Pupil personnel services typically comprise those special student services that supplement and support the instructional program. Except in schools with very small enrollments, the main role of the administrator in pupil personnel services is one of integrating these services with instruction and coordinating the various kinds of personnel services (Campbell, Bridges, & Nystrand, 1977). Though the area of pupil personnel services has received very little attention in the professional literature, it is an administrative post that is critical to the effective operation of a school district (Duffy, 1990). Because some of the pupil personnel functions such as special education and counseling services are particularly sensitive, they have become areas of increasing concern at the district level and site level.
Variations of what services constitute the pupil personnel function have existed historically and still exist for different states and even for different districts in the same state. This list typically includes guidance and counseling, school psychology, school social work, speech and hearing services, health services, and special education (Duffy, 1990). Other authors have included pupil accounting or attendance (Campbell, et al., 1977; DeRoche & Kaiser, 1980; Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976; Johnson, Steffler, & Edelfelt, 1961), discipline, admission, and school census (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976), testing (Campbell, et al., 1977); and medical services (DeRoche & Kaiser, 1980; Campbell et al., 1977). Districts might also include gifted and talented education (GATE) and compensatory education programs (e.g., Chapter I) in their pupil personnel units. In some cases, pupil personnel services have been specifically defined as guidance services offered to students to assist them with personal, educational, or career goals (California Department of Education, 1975). Currently, pupil personnel services are not handled as a unit by the California Department of Education but are dispersed into separate offices for elementary, middle school, and high school education (Saum, 1991). In practice, districts organize a wide variety of support services under the general rubric of
pupil personnel. Pupil personnel functions at the site level are dependent on variables that include: (a) level (elementary or secondary), (b) size, and (c) allocation of services in the district (i.e., shared low-incidence programs for individuals with disabilities). As student populations continue to diversify and the wide varieties of special needs identified for students continue to increase, it is clear that the effective pupil personnel services programs will be increasingly important variables in ensuring successful school programs. The role of the district level administrator with pupil personnel expertise and site level administrators familiar with the various pupil personnel functions and how they relate to and support the educational program will be critical to this success.
During a statewide study of pupil personnel needs, the basic elements of effective programs were identified (California Department of Education, 1975). By design, programs should be developmental, for all students, and focus on the affective domain of education. Guidance functions should be a whole-staff responsibility rather than just the specialist's duties. These functions will frequently necessitate an advocacy role. Career development should be emphasized for all students. Efforts to help students solve personal problems should be cause, rather than symptom-directed. Pupil personnel specialists should be involved in all phases of the curriculum and should help teachers improve learning conditions throughout the school. Though this analysis primarily included guidance and counseling, school psychology, and school social work, the need to integrate these pupil personnel services into the total school program was clear. This study continues to influence the provision of pupil personnel services in California. However, there has been some rethinking of the developmental philosophy. Many student support programs have as their focus efforts to ensure equal access to the core curriculum for all learners.
One of the most recent major shifts in focus and responsibility in the pupil personnel area accompanied the mandate to provide public education for children with disabilities. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-142), required that children with disabilities receive an individually designed special education program. This requirement for an appropriate program also included provisions for a wide array of related services that might be necessary for a child to benefit from the educational program. In other words, if a service like physical therapy, counseling, or a health-related service would allow a child to attend school or increase the likelihood of school success, it must be provided by the school. Most of these related services are organized as part of the pupil personnel area.
School psychologists and speech and language therapists are almost exclusively occupied in providing services for students with disabilities. Psychologists are the primary diagnosticians for determining special education eligibility. The caseload of referrals and periodic reevaluations is sufficiently heavy to allow only a small percentage of time for counseling and consulting functions. Since speech disorders are disabilities, speech therapists are part of the special education team. Speech or language services to nondisabled populations, though important, are secondary.
Social workers and health service workers have extensive roles as support personnel to the provision of special education. Social workers are not as frequently employed in schools as other pupil personnel workers, but those who are available typically participate in determining eligibility for special education, direct counseling of students, or coordinate cases with other community agencies. Though not always required for the whole school, the presence of a school nurse or school health programs are frequently required if students with disabilities are in the building or have special health needs (e.g., medications). Whereas immunization programs and other general focus programs might be provided by shared personnel, a special health problem could require the services of a full-time nurse or other health services worker.
