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Educational Outcomes/Achievements Minutes 

Monday, November 21, 2011 | 3:00 PM

Meeting Location: Illinois School for the Deaf, 125 South Webster Ave Jacksonville, IL
Telephone: (712) 338-8710

Members Present (by phone)

Marybeth Lauderdale
Randy Shearburn
Jane Breen
Becki Streit
John Miller
Shelle Hamer
Denise Avant
Tina Childress
Ryan Croke

Discussion of Questions

  1. Outline current metrics that are used to measure student achievement in residential or non-residential settings

  2. DA:  When I think of early outreach and outcomes I look to see at the end of 12th grade is that person ready for further education, training or are they employment ready.  How do you measure someone not deaf or blind? It should be the same measure

    SH: We should also look at IEP outcomes.

    ML: There are also test scores.  Then you must determine which scores we use and if the test is accessible and valid. 

    SH: All our students up here are included in the general curriculum classes so our outcomes are the same as for all other students.

    DA: I know that at times through the year certain tests are given in public schools. What do you use?

    ML: At ISD we use the ISAT, the PSAE which includes the ACT test. We also use the NWEA. At ISVI we give the Terra Nova and ISAT, PSAE/ACT.

    BS: Does ISD take the Plan and Explore tests?

    ML: Yes, as does ISVI.  I just got a back from the Midwest Superintendents and Outreach Conference. Accountability and outcomes were a big part of the discussion at this conference. There is also information from other states that schools with hearing impaired students are starting to not use SAT10.

    BS: They're not. Some small programs still use the SAT10. [Becki said she would find out who is still using the SAT 10].

    ML: ISD has stopped using the SAT10. This year we are using the NWEA, MAP. We are finally this year receiving the ISAT scores on our students. ISVI uses Terra Nova and ISAT. ( ML asked what Shelle used.)

    SH: We use some local ISAT, Terra Nova, NWEA, MAP and PSAE.

    BS: I will ask the ISHI members about their use of the MAP test.

    From Kathryn Surbeck:
    At ISD we use statewide mandated and recommended testing - students in grades 3-8 take the Illinois Student Achievement Tests (ISAT) or the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA); students in grade 8 or 9 take the EXPLORE; students in grade 10 take the PLAN; and students in grade 11 take the PSAE, which includes the ACT. District testing (ISD) – students in grades 2 through 12 take the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) MAP assessment in the areas of reading, language and math.  Students who take the IAA may be excused from the MAP and take the DWA (Developing Writers Assessment) and DRA (Developing Reading Assessment). These tests are taken 3 times a year to monitor student achievement throughout the academic year and from year to year. Students in Elementary through High School also take the Renaissance STAR Reading and Math tests quarterly. Progress monitoring of IEP goals and objectives - student progress is monitored quarterly by reporting on progress toward meeting annual IEP goals and objectives which are established by the IEP team for each student. Individual Achievement Testing - achievement may be assessed using a variety of tools, such as the Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Achievement (reading, math); The Gray Silent Reading Test; and Peabody Individual Achievement Test, Revised (reading).

  3. Identify early outreach efforts and early intervention programs to serve infant and pre-school children and their families
  4. ML: At ISD/ISVI we had the Hearing and Vision Connections program which has now been cut to 1 person at .8 FTE and a few people who work on voucher. The program still exists, but in order for it to function properly we need to have funding and staff.  This program is for both deaf and blind babies and their families, statewide.

    DA: Chicago Public Schools used to have early intervention programs, but I am not sure if they have them now.

    BS: Most public schools don't do early intervention now due to funding issues. It was also cut because there was no linkage with the state and the local schools were not anxious to use money for early intervention.

    SH: So now what we have for the program is Gail Olson at .8 FTE doing all this since the EI was turned over to the state?

    ML: DHS oversees the total EI program. The program that exists now is Hearing /Vision E.I.O. The program is funded partially through intra-agency money of $176,000 from Bureau of Early Intervention. ISD and ISVI each have about 50 children in the program with only 3 staff people spread through the state to serve the families. Each staff person covers an area that extends in a 100 mile radius from their base location. The programs at each school are at capacity. We are also getting more deaf/blind babies.

    SH: Often times I don't find out about kids coming into the system until they are 3-5 years of age.

    ML: We have that issue as well. (ML went on to explain how it happens) ML also talked about DTHs (Developmental Therapists: Hearing) and DTVs (Developmental Therapists: Vision) started from EI. Illinois is looked up to for their Early Intervention programs in hearing and vision.

    BS: What happened to programs where they would educate a coordinator who would then work with deaf/blind children throughout the state.

    ML: These go through the Child/Family Connection (CFC) program now. The other issue is programming needs.

    BS: People move in and out of those jobs. There is high turnover.

    ML: Trying to provide services with the current system is like playing Whack-a-Mole. Gail Olson does a wonderful job, but we need to have enough staff to serve the entire state.

