Ensuring Access to Special Education
The number of students identified as needing special education services has grown dramatically in recent years, and the numbers keep increasing. CLEF is working to increase the resources available to give these children the education they deserve.
Through the generosity of CLEF donors, we were pleased to add a Special Education Coordinator to the CLEF team in 2016. As a result, hundreds of academically struggling students have received increased access to Special Education Assessments and the Individualized Education Plans they are entitled to by law.
For each eligible student, CLEF schools receive a share of federal dollars to pay for licensed special education professionals to work with students individually or in small groups. CLEF’s Special Education Coordinator distributes these funds and connects students with speech therapists, counselors, and instructional support.
As a licensed Learning Behavior Specialist, our Special Education Coordinator works directly with several students at CLEF schools. She also maintains a database that tracks the students’ progress and paperwork. During the 2017–2018 school year, CLEF funded a private website to enable teachers to more closely track the progress of their students. With frequent assessments, teachers can determine whether interventions are effective.
Securing Title Funding for Economically Disadvantaged Students
Many CLEF schools are in Title I neighborhoods, where a sizeable percentage of children are economically disadvantaged. For some students, extra educational support can go a long way toward helping them achieve academic success. The attention available in smaller classes and the community atmosphere of CLEF schools provides an ideal environment for these students to thrive.
Thanks to a CLEF-employed Title Funding and CPS Benefits Coordinator, CLEF schools annually claim more than one million dollars in federal funds. These funds help provide additional educational opportunities for students living in poverty and those speaking English as a second language, as well as teacher professional development.
Nurturing School Health
Through the generous support of donors, CLEF funds a school nurse who regularly visits our schools to support students’ physical and mental health. Children receive access to hearing and vision screenings, mental health support and referrals, and special programs on health and wellness.