School counselors participate in the process of identifying and serving children with disabilities, but they also serve as part of the more comprehensive pupil personnel services team. Nationwide and in California, counselors are involved in the new comprehensive or guaranteed guidance programs, with services targeted to all students, to guarantee the acquisition of skills to be successful in school and make the transition from school to work or higher education (Johnson & Johnson, 1991). Counselors develop school-based competencies based on identified academic, personal/social, or career needs of students. Their programs are distinguished by a proactive, developmental, preventative approach (Johnson & Johnson, 1991). This new
emphasis by counselors on a comprehensive guidance program for all students has made special education and school psychology the major focus of pupil personnel services programs. The large numbers of children with disabilities identified in the schools and their need for special psychological services have required that most resources be allocated to this group.
This perspective provides the overall framework for a discussion of the separate programs that make up the typical pupil personnel services area. The organization of each area is examined, roles and responsibilities for professionals working in the area are outlined, and the related administrative functions are explored.
Counseling and Guidance Services
The American school counseling and guidance movement has undergone many changes since Frank Parsons established the Vocational Bureau of Boston in 1908. Counselors served first as vocational guidance professionals, assisting students in their choice of jobs or vocations. During the 1920s and 1930s counselors assumed the role of mental health professionals, working with individual students on personal, social, and educational planning. In the decade of the 1960s, when preparation for college was stressed as a reaction to the 1957 launching of Sputnik, high school counselors also assumed administrative roles in schedule planning and course selection. During the 1970s as P.L. 94-142 was passed, Congress enacted a law establishing a
career education unit in the Department of Education, and counselors again returned to the area of
career/vocational planning. The 1980s saw an increase in standards for counselor preparation and the growth of elementary school counseling programs.
Nationally, the current view of educational counseling is that it includes responsibility for the areas of academic, career and vocational, personal and social counseling, and comprehensive guidance programs. Academic counseling includes establishing education plans, optimizing achievement progress, ensuring completion of the required curriculum, and advising for postsecondary education opportunities. Career and vocational counseling includes planning for the future, developing career interests, encouraging realistic perceptions of work, and relating to the work world (Education Code §49600). With the introduction of National Career Development Guidelines in 1990, counselors implement career competencies at levels K-12 (National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, 1990). Personal and social counseling pertains to interpersonal relationships for the purpose of promoting the development of academic abilities, careers and vocations, personalities, and social skills. Comprehensive guidance programs involve counselors designing and implementing instructional programs for prevention (e.g., drug education) or remediation (e.g., study skills or attendance problems). This broad range of services and responsibilities demonstrates that the counseling and guidance function is fundamental to the education enterprise rather than just an optional service. The school counseling and guidance program is an integral part of the comprehensive school program at all levels.
In California, the high school counselors' duties are guided by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the California Department of Education's Program Quality Review Criterion (Office of School Improvement, 1987). The recently revised Commission on Teacher Credentialing Standards of Program Quality and Effectiveness (1990) specify requirements for all levels K-12. The WASC guidelines require a comprehensive program of guidance and counseling for all students in support of their academic studies and their participation in school life. Specifically, secondary school administrators and counselors must work together to provide three program components: (1) a guidance curriculum emphasizing self-awareness and life skills in the areas of academic, personal, and career; (2) individualized student planning to address
personal, educational, social, and career plans; and (3) student support systems including the traditional pupil personnel services (health care, psychological support, and services for students with special needs). The California elementary and middle/junior high school counselors' roles are not as clearly defined, but are influenced by the need to address issues in self-awareness and achievement. Counselors at these levels are often consultants to parents, teachers, and staff.
In order to develop an effective new school counseling and guidance program or restructure an existing one according to current guidelines, counselors and administrators should collaborate on an assessment involving these five steps as identified by Gysbers and Henderson (1988, p. 91): (1) identify current resource availability and use, (2) identify current guidance and counseling activities, (3) determine student outcomes, (4) identify who is served, and (5) gather perceptions. Such determinations should also include an assessment of the community, the school, and the students. This approach recognizes the impact of the community on both the school and the individual, the influence of the school on programs and the individual, and interrelationships among the community, school, and individual (Gibson, Mitchell, & Higgins, 1983). Data from such an assessment forms the basis for the overall structure and emphasis of the counseling and guidance program.
