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(7.23) How can I ensure that my district has an effective model of integrated services for all students with disabilities?

(7.23) How can I ensure that my district has an effective model of integrated services for all students with disabilities?

You can take several actions. For example, you can contact your Community Advisory Committee (CAC). These state-mandated committees, composed of parents, community members, district staff and public agency personnel, are present in every SELPA. [Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56190 – 56194.] Ask your CAC how the local special education plan addresses integration, what options are currently available, how the CAC plans to participate in and/or monitor integration planning, etc. The CAC may want to arrange for informational presentations from neighboring districts, parent, or university groups that are involved with parallel integration programs. They might also want to schedule a session with their own administration regarding the development of the local plan.

Some school districts and SELPAs have integration task forces (composed of parents, CAC members, teachers, related service personnel, regular and special education administrators, interested community members with or without disabilities, regional center, advocacy group representatives, etc.) who have developed cooperative planning efforts with the goal of effective integration.

Parents and teachers also help their district evaluate potential school sites for future integration. Finally, some districts/counties have developed board of education policies on integration, full inclusion and mainstreaming at the request of their CAC and/or school administration. A board policy can be highly effective in developing an integration process.

Integration requires careful planning and structure. A cooperative planning group or task force representing all constituencies is essential. If your district will not cooperate in developing integration services, or refuses to write integration language into your child’s IEP, you may use the compliance complaint or due process procedures set up through state and federal law. See Chapter 6, Information on Due Process /Compliance Procedures.