Gap Closes for Students With Disabilities at High School
By 10th grade the gap seen in earlier grades between students with disabilities and those without has closed significantly, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education district review report.
By 10th grade, the gap seen in earlier grades between students with disabilities and those without has closed significantly, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education district review report.
However, the report indicates that there is still work to do to increase growth scores at the fifth and eighth grade level.
“We will continue to disaggregate the data to help us determine our strategies to improve student growth and achievement. We are particularly interested in looking at persistence data (students who have remained in our district without disruption) for SWD (students with disabilities) to assess their performance in comparison to their counterparts," said Framingham Special Education Department Director Betsey McKeon, in a press release.
The Framingham Public Schools Special Education Department, at the request of the Framingham Finance Committee, researched and analyzed recent student performance data in MCAS to gauge how well students with disabilities perform in relation to non-disabled students.
The data from 5th, 8th and 10th grade MCAS English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics (Math) from 2010 to 2012 were analyzed for this report since these grades represent the cumulative MCAS achievement for each level in the district, i.e. elementary, middle and high school. The district considers growth over time as the most important measure of improved student achievement. The district’s analysis presents these findings:
* Students with disabilities contribute proportionally to the overall growth and success of the district as evidenced by the 5th, 8th and 10th grade data metrics.
* The district’s goal to prepare students to meet the 10th grade MCAS standards for graduation is achieved as evidenced by the scores of our 10th grade students, both students with and students without disabilities.
Framingham High Principal Michael Welch is not surprised by the results that show success for students with disabilities by grade 10.
“When I arrived at Framingham High School eight years ago, we had 149 SWD (students with disabilities) being served by a total of 9 teachers, coordinators and assistant teachers. We made a concerted effort to serve SWD at Framingham High School as opposed to sending them out of district," said Welch.
"Today, we have 320 students with disabilities, being served by 43 teachers, coordinators, assistant teachers, aides, social workers, program directors and special educators. We have double the number of SWD and proportionately doubled the number of staff to support them as well. Clearly, the district has grown both in student population as well as professional staff to serve the needs of these students. We are very pleased by the results of this report and feel strongly that we have built the kind of programs and services that will allow our SWD to perform at the very highest level in Framingham.”
“In FY14, we expect to add more support that will increase the ability of students in all of our subgroups to reach proficiency and growth targets. Increasing rigor and proficiency for all of our students is our goal. We will accomplish this by adding more support for teachers to do what they do so well in helping our students reach their targets," said Framingham Superintendent of Schools Stacy Scott in a press release.
In 2010–2011, the Framingham Public Schools had 8,182 students enrolled in 13 schools. In 2010–2011 the public school district was identified by the state as a Level 3 school district because 3 elementary schools and one middle school were in the bottom 20 percent in the Massachusetts Accountability system.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) visited Framingham Public Schools from May 21–24, 2012. The site visit included 34 hours of interviews and focus groups with over 90 stakeholders ranging from School Committee members to district administrators and school staff to Framingham Teachers’ Association representatives and high school students.
Editor's Note: This is another is a series of reports on the state's review of the Framingham Public Schools. The state report is a very detailed 68 pages.