The school counseling and guidance program may be selected from one of the typical models: the guidance services model (orientation, assessment, information, counseling, placement, and follow-up activities); the duties model (counseling, consulting, and coordination); or the developmental guidance model (guidance curriculum, individual planning, responsive services, and system support) (Gysbers & Henderson, 1988).
In the guidance services model, placement and follow-up services allow school counselors the opportunity to assist students in the transition process from school to postsecondary experiences, whether school or work. They also collect data from these students to assess the real benefit of the program. It should be emphasized that both the placement and follow-up services should target the full spectrum of students in the population. Both students who have been successful in the school experience and those who have been unsuccessful are important sources of data for program review and revision.
In the duties model, the school counselor serves in both a counseling role where the child is served directly, and a consulting role where the counselor works with other staff who have direct contact. Both of these roles assume that the counselor has developed the skills to assist in the self-understanding and decision-making process. Some of the counseling and guidance services offered on an individual basis can also be effectively delivered to groups. This method has the advantage of efficiency as well as facilitating communication within the peer group.
In the guidance services model, each component is defined as:
Guidance Curriculum. The guidance curriculum is the center of the developmental part of the comprehensive guidance program. It contains statements as to the goals for guidance instruction and the competencies to be developed by students. The curriculum is organized by grade level; that is, a scope and sequence of learning for grades K-12 is established. It is designed to serve all students and is often called classroom or group guidance.
Individual Planning. The activities of the individual planning component are provided for all students and are intended to assist students in the development and implementation of their personal, educational, and career plans. They help students understand and monitor their growth to plan and take action on their next educational or vocational step. The activities in this component are delivered either on a group or individual basis with students and parents.
Responsive Services. The purpose of this component is to provide special help to students who are facing problems that interfere with their healthy personal, social, career, or educational development. It includes the provision of preventive responses to the students who are on the brink of choosing an unhealthy or inappropriate solution to their problems or of being unable to cope with a situation. Remedial interventions also are provided for students who have already made unwise choices or have not coped well with problem situations. This component includes such activities as individual and small group counseling, consulting with staff and parents, and referring students and families to other specialists or programs.
System Support. This component has two parts. It includes activities necessary to support the other three components and activities implemented by guidance staff that support other educational programs. Support for guidance programs includes such activities as staff development, community resource development, budget, facilities, and policy support. Support that the guidance staff provides to other programs includes the system-related aspects of the individual planning activities (e.g., student course selection), linkage with the special education and vocational education programs, and guidance-related administrative assignments.
This mixture of school counseling designs may have contributed to the perception that the counseling and guidance program is valuable but not absolutely necessary. This perception might be the result of viewing the counseling and guidance function as ancillary and only supportive to the instructional program (Gysbers & Henderson, 1988). A structure considered more adequate to current needs and one that would make the counseling and guidance program equal and complimentary to the instructional program is one that includes four interactive components: (1) guidance curriculum (which assumes that there is a guidance content that all students should learn), (2) individual planning (where students are helped to understand their own growth and
development and the accompanying change in needs), (3) responsive services (where the immediate needs and concerns of students are provided for), and (4) system support (where activities such as research, professional development, and community outreach are maintained as vital to the continued effectiveness of the other three components. Whether this model is consistent with the current needs of the public schools and addresses the increase of student problems and needs is not yet clear because of its limited implementation.
This reconceptualization of the counseling and guidance program is a natural outgrowth of the maturation of school counseling as a profession. These changes are readily identified as an attempt to move school counselors from a role as part of the administrative support structure to one of child advocate and change agent. The sphere of influence of school counselors in this new model would be broadened and their centrality to school-wide decision-making increased. The new model has little room for the counselor as dispenser of discipline, although counselors do become involved in determining antecedents and consequences of unacceptable behavior. In the next century, school counselors will be faced with difficult questions of ethics
and service delivery which will require close collaboration with school administration. Only joint problem-solving will permit the issues of student pregnancy, gang violence, and inappropriate student behavior to be adequately addressed.
In California the future emphasis will be on collaboration among mental health professionals in the provision of counseling for children. Initiatives which would provide school-based early mental health intervention and prevention services for children are planned. They are designed to bring mental health and school counseling together as the service providers for early childhood education.
