8 Ways to Reduce Special Education Costs

8 Ways to Reduce Special Education Costs

St. Mary Parish Public Schools in Louisiana has developed ways to keep special education costs under control:

1 Data-driven decision making. School Building Level Committees use data from multiple sources to make decisions to ensure each student receives the right instruction and interventions to be successful.

2 Video communication. We use Skype to supervise and observe physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists working with students across the district. Using this software to make free video calls, we can collaborate in real-time, saving time and money on travel.

3 Virtual classrooms. We also use Skype with students receiving hospital/homebound services.

4 Individualized instruction. We use a variety of online and computerbased educational programs, including Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant, Voyager Passport, and Vmath, among others, to provide students with selfpaced, individualized instruction.

5 Digital documents. With WinWizard software, we can make printed materials or electronic text readily available to students who are blind or visually impaired.

6 Braided funding. We have a braided system of funding that weaves together funds from many sources, including special education, Title I, and a number of federal, state, and local programs.

7 Autism teams. Autism teams include a social worker, physical therapist/occupational therapist, speech pathologist and teacher. The teams receive ongoing professional development, and then share the information with teachers to help them work more effectively.

8 Inclusion. Our inclusive education settings coordinate special and regular education services to meet the needs of both special and regular education students in the same classroom, and to blend together the strengths of both systems.

Lenny Armato is the supervisor of special education for St. Mary Parish Public Schools.