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Resources for Improvement

Topic briefs, training modules, self-study tools, workbooks, checklists, surveys, guides, handbooks, research, and reference documents related to disproportionality.

The tools listed in this section will assist California local educational agencies (LEAs) in addressing disproportionate and significant disproportionate representation issues. It is recommended that California LEAs select the tool judged to be most appropriate for local use.

The following categories organize the resources listed here and include the recommended steps for school improvement:

All resources listed here are chosen to support identified California LEAs in addressing the disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of students receiving special education services. These resources offer an initial framework for corrective action.

The resources are drawn from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), projects funded by the ED, and other state education agencies (SEAs).

Self-Assessment and Data Analysis

Web Sites
Existing and Related California Data Sources and Other Plan Requirements

The California School Climate, Health, and Learning System (Cal-SCHLS) External link opens in new window or tab.
Created by the California Department of Education (CDE), Cal-SCHLS is the nation’s most extensive, comprehensive system for providing LEAs with data on school climate, student engagement, and nonacademic learning barriers and supports. LEAs may administer these three surveys simultaneously at least once every two years. The system is comprised of the following:

Training Materials, Manuals, Checklists, and Forms

Annotated Checklist for Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Special Education External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides three checklists that address 1) district and school resource issues; 2) system policy, procedure, and practice issues at district, school, and classroom levels; and 3) environmental factors, all designed to aid in efforts to identify possible root causes of disproportionality and to help districts develop hypotheses and action plans for more detailed explorations of racial disproportionality. Daniel J. Losen (2008) Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Equity in Special Education Placement: A School Self-Assessment Guide for Culturally Responsive Practice
Form A: Administrators External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF); Form B: Assessment Only External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A self-study tool that assists district teams in examining policies, procedures, and practices in general and special education to prevent disproportionality. Heraldo Richards, Alfredo Artiles, Janette Klingner, and Ayanna Brown (2005) National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education: Data Analysis Workbook External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Provides district/school personnel an overview of how to analyze special education and general education enrollment data in order to identify rates of disproportionality in special education classification and placement. Edward Fergus and Roey Ahram (2008) Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.

Using Data to Address Equity Issues in Special Education External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Outlines conventions for approaching disproportionality data that have been established for making the analysis and interpretation of disproportionality data more straightforward and provides tools to determine the most effective ways of collecting, organizing, and presenting disproportionality data. Ashley C. Gibb and Russell Skiba (2008) Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University.

Practice Brief

Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education: Measuring the Problem External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Provides a history of disproportionality, the challenges of defining and measuring the issue, and a focus on addressing underlying causes. Martha Countinho and Donald Oswald (2004) National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

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Planning for Improvement

Web Sites

The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements External link opens in new window or tab.
A national, federally funded center that provides high-quality resources for college and university faculty and professional development providers about students with disabilities; also provides free, online, interactive training enhancements that translate research about the education of students with disabilities into practice, including training modules, briefs, and materials on diversity, differentiated instruction, progress monitoring, collaboration, behavior, RtI and more.

National Implementation Research Network External link opens in new window or tab.
Describes methods to ensure the use of evidence-based programs and other innovations with fidelity and benefit to consumers.

Training Materials, Manuals, Checklists, and Forms

Dialogue Guides for Stakeholder Conversations Regarding Disproportionality and Over Identification Facilitator Handbook External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Focuses on issues relevant to understanding IDEA 2004 and includes additional resources with suggestions for creating dialogue related to each issue, building shared meaning, and generating solutions to issues of mutual importance.
 Office of Special Education Programs, IDEA Partnership (2005).

Equity in Education - Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education: Technical Assistance Manual for Identifying Root Causes, Volume 1 External link opens in new window or tab.
Describes practical strategies for addressing the ways in which race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, and language diversity influence student learning and achievement. Metropolitan Center for Urban Education (2009) NYU Steinhardt.

Practice Briefs and Articles

Implementation: The Missing Link Between Research and Practice External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Explores the challenges and strategies related to implementing evidence-based treatment interventions and translating research into direct practice. Dean Fixsen (2007) Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Topic Brief and Links to Discussion Guides, Disproportionality and Overidentification External link opens in new window or tab.
Click on each of the regulation titles to find questions for leading dialogue.

Preventing Disproportionality by Strengthening District Policies and Procedures - An Assessment and Strategic Planning Process External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Guides the examination of LEA practices once data suggest that serious and inappropriate disproportionate referral, identification, and placement of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse may be occurring. Elizabeth Kozleski and Shelley Zion (2006) National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

Webinars

Webinar on Disproportionality External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides an overview of disproportionality; definitions, regulations, and root causes; a summary of California’s focus on disproportionality; and examples of approaches and strategies for addressing disproportionality. Stephanie Wood Garnett, facilitator (2010).

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Focus Areas

Achievement Gap
Web Sites

Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative External link opens in new window or tab.
The electronic hub for information, research, and success stories about efforts to close the achievement gap in California; general information about California’s statewide initiative to identify ways the state can better assist counties, districts, and schools in their efforts to help all children succeed academically.

