The purpose of the Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Process is to ensure that children and youth with disabilities ages 3-21 are afforded a free and appropriate public education and are provided opportunities to learn. The process ensures that students with educational disabilities have access to; can participate in; and can demonstrate progress within the general education curriculum, thereby improving student learning. The Special Education Program Approval Team assists the NH Department of Education by assessing the impact and effectiveness of state and local efforts, monitoring Local Education Agencies’ (LEAs) implementation of IDEA per federal mandate, reviewing current educational research and providing technical assistance to the field.
The mission of Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Process is to improve educational results for all learners.
All students are ensured access, participation and progress in the school’s Core or Tier I Curriculum taught by certified or qualified content specialists. Instructional targets for each grade and content are clear, common, and understood by all practitioners for all students. Learning targets are clear for each student. There are common formative assessment/methods for measuring student progress/mastery toward meeting instructional targets for all students. There is a process and systematic response in place for when some students aren’t able to demonstrate learning mastery for each instructional target. There is time dedicated and protected for teams of grade or content level staff to meet and analyze student-learning outcomes and develop responses to meet the needs of those students who need additional instruction or enrichment. There are consistent protocols and processes in place for teams to use when meeting including: Team roles, norms, cut scores, data sets, interventions, etc. Students with an IEP are guaranteed the supports necessary to access, participate and progress in the general education curriculum. There is a process for evaluating the school’s effectiveness in implementing aligned curriculum, instruction delivered with fidelity and formative assessments to measure student learning and a system in place for responding when some students do not learn what is expected. There is strong parent and family engagement within the educational community.
Because the Special Education Program Approval and Improvement Team values the rights of students and student learning, we work to ensure that all students are guaranteed access, participation and progress in the general education curriculum and that all students are part of one proactive educational system. We believe all students can learn to high levels when provided with scientific, research-based instruction. Each student is unique and learns in different ways. Educational decisions are based on data and outcomes following a problem-solving method. Instructionally relevant, valid and reliable assessments serve different purposes and assist in identifying the continuum of student needs. Staff must receive professional development, follow-up modeling, and coaching to ensure effectiveness and fidelity at all levels of instruction. We value a collaborative partnership among the New Hampshire Department of Education, school leadership, general and special educators, parents and students. A systems approach to school improvement and data-driven decision-making are critical aspects of the Special Education Program Approval work. Our values include lifelong learning and professional excellence; integrity; ongoing reflection and self-assessment; strong collaboration; accountability and strong leadership.