DOE releases SpEd supports memo; HSTA unveils SpEd Teacher Institute hearings summary

The HSTA Special Education Committee worked with the DOE for over a year to clarify SpEd contract language, and as a result of the committee’s steadfastness, the DOE finally released a memo last month to help guide schools about supporting special education and general education teachers involved in the IEP process.

DOE memo: Options to Support Special Education Teachers Involved in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process (pdf) 

DOE Reg. 4510.3: Release Time for Conferences to Report Student Progress (pdf) 

The following excerpt is from the HSTA collective bargaining agreement:

“The parties recognize that the special educator’s participation in the IEP process, as required by federal law, demands considerable time and particularly impacts those special educators who service students in resource and integrated self-contained instructional arrangements.  In order to provide special educators with time to participate in the IEP process, a maximum of ten (10) early release days as provided in Standard Practices Regulation #4510.3 may be utilized.” (Article VI, Section HH. Special Education, 1. Individualized Educational Programs (IEP), page 29-30)

In February 2017, the HSTA SpEd Committee conducted hearings during Teacher Institute Week on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kona, Hilo and Kauai. The hearings focused on “Teaching and Learning Conditions in Special Education.”  This information helped to inform both the joint HSTA/DOE SpEd committee and the HSTA and Employer bargaining teams about insights and viewpoints of special education classroom teachers.

Read HSTA’s 35-page final report from the SpEd hearings. (pdf) 

For the past several years, the HSTA Special Education (SpEd) Committee has received feedback from many SpEd teachers through phone calls, emails, meetings, and school visitations, and surveys. The feedback covered a broad range of issues and concerns in the area of special education.

In June 2016, HSTA held several focus groups on Oahu and in Hilo to obtain qualitative data regarding teaching conditions and challenges experienced by teachers in the area of special education.

In May 2015, HSTA conducted a teacher survey on “Teaching and Learning Conditions in Special Education.” There were over 1,700 respondents to the survey.

Your HSTA SpEd committee will continue to advocate for improvements in special education.

Jonathan Gillentine, Windward District Office

Dale Matsuura, Roosevelt High

Nancy Sakamoto, Solomon Elementary

Dawn Raymond, Waiakea High

Tanya Weida, Leeward District Office

Ray Camacho (HSTA staff)

Beverly Ikalani (HSTA staff)