Biography of Primary Presenter

Dr. Paula Freer is the PBIS coach for the Dekalb-Rockdale GNETS Program. She is school psychologist who has worked in metropolitan cities across the United States. She is an active board member of Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators (SSTAGE). Areas of interest are Response to Intervention (RTI)/ Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and Academic and Behavioral Interventions.

Highest Degree of Primary Presenter

Doctorate Degree

Presentation Abstract

This presentation will focus on disproportionality in special education in Georgia over the last five years. We will describe what disproportionality is, how it is calculated, and the State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agency (LEA) statutory requirements related to disproportionality determinations. In addition, disproportionality trend data over the last five years will be discussed. The presentation will also describe the initiatives that the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is implementing to help reduce disproportionality across the state.

In Georgia and across the nation, disproportionality is oftentimes a symptom of ineffective educational policies, practices, and procedures. Reviewing the policies, practices, and procedures of LEAs with disproportionality determinations has demonstrated that students with academic and/or behavioral challenges are frequently provided with limited support and therefore, inappropriately identified as having a disability. The Student Support Team (SST) process was established to ensure that students receive support for academic and behavioral challenges in the regular education environment. The fidelity and quality of SST implementation is quite varied, as is student outcomes. We will discuss the most frequently observed problems with SST and the Response to Intervention (RTI) process, as it relates to prevention, special education identification and disciplinary practices.

Several key components to reducing and eliminating disproportionality lies in using data-driven problem solving (DDPS). PBIS is a framework led by DDPS which guides systems and schools to build practices that reduce disproportionality. Understanding the 6 non-negotiables of research or evidence based interventions helps build multiple tiers of supports which can result in reducing special education referrals and increasing positive outcomes.

Lastly, recommendations for practice, resources, and references will be provided.

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Disproportionality in Special Education: Current Data and Recommendations

This presentation will focus on disproportionality in special education in Georgia over the last five years. We will describe what disproportionality is, how it is calculated, and the State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agency (LEA) statutory requirements related to disproportionality determinations. In addition, disproportionality trend data over the last five years will be discussed. The presentation will also describe the initiatives that the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is implementing to help reduce disproportionality across the state.

In Georgia and across the nation, disproportionality is oftentimes a symptom of ineffective educational policies, practices, and procedures. Reviewing the policies, practices, and procedures of LEAs with disproportionality determinations has demonstrated that students with academic and/or behavioral challenges are frequently provided with limited support and therefore, inappropriately identified as having a disability. The Student Support Team (SST) process was established to ensure that students receive support for academic and behavioral challenges in the regular education environment. The fidelity and quality of SST implementation is quite varied, as is student outcomes. We will discuss the most frequently observed problems with SST and the Response to Intervention (RTI) process, as it relates to prevention, special education identification and disciplinary practices.

Several key components to reducing and eliminating disproportionality lies in using data-driven problem solving (DDPS). PBIS is a framework led by DDPS which guides systems and schools to build practices that reduce disproportionality. Understanding the 6 non-negotiables of research or evidence based interventions helps build multiple tiers of supports which can result in reducing special education referrals and increasing positive outcomes.

Lastly, recommendations for practice, resources, and references will be provided.