In a first-ever effort at PPS, Pat Steinburg, a speech pathologist with a special and general education leadership background, visited 24 schools throughout the school district and met face-to-face with stakeholders in individual and group interviews. She listened to administrators, educators, specialists, parents, the assistive technology team, teachers on special assignment, the High School System design team, representatives from organizations that represent teachers, para-educators and others.
Steinburg compiled feedback and crunched the data she collected, creating a snapshot of what is working and what isn’t working for students and families in the program. The audit is helping ISS focus on areas where change is needed.
The stakeholders’ meeting, held Dec. 9 and 10 and led by a professional facilitator, was the next step. The 108 stakeholders divided into table teams to surface strengths and weaknesses in the ISS program and brainstorm solutions.
“I found the meeting very exciting,” says Joanne Mabbott, director of Integrated Student Support. “Everyone has a different experience. We learned a lot about how the ISS program serves our students and families and also about how it fails to serve.”
Themes surfaced by the stakeholders mirrored those collected by Steinburg:
Feedback from the stakeholders meeting was positive.
“The event was described as ‘worthy’ and ‘meaningful,’ ” Mabbott says. “One person told me that they feel for the first time in a long time that something actually is going to change.”
Integrated Student Support will compile and distribute a report from the meeting by the end of January and then meet again with those who attended the stakeholders’ session. At that meeting, participants can join an action panel or an advisory panel that assists the action panels. Each action group will choose one of the top proposals for improvement and then will be charged with working with Portland Public Schools to implement the proposal.
For more details and to post comments, go to the Integrated Student Support blog. You can also contact the department at 503-916-3152.
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