    From Gail Olson: 
    Babies who fail newborn hearing screening at birth are referred to an audiologist to confirm hearing loss. Once hearing loss is confirmed, the child is referred to the Illinois Early Intervention system. Not all families who are referred to Early Intervention services choose to receive these services. Children who are determined eligible for Early Intervention and accept Early Intervention services, have access to services related to their hearing loss including audiology, developmental therapy/hearing, Deaf Mentors (limited), speech therapy, etc.

    From the Illinois Early Intervention Service Descriptions/Provider Handbook:
    Audiology, aural rehabilitation, and other related services include: 1) identification of children with hearing loss using appropriate audiologic screening techniques; 2) determination of the range, nature and degree of hearing loss and communication functions by use of audiological evaluation procedures; 3) referral for medical testing and other services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of children with hearing loss; 4) IFSP development; 5) provision of auditory training and aural rehabilitation, speech reading and listening device orientation/training and other related services, and 6) determination of a child's need for individual amplification including selecting, fitting, and dispensing appropriate listening and vibrotactile devices, and evaluating the effectiveness of those assistive technology devices.

    Family training, education and support provided to assist the family of a child eligible for services in understanding the special needs of the child as related to audiology and aural rehabilitation services and enhancing the child’s development are integral to this service. This may include such services as support groups, individual support and other training or education for the family.

  5. What are the measures of success for early childhood intervention? Now are students needs measured and matched with available resources?
  6. ML: You can use Hawaii and Ski-Hi. I can send this question to Gail Olson and find out more information for answers to #2 and #3.

    TC: Don't forget Guide by Your Side as a resource.

    ML: That's right. There is also Hands and Voices.

    From Gail Olson:
    I can't address Early Childhood (ages 3-5), but I can respond related to Early Intervention (ages birth to three). Success in early intervention is measured in terms of progress towards Outcomes on the child's IFSP. Recommendations for goals, outcomes, and strategies for services, with frequency, intensity, duration and location are determined at the IFSP meeting in collaboration with the child's family and are based on the family's identified priorities and concerns and the Principles of Early Intervention Outcomes are developed by the entire IFSP team,  by an individual service provider.

    How are student needs measured and matched with available resources?
    Intervention is monitored periodically to assure that the strategies being implemented are successful in achieving the outcomes.

    Services for a child and their family in Early Intervention are based on identified family outcomes on the IFSP. Services are authorized based upon functional outcomes that focus on child development and family training, education and support that address developmental needs rather than medical needs. Illinois Early Intervention has providers called Developmental Therapists/Hearing who have degrees in Deaf Education and are additionally credentialed to work with infants and toddlers who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families.

  7. What are the best practices for measures of student growth for children who are visually impaired or deaf? What measures should be used to quantify academic achievement?
  8. ML: We already have listed these. Don't know if they are "best" practices, but they are what we have now.

    BS: I am curious if there are protocols that other states would share that are considered strong?

    SH: At a recent meeting they discussed using Curriculum Based Measures. [She will try to get information from an upcoming VI conference.]

    ML: Explained why ISD uses NWEA and MAP. ISD is also using Direct Instruction and the assessment that goes along with that which is research-based. We are considered to be on the cutting edge for this.

    From Kathryn Surbeck:
    The best measures for achievement for students who are deaf and hard of hearing will depend on the primary language of the student. At this time there are no achievement tests developed in American Sign Language to measure the academic achievement of students. English-based assessments can be interpreted, but this presents some difficulty depending on the skill level signing the test to the student. Achievement as measured by growth toward specific goals seems to be a positive.

  9. Do best practices require further investment in instructional tools or technology resources?
  10. ML: The short answer is Yes.  The long answer is that it depends on the program and the student and their needs

    BS: Instructional tools like NWEA and MAP are out of our price range.

    ML: I just received an email about an assessment discussing using signing avatars.  However, it’s a bad idea because it's not a person signing so you don’t have the same circumstances.  It’s two dimensional and not the accommodation used daily by the students.

    SH: VI students need TV, Braille technology and lots of other technology which can be expensive.

    ML: With ISD students we try to make things visual by using smartboards, computers, IPads, etc.  The technology for ISVI is more expensive that the ISD technology as a rule.

    DA: Prices on technology are coming down slowly. Almost any book can be accessed with Braille note takers or displays.

    ML: I have questions about VI students in the mainstream, alone. I wonder how easy is it for them to access the technology they need to communicate with their teachers and classmates. Several students at ISVI have told me they chose to come here because, even though the teachers tried, they didn't seem to know what to do for them.

    SH: The northern part of the state has plenty of access to assistance. I can't say the same for the central and southern parts of the state.

    BS: My experience is that this is also true for deaf and hearing impaired children.

    DH: The northern programs work with educators to ensure that they have the equipment and support they need.

    From Kathryn Surbeck:
    Yes. Presenting content in an accessible language and with visual supports for the deaf is definitely warranted. 

