Are you aware that Texas is committed to a long-term effort to improve the future of special education across the state? It’s called the Texas Continuous improvement Process (TCIP).
TCIP is a permanent, annual process that the State uses to continuously identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to improve the provision of special education in Texas.
This is good news for parents and other stakeholders interested in improved results for students with disabilities!
In September 2000, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) monitored the state of Texas using the Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process. In January 2001, as an outcome of the OSEP monitoring, Texas initiated the TCIP to drive its new ongoing improvement efforts.
The TCIP has four major components:
Each year, as part of a Self Assessment, the State takes a good look at itself to see how it is doing in the provision of special education. This is done through the Texas Steering Committee – a group of about 20 special education stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, etc.). The Steering Committee reviews the Annual Performance Report (APR) to determine how the State is doing in key priority areas. The Self Assessment is a very data-oriented, quantitative view, which is based on numbers and statistics.
(2) Public Meetings
While the Texas Steering Committee looks at the hard data, TEA and Education Service Centers (ESCs) are conducting Public Meetings around the state. At these Public Meetings, the State gathers information from stakeholders (that’s you) based on ACTUAL experiences with the Texas special education system. So while the Self Assessment provides a quantitative, data-oriented view, the public meetings provide a qualitative view, based on input from parents like you and other stakeholders. The input from these public meetings will help the State identify and address areas for improvement and also build on current strengths.
Current Schedule of Public Meetings
(3) Improvement Planning
In step three, feedback from the Self Assessment and the Public Meetings is compiled to identify areas of special education that need improvement. Knowing what needs to be improved helps the State, and ultimately the ESCs and districts, pinpoint where to focus their efforts and implement actions to improve that part of the special education system.
Current Texas Improvement Plan
Seven TCIP Improvement Groups made up of parents, educators, and other stakeholders are involved in the improvement planning process. Each group has a specific focus:
- Access to General Curriculum
focuses on free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (FAPE/LRE.), including Discipline, Secondary Transition, and Post School Outcomes (SPP indicators 1-5, 9,10,13,14)
- Early Childhood
focuses on effective transition between IDEA Part C (ECI) and IDEA Part B (TEA) as well as issues related to children birth through 5 (SPP Indicators 6, 7, 12)
- Parent Training
focuses on coordinated system of consistent, accurate information and training available to parents (SPP Indicator 8)
- State Supervision
focuses on issues related to complaints, mediation, due process hearings, and monitoring processes
- Teacher Preparation Forums
focuses on issues related to adequate supply of personnel, as well as training of personnel (SPP Indicators 1-14)
As these committees go about the process of Improvement Planning, the information will be compiled into the Texas Improvement Plan. The Texas Steering Committee will then review the plan and ensure it is staying on course with the ongoing improvement process. In addition, the Texas Special Education Continuing Advisory Committee (CAC) (State's federally mandated advisory panel) will serve in the role of overall advisement and oversight of the improvement process.
(4) Multi-Level Model
The TCIP is structured as a multi-level model. This means the Self Assessment, Public Meetings, and Improvement Planning will occur at the State level, and will yield information and data which will be shared at the regional and district levels. As a result, all levels in the system are involved in coordinated, continuous improvement.
What Parents Need to Know
As parents, we naturally focus on the education issues regarding our own children within the walls of our own schools. However, we should also be aware that while we are working with IEP teams on our home campuses to chart the best educational course for our children, the State is involved in an ongoing process to improve education for all students with disabilities across the vast and diverse state of Texas.
How you can become involved in the process
Your input is vital to the State’s efforts to shape the future of Special Education in Texas. If you would like to get involved:
Attend the annual Public Meetings in your region to provide feedback on areas needing improvement based on your first-hand experience with the Texas special education process. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the time to address specific issues or complaints (TEA Complaints Process) but rather to help identify overall, statewide areas for improvement and strengths.
Public Input and Information Meeting Schedule and Online RSVP
Still have questions about the TCIP? Visit the Division of IDEA Coordination TCIP site.
- Get involved with one of the TCIP Improvement Groups. TEA is always looking for parents and other stakeholders to participate in one of the eight focus groups. If you are interested in being involved in the process, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org