School district aims for more inclusion

A number of seats in next year’s round of campus assignments will be set aside for special-education students — at the possible expense of general-education youths vying for a spot at one of their preferred schools.

In a report delivered to the Board of Education in September, independent auditors called the current system in which many special-education students are grouped in separate classrooms “outdated.”

Setting aside seats for special-education youths classified as “inclusion” students in certain grade levels is one way to improve the old system, according to Cecelia Dodge, assistant superintendent for special education.

The “inclusion” classification allows special-education students to participate in regular classroom settings and activities. Nearly 200 special-education students, out of the 7,000 in the district, are eligible for “inclusion” status in kindergarten and sixth and ninth grades.

The reserved seats for these students will be released after a certain time period, allowing for transfers and changes to special-education designations. Exactly how many seats will be reserved and where has yet to be determined, according to district staff.

Special-education spaces also will be distributed across all schools, and not limited to 39 elementary, middle and high schools, as they are now, giving students more choice in the district, Dodge said.

Some board members fear the special treatment might further set apart special-education students from others, rather than bringing them into the mainstream.

“We have to start somewhere,” school board member Rachel Norton said. “It still seems we’re in this place where we are treating students differently.”

Norton, though, said change needs to come, and Dodge agreed, saying if the district waited longer the changes might never happen.

Board of Education member Sandra Lee Fewer said the new policy is something that needs to happen.

“I think it’s important we do [hold seats],” Fewer said. “It’s important we have a mix of students.”

Room to learn

7,000: Special-education students in the SFUSD
55,000: SFUSD student population
180: Students listed for “inclusion”
Undetermined: Seats to be saved for such students

Source: San Francisco Unified School District

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewseducationLocalSan Franciscoschools

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read