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re special ed CEO and direction of reform

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? Below is her
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 21, 2014
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      Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 

       

      Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 

       

      Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.

       

      http://fundforpublicadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NYC-SE-Reform-BP-Report_Final_4-23.pdf

       

      Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.

       

      Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.

      .

      However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.

      .

      Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.

       

      Johannah Chase

      Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education

      Background

      Experience

      Chief Executive Officer, Special Education

      NYC Department of Education

      March 2014 – Present (3 months)

      Chief Operating Officer, Division of Students with Disabilities & English Language Learners

      NYC Department of Education

      2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York

      Executive Director for Special Populations, Office of School Support

      New York City Department of Education

      February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)

      Chief of Staff

      Division of School Support & Instruction, NYC Department of Education

      2008 – January 2011 (3 years)

      8th Grade English Teacher

      KIPP: STAR College Prep Charter School

      2007 – 2008 (1 year)

      Teach for America

      Corps Member Advisor

      Teach for America

      May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)

      Corps Member, Teacher

      Teach for America

      2005 – 2007 (2 years)

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
      Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
      To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform

       

       

      Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
      Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
      Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
      I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.


      ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

      Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

      P1 Farina

      City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)

      Print

      Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
      on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

      0

      Reddit

      Email

      NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 

      STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.

      Parents say their children are not being served.

      Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.

      Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.

      In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.

      Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.

      Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.

      "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.

      The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."

      But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.

      Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.

      In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.

      A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.

      THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN

      The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.

      A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 

      In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.

      Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.

      While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.

      ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'

      Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."

      "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.

      One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."

      "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.

      "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.

      UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   

      In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.

      1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?

      2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 

      3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

      HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED

      State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.

      Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.

      Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.

      She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.

      She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.

      DEFENDING THE DECISION

      In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.

      In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.

      "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."

      She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."

      After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.

      lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 

      Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.

      "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

       

       

       

    • mchgh_lln
      Nope, not at all. I am saying that managers are managers and some of the better ones have no experience in managing. She s got a job of work to do in a
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 21, 2014
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        Nope,  not at all.  I am saying that managers are managers and some of the better ones have no experience in managing.  She's got a job of work to do in a system that is, to put it mildly, resistant at all levels: parents, teachers, principals, politicians and advocates.  And yes, there are some places where there have been successes, due to the folks put in place to act or given the freedom to act, which is the managers most important job.  So yes, there are pockets of success everywhere in this City, including Staten Island.  And yes, you can attribute that to good managment at citywide and local levels

        I was a political science major in college.  It didn't prepare me for the position I am in now.  Neither did the minor in English. I worked in the back offices in a bar in Brooklyn for years.  Maybe that prepared me for the rough and tumble of advocacy?  Who knows? (I know that someone this list is gonna say so what or who cares <grin>)

        No I'm not crazy that she let her license lapse.  No I am not crazy that her background is in education at charter schools. However, as a manger, Ms. Chase is accessible, proactive and willing to push for change. 

        On the changes: There are parents who are glad that their children are in local schools.  There are parents who see this as opportunity to lessen social isolation.  There are parents who are glad that their daughter or son is finally being exposed to the full education curriculum. That's a focus of the reform.  Our kids have been segregated, isloated and under-achieving for years because of a system that encouraged schools to dump kids with special needs in the corner/upstairs/ in the basement/ in the back of the auditorium and yes, sometimes in the dark.  If we could get more principals on board with high expectations for our kids there might be a fighting chance at success.  I am not dismissing principal's concenrs/worries, but the longer folks cry "It can't be done" the more time our kids lose. 

        Redirecting resources is what I want done.  Limiting class sizes at every level, elementary, junior high/middle school or high school is what I want done.  Finding good people to educate our children with LD/ED is what I want done. A resources and methods person at every school is what I want.  Full, dedicated IEP teams who have been given the time and the space at one school to support students, parents and staff is what I want.  Real world knowledge of resources in a district is what I want.  Literacy programs with really truly well-trained staff, not this make believe turn key training in Wilson,  is what I want

         A host of advocates, including Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, have asked the DOE to report out on the affect of the roll out: we are still waiting.  It would be very helpful if folks on this list began pressing the Chancellor for that information as well.



        ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

        Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 

         

        Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 

         

        Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.

         

        http://fundforpublicadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NYC-SE-Reform-BP-Report_Final_4-23.pdf

         

        Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.

