2003-2004 Parent Satisfaction Survey

CPS Special Education Services PreK – Grade 8

Parent Comments

"#13  - I am satisfied with the progress my child has made in his current special education program."
(Agree/Disagree) - We do not think he would have made the progress he has made without tutoring provided outside of school, twice a week.

"#4 - Special education assessments were thorough and helpful in understanding my child’s disability."
(Strongly Agree)  Evals were independent

The Alcott staff was incredibly responsive and supportive throughout the entire process!!

"#11 - The IEP reflects my child’s specialized needs, and appropriate goals, objectives, and services were determined."
(Strongly Agree) Very intuitive!

We’re very appreciative of the program and the staff. Everyone is so thorough and thoughtful. Thanks so much for all the specialized attention. It’s a pleasure dealing with everyone.

We have been very pleased with the progress our son has made and are impressed with the preschool teachers and evaluating staff.  We would love to be able to contact the special ed therapists who work with our son – email would be great for quick notes and updates.

Great job this year!

"#2 - My special education referral was responded to within 5 school days."
(Disagree) The evaluation itself (last year) was scheduled several months after the request.

I can’t say enough about how competent the SPED staff is. 

Can you help parents understand the new mode (next year) of sped services?  I have heard that classrooms will have 7 kids with IEPs rather than 4.  This might be fine, but it seems to limit what teacher my child might have next year. 
Also, some parents have questioned the use of one test (I think Williams-something-or-other), which produces possibly inflated reading scores and then services are reduced on the basis of the score.
In all, the responsiveness and competence of everyone has so much exceeded expectations, and it is a pleasure to work with everyone.  Of more importance to me personally, I feel I am a valued member of a team, and what might create anxiety and conflict has in fact been an enhancing experience. Thank you!

Diana, seeing that you just started your position this past fall, I am happy to see some subtle changes to the sped program. Keep up the good work and thank you for your enthusiasm.

A good year except for [staff member]’s mid-year departure. Her absence seriously disrupted language services at Thoreau.

Please stand by Concord’s historic commitment to inclusion. Please continue to appoint classroom tutors for special needs students rather than creating stand alone sped classrooms.  It cripples them socially and lowers expectations to remove them from mainstream.

Parents should be given a formal chance to write out their own ideas for goals and request for services, well in advance of IEP meetings.  This will give parents a more vital role in the process and keep teachers from being snowballed at the last minute by unexpected requests, resulting in a truer collaboration.  In addition, parents and teachers need more education and help in understanding how to design truly measurable goals, short and long-term.

"#4 - Special education assessments were thorough and helpful in understanding my child’s disability."
(Strongly Agree) The initial assessment (2002-2003) took much longer than we expected, but the info was thorough and very helpful.

"#13 - I am satisfied with the progress my child has made in his current special education program."
(Strongly Agree)We are more than satisfied.  Our child has made significant progress this year due to the sped services.
Jen DeFrancesco is a fabulous teacher, with a wonderful program. We can’t say enough about how pleased we are!

Donna has done a great job with [my child] and has taught me a great deal.
The only negatives in [my child]’s sped experience were that there was no coordination with her preschool teachers, and that her therapists were stretched way too thin.  Both S & D had to help three children simultaneously with 3 very different problems and sets of needs. All this with absolutely no transition time between groups. We were lucky that [my child] had really come up to norm, but it was sad to see that her ½ hour a week was not tailored to her speech needs – it couldn’t be, she had 2 other kids with very different needs.  I know it’s matter of $ - it always is – but we will lose good therapists if they are stretched so thin.  They can hardly breathe between sessions, let alone bring a parent up to speed or prepare for the next group. I know sped costs are high, but the kids deserve it and the teachers/therapists deserve a better chance at helping the kids….

Christine Healey was a terrific teacher and educator for [my child] during the past 2 years!

The support and services [my child] has received have been extraordinary! Peter Baldrachi and his team are incredible.  [My child] has increased his desire to learn. Thank you.

[We] really appreciate the great, extra education help [my child] needed.  Many thanks to Laraine and the whole team! I can only hope our high school experience will be as good and thorough.

My husband and I were very impressed with the quality & true concern of the sped staff. They put us at ease, and explained everything in “our language”. They showed true concern for our daughter, and spent extra time (I think) by explaining and discussing it with us.  I came out of the meeting feeling very fortunate that we live in a town that has these opportunities available to my daughter.  I am happy that she will be getting the attention she needs to thrive!  Thank you! And 3 cheers for Sharon Young! We are fortunate there also!

I’m more than proud of my daughter’s progress. I feel very proud of her.

I have been very impressed with the special education program in Concord.  My son came to this program from E.I. and I was pleasantly surprised with the easy transition to Concord SPED. I have found the team members to be professional, courteous and at all times concerned with what is the best way to help my son.  While they struggled at times with facilities issues the staff has worked diligently to make me and my son feel a part of the process. I have always felt very included in the development and execution of his IEPs as well as his therapies.  I look forward to the coming year and the transition into kindergarten from the preschool program.

Mrs. D, Mrs. Balin, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Pommers have been SUPERB.  Our daughter’s progress has been dramatically increased since we started the speech therapy & Integrated Preschool. We love the teachers and the Preschool program. An outstanding staff. We couldn’t be happier.

I don’t think this questionnaire is geared toward kids already on IEPs and 1 year evaluations or to other aspects of special ed.

