May 20, 2003 – National resource persons will be the presenters for a three-day technical assistance working retreat that will be hosted by the Education Department's Office of Special Education Services in June.
The retreat is for Education, Health and Human Services Department staff, agency representatives and parents of special education students.
According to Belinda West-O'Neal, director of the office, the retreat work sessions are aimed at ensuring that the Education Department meets the mandates of two major federal laws — the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the No Child Left Behind Act.
"Both pieces of legislation focus on accountability for improved outcomes for all students, including disabled students," West-O'Neal said in a release, and the department is responsible for identifying areas in need of improvement and implementing needed changes.
An objective of the "results and accountability" work sessions, West-O'Neal said, is for the Education Department and stakeholders to "have the ability to measure programs and services that will ultimately result in improved student outcomes."
The retreat, being co-presented by Education and the Southeast Regional Resource Center, is set for June 8-10 at the Westin St. John Resort. The principal presenters will be Mark Friedman, national director of the Fiscal Policy Studies Center, and W. Alan Coulter of the National Center on Focused Monitoring. Both centers are funded by the U.S. Education Department. Also taking part will be Mabrey Whetstone, Alabama special education director.
Because the V.I. Education Department and its Office of Special Education are operating under a compliance agreement entered into with the U.S. Education Department, West-O'Neal said, "the training will focus on results-based decision-making to assist us in also meeting the mandates as set forth by the agreement."
Among the topics to be addressed, she said, are:
– The use of outcomes to drive decision-making.
– The choosing of indicators from local data.
– Tools for improving the department's performance utilizing methods employed by the federal department to measure program effectiveness.
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