summer graduates, we had 27 SWD graduate and receive a regular diploma. While 27 graduates is not a number to brag about, we do seem to finally be moving in the right direction.

School notes is an opinion piece written by staff members of the Liberty County School System covering areas of their expertise. Kelly is director Division for Exceptional Learning.
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