School Psychology Services
School psychology is a specialty that has grown out of general psychology because of the many specific psychological variables found in the process of educating children. The school psychologist has an important direct role as a diagnostician of specific problem behaviors and as a consultant to teachers and other direct service personnel in designing responses or programs to deal with these problems.
The role of the school psychologist has come to be defined by P.L. 94-142. Because this law directed the identification and service of unserved and underserved groups of children, school psychology became an adjunct in this process. The needs have been so great that school psychologists have little time to do more than to test and diagnose disabling conditions, consult on program development, and do some minimal follow-up with teachers and parents.
The services provided by psychologists and the functions they perform are varied. They include diagnosing, placing, counseling, advising, and evaluating/researching (DeRoche & Kaiser, 1980). The diagnostic function involves the identification and screening of children typically referred by classroom teachers because of perceived educational, social, or emotional needs. If special needs are identified, the school psychologist participates in the design of programs to meet those needs and in the decision to place a child in a setting other than the regular classroom. School psychologists also have a counseling role. Direct individual and group counseling can be provided to children and in some cases, to parents. A consultation role is more typical with
parents and teachers where the psychologist recommends remedial programs, resources, and strategies for prevention. Staff training might be conducted for problems and issues identified at the school site or district level. The school psychologist is responsible for evaluating program efficacy and should take the lead in designing research specific to locally identified problems.
Because psychological services have been specifically identified as a related service necessary to support the appropriate education of children with disabilities, a specific set of regulations and expectations for this service has been developed. Though not inconsistent with the overall function of a school psychologist, the role has a clear child-centered, rather than a school or program-centered, focus. The services are considered supportive to the overall special education program and include responsibility for administering psychological and educational tests, interpreting the results of these assessments, and relating this information to the conditions that affect learning. The school psychologist consults with other staff members in planning school
programs to meet special needs and is responsible for planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents (Education of the Handicapped Regulations, 1985).
In contrast to this specific delineation of a role supportive to providing special education services, California defines a school psychologist as someone whose primary objective is the application of scientific principles of learning and behavior to ameliorate school-related problems and to facilitate the learning and development of children in the public schools (Education Code §49424). This perspective would have the effect of shifting the responsibilities of the school psychologist from evaluator of student problems to more of a consultative role with school administrators, teachers, parents, and community agencies. Though each relationship is different, the roles are clearly ones of consultation rather than direct service. Consultation with school administrators includes input to the process of developing appropriate learning objectives for children and the planning of
developmental and remedial programs for pupils in regular and special school programs. Consultation with teachers involves the process of developing and implementing classroom methods and procedures designed to facilitate pupil learning and to overcome learning and behavior disorders. The consultative role with parents is designed to ensure an understanding of the learning and adjustment processes of their child. The responsibility for coordination with community agencies is also a consultative role of the school psychologist (Education Code §49424). Though the responsibilities for assessment, program development, and counseling are included in the role description, the inclusion of the variety of consultation functions can be viewed as a subtle shift of role and method of operation.
Even though this broad parameter for the practice of school psychology has been established and authorized, reality dictates that the primary role continues to be determining eligibility for special education services. As part of this role, the school psychologist is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the methods used are fair and nonbiased. This function becomes increasingly important as the diversity of both language and culture continues to increase in the public schools. Public Law 94-142 prescribed nondiscriminatory evaluation practices. These practices serve as a guide for evaluating special needs for children with disabilities and can be reasonably applied in the process of evaluating all children. With respect to tests and evaluation materials, it is expected that these will be available in the child's native language and used only as they were designed to be used. Evaluators must be appropriately trained and the evaluation process must involve a team of qualified persons. Tests should focus on educational need and not intelligence quotient. Tests should be selected to ensure that, when testing a child with impaired skills, the test results accurately reflect the child's aptitude or achievement level rather than reflecting the child's impairment. Diagnosticians must ensure that no single procedure is used as the sole criterion for determining an appropriate educational program for a child and that the child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975). Though these procedures are specific to the process of identifying a disability, they can
be recommended as methods to ensure nonbias generally. It will be an increasingly important oversight function to monitor school psychology practices for assurance that language, ethnic, or cultural variables do not affect the quality of services.