         

        Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.

        .

        However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.

        .

        Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.

         

        Johannah Chase

        Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education

        Background

        Experience

        Chief Executive Officer, Special Education

        NYC Department of Education

        March 2014 – Present (3 months)

        Chief Operating Officer, Division of Students with Disabilities & English Language Learners

        NYC Department of Education

        2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York

        Executive Director for Special Populations, Office of School Support

        New York City Department of Education

        February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)

        Chief of Staff

        Division of School Support & Instruction, NYC Department of Education

        2008 – January 2011 (3 years)

        8th Grade English Teacher

        KIPP: STAR College Prep Charter School

        2007 – 2008 (1 year)

        Teach for America

        Corps Member Advisor

        Teach for America

        May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)

        Corps Member, Teacher

        Teach for America

        2005 – 2007 (2 years)

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
        Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
        To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform

         

         

        Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
        Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
        Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
        I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.


        ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

        Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

        P1 Farina

        City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)

        Print

        Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
        on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

        0

        Reddit

        Email

        NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 

        STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.

        Parents say their children are not being served.

        Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.

        Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.

        In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.

        Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.

        Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.

        "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.

        The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."

        But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.

        Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.

        In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.

        A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.

        THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN

        The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.

        A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 

        In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.

        Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.

        While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.

        ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'

        Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."

        "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.

        One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."

        "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.

        "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.

        UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   

        In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.

        1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?

        2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 

        3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

        HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED

        State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.

        Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.

        Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.

        She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.

        She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.

        DEFENDING THE DECISION

        In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.

        In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.

        "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."

        She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."

        After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.

        lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 

        Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.

        "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

         

         

         

      • Leonie Haimson
        Thanks Ellen. On the class size issue I am 100% behind you as you know; I hope you submit comments about this for on the C4E. The deadline for public comment
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 21, 2014
        • 0 Attachment

          Thanks Ellen.  On the class size issue I am 100% behind you as you know; I hope you submit comments about this for on the C4E.  

           

          The deadline for public comment is July 19th. Comments may be submitted at the hearings or by emailing ContractsForExcellence@...

          Have you mentioned this to Ms. Chase, who you say has been accessible and willing to push for change?

           

          So far I have not heard  many of the special ed advocacy groups mention how important smaller classes are for the success of the reform initiative,  but I haven’t lost hope that they may start doing so in the future.

           

          Thanks Leonie  

           

          From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
          Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 2:40 PM
          To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: re special ed CEO and direction of reform

           

           

          Nope,  not at all.  I am saying that managers are managers and some of the better ones have no experience in managing.  She's got a job of work to do in a system that is, to put it mildly, resistant at all levels: parents, teachers, principals, politicians and advocates.  And yes, there are some places where there have been successes, due to the folks put in place to act or given the freedom to act, which is the managers most important job.  So yes, there are pockets of success everywhere in this City, including Staten Island.  And yes, you can attribute that to good managment at citywide and local levels

          I was a political science major in college.  It didn't prepare me for the position I am in now.  Neither did the minor in English. I worked in the back offices in a bar in Brooklyn for years.  Maybe that prepared me for the rough and tumble of advocacy?  Who knows? (I know that someone this list is gonna say so what or who cares <grin>)

          No I'm not crazy that she let her license lapse.  No I am not crazy that her background is in education at charter schools. However, as a manger, Ms. Chase is accessible, proactive and willing to push for change. 

          On the changes: There are parents who are glad that their children are in local schools.  There are parents who see this as opportunity to lessen social isolation.  There are parents who are glad that their daughter or son is finally being exposed to the full education curriculum. That's a focus of the reform.  Our kids have been segregated, isloated and under-achieving for years because of a system that encouraged schools to dump kids with special needs in the corner/upstairs/ in the basement/ in the back of the auditorium and yes, sometimes in the dark.  If we could get more principals on board with high expectations for our kids there might be a fighting chance at success.  I am not dismissing principal's concenrs/worries, but the longer folks cry "It can't be done" the more time our kids lose. 

