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Meeting Summary

  • Meeting Facilitator: Karin Reynolds

  • Secretary: Hannah Tiernan

  • Date: 12/15/2022

  • Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm

  • Location: EAC (Education Administration Center)

  • Address: 1110 Chapel Hills Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Attendees: Risa Arsenault, Tami Bean, Alayna Bolanos Montero, Steven Butler, Amy Cummins, Cheryl Dahl, Hannah DeBlois, Andre Farley, Nicole Gross, Rob Haack, Jackie Hansen, Delinda Hollingsworth, Lani Howell, Lila Lund, Angela McLane, Melanie Mogey, Erika Patino, Emily Ruminski, Beverly Thoman, Liisa Underwood, Michelle Waggener

Absences: Kristen Dimler, Stephanie Kerscher, Marcy Palmer, Sarah Zellmer

Discussion was held around the following agenda items, and specifics can be reviewed in the PowerPoint presentation (attached) for this evening’s meeting:

Welcome and reminders during working dinner

  • Agenda review

  • General Parking Lot reminder

  • Karin shared a handout of the following timeline for recommendation drafting and report completion:

  • 12/1/22: Discussion of recommendations based on information provided and SWOT analysis. ▪ Small group drafting of recommendations.
    ▪ Large group sharing of small group recommendations
    ▪ Full group gallery walk to add additional ideas that small groups may have missed.

  • 12/12/22: First draft of recommendations based on 12/1 meeting discussion
    ▪ Prepared by Karin and delivered via email to the team for their individual review prior to the 12/15/22 meeting. Members will bring all feedback to the meeting on 12/15/22 for full group discussion.

  • 12/15/22: Discussion of first draft of recommendations following individual review of draft prior to the meeting. We will consider:
    ▪ Did we forget anything that needs to be added? ▪ Do we need to revise anything?
    ▪ Do we need to delete anything?
    ▪ Do we have consensus?
    ▪ Do we have need for a minority report?

  • 12/19/22: Second draft of recommendations based on 12/15 meeting discussion
    ▪ Prepared by Karin and delivered via email to the team for their individual feedback via email to me (by 1/3/23.) Please do not “reply to all.” The intent is for SEW members to let the Karin know if I failed to capture anything agreed upon via consensus at the 12/15/22 meeting. No new ideas/recommendations should be added, only corrections to the document.

  • **1/3/23: Final date for input on second draft from SEW to facilitator.

  • 1/4/23: I will provide the third (“final”) draft of the report of Special Education Workgroup recommendations and process and provide it to the SEW members via email.

  • 1/6/23:FinalreportwillbeprovidedtoMr.Gregory.

Karin reminded the SEW that it will be important for them to access email frequently and look at timelines so that the input can be provided in a timely manner. She asked members to respond even if they have nothing to add. She also asked members to out 1/5/23 on their calendars as a tentative meeting date if needed; this could be done virtually.

Process Discussion for Drafting Recommendations: Small groups were formed based upon the results of the SWOT analysis completed at the last meeting. Each member was put into one of the small groups as follows

  • Site based decision making

  • Programming/service delivery

  • Communication/procedures/protocols

  • Staffing (retention and recruitment)

  • Training

Drafting Recommendations Based on SWOT feedback: Members worked with their small groups to draft recommendations focused primarily on the small group to which they were assigned. Recorders captured the small group ideas, and the reporters prepared to bring the discussion to the large group.

Small Group Sharing of Recommendations and Large Group Response: Each group’s reporter shared the list of their recommendations while SEW members asked clarifying questions and added post-it notes to the small group recommendations if they felt that something needed to be added.

Final Thoughts and Next Steps: Karin concluded the meeting thanking the SEW members for their good teamwork and discussion throughout this process. She asked them to put a concluding statement on a post-it note that addressed the following: “What else do you want me (or those reading your report) to know, or what else do you want to say as you begin to wrap up your work together?” The post-it note responses were:

General comments that summarize the work, recommendations, and hopes:

  • We want this work to make a difference for the good of our students, families, and staff.

  • We must be patient, graceful, and flexible – empower people, disrupt the workplace, and change the world.

  • Our why is always what is best for kids.

  • I hope people know how much thought, love, and consideration was put into these recommendations.

  • I really feel hopeful and encouraged to witness people in so many different roles coming together to better our

    work with our special education population.

  • Parents of special education kids are on a continual path of advocating for their kids. We want to partner with our

    schools to make out kids succeed and thrive in school. We want transparency to make this path easier.

  • I believe everyone at every level cares and wants to do what’s best for children. However, sometimes we get

    stuck in how we have always done it. I hope these recommendations will help everyone in all roles and levels

    think if new ways to move forward and better serve our children.

  • I hope that all of our recommendations support our district doing what is best for all kids!

  • I want you to know that the SPED department is broken. The EAC upper staff have broken trust with staff,

    parents, students, and the community. It will take a lot of relationship building to repair those relationships. This community is hurting. The culture of SPED is very negative and effort needs to be made to increase that among all.

  • How can we make solutions unique to D20 even when the problems are not?

  • I am worried about backlash from EAC SPED staff. I hope that change happens to better the education of all

    kids.

  • My hope is that everyone (administration, teachers, paras, parents) hear each other with open minds, assuming

    each group desires to provide what students need.

  • The district needs to remember student first. We all need to remember why we are here, to help improve students’

    journey in education.

  • Necessary change Is needed to meet client needs in a thoughtful fairly quick manner.

    Comments that remind of specific discussions points throughout our time together that led to recommendations:

SPED department seems overwhelmed and defeated in that they feel that they cannot fix any of these complaints; there is defensiveness. Need to adopt a “can do” mindset and foster positive collaboration v. an adversarial stance. Become advocates for SPED employees v. intimidating them.

  • SPED is in a state of emergency in numerous areas; there is an urgency to make some changes.

  • Case managers want to be student/parent advocates.

  • People are here because they care deeply for these kids, but they also feel they aren’t being heard by the district.

  • The load of work on case managers and adult supervision needs to be addressed with pay.

  • SSN teachers do their jobs with no plan time.

  • I am here because I feel like current administration is very disconnected from their students and buildings and we

    want to help fix that.

  • SPED administration has no idea what we as teachers are going through every day. They need to be present and

    understand what it is like. We need more help in our schools. Please be more proactive in finding help (para’s,

    psych’s, ...) Para’s need more money.

  • Teachers and staff are scared to speak up out of fear. The structure of SPED administration (from the perspective

    of a SPED district employee) is not effective in supporting staff and students.

  • Many para’s are working additional jobs and are exhausted; burn out is very real to those with this dynamic, but

    also to the whole team. I know this problem isn’t unique to D20, as it’s a problem with every district. I don’t

    know what the solution would be, but something needs to happen.

  • Every IEP team member should feel empowered to have a voice, enabled to raise objections and offer creative

    ideas without fear of ridicule and retaliation.

  • Parental confusion and frustration. Feeling helpless about how to get what I feel my child needs.