Project evolve PLUS
Numbers that Count! is a data-based way for individual schools to reflect on a variety of fundamental variables affecting their inclusive special education service delivery. The process consists of three forms of data collected by Project EVOLVE Plus staff: (a) a School Demographic Questionnaire completed by a school administrator (e.g., principal), (b) Special Educator Questionnaires completed by every special educator in the school who works 0.4 FTE or more, and (c) Student Questionnaires completed by special educators in reference to each student on an IEP who receives one-to-one paraprofessional supports. Both types of questionnaires completed by the special educators (i.e., Special Educator and Student Questionnaires) are completed on-site, at school, during a one-hour meeting attended by all of the special educators in a school and is facilitated by a Project EVOLVE Plus staff member to ensure fidelity of the process.
Once all three forms of data have been collected, the data are analyzed by the Project EVOLVE Plus staff and a written report is produced to share with the school. None of the findings identify individual special educator responses or student information. Then a two-hour debriefing meeting is scheduled at which time the Project EVOLVE Plus staff share the findings and potential meaning with school personnel designated by the school leadership. Most typically, this debriefing group includes the school principal, special education administrator, and special educators who completed the questionnaires.
The report is strictly informational and is designed to help school personnel reflect on their school's practices and consider possible actions to improve inclusive service delivery for students with disabilities. The report is not evaluative in nature -- in fact the written report includes a blank column available for school personnel to make their own judgments about the level of concern they have about each data point. Following completion of Numbers that Count! some schools proceed on their own, while others seek additional support from Project EVOLVE on a short or longer term basis.
To date Numbers that Count! data collection, reporting, and debriefing has occurred in nearly 50 Vermont schools. A study is available describing the process and its implications with the first 19 schools that were involved in these activities. Since then, the questionnaires and process continue to be updated based on use.
Suter, J.C., & Giangreco, M. F. (2009). Numbers that count: Exploring special education and paraprofessional service delivery in inclusion-oriented schools. Journal of Special Education, 43(2), 81-93. DOI: 10.1177/0022466907313353
Giangreco, M.F.,Suter, J. S., & Hurley, S.M. (2011). Revisiting personnel utilization in inclusion-oriented schools. Journal of Special Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0022466911419015.
Note: All data provided by special educators is provided voluntarily and follows a protocol approved by the University of Vermont's IRB (Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects). No identifiable student information is requested.
We're considering beginning a new Special Education Service Delivery Consortium cohort in Fall of 2012. If your supervisory union is interested in being part of this new cohort, please contact us.
The first two-year cohort began in the fall of 2009 as a new component of Project EVOLVE Plus at the Center on Disability & Community Inclusion at the University of Vermont. This cohort consisted of a group over 20 special education and general education school leaders from five Vermont Supervisory Unions, plus a liaison from the Vermont Department of Education. The consortium's work is facilitated by the Project EVOLVE Plus Director (Michael F. Giangreco, Ph.D.) and Coordinator (Jesse C. Suter, Ph.D.).
The purpose of the consortium is to provide information and technical assistance to support individually determined actions (at the school and district level) meant to improve inclusive special education service delivery by:
1. identifying common, cross-school, issues and needs;
2. sharing current research, promising practices, and related professional resources;
3. collecting, analyzing, and sharing data to inform improvements;
4. developing materials to aid improvements; and
5. encouraging mutual support through the sharing of school-based challenges and success among consortium members and affiliates.
All participating schools have previously completed the "Numbers that Count" data collection and debriefing sessions that serves as a shared initial basis for their work together. The consortium meets four times annually between September and May. In between theses meetings, the project Director and Coordinator work with school leaders to support their local action planning and develop materials and strategies that are designed to be useful across settings. Presently, Project EVOLVE Plus has identified a series of interrelated issues affecting inclusive special education service delivery as shown in the following diagram.
Project EVOLVE Plus provides a limited amount of consultation and technical assistance to schools and agencies regarding inclusive special education service delivery either on-site or via distance technologies (e.g., phone-conferencing, desktop web-based tools such as Skype or GoogleDocs, or high-end video-conferencing). These consultative services have included services such as: (a) staff development presentations or workshops, (b) conference keynote presentations, (c) consultation with individuals or small groups (e.g., school administrators. special educators, teachers, parents, agency personnel) on topics associated with the project, and (d) facilitation of ongoing discussions, planning or problem-solving sessions.
Last modified November 02 2012 08:44 AM