          Redirecting resources is what I want done.  Limiting class sizes at every level, elementary, junior high/middle school or high school is what I want done.  Finding good people to educate our children with LD/ED is what I want done. A resources and methods person at every school is what I want.  Full, dedicated IEP teams who have been given the time and the space at one school to support students, parents and staff is what I want.  Real world knowledge of resources in a district is what I want.  Literacy programs with really truly well-trained staff, not this make believe turn key training in Wilson,  is what I want

           A host of advocates, including Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, have asked the DOE to report out on the affect of the roll out: we are still waiting.  It would be very helpful if folks on this list began pressing the Chancellor for that information as well.


          ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

          Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 

           

          Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 

           

          Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.

           

          http://fundforpublicadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NYC-SE-Reform-BP-Report_Final_4-23.pdf

           

          Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.

           

          Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.

          .

          However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.

          .

          Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.

           

          Johannah Chase

          Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education

          Background

          Experience

          Chief Executive Officer, Special Education

          NYC Department of Education

          March 2014 – Present (3 months)

          Chief Operating Officer, Division of Students with Disabilities & English Language Learners

          NYC Department of Education

          2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York

          Executive Director for Special Populations, Office of School Support

          New York City Department of Education

          February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)

          Chief of Staff

          Division of School Support & Instruction, NYC Department of Education

          2008 – January 2011 (3 years)

          8th Grade English Teacher

          KIPP: STAR College Prep Charter School

          2007 – 2008 (1 year)

          Teach for America

          Corps Member Advisor

          Teach for America

          May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)

          Corps Member, Teacher

          Teach for America

          2005 – 2007 (2 years)

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
          Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
          To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform

           

           

          Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
          Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
          Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
          I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.


          ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

          Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

          P1 Farina

          City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)

          Print

          Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
          on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

          0

          Reddit

          Email

          NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 

          STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.

          Parents say their children are not being served.

          Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.

          Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.

          In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.

          Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.

          Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.

          "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.

          The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."

          But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.

          Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.

          In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.

          A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.

          THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN

          The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.

          A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 

          In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.

          Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.

          While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.

          ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'

          Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."

          "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.

          One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."

          "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.

          "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.

          UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   

          In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.

          1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?

          2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 

          3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

          HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED

          State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.

          Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.

          Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.

          She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.

          She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.

          DEFENDING THE DECISION

          In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.

          In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.

          "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."

          She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."

          After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.

          lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 

          Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.

          "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

           

           

           

        • mchgh_lln
          I think the special ed folks forget about the affect of class size while they are fighting for services. If the class is 28 and the child needs accommodations
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 21, 2014
          • 0 Attachment
            I think the special ed folks forget about the affect of class size while they are fighting for services.  If the class is 28 and the child needs accommodations or modifications how the hell is one teacher gonna do that?  Even in an ICT class you can have up to 40% of the students have IEPS, and there is nothing in the law that says the needs should be similar (i.e., LD or hearing impaired) You can have a wide array of needs.  Principals, especially at the middle school and high school levels, pack those classes thinking, "Ah ha! we have two teachers.  Let's do 30 or 32 or 38 in that class"  More times than I care to know, the general ed make-up of the ICT classes are kids who are struggling/below grade level. Add students with special needs. Now we have a big class of struggling students.  It doesn't work! 
            I've watched some teachers who have classrooms with 2/3 paras who are working with students.  The teachers are asked to plan and plot out supports and provide instruction while managing the needs of too many kids with staff that needs constant direction. 
            I think Ms. Chase may be tired of hearing me rant about this.  The political will is there but the on the ground folks are hesitant/nervous/unsupported.....a lingering residue of the past administration that will take some time to clean up. 
            I am hoping that NYC will be at the forefront of restoring respect for the teaching profession. More importatnly for me I am trying to insist that they pay attenditon to parents voices. 
            Press her on the smaller class sizes.  Press her on access to SESIS, a computerized IEP.  Press her on class composition, materials and supports.  We have more in common than we realize.
            Again, if there are folks on this list who can add their voices to the efforts of parent groups, I'd appreciate your help and your voices.
          • Lisa
            I just have to jump in and add that the so-called Phase 1 of this reform (another Bloomberg initiative) cited below is highly suspect for a number of reasons.
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 22, 2014
            • 0 Attachment
              I just have to jump in and add that the so-called Phase 1 of this reform (another Bloomberg initiative) cited below is highly suspect for a number of reasons.

               One of those reasons is the schools selected for the "test" of the reforms.

               In D1, where our schools serve a very high percentage of students with disabilities, the two schools that participated in Phase 1 have chronicaly  under served those students.

