The proposed budget would begin a multiyear effort to implement the Home School Model at all elementary schools. What data or other evidence is available from schools where the Home School Model is currently used that would justify this expansion? Please quantify how those schools better meet the needs of students with disabilities?
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Strategic Planning Framework, Building Our Future Together, establishes five district wide milestones to measure progress across all student demographic and service groups. All efforts focus on narrowing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers, by building teachers' capacity to instruct students with disabilities toward attainment of the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS), in the least restrictive environment.
Since 2005, MCPS has consistently exceeded the state target for the percentage of students with disabilities receiving instruction in the general education environment. According to the October 25, 2013, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Census Data Report, 67.35 percent of MCPS students with disabilities, ages 6 to 21 years old, are served in the general education environment for more than 80 percent of the school day. This exceeds the state target of 63.11 percent by 4.24 percent.
For the 2014-2015 school year, the Home School Model (HSM) is being implemented in 68 elementary schools. This service delivery model ensures access to the general education curriculum and includes consultation, resources, and small-group instruction to address the needs of students with disabilities. HSM staffing allocations are based on the cumulative hours of special education instructional services documented on students' Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each neighborhood school, rather than on the traditional child count. This approach is similar to the hours-based staffing used at the middle school level and takes into consideration the severity and intensity of a student's instructional needs reflected in the hours of service on the IEP, rather than relying on the premise that all students with disabilities require an equal amount of service and staffing. HSM elementary schools are able to offer programs for students who previously received services outside of their home school, while providing increased access to rigorous instruction.
It is challenging to quantify how HSM schools are better able to meet the needs of students with disabilities in terms of standardized assessments because MCPS, as is the entire state of Maryland, is transitioning to the MCCRS, preparing for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and shifting to curriculum 2.0.