  11. What is the current distribution of special population students across the State (ISBE data on students with special needs)?
  12. ML: I don't know if we've ever gotten that from ISBE.

    BS: I don't know if ISBE numbers are accurate because some school districts only code one disability. Also, about two thirds of students at LICA we don't see at all because they don't have an IEP; they may have a 504 plan.

    ML: We need to see these numbers.

    BS: ISBE is working to set up a system/database that will be available for the state. It could be ready by March.

    ML: We are looking at the Texas Registry. Indiana School for the Deaf is having issues, and is putting forward accountability and cost measure information, but because of their work in these areas, the Indiana Dept. of Education gave them all the numbers. We use the Gallaudet Research Institute; participation in it is voluntary but it's as good as we have. It would be nice if ISBE would share this information. We know some of the scores are really low. Most students come to us from public schools. Students often get here at 15 years old with 2nd grade reading level.

    SH: Students seem to go to the residential schools when they don’t succeed in the mainstream or when they have family problems, such as non-intact families

    BS: I would disagree with that. There are several students of ours that went to ISD for other than academic reasons. Many come because of socialization issues.

    ML: Thanks Becki. It's called the Failure Model and this is often when public schools are willing to send these students to us. Iowa also has historically had such a model we heard at the Midwest Supt. Conference. It's hard to change that perception.

    BS: This data is important to have.

    DA: Some kids say that the public schools don't give them the training they need. Some students come to ISVI for Braille instruction and then return to their public school.

    BS: We see kids also that go to ISD when they have problems or experience social isolation and behavioral issues.

  13. Can current data provide information on student retention and graduation rates?
  14. ML: I believe it can. I know ISD and ISVI have this attendance data.

  15. How can we measure post-secondary outcomes? What data are available on college matriculation and/or job placement
  16. ML: This is where we need help from DRS. Most kids have transition plans. We have graduate and retention rate data. I will need to get with DRS to see what they can provide.

    At this point Shelle Hamer left this meeting to attend another meeting. She asked for the date for the next Education Outcomes Subcommittee meeting. It was decided that December 13th at 3:00 PM would be set for the next meeting.

    From Jill Whitmore:
    ISD staff creates a post-secondary intentions chart for each graduating student which includes what they plan to do after high school. ISD sends each graduate a follow-up document the following year after the student graduates, normally over the Christmas break, and asks that the papers be returned to ISD. Students are asked what they are doing in terms of school and/or work to see if they followed up on their transition plan. At this time they are only contacted one time. ISD staff can contact the student's DRS/RCD to see if the counselor has been in contact with the student. The post-secondary intentions chart for each graduating class can provide data on the students who graduate.

    From Paul Drake, ISVI:
    In past years it was my understanding that the social workers and psychologist did follow up with students that graduated from ISVI. I'm not involved in that process. I do know we have DHS/DRS/BBS involved in the transition plan and in most cases they receive the students as part of their caseload. This is true when a STEP case is open. Most of our students are in STEP when they graduate so BBS would have the data requested in the Governor's workgroup.

    From Tami Pool, ISVI:
    A few years ago, during Supt. Forney's administration at ISVI, I worked with other staff to split the list of graduates in thirds and made calls during one summer. It was difficult as the only phone numbers and addresses we had available was old information in the database and therefore not accurate. There was a specific form the Superintendent wanted us to use. I have no idea where this form was generated or where it is now. We turned the completed forms back into our Supervisor. Superintendent Clinton did not require us to do this.

  17. What information is available through the Department of Rehabilitative Services?
  18. ML: I will be in touch with DRS to see what information they can share with us.

    From Kathryn Surbeck
    Technical support and training is available through the Outreach Department of the Illinois School for the Deaf

  19. What can be done through professional development or teacher preparation to help teachers find ways to measure student performance and growth?
  20. DA: What type of training do teachers receive?

    BS: Teachers have plenty of opportunities for Professional Development but there's also lots of competition for that time. There are other things that happen and there are mandated trainings that fill the professional development time. Also, it is difficult at this point to know what to teach them. Many of us have worked hard on training educators to write measurable goals. We need best practices to guide additional training.

    ML: We are working with ISHI on a Best Practices document. We also have the changes that will occur with the Education Reform Act and the Performance Evaluation Reform Act that will result in teachers being evaluated differently. This all plays into that. We need to determine ways to measure growth in our students. We should talk to Shelle about what the IVLT does that is parallel to this.

    JB: I like the idea of Best Practices, but if you look at the legal in-service days, there are only four per year. Time needs to be built into the calendar - four days isn't cutting it. Funding can also be a problem.

    ML: We have come to the end of the 10 questions. Do you have anything else to add? I am asking Becki to survey other school districts to see who tuitions kids into other districts and how it is paid, and can ask Shelle the same questions.

    TC: We also need to look at kids that go to private schools.

    ML: We are principally interested in cost, but also all other factors.