               The Phase 1 schools were apparently selected by CFN, and as a result, in D1 they two lone schools chosen were both highly select schools.
               One was Bard HS which is highly selective academically, and the other was PS/MS 184 a dual language Mandarin school whose principal was removed by DoE (in part) for admissions irregularities, and as a DL school, does not admit students with language processing issues.
               As a result, both schools screened students so that few with IEPs were admitted.
               That is starting to change at both schools, post reform, since now schools such as those (select/choice-based schools)  are now expected to meet district-based bench marks (much like charter schools are) for SWD admissions.
               
              184 now has a CTT track and Bard has begun admitting more student w/ IEPs.
              see progress in that direction below:

              PS/MS 184 Shuang Wen Academy
              Special Education
              General Ed60691.27%
              Least Restrictive Environment568.43%
              Most Restrictive Environment20.30%

              Bard HS Manhattan
              Special Education
              General Ed54699.64%
              Least Restrictive Environment20.36%


              How can these schools have properly informed the reform for its roll out?

              Lisa

              To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
              From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2014 11:42:52 -0400
              Subject: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

               

              Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 

               

              Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 

               

              Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.

               

              http://fundforpublicadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NYC-SE-Reform-BP-Report_Final_4-23.pdf

               

              Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.

               

              Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.

              .

              However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.

              .

              Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.

               

              Johannah Chase

              Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education

              Background

              Experience

              Chief Executive Officer, Special Education

              NYC Department of Education

              March 2014 – Present (3 months)

              Chief Operating Officer, Division of Students with Disabilities & English Language Learners

              NYC Department of Education

              2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York

              Executive Director for Special Populations, Office of School Support

              New York City Department of Education

              February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)

              Chief of Staff

              Division of School Support & Instruction, NYC Department of Education

              2008 – January 2011 (3 years)

              8th Grade English Teacher

              KIPP: STAR College Prep Charter School

              2007 – 2008 (1 year)

              Teach for America

              Corps Member Advisor

              Teach for America

              May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)

              Corps Member, Teacher

              Teach for America

              2005 – 2007 (2 years)

               

               

               

               

               

               

               

               

              From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
              Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
              To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform

               

               

              Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
              Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
              Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
              I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.


              ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

              Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

              P1 Farina

              City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)

              Print

              Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
              on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

              0

              Reddit

              Email

              NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 

              STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.
              Parents say their children are not being served.
              Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.
              Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.
              In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.
              Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.
              Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.
              "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.
              The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."

              But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.

              Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.

              In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.
              A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.
              THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN
              The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.
              A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 
              In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.
              Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.
              While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.
              ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'
              Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."
              "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.
              One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."
              "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.
              "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.

              UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   

              In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.
              1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?
              2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 
              3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

              HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED

              State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.
              Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.
              Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.
              She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.
              She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.
              DEFENDING THE DECISION
              In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.
              In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.
              "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."
              She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."
              After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.

              lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 

              Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.
              "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

               

               

               


            • LRN1212@...
              There is no way that every community school can provide the services every student with an IEP needs. Often a school will have 4 or 5 students on a grade
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 22, 2014
              • 0 Attachment
                There is no way that every community school can provide the services every student with an IEP needs. Often a school will have 4 or 5 students on a grade needing ICT services.  That would require a class with special ed and regular ed teachers.  The DOE will NOT pay for the special ed teacher for only 4 students.  So how can  a school provide for those 4 or 5 students?  Some schools are having a special ed teacher "push-in" for 1 or 2 periods a day, but what happens the rest of the day? Those students do NOT get the help they need.  Other schools make a combination grade of say grade 3 students, but add a few grade 2 students with IEP's and then have a few periods a day of push-in special ed services.  Once again many students are losing out.  The way the "special ed reform" is working is NOT beneficial for many students although some might benefit.  Lisa N.


                -----Original Message-----
                From: Lisa lisabdonlan@... [nyceducationnews] <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                To: nyced newsgroup <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sun, Jun 22, 2014 8:12 am
                Subject: RE: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                 
                I just have to jump in and add that the so-called Phase 1 of this reform (another Bloomberg initiative) cited below is highly suspect for a number of reasons.

                 One of those reasons is the schools selected for the "test" of the reforms.

                 In D1, where our schools serve a very high percentage of students with disabilities, the two schools that participated in Phase 1 have chronicaly  under served those students.

