SKPS finds areas of success and opportunities for growth

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently released its annual special education report card, evaluating each district to the state’s standards for special education services. The data in the 2017-18 report is a compilation of data collected during the 2016-17 academic year.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) experienced many areas of success, as well as opportunities for improvement as represented in the district’s report.

Salem-Keizer Points of Pride

  • The number of students receiving special education services who graduated with a regular diploma in their four-year cohort increased by 2.8 percentage points from the previous year.
  • The number of students receiving special education services who graduated with a regular diploma in their five-year cohort increased by 7.6 percentage points from the previous year.
  • The dropout rate of students with IEPs decreased by 1.3 percentage points.
  • Students in special education who are included in regular classes less than 40 percent of their school day improved by 1.3 percentage points.
  • The percentage of students throughout SKPS with individualized education programs (IEPs) meeting or exceeding alternate standards increased in English Language Arts at the Middle and High School Levels and increased in High School Math by 10 percentage points.
  • .7 percent of SKPS students were served in public or private separate schools, residential placements, or homebound/hospital, trending well below the state standard of 1.8 percent or less.
  • There were significant increases in all post-secondary outcomes. This applies to students who had IEPs when they left school. Within one year of leaving high school, the number enrolled in higher education increased by 12.2 percentage points. The number enrolled in higher education or competitively employed increased by 25.8 percentage points, and the number enrolled in higher education or in other post-secondary education or training programs; or, competitively employed or in other employment increased by 26.2 percentage points.

“We are very pleased with the improvement in most areas of this year’s report card, and there is much to be proud of,” said Director of Student Services Eric Richards. “We also pay close attention to the small number of areas in this report card that call for improvement and are very committed to making additional progress.”

Salem-Keizer Opportunities for Improvement

  • The number of students who received parental consent to evaluate, were evaluated and found eligible within 60 school days decreased by 2.5 percentage points from the previous year. The district is developing professional development activities to promote improvement in this area.
  • The percentage of students with IEPs meeting or exceeding grade level standards in math decreased by 1.7 percentage points at the elementary level, by 2.7 percentage points at the middle school level, and by 2.9 percentage points at the high school level. This is consistent with the decrease in math performance in the general report card for the district. The district adopted and has been implementing a new math curriculum in 2018 coupled with enhanced instructional strategies, data review, and progress monitoring to work toward improvement in this area.

The area of most significant improvement was in post-secondary outcomes for students who were on IEPs when they exited high school, and who are interviewed one year later. Richards credits this to the district Community Transition Programs (CTPs). “Our transition programs like the Community Transition Program and Independent Living Program are designed to support adult students with disabilities, ages 18 to 21, after the completion of high school. These programs help prepare students to transition into their communities as adults through vocational training, independent-living skills development and functional academics. Through partnerships with local businesses, our students can prepare for post-secondary success through internship opportunities and hands-on training and work experience.”

ODE Report 2019

A student in the SKPS Community Transition Program celebrates his graduation in the Class of 2018.

Richards also believes that the community can be very excited about another important development that will positively impact students receiving special education: “The passage of the bond measure will allow SKPS to build new and additional special education spaces at the high schools and will improve accessibility in many buildings. This, coupled with the completion of boundary adjustments, will help more students return to their neighborhood schools or their feeder areas for their services. Currently, many students are transported by bus across the district, negatively affecting student learning.”