Meaningful Engagement Around the Needs of a Student (MEANS)
In 2009, the South Carolina Autism Society was awarded a grant by the SC Office of Exceptional Children to investigate parent involvement in special education. In Project Means (Meaningful Engagement Around the Needs of a Student), the SC Autism Society, working with Dr. Vivian Correa of Clemson University and Dr. Mitchell Yell of the University of South Carolina, investigated the barriers to meaningful parent school partnerships in the special education process. Click here for the Project Report.
As a result of their findings, the investigators concluded that there is a critical need to assist school’s efforts to partner with families to enhance the overall quality of student’s IEPs, improve the effects of special education services on students, and increase the participation of families from culturally diverse background.
The purpose of the proposed project, Project PEPSE (Promoting Engaged Parents in Special Education), is to improve parent school partnerships in the IEP process and develop the collaborative skills of parents and school-based personnel. Using the results of the 2009 study and recent research on parent professional collaboration, the SC Autism Society will (a) develop four modules on evidence-based practices for increasing meaningful parent – school partnerships, (b) conduct three statewide trainings for professional and parents on facilitating effective partnerships, and (c) develop a web-based technical support system to provide ongoing evidence-based information on increasing meaningful parent involvement to parents and school based personnel.
More on Project MEANS
Assisting the school’s efforts to partner with family on enhancing the quality of the IEP, improving the impact of special education services on the student and increasing IEP participation and collaboration especially with culturally diverse families.
As a function of the goals, objectives, and activities of Project MEANS, participants will learn the behaviors to display to effectively collaborate around the needs of the student to create better IEPs and improve outcomes for students.
The grant will identify barriers to IEP participation and collaboration. An analysis of the statewide outcome data from the Annual Performance Report reflects substantially poor outcomes for students with disabilities.
In order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, IEP Team participants must engage in more strategic dialogue during the IEP process. There is consensual understanding that more strategic and collaborative (meaningful) engagement improves the quality of the IEP and enhances the potential for a more purposeful and meaningful life for a student with a disability. That is the ultimate goal of the project.
- Goal Writing & Collaboration
- October 8, 2009, SCAS Annual Conference
- March 20, 2010, Family Connection Conference
Results from the State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report reveal that of the 15 Districts and 33 Schools surveyed, only 30% of parents with students who have disabilities perceive that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities.
The MEANS Project
The MEANS Project will identify the strategies and resources that IEP team members (parents, professionals and students if appropriate) must utilize to create an effective family-professional partnership that centers on the student---the ME at the forefront of each decision at the IEP table. The purpose of the grant is to assist the school’s efforts to partner with families including culturally diverse families to improve the impact of special education services while fostering IEP participation and collaboration.
- Identify significant barriers and possible solutions to these barriers to support efforts to increase effective parent and professional IEP participation and collaboration
- Develop and identify strategies and resources to support efforts to enhance parent-professional collaboration and participation in the IEP process
- Develop and disseminate resources to support efforts to enhance parent-professional collaboration and participation in the IEP process
- By February-April 2010, participants of the grant project will be able to identify the most significant barriers to parent-professional collaboration in the IEP process and how these barriers may be overcome
- By June 30, 2010, participants of the grant project will be able to identify strategies and resources to support efforts to enhance parent-professional collaboration and participation in the IEP process
- By June 30, 2010 stakeholders across the state will have access to resources to support efforts to enhance parent-professional collaboration and participation in the IEP process
- Complete a Delphi Survey to systematically collect feedback from national experts
- IEP/Collaboration experts will train 4-6 Parent Leaders on focus group techniques and on to support school’s efforts to enhance the quality of participation
- Hold at lease 4-6 focus group meetings across the state with parents and professionals
- Utilize results from Delphi survey and Focus group feedback to develop and refine training materials
- Hold an initial Parent/Professional Forum for parents and professionals on IEP Collaboration and on Educationally Appropriate IEPs
- Parent Leaders will work with school sites to conduct 3 school/district specific activities throughout the grant year at 4-6 sites
- By June 2010, hold an end of the year forum for parents and professionals on IEP Collaboration and Educationally Appropriate IEPs
- Identify online and other resources to support school’s efforts to enhance the quantity and quality of participation of families and professionals
- Develop and disseminate manual of best practices and resources to support school’s efforts to enhance the quantity and quality of participation of families and professionals
MEANS is a grant awarded to the SC Autism Society and funded by The SC Department of Education.