                 The Phase 1 schools were apparently selected by CFN, and as a result, in D1 they two lone schools chosen were both highly select schools.
                 One was Bard HS which is highly selective academically, and the other was PS/MS 184 a dual language Mandarin school whose principal was removed by DoE (in part) for admissions irregularities, and as a DL school, does not admit students with language processing issues.
                 As a result, both schools screened students so that few with IEPs were admitted.
                 That is starting to change at both schools, post reform, since now schools such as those (select/choice-based schools)  are now expected to meet district-based bench marks (much like charter schools are) for SWD admissions.
                 
                184 now has a CTT track and Bard has begun admitting more student w/ IEPs.
                see progress in that direction below:

                PS/MS 184 Shuang Wen Academy
                Special Education
                General Ed60691.27%
                Least Restrictive Environment568.43%
                Most Restrictive Environment20.30%

                Bard HS Manhattan
                Special Education
                General Ed54699.64%
                Least Restrictive Environment20.36%


                How can these schools have properly informed the reform for its roll out?

                Lisa

                To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2014 11:42:52 -0400
                Subject: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                 

                Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 
                 
                Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 
                 
                Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.
                 
                 
                Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.
                 
                Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.
                .
                However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.
                .
                Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.
                 
                Johannah Chase
                Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education
                Background
                Experience
                March 2014 – Present (3 months)
                2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York
                February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)
                2008 – January 2011 (3 years)
                2007 – 2008 (1 year)
                Teach for America
                May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)
                2005 – 2007 (2 years)
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
                Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
                To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform
                 
                 
                Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
                Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
                Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
                I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.

                ---In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, <leonie@...> wrote :

                Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

                P1 Farina
                City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)
                Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
                on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM
                0
                Reddit
                Email
                NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 
                STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.
                Parents say their children are not being served.
                Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.
                Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.
                In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.
                Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.
                Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.
                "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.
                The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."
                But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.
                Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.
                In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.
                A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.
                THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN
                The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.
                A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 
                In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.
                Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.
                While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.
                ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'
                Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."
                "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.
                One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."
                "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.
                "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.
                UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   
                In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.
                1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?
                2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 
                3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?
                HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED
                State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.
                Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.
                Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.
                She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.
                She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.
                DEFENDING THE DECISION
                In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.
                In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.
                "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."
                She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."
                After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.
                lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 
                Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.
                "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.
                 
                 
                 

              • Leonie Haimson
                So I think the consensus at least among those who have commented so far is that inclusion is a good thing, but special needs kids need smaller classes and
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 22, 2014
                • 0 Attachment

                  So I think the consensus at least among those who have commented so far is that inclusion is a good thing, but special needs kids need smaller classes and adequate services to make it work – and neither is happening right now in NYC b/c of the severe budget cuts to schools, which have NOT been reversed even though the recession is long over.  Is that a fair statement of people’s views?  I am copying John and Laura as well from the CCSE.  Guys is this something the CCSE might be interested in doing a resolution on?

                   

                  A friend whose special needs child did great in a class of 18 with two teachers was in a class of 30 this year with only a part time aide and couldn’t cope.  He completely unravelled, with repeated suspensions, sitting in the principal’s office etc. and got NO instruction all year.

                   

                  So now the city is going to pay more than $50K per year for a special school for him, with tiny class sizes but NO inclusion.  Does this make sense?

                   

                  There is no additional money going into school budgets for instruction or services and class sizes are likely to increase once again, for the 7th year in a row.  Instead all the additional funds are being spent on preK, afterschool, free lunch for MS students teacher salaries & community schools – all worthy programs no doubt but nothing that will make a difference in terms of class size or the ability of teachers to reach all their students , at different levels and with different abilities and needs.   