There is considerable change taking place in the perception of the appropriate role and function of school psychology. The role of diagnostician has been impacted by new methods of evaluation. Wagner (1991) suggested that, in part, the development of these new procedures was a reaction to the fact that traditional psychoeducational assessment methods have been time-consuming and costly. School psychologists have spent the majority of their days testing. As much as 15 percent of the total available special education funds have been used for identification. He found that new procedures are emerging for more efficient assessment methods. Support for their efficacy can be found in school-based management research. Four types of assessments were identified: portfolio assessment, performance assessment, authentic assessment, and curriculum-based assessment. These nontraditional methods are characterized by the fact that they are criterion rather than norm-referenced; the data relate more closely to the school curriculum; and it is considered to be of greater utility to teachers and other direct service providers. Though these changes do not alter the role of the school psychologist as primary diagnostician, they do reflect the closer association of school psychology to classroom function.
School psychologists would like to shift the focus of their responsibilities from a role primarily defined as a diagnostician to one as a consultant. This new role would involve less direct work with children and more work as an advisor to teachers, counselors, and administrators. School psychologists have come to see themselves as more effective in the role of identifying problems on a broader scope and consulting with other school personnel in developing solutions. Jackson (1990) has outlined the future role of school psychologists as one that would include five major functions. The school psychologist would conduct needs assessments that would define problems and design tentative approaches to problems. New programs would be developed or existing programs would be modified to meet current problems. The school psychologist would be responsible for promoting these programs as actual or potential solutions. The school psychologist would take the lead in program implementation and monitoring.
As with all pupil personnel services, school psychology services must function within the structure of existing programs. School psychologists have had historical responsibility for child evaluation. A change in this role assumes either that this need no longer exists or that someone else will assume the role. Since this seems unlikely, the case advanced by Wagner that more efficient assessment methods which generate more useful information is the future wave in school psychology, appears to be a more likely scenario than the completely redefined role described by Jackson.
Both in training patterns and in job descriptions, the traditional pupil personnel service workers (counselors, psychologists, and social workers) have a great deal of common ground. All are expected to have counseling skills that might be used with individuals or groups. All have been trained to understand human development and its implications for education. Various data collection procedures and assessments are expected from each group for use in program planning efforts. What distinguishes the social work function from both school psychology and school counseling more than any other factor is its emphasis on factors outside of the school and how they might affect a child's school adjustment and performance. It is as a liaison to the family and the community that the school social worker makes a unique contribution to child study. Rather than viewing the child only in the context of the school, the school social worker represents the total child perspective. Factors in the child's complex social system of family, peers, and community are important considerations in developing the student profile.
The services provided by school social workers have a long history and have always been considered an important part of the school's efforts to ensure cooperation between home and school. Originally called a visiting teacher by many schools, this role has come to be considered social work because of its similarity to the social work function in health settings. A considerable boost to the visibility of social work was provided by its inclusion as a mandated service in federal special education legislation (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975). This inclusion helped focus on how social work can be a vital part of program planning and delivery. The role identified for social work included the responsibility for preparing a social or developmental history. Similar to the school psychologist and school counselor, the social worker is able to provide group or individual counseling with both the child and the family. The social worker is the professional responsible for working with problems in a child's living situation (home, school, and community) that might impact a child's ability to adjust to school. Primary responsibility for identifying school and community resources that might help a child with disabilities benefit from the program is also typically a social work function (Education of the Handicapped Act Regulations, 1985). Additional social work services consistent with these regulations include assisting parents to participate in program planning meetings, providing transition services to children exiting special education, and providing staff training to school personnel regarding school adjustment problems (Tabb, 1987).
Much of the direct service to children provided by the school social worker uses a casework methodology which is somewhat unique to the social work profession. Casework is the use of detailed studies of single individuals and all the conditions and influences that may cause behavior problems. These data are analyzed, the problem evaluated, and strategies identified that can be utilized in a treatment plan. This historical and social context perspective can be contrasted to the behavioralistic or environmental perspective used by many school psychologists and the humanistic perspective of school counselors.
In addition to the traditional social work roles of casework and counseling, there are two roles that might be considered contributions unique to social workers: mediation and social assessment (Tabb, 1987). Because of the similarities found in the training and expertise of school psychologists, counselors, and social workers, this job differentiation might be a more effective use of personnel resources.
