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Special Education Task Force Presents Recommendations to Board

Mar. 19, 2019

On Monday, March 18, the Denver Board of Education heard recommendations and proposed action steps from the Special Education Task Force. Robert Frantum-Allen, Director of Special Education, presented the five recommendations and led a panel discussion with several parents and educators.
The task force’s recommendations center around inclusion, which research shows is the best way to support students with disabilities. Inclusion emphasizes serving students as much as possible in the general education setting in order to promote positive academic and social-emotional growth. “Inclusion is not only the best thing for students, but is also a marker of our DPS value of equity,” said Robert Frantum-Allen, director of special education.
In addition to inclusion, the recommendations also focused on resources, literacy, staff excellence and evaluation/eligibility.
The board also engaged in a discussion with panelists from the task force:
  • Pam Bisceglia, executive director of AdvocacyDenver and parent
  • Tayo McGuirk, board member of Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Association and parent
  • Michelle Koyama, executive principal
  • Abbe Montoya, social worker
  • Tywanna Jones, parent and educator
Panelists spoke about their experiences with and passion for improving outcomes for students in special education, as well as the need to ensure equity for all students. Each panelist also expressed how the recommendations and proposed action steps will positively impact students, and how critical it is to ensure students receive the services they need.
“The program needs to fit the students; the students shouldn’t have to fit into the program,” said panelist Michelle Koyama.
The board requested an opportunity to dig deeper into the recommendations at an April Focus on Achievement session. “Thank you for being gracious with your time, your stories and your tears,” said board member Angela Cobián. “We are looking forward to digging into this work.”
The full presentation is available here.