A publication of the Association of California School Administrators
A publication of the Association of California School Administrators
Special education

Pursuing equity and excellence for differently abled learners

March | April 2024
Inclusion in every way
By Ward Andrus
The educational community in Murrieta Valley Unified School District has embraced the concept of inclusion of students with disabilities, transforming the district’s culture to best serve students through activities such as peer mentoring, co-taught secondary classes, push-in participation, unified classes, unified leadership, unified sports and more.
Equity in action: A culture of co-teaching
By Rebekah Ruswick and Rani Bertsch
Driven to produce equity in achievement, Downey USD developed a robust and sustainable co-teaching program that has reaped notable returns on student outcomes.
Leveraging AI in special education
By Ben Churchill
Artificial Intelligence provides new and powerful tools for educators to drive innovation in schools. By tapping into the capabilities of ChatGPT and other AI tools, educators can streamline and enhance the IEP development process, ensuring the creation of well-crafted individualized plans for students.
Streamlining special education services
By Brenda Clarke
Given this unfortunate trajectory of rising costs in special education, school leaders should consider implementing these 10 best practices to reduce costs of special education while improving student outcomes.
The IEP conflict wars
By Rhea Settles
Oftentimes, parents are bothered by the negatives that are placed upon their children with an IEP. The actions and mindset of some peers, school agents, and others can make parents feel like their child will never be viewed as having value. This can give rise to conflict wars, which can be avoided by implementing several best practices.
Meaningful futures for all
By Steve Amaro
We live in a society where the Americans with Disabilities Act exists to level the playing field so that everyone can lead meaningful lives, but that ideal is sometimes not felt by our most vulnerable populations. School leaders can play a role in helping prepare our special needs students to explore meaningful post-high-school opportunities.
Addressing the special education teacher shortage at the local level
By Tamara Schiern
In April 2022, the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA was notified it had received a grant of $250,000 to help build a Mild to Moderate Support Needs Teacher Residency Credential Program. Here are some lessons learned from the creation and implementation of the program.
Empowering futures
By Heather DiFede, Jennifer Yales, Leo Mapagu, Noreen Rodriguez Lippincott and Sara Wildman
Establishing opportunities for meaningful engagement with families and students through-out the IEP journey is crucial for fostering relationships and enhancing positive outcomes. These practices transform the process from a mere procedural obligation to an environment of shared leadership and belonging, with a particular emphasis on involving students to the greatest extent possible.