Conflict resolution is a common role for the helping professions generally and social workers specifically. Disputes between families and the school might effectively be managed by social workers who perhaps have the best understanding of family dynamics and their influence on children and school. Procedural safeguards included in P.L. 94-142 provide for parent access to a due process hearing to resolve any disputes regarding special education services. The opportunity to mediate these disputes prior to the formal hearing is specifically allowed. This role can be recommended as appropriate for the school social worker.
Social assessment is also a unique contribution of the social worker. The assessment should include: a description of presenting problems, a developmental history that includes delays or physical problems, medical and school histories, family and social histories, and a summary and analysis of these data and how they affect the child and their implication for programs and services (Tabb, 1987). This perspective can be added to that of others who have a diagnostic role to provide for the team or multidisciplinary approach required by law.
Counseling and assessment roles typical to social workers in other settings are responsibilities shared by school psychologists and school counselors in school settings. Because the psychology and counseling professions made a much earlier response to providing services to the schools, they are more frequently employed as pupil personnel service workers. Social workers, on the other hand, have a tradition more closely related to medical settings. Many social work training programs do not have extensive training directed to school settings. Because the duties of a social worker can be carried out by others, many California school districts do not employ social workers.
A more integral role for social work in schools will involve a clear delineation of the unique contribution that can be made by this professional orientation. The emphasis on the child as part of a larger community is a perspective that will have an increasing value to districts facing the challenge of a rapidly diversifying student population.
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services
Students with communication disorders are defined as handicapped in both federal and state legislation and are eligible for special education (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975; Education Code §56333). Defining a disability as communication rather than the historical speech problem substantially increases the role of speech correction as an adjunct therapy to a central instructional function that includes the broader area of language, speech, and hearing (LSH) services. Therefore, LSH services can be the primary special education program for a child who has a communication disability. Language and speech problems also frequently occur with other disabling conditions. In these cases, language and speech services would be provided as a related service.
This broader conceptualization was recognized in federal legislation with the change of classification of speech impaired in P.L. 94-142 (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975) to speech or language impaired in P.L. 98-199 (The Education of the Handicapped Act, 1983). This revision included: "stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment" as communication disorders. The services authorized as speech pathology in federal legislation included identification and diagnosis of speech and language disorders. Direct services to children with communicative disorders and counseling of parents and teachers regarding speech and language disorders are primary roles for the speech and language practitioner (Education of the Handicapped Regulations, 1985).
The LSH specialist is the primary professional designated to provide services to children with communication disorders (Education Code §56333). These responsibilities are extensive and take a variety of forms that are delivered using various models. Responsibilities can include both direct and indirect service activities (California Department of Education, 1989). Direct services include participating in determining eligibility for special education services. The LSH specialist completes a diagnostic assessment and serves as a member of the multidisciplinary evaluation team. The LSH specialist also provides direct therapeutic services prescribed in the individualized education program (IEP).
The LSH specialist performs a variety of indirect services and plays an important supportive role. The LSH specialist consults with both parents and professional staff regarding the contribution of language, speech, and hearing services to the overall special education program. The LSH specialist can also be expected to provide site level inservice training.
Though the LSH specialist will continue to work primarily with children with disabilities, there is a growing awareness of needs in various high-risk populations. Children with limited English, recent immigrants, homeless, and children who are socially maladjusted or considered high-risk as dropouts or juvenile offenders all fit into this category. Early services to this population may prevent later problems. An increased interest in service to these populations is probable because of the prevention potential.
Four models of service delivery have been identified for LSH services: consultative, itinerant, resource room, and self-contained program (Applestein, 1987). Each is known to be effective and designed to serve a particular population of students and student needs.
The consultative model is an indirect model because the LSH specialist develops a program and trains others to implement the program. Though this model provides substantial coverage, it is limited by the expertise of the direct providers, typically parents and classroom teachers. The itinerant model is the most traditional of the four delivery systems. In this model the children continue their placement in the regular or special education classroom and are pulled-out to receive LSH services. The LSH specialist would be expected to incorporate the academic program into the LSH program. The classroom teacher would be expected to reinforce the activities of the LSH specialist.
