TO: All PrincipalsFROM: Kevin Kirst, Director of Special Education and Student ServicesRE: Checklists: Special Education ProceduresDATE: Monday, July 27, 2015
The purpose of this memorandum is to:
During the 2011-12 School Year, the Albemarle County Department of Special Education implemented the use of checklists to replace their text based procedures manual. This change was based initially on a presentation provided by Dr. Dan Reschely at a Response to Intervention Institute in 2012, supported by the Virginia Department of Education. Dr. Reschely shared a resource, a book call "The Checklist Manifesto" authored by Dr. Atul Gwande. Dr. Gwande proposed using checklists to force function, to use a structured approach to remind us to do routine behaviors that are essential to complex tasks. Dr. Gwande's results of implementing checklists in the medical community were astounding and Dr. Reschely challenged participants to replicate the findings in public education.
CHECKLISTS - RESULTS
Since the initial use of checklists, an amazing effect has been noted. The first indication that the checklists may be effective came in the Fall of 2012. As staff were supported and encouraged to use the checklists for Initial, Re-Evaluation and Triennial Evaluations, compliance increased and calls for support to central office decreased dramatically. It was clear we were onto something and made a commitment to provide checklists for processes and procedures as the need arose, increasing our library each year. Special education teachers and related services staff have access to all the checklists, as they are posted on the Main Menu in EDplan, Albemarle County School's special education management system.
CHECKLISTS - STRUCTURE AND USE
The checklists are structured according to the description provided by Dr. Gwande to ensure use and effectiveness. Each checklist is one page in length, written in plain and understandable language. The checklists are written in a linear, step by step process in the context of the "ideal" process.
The user works through the checklist in a linear fashion, working through a routine process to complete the identified task. This format requires the professional to reach out for support only when there is a deviation in the procedural checklist. As a result of using checklists, when staff do need support, they are typically able to clearly define the issue that needs support.
For your reference and use, the Special Education Checklist Library is posted here. It will be updated annually.Should you have a special education procedure you would like to see in a checklist, contact your coordinator.
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