CVUSD attempts to repair three years worth of damage towards special education students

CVUSD Board Trustees, at their October 16th board meeting, learned that district special education students have been socially and academically deprived for the past three years in comparison to their general education counterparts.

Leann Holland, founder of THRIVE Conejo, an organization dedicated to advancing inclusive education in CVUSD, stated, “students internalize the message that they do not belong.”

Lisa Miller, assistant superintendent of Student Support Services, presented that CVUSD “missed the mark” in ensuring that special education students spend 80 percent or more of their time in general education.

When questions from the board were allowed, Trustee Sandee Everett asked for clarification as to what FAPE is. “There is the Free Appropriate Professional Enhancement which is FAPE, that is, what the acronym is, how does that, maybe, explain that a little bit,” Everett said.

Miller explained that FAPE is actually the Free Appropriate Public Education, the national foundation for special education. She then offered specific ways to fix the issue for each affected student, such as moving students into more content-based classes.

Miller continued, highlighting that CVUSD failed in meeting this goal, which could render it “Significantly Disproportionate,” a legal term outlining a school unable to support its special education students for three or more years. Consequently, 15 percent of funding must go towards creating a plan to rectify the mistakes of previous years.

Among the various speakers, Holland captured the urgency to change the situation. “It’s like trying to teach someone to swim in the parking lot of a swimming pool,” Holland said.

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