March 04, 2004
Education Week’s new report, "Quality Counts 2004," includes a feature story on Cabrillo High School’s efforts to give special education students the extra support they need to meet higher graduation standards.
Long Beach Unified School District last year launched intensive intervention to assist students who have learning disabilities.
"Already, it is seeing promising test scores," wrote Education Week’s Joetta Sack. Cabrillo has begun attracting special education students from outside the neighborhood. Parents speak highly of special education at the school.
"The teachers are willing to modify assignments and assist kids," Cabrillo parent Ginny Gilman told Education Week. "I’m very impressed with the attitude of the school and its willingness to adapt."
Sack reported excellent cooperation among general and special education teachers, who attend the same professional development sessions. General education teachers fill out an evaluation on each student every two weeks to alert special education teachers to any problems. Cabrillo also offers special education students Strategies for Success classes that teach note taking, how to use a daily planner, and other key study skills.
The Education Week report examined a nationwide challenge posed by federal law. Within a decade, all students – including those with disabilities – must perform at proficient levels on state tests. For the nation’s nearly 6.6 million children receiving special education services, the federal mandate is a challenge of "unprecedented proportions," according to Education Week. Cabrillo’s efforts serve as a national example of how to boost test scores and help all students earn a diploma.
The report is available at www.edweek.org.