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CAST, Partners to Lead Effort to Improve IEP Process in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education logo

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

3-year, $1.5 million effort will address family, race, and culture in special-ed planning

CAST is pleased to announce that it will join three other partners in Massachusetts to launch state-funded effort to strengthen and improve the process for writing Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs. CAST joins the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and BlackPrint Education Consulting in forming the Students and Families First Coalition (SFFC).

The Coalition will collaborate with school and district staff across Massachusetts to explore ways of using IEPs to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, with special attention to the role of race, family engagement, and culturally responsive practice in special-education decision making. Questions for consideration include:

After a period of collaborative exploration and program design, SFFC partners will work with schools on implementation of new IEP practices. This phase will include professional development, online communities of practice, and supports.

“We look forward to working with families, teachers, school administrators, related personnel, and students themselves on improving the process of making Individualized Education Programs,” says CAST’s Director of Professional Learning, Jennifer Levine. “The IEP process is a potentially life-changing opportunity for students with disabilities—and ensuring that students’ voices and those of their families are heard alongside those of other stakeholders is essential.”

This 3-year, $1.5 million project brings together experts in special education, inclusion, and instructional effectiveness; improvement science; family engagement; and culturally responsive practices. SFFC members include:  

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