RD94 - Annual Report on the Outcome Data Measuring Student Progress for Students with Disabilities Enrolled in Special Education Private Day Schools

Executive Summary:

The Code of Virginia (§ 2.2-5211.B.1 and § 2.2-5211.B.2) establishes that: “children and youth placed for purposes of special education in approved private school educational programs…" are in the target population for the Children’s Services Act state pool funds. Section 2.2-5211.C. establishes that “the General Assembly and the governing body of each county and city shall annually appropriate such sums of money as shall be sufficient to (i) provide special education services and foster care services for children and youth identified in subdivisions B 1, B 2, and B 3 and (ii) meet relevant federal mandates for the provision of these services…." Private day schools provide comprehensive special education services for students with disabilities. Many provide services to students within specific disability groups, for example, autism, emotional disabilities, intellectual disabilities. For students, a private day school may provide a more structured environment and the opportunity to work on academic, behavioral, and social goals in a coordinated and integrated way that might not be possible in a public school setting. Some students display unsafe behaviors and learning challenges that are unable to be addressed at the public school. The student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team (a team of professionals familiar with a particular student’s needs and progress) makes the recommendation to place a student at a private day school, in keeping with the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state special education regulations that require students to receive a free and appropriate education in their least restrictive environment. This recommendation often follows a public school’s multiple unsuccessful attempts at interventions and least restrictive environment changes to address the student’s needs.

In 2016, the Appropriations Act directed the State Executive Council (SEC) for the Children’s Services Act to review and develop a robust set of options for increasing the number of children placed for special education private day school services who later return to their public school settings. This included efforts to involve local public school districts to track and monitor outcome data to assist in making decisions on the appropriate utilization of private day school services. The SEC commissioned a representative workgroup of stakeholders, which included many of those included in the current workgroup producing this report. The 2016 SEC report to the General Assembly (refer to RD429) included an option to “identify and collect data on an array of measures to assess the efficacy of private special education day school placements." As part of ongoing consideration related to placement of students with educational disabilities in private day school programs, the 2018 General Assembly directed the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), in coordination with the VDOE, to facilitate a workgroup “to identify and define outcome measures to assess student’s progress in private day placements."

The required workgroup met in four meetings in the summer and fall of 2018. There was considerable discussion regarding the wide variety and severity of disabilities among the population of students who require private day school placement. Because of this, some in the workgroup were concerned regarding the relevance of global outcome measures of the educational services provided in the private day school setting. Other workgroup members felt that private day schools should be assessed on similar outcome standards as those for public school services for students with disabilities, since public schools face similar challenges in serving this population of students. The 2018 workgroup’s findings and recommendations were presented to the Chairman of the House Education and Appropriations Committees and the Senate Educational and Health and Finance Committees, pursuant to Item 282 (O) of Chapter 2 of the 2018 Appropriations Act on November 1, 2018. Subsequently, the 2019 General Assembly passed HB 1700, which states, in Item 129 (G) of Chapter 854 of the 2019 Appropriations Act:

G.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.

G.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.

G.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.

G.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.

G.5. The Department of Education and the Office of Children’s Services shall have authority to implement these changes effective July 1, 2019, and prior to the completion of any regulatory process undertaken in order to effect such changes.

During the spring, summer, and fall of 2019, the advisory committee met 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)(*1) 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 the 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: (i) graduation rates; (ii) attendance; (iii) individual student progress; (iv) standardized test scores; (v) return to public school setting; (vi) postsecondary transition; (vii) suspension and expulsion; (viii) restraint and seclusion; (ix) parent satisfaction; and (x) student perspectives.

Additionally, the 2021 General Assembly amended Section 138.G of HB1800 (Chapter 552) to include 138.G.6, which states:

G.6. The Department of Education shall collect and publish data annually from each private special education day school on: (i) the number of teachers who are not fully endorsed in the content that they are teaching; (ii) the number of teachers who have less than one year of classroom experience; (iii) the number of teachers who are provisionally licensed; (iv) the type of academic credentials attained by each teacher and in what subjects; (v) the number of career and technical education credentials conferred by each school on its graduating students in each of the three prior academic years; (vi) each school’s accreditation status, including the accrediting body; and (vii) the number of incidents of restraint and seclusion occurring in each of the previous three academic years.


The data reflected below has been collected from the Student Records Collection (SRC), maintained by the VDOE, for Outcome Measures #1, #2, #4, #5, #7, and #8, or has been self-reported by the private schools for students with disabilities licensed by the VDOE, in that some information, such as that required for Outcome Measures #3 and #11 through #16, are not collected through the SRC. The data for Outcome Measure #6 was collected from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC), which collects and reports on postsecondary outcomes for all students with disabilities within the Commonwealth. Data for the Outcome Measures #9 and #10 were collected through a survey developed by the VDOE, following input received through the workgroup membership that was convened during 2018 and 2019.
(*1) The Student Record Collection (SRC) 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.