RD192 - Measuring Student Progress in Private Schools for Students with Disabilities – January 1, 2020

Executive Summary:

The 2019 Appropriation Act (Chapter 2, Item 129. G.) required that the following actions be undertaken:

1. The Department of Education shall serve as the lead agency to collect and report data that succinctly measures the progress and outcomes of students that are placed in private provider settings by such student's public school of residence in Virginia or have been placed in a private provider facility by other legal means for which the Commonwealth is responsible for providing education. In keeping with the November 1, 2018, Private Day Special Education Outcomes report's findings and recommendations, the data shall include at least student attendance rates, graduation rates, individual student progress improvement rates relative to student individual education plans, standardized test scores, return to public school setting percentages, suspension and expulsion rates, transition to enrolling in post-secondary education percentages, and parental and student perspectives.

2. The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Office of Children's Services, shall establish an implementation advisory group to assist in refining the outcome measures contained in paragraph G.1 of this item and the collection of any additional information that is beneficial in determining and measuring outcomes of such students in private day school settings that ensure a consistent set of comparable and compatible data relative to such data of students enrolled in the public schools in Virginia and who have an individualized education plan. The advisory workgroup shall include a representative number of various stakeholders that includes, but is not limited to, private day schools, local school divisions, associations that represent private providers, and others as necessary. The advisory group shall assist in the development of data collection protocols, requirements, and outcome reporting mechanisms. The relevant data shall be provided to the department annually by each private provider that receives state funding for the purpose of providing services as prescribed in such student's individualized education plan.

3. The department shall begin collecting outcome data for private day special education schools in the 2019-2020 school year, if possible, but no later than the 2020-2021 school year. If warranted, other state agencies shall provide appropriate support to facilitate the collection of such data. All public school divisions that have students enrolled in such a private provider facility shall include in their contract for services with the private provider a requirement for the department to receive the data necessary to satisfy the data collections and subsequent reporting requirements. The department shall report annually on the outcome data for students enrolled in special education private day schools to Chairmen of the House Appropriations, House Education, Senate Finance, and Senate Education and Health Committees by the first day of the regular General Assembly Session.

4. The Department of Education shall enter into a data sharing Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Children's Services to allow linkage of specific student data to specific private day schools.

The 2019 Appropriation Act outlined that the advisory group shall include a representative number of various stakeholders that includes, but is not limited to, private day schools, local school divisions, associations that represent private providers, and others as necessary. As such, the members of the advisory group charged with defining how to measure student progress in private schools for students with disabilities consisted of representatives from private provider settings(*1), local educational agencies, and the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF) and the Virginia Council of Private Education (VCPE). The advisory group also included representatives from the State Special Education Advisory Committee (SSEAC), the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD), the Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education (VCASE), the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), and the Partnership for People with Disabilities Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Family Engagement (VCU-CFI). Additionally, the advisory group included parents of students with disabilities, representatives of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).(*2)

During the spring, summer and fall of 2019, the advisory committee meet over five sessions to discuss the existence of and/or the need for development of protocols for collecting and reporting on the outcome measures previously identified. In preparation for its deliberations, the advisory committee received a presentation from the VDOE’s Office of Education Information Management (EIM) on what is currently collected at the VDOE level relevant to students placed in private provider settings. This presentation noted that historically, local educational agencies have been collecting data from private schools and reporting them in the Student Records Collection (SRC)(*3) using a generic code of 600; representing that the student’s educational placement was in a private provider setting. Following discussion on how the data on certain identified outcome measures regarding a specific private school could be collected, all private schools have been assigned a specific school code by the VDOE EIM office to aide in that collection and tabulation of that data. After significant input from all stakeholders, the advisory committee considered modifications, additions, and deletions to the existing VDOE data collection elements on the following categories:

• Graduation Rates
• Attendance
• Individual Student Progress
• Standardized Test Scores
• Return to Public School Setting
• Post-Secondary Transition
• Suspension and Expulsion
• Restraint and Seclusion
• Parent Involvement
• Student Perspectives
(*1) This included representatives of private schools for students with disabilities that are accredited and those who have not received accreditation.
(*2) A full, by name and representation, listing of participants in the advisory group can be found at Appendix A.
(*3) The Student Record Collection system enables the commonwealth and its school divisions to comply with the information and reporting requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The system also reduces the reporting burden on school divisions and ensures continuity and validity in all enrollment-based data collections.