I just wanted to add that I’m very impressed with the Learning Center staff at Peabody!  My daughter has thrived in middle school and is excited about moving up to the high school next year.

Nancy Barrett and Linda Crandall l have continued to do a great job!

This program is the most wonderful, caring program we have ever experienced!

I am very satisfied with the process and the services that both of our children are receiving.  Thank you for all of your hard work.

Better communication needed between CPS sped staff and parent w/regards to ongoing process.

#4 (n/a) We needed to have outside testing done to fully understand how best to support him. We then shared this info at meeting and received a lot of support and positive feedback.  IEP was adjusted accordingly.

Fantastic extra help for [my child] !  I have high praise for everyone in the special education program, especially MaryAnn Durant! What wonderful progress[my child] has made.

My daughter is a poster child for the success of this program.  Her commitment to achieving academic excellence despite her learning disabilities in combination with the support she has received from the learning center staff and her teachers at Peabody have resulted in a very successful school year.  We commend the efforts of everyone who has worked tirelessly to help make [my child] successful!

"#4 - Special education assessments were thorough and helpful in understanding my child’s disability."
(Disagree) Sped assessments were academically thorough, but didn’t give an overall picture of the disability and didn’t address the “whole child,” i.e. social concerns, life skills, etc.

#6 (Disagree) Sped laws are extremely complex, which has nothing to do with Concord!

In breaking things down it is hard to understand some of our child’s disabilities.  It’s not clear as to how much help is needed in each subject.  It seems like when it’s explained it’s rushed or pushed off sort of.

I asked if I could attend a session and the sped instructor said yes, she would tell me when - but I never heard from her.  Attendance would have helped me support her efforts.

I certainly had all materials provided for me to understand the special ed assessment & my rights & responsibilities.  I never had time to read them through-and-through.  So any lack of understanding is my fault.      
We asked for a review of [my child]’s needs in the fall (~ November). We were very pleased with the response we received and the real interest in adding to [my child]’s IEP as the test results warranted. Thank you!

"#5 - I received copies of my child’s assessment reports."
(Agree) the day before the meeting!

Caroline Moss deserves many stars for her outstanding performance on all fronts.  We are very grateful!

Christine Healey has done and outstanding job with my daughter in the past 2 years.  It’s really too bad other children will not benefit from her experience and compassion in the years to come.

I have been very pleased with Nancy Barrett.  She has been very supportive and has been a tremendous help with my son.  She is a true asset to Concord Schools.

This year’s kindergarten team was very responsive to my child’s needs and my requests and input.
felt PT services and social group could have been introduced in preschool & kindergarten.  When I asked for these they did respond (eventually) and I have those services in place now for 1st grade.  It took 1½ years!
Alcott has an excellent kindergarten staff and was a great asset to my child’s success as well as Sp/L and OT services. He received very positive warm, nurturing instruction and made great progress!

Peter Baldrachi has been an invaluable asset to my husband and I.  He responds to every e-mail and phone message in a timely manner.

"#5 - I received copies of my child’s assessment reports."
 (Strongly Agree) very prompt. 
The team was extremely responsive, thorough and prompt all along the way.
[My child] had a tremendous year this year and we were very pleased with the support he received.  Overall, I’ve felt all the people involved in identifying and supporting our son’s learning issues have cared deeply and had the best intentions.
I don’t think action was taken soon enough – We didn’t get an IEP in place until late March of his first grade year, and there were questions raised in kindergarten.
Also, while we greatly appreciated the resources behind Concord’s efforts to test [my child], we were not impressed with the quality of all the results. A written report was never provided for his WISC-III test. I eventually got a letter from the current psychologist that included a break-out of scores, but that took more than six months. Some of his other tests had grammatical errors and his name was spelled wrong inconsistently throughout one test, which clearly makes me question the credibility of the findings, even if these errors are “cosmetic.”

Services are great but a real effort should be made to reduce wasted to keep expenses down. We received a 2-page letter for a TEAM meeting that was mailed in a 9x12 manila envelope. The letter would have been just fine in a business–sized envelope, and it would have cost less to mail.  Could IEPs and other paperwork be reduced in volume?  It is only a matter of time before the taxpayers revolt against the special ed system, so do all you can to reduce the impact on the budget!

I have seen no progress this year vs. prior years in 1) tracking performance and adjusting support accordingly;  2) well written, measurable goals & IEP;  3) principal leadership; 4) creative program planning from sped director and principal, 5) respectful representation of sped children as part of total student body. I was extremely disappointed with the way sped kids were hung out to dry for budgetary argument purposes; 6) no clear vision still for sped as an integrated part of school.
"#3 - I gave my consent for special education assessments."
(Strongly Disagree) Some assessments were done without consent.
"#5 - I received copies of my child’s assessment reports."
(Agree/Disagree) [Assessment reports were received] not on time!!

Our child has made steady progress in the last few years. Her tutors and special ed teachers have been encouraging to her and to us..  I have had concerns regarding some of the reading materials in the developmental language program at CMS – I have wondered who supervises the curriculum as to its level of appropriateness in terms of developmental and academic.  Also the emphasis on regarding organization for a child who doesn’t have organization as an area of weakness can seem a bit unnecessary.  Overall, we are thrilled with our daughter’s progress and the dedication of the CMS sped staff.

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Last updated November 29, 2004
By Melody Orfei