                   

                  Love to hear from others about what they think.  Thanks Leonie

                   

                   

                  From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
                  Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 8:57 AM
                  To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                   

                   

                  There is no way that every community school can provide the services every student with an IEP needs. Often a school will have 4 or 5 students on a grade needing ICT services.  That would require a class with special ed and regular ed teachers.  The DOE will NOT pay for the special ed teacher for only 4 students.  So how can  a school provide for those 4 or 5 students?  Some schools are having a special ed teacher "push-in" for 1 or 2 periods a day, but what happens the rest of the day? Those students do NOT get the help they need.  Other schools make a combination grade of say grade 3 students, but add a few grade 2 students with IEP's and then have a few periods a day of push-in special ed services.  Once again many students are losing out.  The way the "special ed reform" is working is NOT beneficial for many students although some might benefit.  Lisa N.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Lisa lisabdonlan@... [nyceducationnews] <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                  To: nyced newsgroup <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sun, Jun 22, 2014 8:12 am
                  Subject: RE: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                   

                  I just have to jump in and add that the so-called Phase 1 of this reform (another Bloomberg initiative) cited below is highly suspect for a number of reasons.

                   

                   One of those reasons is the schools selected for the "test" of the reforms.

                   

                   In D1, where our schools serve a very high percentage of students with disabilities, the two schools that participated in Phase 1 have chronicaly  under served those students.

                   

                   The Phase 1 schools were apparently selected by CFN, and as a result, in D1 they two lone schools chosen were both highly select schools.

                   One was Bard HS which is highly selective academically, and the other was PS/MS 184 a dual language Mandarin school whose principal was removed by DoE (in part) for admissions irregularities, and as a DL school, does not admit students with language processing issues.

                   As a result, both schools screened students so that few with IEPs were admitted.

                   That is starting to change at both schools, post reform, since now schools such as those (select/choice-based schools)  are now expected to meet district-based bench marks (much like charter schools are) for SWD admissions.

                   
                  184 now has a CTT track and Bard has begun admitting more student w/ IEPs.

                  see progress in that direction below:

                   

                  PS/MS 184 Shuang Wen Academy

                  Special Education

                  General Ed

                  606

                  91.27%

                  Least Restrictive Environment

                  56

                  8.43%

                  Most Restrictive Environment

                  2

                  0.30%

                  Bard HS Manhattan

                  Special Education

                  General Ed

                  546

                  99.64%

                  Least Restrictive Environment

                  2

                  0.36%


                  How can these schools have properly informed the reform for its roll out?

                   

                  Lisa


                  To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                  From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2014 11:42:52 -0400
                  Subject: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                   

                   

                  Ellen : are you saying that Johanna Chase is doing a good job in this position and that the special ed initiative is being properly handled? 

                   

                  Below is her entire resume, here is an excerpt of a report released last spring that I don’t remember getting much attention, which interviewed staff at those schools that supposedly had “best practices” around inclusion as recommended by DOE and/or the networks. 

                   

                  Personally, I cannot see how with the budget cuts to staff and increased class sizes this initiative will work, and hear lots of horror stories from the ground; but I’m sure you have a more informed viewpoint.

                   

                   

                  Staff understand that the process has changed, requiring all services as dictated on the IEP to be provided in the school building. They express concern that their principals are held to an impossible requirement that negatively impacts the psychologists’ ability to conduct evaluations and make appropriate service recommendations.

                   

                  Ethical dilemmas about a perceived gap between available resources and appropriate programming carries over to the ways schools engage parents of students with disabilities. Best practice schools are accustomed to engaging parents in open discussion, going above and beyond to ensure they are partners in their child’s education and in the IEP process.

                  .

                  However staff are not always confident in the proper support level of students’ placements, given the constraints of perceived budget strapped programming within their school buildings, where the Reform requires them to serve all students within their home zone. As a result, they are unclear and conflicted about how to communicate with the parents at IEP meetings and set realistic expectations. Though this was also a concern in Phase One schools, this communications dilemma is emphasized further in best practice schools where practices recommended by the central administration appear them to conflict with their school philosophy. Psychologists, teachers, and administrators all express discomfort when services do not line up with students’ needs.

                  .

                  Staff have to earn and maintain parents’ trust, so they need to be able to make recommendations based on students’ needs, not schools’ available services, and feel comfortable that the recommendations that they make can be implemented. School staff express genuine confusion about exactly what they should tell parents when they believe that resources are not properly aligned to programs.

