Roots, Reality, Reboot: Transforming (Special) Education to Advance Equity and Learning

SFUSD Context (II)

**San Francisco Unified School District. (2013). San Francisco Unified School District accountability report card 2012-2013 (pp. 1-6). San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Unified School District. Available for members at this link.

This District Accountability Report Card provides an overview of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) student demographics and achievement data as well as information on the district’s teaching force. The document also contains the district’s mission statement and major strategic goals.

**Losen, D. (2012). San Francisco district profile. (Unpublished report). Center for Civil Rights Remedies. Los Angeles, CA. Available for members at this link.

In this report prepared for SFUSD, Daniel Losen, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, examines several manifestations of disproportional treatment of African Americans in the district. He finds that African American students are much more likely to be identified for special education, to be diagnosed with Emotional Disorders (ED), to be removed from mainstream classrooms into more restrictive environments, and to experience out-of-school suspensions than are White or Asian students. (For example, the combined risk of identification for special education and placement in a restrictive setting is 10.3% for African American students compared to 4.5% for Whites and 2.5% for Asians.) Among Losen’s recommendations for the district are more regular monitoring of disaggregated data on identification, placement, and disciplinary action; training of adults in multi-cultural competence; and the use of intermediate interventions before special education placement and of alternatives to suspension (e.g., restorative practices).

**San Francisco Unified School District. (n.d). Significant disproportionality coordinated early intervening services plan (pp. 20, 28, & 40). San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Unified School District. Available for members at this link.

Based on the findings from Daniel Losen’s report on special education disproportionality in SFUSD as well as stakeholder and leadership meetings, SFUSD identified root causes of significant disproportionality. These three charts lay out the findings used to determine each of the root causes, recommended interventions to address each root cause, and the district’s action items to achieve each intervention.

**San Francisco Unified School District. (2012). Guiding principles regarding inclusive education practices for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Unified School District. Available for members at this link.

In 2012, SFUSD’s Board of Education passed a resolution that incorporates into district policy five fundamental principles governing the inclusion of students receiving special education services. These practices are: 1) inclusive education is not a separate initiative from general education, 2) students receiving special education services are general education students first, 3) decisions about student services are based on individual student needs, 4) the district must raise its expectations for students with disabilities and end their social and physical segregation, and 5) the success of every student is the collective responsibility of all district educators.

**California Department of Education. (2012). 2010-11 district level special education annual report card measures for San Francisco Unified School District. Sacramento, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This data report, prepared by the California Department of Education’s Special Education Division, is SFUSD’s Special Education Annual Performance Report for the 2010-11 school year. It includes the district’s graduation, dropout, suspension, and expulsion rates by ethnicity, percentage of students spending 80 percent or more of the day inside a general education classroom, percent of pre-school students who demonstrate improvement in social-emotional skills, and percent of parents that report positive school involvement.

**California Department of Education. (2013). Significant disproportionality data for San Francisco Unified School District, 2011-12. Sacramento, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This CDE document provides data on SFUSD’s disproportionality in special education estimated by the alternate risk ratio (ARR) and the e-formula calculations for 2008-09 through 2011-12 school years. The ARR calculation is the risk for a subgroup receiving special education services, compared to the risk for all other students receiving special education services in the state. Based on the statistical principles of sampling theory, the e-formula calculation estimates the maximum percentage of enrollment allowed for a subgroup. Both the ARR and e-formula calculations demonstrate an over-representation of SFUSD African American students in special education from 2008-09 through 2011-12. The e-formula calculation also identifies an overrepresentation of American Indian students in special education from 2008-09 through 2011-12.

**San Francisco Unified School District. (n.d.). A strategic plan for enhancing services for students with disabilities. San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Unified School District. Available for members at this link.

The SFUSD Department of Special Education worked with multiple stakeholders to create this department-specific strategic plan for 2013-2018, which aims to bring the district’s central goals—equity and access, achievement, and accountability—to fruition for students with disabilities.

Felton, R., Frattura, E., Green, C. Parker, C., & Riley, D. (2010). An audit of programs & services for students with disabilities in the San Francisco Unified School District (pp. 38-44). Waltham, MA: Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative. Available at http://www.sfusd.edu/en/assets/sfusd-staff/about-SFUSD/files/audit-programs-students-with-disabilities.pdf

This excerpt from the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative’s audit of SFUSD summarizes the auditors’ recommendations to help the district improve outcomes for students with disabilities. The recommendations span many facets of special education, including organizational structure, student assignment, data-based decision making, funding, service delivery, instruction, and professional development. The full report is available at http://www.sfusd.edu/en/assets/sfusd-staff/about-SFUSD/files/audit-programs-students-with-disabilities.pdf.

Koskey, A. (2013, April 4). Bullying incident a fallout from placing autistic children in classrooms? San Francisco Examiner. Available at http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/bullying-incident-a-fallout-from-placing-autistic-children-in-classrooms/Content?oid=2336344

In 2011, SFUSD adopted a policy to increase the integration of students with disabilities into general education classrooms. This change has created a public relations challenge for the district by raising concerns among parents of general education students who feel that some special needs students threaten the safety of their children. The tension is illustrated in this article which tells the story of a frustrated parent who pulled her daughter from an SFUSD elementary school when she felt the district was not sufficiently responsive to her daughter’s alleged bullying by an autistic peer.  SFUSD district staff are committed to inclusive practices, but acknowledge that increased teacher support is needed to ensure that both special and general education students benefit from an inclusive model of instruction.

**This document is considered a priority reading.