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Susanne Smith, (503) 947-5637

March 10, 2010

State Releases 2009-10 Special Education Child Count

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo has released the numbers for Oregon’s Special Education Child Count for the 2009-10 school year. The report shows that the total number of Oregon children, aged 0-21, in special education programs has increased to 82,824 – an increase from last year’s 81,988.

The number of school-age students in special education (aged K-21) is 73,509 – an increase from last year’s 72,846. This represents 13% of the school-age population in the state. Special education students are supported by federal, state and local resources, and funding for the 2009-10 school year is over $500 million.

Every child in Oregon identified as special education has at least one of the disabilities defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), shown below for the 2009-10 school year:

Developmental Delay (0-4 years)--4,628
Emotional Disturbance--4,708
Hearing Impairment--1,138
Mental Retardation--4,063
Other Health Impairment--9,660
Orthopedic Impairment--966
Specific Learning Disability--27,681
Speech/Language Impairment--21,289
Traumatic Brain Injury--294
Visual Impairment--454

Since 1975, the federal government has required that all children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education and special services to meet their education needs. Today, IDEA governs special education and related services, provided at no cost to parents. Under Oregon law, IDEA applies to all eligible children with disabilities, birth-21. A child is eligible for special education and related services if a team of professionals and the parent determines that the child has a disability (defined in the law) and needs special education services because of that disability.

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is vital to special education programs in Oregon,” said Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Schools. “Special education students rely on these services to attain and benefit from a quality education. In the past, schools educated only about one in five students with disabilities. Today, IDEA guarantees students with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education,” Castillo said.

“The vast majority of special education students attend regular public schools for at least part of their school day, and we track and report their academic achievement along with the rest of the student population,” Castillo said.

Special education instruction can be provided in a number of settings: regular classrooms, special classrooms through an Education Service District, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.

The placement of school-age students in special education is shown for the 2009-10 school year below:

Regular Class 80% or more of the day--51,758
Regular Class 40-79% of the day--11,876
Regular Class less than 40% of the day--7,822
Public Separate School--752
Private Separate School--134
Public Residential Facility--81
Private Residential Facility--27
Correctional Facility--293
Parentally Placed Private School--442
Home School--157

To see historical information and trends, please visit the Oregon Statewide Report Card online at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1821.

The performance of students with disabilities is part of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Oregon Department of Education is in its fifth year of two statewide initiatives to improve performance for students with disabilities: Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). RTI is the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about instruction and applying student response data to important educational decisions. RTI is applied to decisions in general, remedial and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction/intervention guided by child outcome data. (NASDSE, 2007)

From 2005 through 2009, many Oregon school districts have received intensive training and support from the Oregon RTI project. These districts demonstrate commitment to the RTI process, long-term goals for their district, and the resources needed to carry through a major systems change. Under a contract with the Department, Tigard-Tualatin School District is leading this effort and provides training and support to the participating districts. Tigard-Tualatin has implemented the key components of the RTI approach for close to a decade and has valuable experience that supports statewide capacity building for the Department.

The second statewide initiative is PBS which provides districts with necessary skills to develop, implement, and sustain practices that create safe and effective learning environments for all students. For 2008-09, nine ESDs/ regional sites received funding to support implementation and sustainability of systems and practices for universal interventions. For 2009-2010, under a contract with Clackamas ESD, the focus has turned to the more intensive interventions for those students with more challenging behaviors.

The Department was awarded a five year federal grant to support districts in merging a behavior (PBS) and instructional (RTI) system into a single district wide model. Guidance and support is offered to those selected twenty six school districts interested in adopting an Effective Behavior and Instructional Support Systems (EBISS) model with support over a period of 3-5 years. These districts are provided training tools for implementation of an integrated model, consultation regarding practical considerations, and guiding the effectiveness of the district plan for implementation. More information on EBISS can be found on our website at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1389.

The area of autism continues to grow, while at a slower rate than earlier years, the numbers continue to increase. The newly created Oregon Commission on Autism is comprised of 13 strong leaders from education, health care and human services for adults and children, private sectors, and legislative membership. Many other interested citizens have volunteered their time to participate on the subcommittee work groups, which include healthcare, education, adult and child services, identification, etc. It is expected that the commission will craft a long term plan to increase coordination of supports, promote best practices, make efficient use of resources, and assure active engagement of people with autism and their families.

The Office of Student Learning & Partnerships supports and monitors programs that provide direct services to diverse learners and assists in the development of strategies to address unique learning differences. Units in this office manage programs that include special education, early childhood education, accountability and program compliance, and capacity building and partnerships with other agencies and community providers. This work is designed to ensure that multiple teaching and learning strategies encompass student needs derived from socio-economic, social emotional, linguistic, cultural, ethnic or other differences. This focus allows learners to demonstrate their performance skills and to benefit from participation in meaningful venues as they prepare to become contributing members of the adult community.

For more information please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=146 .

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Morgan Allen, Interim Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5920

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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Salem, OR 97310-0203

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