                   

                  Johannah Chase

                  Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education

                  Background

                  Experience

                  March 2014 – Present (3 months)

                  2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York

                  February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)

                  2008 – January 2011 (3 years)

                  2007 – 2008 (1 year)

                  Teach for America

                  May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)

                  2005 – 2007 (2 years)

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com]
                  Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:09 PM
                  To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: important story on DOE's head of special ed & problems w/ reform

                   

                   

                  Although it is unfortunate that her teaching license has expired, Ms. Chase's background, a  Masters in Teaching and Bachelor's in Government, is credible for what she does: manage
                  Many of the most successful advocates I know, among them Ms. Lella and Ms. Timoney, are self taught, working outside of their degree areas.  Circumstances and experience have led them to become educated in the ways of advocacy and ways of navigating a confusing and cumbersome process.  One can make the case that the basis for their success is that no stodgy, clouded, bureaucratic background has prevented them from thinking out of the box to find solutions and to manage their volunteer caseloads.
                  Nissan hires talented individuals who are not engineers to become engineers because they are not cut from a mold. Google, who everyone seems to want to work for lately, hires and allows staff to develop talent and theory in a field of interest, not necessarily within their education background.  Warren Buffet prizes the individual without preconceived ideas and notions.  We Americans prize and praise the self-made wo/man in our history and our culture.
                  I figure I'd rather work with person like Ms. Chase than with some hide-bound, micro-managing, martinet who has control of the paper clips and reminds you of that every day.

                  Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

                  P1 Farina

                  City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, right, seen here with Kamillah Hanks, Borough Hall liasion to the Panel for Education Policy, left, has visited Staten Island numerous times since she was appointed, and has heard complaints from special education parents, teachers and advocates about the system. (Staten Island Advance)

                  Diane C. Lore | lore@...By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
                  on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

                  0

                  Reddit

                  Email

                  NWS CHASE.jpgJohannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education. 

                  STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.
                  Parents say their children are not being served.
                  Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.
                  Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.
                  In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.
                  Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.
                  Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.
                  "Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.
                  The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."

                  But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.

                  Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.

                  In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.
                  A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.
                  THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN
                  The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.
                  A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students. 
                  In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.
                  Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.
                  While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.
                  ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'
                  Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."
                  "Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.
                  One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."
                  "Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.
                  "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.

                  UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   

                  In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.
                  1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?
                  2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 
                  3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

                  HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED

                  State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.
                  Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.
                  Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.
                  She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.
                  She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.
                  DEFENDING THE DECISION
                  In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.
                  In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.
                  "The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."
                  She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."
                  After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.

                  lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance 

                  Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.
                  "My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

                   

                   

                   

                   

                • mchgh_lln
                  The original funding for the IDEA, then call the Education of the Handicapped Act, was supposed to climb to 40% from the Federal government. This year I
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 22, 2014
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                    The original funding for the IDEA, then call the Education of the Handicapped Act, was supposed to climb to 40% from the Federal government.  This year I believe the states received 19% (but I could be wrong it could be less, someone on this list will know) By continuing to underfud the state, the Feds add to the problem.  Harkins, who has been a staunch supporter of real funding, has reintroduced a bill to fund.  He's about to retire and I am not sure who will take his leadership role in this issue.  It takes money to hire teachers and provide services. 
                    The recent upsurge in private school funding issues, especially for students with strict religious backgrounds, is very scary.  Not just for the fact that money is being taken out of the public school systems but because there is very little oversight of these programs.  They are not approved schools, for the most part, so they don't report to the states or the Fed as approved schools do.  It allows for fraud, both education and medicaid, and promotes segregation: witness the recent arrest and indictment in Queens.  These abuses are not limited to one group.  But, with no mandate to audit and a general discomfort about interfering with folks religious beliefs, we are looking at a possibility of repeating the problems occurring in East Ramapo, NY. 
                    There a sect has a majority on the school board, feels that the system is not benefiting their children who attend religious schools and refuses to increase taxes to adequately fund the public schools of the district.  Money is tight everywhere and fiscal responsibility is an obligation, but sacrificing one student for another is dividing the baby.  Solomon has yet to appear with a wise decision and state legislatures are afraid of alienating a large voting bloc.
                    Our recourse is to become much more politically active, a la the families of youngsters with autism, and pressure legislatures into action.  We can begin with the Feds and recruit friends in other states as well.  It's only a small start, but doing nothing is not an option either...nor is waiting 'til we are inches from the cliff.  Our biggest fault is breaking into groups: deaf, autistic, dealyed, blind, Down syndrome, etc. etc.  Each looking for a piece of the action, protective of their own.  We can't seem to come together as a unit to pressure the Feds and as long as we are divided we are, unhappily, "dependent on the kindness of strangers."
                  • Neal H. Hurwitz
                    well said... TY! Neal The recent upsurge in private school funding issues, especially for students with strict religious backgrounds, is very scary. Not just
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 22, 2014
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                      well said... TY! Neal
                      The recent upsurge in private school funding issues, especially for students with strict religious backgrounds, is very scary.  Not just for the fact that money is being taken out of the public school systems but because there is very little oversight of these programs.  They are not approved schools, for the most part, so they don't report to the states or the Fed as a pproved schools do.  It allows for fraud, both education and medicaid, and promotes segregation: witness the recent arrest and indictment in Queens.  These abuses are not limited to one group.  But, with no mandate to audit and a general discomfort about interfering with folks religious beliefs, we are looking at a possibility of repeating the problems occurring in East Ramapo, NY. 
                      There a sect has a majority on the school board, feels that the system is not benefiting their children who attend religious schools and refuses to increase taxes to adequately fund the public schools of the district.  Money is tight everywhere and fiscal responsibility is an obligation, but sacrificing one student for another is dividing the baby.  Solomon has yet to appear with a wise decision and state legislatures are afraid of alienating a large voting bloc.