Culturally Responsive School Environments
Training Materials, Manuals, Checklists and Forms

Professional Learning for Culturally Responsive Teaching External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Demonstrates the need for rethinking current approaches to professional learning and provides guidelines for professional learning for culturally responsive teaching. Kathleen A. King, Alfredo J. Artiles, Elizabeth B. Kozlski (2010) Equity Alliance at Arizona State University.

Practice Briefs and Articles

Addressing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: Overrepresentation in Special Education: Guidelines for Parents External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Discusses how overrepresentation can be identified and monitored, why overrepresentation is a problem and what are its possible causes, and suggest actions that parents can take to address the issue. Alfredo Artiles and Beth Harry (2004) National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

Addressing the Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education through Culturally Responsive Educational Systems External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Addresses the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and outlines the theoretical assumptions and principles that should guide efforts to reduce the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. Janette Klingner et al. (2005) Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Strategies External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Addresses essential elements of becoming culturally responsive and ways in which teachers can implement strategies in their classrooms. Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality, New York University (2008).

Local Equity Action Development (LEAD) External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Describes a local change process, LEAD, which is grounded in cultural competence that addresses disproportionality in special education and other equity issues facing Indiana schools. Shana Ritter and Russell J. Skiba (2006) Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

IDEA Policies and Procedures

For districts identified as significantly disproportionate, the IDEA Policies and Procedures can only be a supplement to one of the other main focus areas. It can not be the only focus area selected.

Web Sites

Glossary of Equity Terms External link opens in new window or tab.
Describes common equity terms in two categories: disproportionality terms and IDEA 2004 terms. The Equity Project at Indiana University.

Training Materials

Disproportionality and Overrepresentation, Module 5 from Building the Legacy: A Training Curriculum on IDEA 2004 External link opens in new window or tab.
Includes slide show, trainers guide, and participant handouts for explaining what states, districts, and schools must now do to address disproportionate representation, including significant disproportionality, as outlined in IDEA 2004. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: NICHCY (2005).

Positive Behavior Supports
Web Sites

The Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) External link opens in new window or tab.
A national, federally funded center that provides capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices. Includes valuable tools and materials for school use.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports External link opens in new window or tab.
Strategies to promote the conditions that improve learning and behavior for all students and should be used to guide individualized education program (IEP) decisions for free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Practice Briefs and Articles

Positive Behavior Supports Core Messages External link opens in new window or tab.
Communicates common or core messages to the field on selected topics that articulate critical research findings and essential components of the effective application of positive behavior supports. Additional resources are provided including Websites, books, and practice guides. California Services for Technical Assistance and Training (May 2011).

Response to Instruction and Intervention
Web Sites

National Center on Response to Intervention External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides technical assistance to states and districts in building the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for RtI.

Response to Instruction & Intervention (RtI²)
Describes California’s general education approach of high-quality instruction, early intervention, prevention, and behavioral strategies to close the achievement gap.

Practice Briefs and Articles

Determining Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Using Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI²) (DOC; 4MB)
Discusses how RtI² helps reduce disproportionate representation of certain groups of students identified as needing special education services through the use of early intervention; also describes how RtI² can be part of the process to identify students with specific learning disabilities.

Positive Behavior Supports Core Messages External link opens in new window or tab.
Communicates common or core messages to the field on selected topics that articulate critical research findings and essential components of the effective application of positive behavior supports.

Prevention of Disproportionate Special Education Representation Using Response to Intervention (RtI) External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Describes the Response-to-intervention process and procedures designed to improve achievement and behavioral outcomes through prevention and early identification and treatment. RtI procedures and processes, featuring evidence-based practices, have significant potential for improving achievement and behavior and for reducing minority referrals to special education while improving effective instruction. Daniel J. Reschly (2009) National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

Culturally Responsive Differentiated Instructional Strategies External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Describes differentiated instruction, what it is and how it applies an approach to teaching and learning for diverse learners and includes information on the principles of differentiated instruction, seven building blocks, and available resources. Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality, New York University (2007).

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National Projects and Technical Assistance Centers

Web Sites

The Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) External link opens in new window or tab.
Focuses on civil rights issues, through research; provides resources on many topics, such as disproportionality in schools.

The Equity Alliance at Arizona State University External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides high-quality data to educational decision makers in order to better understand and address issues regarding educational equity and bridge the gap between research and practice.

Equity Assistance Centers Network External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides assistance in equity in the areas of race, gender, and national origin to public schools to promote equal educational opportunities by giving training and technical assistance to state or local educational agencies.

The Equity Project at Indiana University External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides high-quality data to educational decision makers in order to better understand and address issues regarding educational equity and bridge the gap between research and practice.

Learning Port External link opens in new window or tab.
A national online library of professional development resources compiled to help bridge research, policy, and practice.

Metropolitan Center for Urban Education External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides essential services to school districts in New York, focusing on adolescents, equity, and school improvement.

National Center on Response to Intervention External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides technical assistance to states and districts in building the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for RtI.

Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides technical assistance, professional development, and follow-up support to districts and regional networks in New York state; supports the efforts of identified districts and regions to address the disproportional representation of minority students in special education.

Questions:   Focused Monitoring and Technical Assistance Consultant
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