State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson this week congratulated the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy on winning the 2016 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education. The school, located in MacArthur Park neighborhood, created an innovative education model, called Dynamic Blended Inclusion, that puts special education and general education students in the same classroom.
Prior to 2011, the school’s special education program followed a model with a portion of its students pulled from their general education classrooms for special academic services. Through observation and analysis of student data and surveys from teachers and parents, the school came to the conclusion that full integration in the classroom would be mutually beneficial for special education and general education students.
In the new program, students from both populations are in a classroom, taught by special education and general education teacher teams with additional support provided by school paraprofessionals. The teams collaborate on weekly lesson plans, classroom structure and special needs students’ individual education plans (IEP). At the end of the first year of implementing this model in 2011–12, students with disabilities realized a 50 point increase on the Academic Performance Index.
“What Camino Nuevo Charter Academy has been able to accomplish is a testament to the powerful impact creative and dedicated educators can have on the lives of all students,” Torlakson said. “I hope this education model can be a shining example for other schools to follow.”
Camino Nuevo Charter serves nearly 1,000 students, and 12 percent qualify for special education services. Representatives from the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) presented the prestigious $5,000 GOAL award to Camino Nuevo Charter Academy during the August 11 advisory commission meeting in Sacramento.
The Goal Award was established in 2005 and was funded by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s family to recognize exemplary practices in special education and to celebrate programs that serve California youth with disabilities.
For more information about the GOAL award, visit the Advisory Commission on Special Education at http://www.cde.ca.gov.
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