                      Neal H. Hurwitz
                      NY, NY

                      :-)


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: mchgh_lln@... [nyceducationnews] <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                      To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Sun, Jun 22, 2014 12:30 pm
                      Subject: Re: FW: [nyceducationnews] re special ed CEO and direction of reform

                       
                      The original funding for the IDEA, then call the Education of the Handicapped Act, was supposed to climb to 40% from the Federal government.  This year I believe the states received 19% (but I could be wrong it could be less, someone on this list will know) By continuing to underfud the state, the Feds add to the problem.  Harkins, who has been a staunch supporter of real funding, has reintroduced a bill to fund.  He's about to retire and I am not sure who will take his leadership role in this issue.  It takes money to hire teachers and provide services. 
                      The recent upsurge in private school funding issues, especially for students with strict religious backgrounds, is very scary.  Not just for the fact that money is being taken out of the public school systems but because there is very little oversight of these programs.  They are not approved schools, for the most part, so they don't report to the states or the Fed as a pproved schools do.  It allows for fraud, both education and medicaid, and promotes segregation: witness the recent arrest and indictment in Queens.  These abuses are not limited to one group.  But, with no mandate to audit and a general discomfort about interfering with folks religious beliefs, we are looking at a possibility of repeating the problems occurring in East Ramapo, NY. 
                      There a sect has a majority on the school board, feels that the system is not benefiting their children who attend religious schools and refuses to increase taxes to adequately fund the public schools of the district.  Money is tight everywhere and fiscal responsibility is an obligation, but sacrificing one student for another is dividing the baby.  Solomon has yet to appear with a wise decision and state legislatures are afraid of alienating a large voting bloc.
                      Our recourse is to become much more politically active, a la the families of youngsters with autis m, and pressure legislatures into action.  We can begin with the Feds and recruit friends in other states as well.  It's only a small start, but doing nothing is not an option either...nor is waiting 'til we are inches from the cliff.  Our biggest fault is breaking into groups: deaf, autistic, dealyed, blind, Down syndrome, etc. etc.  Each looking for a piece of the action, protective of their own.  We can't seem to come together as a unit to pressure the Feds and as long as we are divided we are, unhappily, "dependent on the kindness of strangers."
                    • karisteeves
                      Coming from the perspective of a parent of 2 GenEd kids, I LOVE having my kids in classrooms with two teachers or one teacher and one SpEd para. I also deeply
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 23, 2014
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                        Coming from the perspective of a parent of 2 GenEd kids, I LOVE having my kids in classrooms with two teachers or one teacher and one SpEd para.  I also deeply appreciate their friendships with kids of all kinds of learning and behavioral styles.  In these ways, mainstreaming children whose special needs are not severe benefits everyone. 

                        That said, I do know parents of SpEd students who were mainstreamed—in small classrooms with two teachers—but the parents came to the decision to send their children to schools designed specifically to meet their needs (some private, some public).  They feel the switch has helped tremendously.  I think it remains essential that families be able to make decisions appropriate for their children (to state the obvious that all too often seems not obvious to the bureaucrats/politocrats).
                        Kari
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