The two remaining models are designed as actual classroom settings for children with severe communication disorders. The resource room model combines the services of a special education teacher for the academic program and the LSH specialist for communication remediation. Communication skills are primary throughout the curriculum. The self-contained program assumes a communication disability so severe that the child's total program needs to be provided by an LSH specialist. The LSH specialist designs and implements the entire curriculum.
Service delivery models preferred by LSH specialists and the language and speech needs of children are on a collision course. There is a serious shortage of LSH specialists available to meet the currently identified needs. This problem is directly related to two practices: training pattern and service delivery.
LSH specialists continue to be trained in a medical model. Federal legislation and many states continue to use the title of speech pathologist; preferred by the medical community. Training programs emphasize a clinical, one-to-one therapy model. This training pattern is more consistent with practice in medical settings than in schools. This training model only produces a small number of qualified professionals.
The itinerant program is the common service delivery model. This model is more consistent with current training and practices in medical settings. LSH specialists provide direct therapy to a limited number of children and prescribe follow-up activities for the classroom teacher.
Neither the current training of LSH specialists nor the itinerant model appears to be a good match to public school needs. Rather, an educational model that employs teachers trained to remediate communication disorders and incorporate these activities into the total curriculum might be more useful. This service could be delivered in either a resource room setting or a self-contained classroom setting based on severity of disability. The LSH specialist could then be used for direct therapy in only the most severe cases.
Rather than using the services of the scarce resources of these highly trained specialists to work with mild communication problems and broadening their responsibilities to include preventative services to high-risk populations, the LSH specialist should be restricted to providing direct service to children with the most severe communication disorders. This configuration more closely approximates a full service model and is a better match to the school setting and the needs of children in the public schools.
School health services are planned as they affect the overall school population in a general maintenance, prevention, and disease control program and as a related service to support the educational programming of children with disabilities. Health status will affect children with disabilities as a condition related to disabling conditions or as a health impairment that is the primary disabling condition. The primary provider of school health services is the school nurse. In addition to the standard training program, the school nurse should have specific preparation for delivering health services in the school setting. In addition to the school nurse, the practice of using health care aides or paraprofessionals is growing. Though paraprofessionals are more readily available and will result in a lower program cost, the use of the trained school nurse will have the benefits associated with employing a fully trained professional.
A comprehensive school health services plan will typically include efforts to appraise the current health of every child in the school and to remediate deficiencies. Health workers are expected to provide emergency service for both injury and individual sickness. Strategies to prevent and control disease and a health information program for students and staff should be provided. School health workers also assist in the education of students with disabilities by providing or supervising the provision of any medically related services (DeRoche & Kaiser, 1980).
School nurses strengthen and facilitate the education process by improving and protecting the health status of children and by identification and assistance in the removal or modification of health-related barriers to learning in individual children. The major focus of school health services is the prevention of illness and disability, and the early detection and correction of health problems. The school nurse is especially prepared and uniquely qualified in preventative health, health assessment, and referral procedures.
Specific functions of the school nurse include responsibility to consult with school personnel and conduct inservice training for the implementation of a comprehensive health instruction curriculum. The school nurse is also expected to assure the immunization status of each child and conduct periodic vision and hearing screenings. The school nurse will counsel pupils, parents, and school personnel regarding health-related attendance problems, and understanding the adjustment to physical, mental, and social limitations and values that affect their health behavior. The school nurse participates in the education of children with disabilities by assessing and evaluating the health and developmental status of pupils to identify specific physical disorders and interpret this assessment to parents and school personnel involved with the development of individual education programs (Education Code §49426).
Health Services for Special Education
Though health services have traditionally been considered one of the pupil personnel services (Johnson, Steffler & Edelfelt, 1961), they became a direct part of the instructional program when children with health impairments were included as a category of disabling condition in P.L. 94-142. They also became an important part of programming for other disabilities with its inclusion as a mandated, related service for children who needed such services to benefit from their educational programs.
A health impaired disability means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems. The impairment can be the result of conditions (e.g., heart, cancer, leukemia, rheumatic fever, lead poisoning, sickle cell anemia) that will adversely affect a child's educational performance (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975; Education Code §56026).
School health services are required as a related service for children with disabilities if such services are required for the child to benefit from special education. It is possible that the provision of a health service might allow a child to attend a public school who otherwise might be excluded. This inclusion avoids the secondary disability that may result from inadequate opportunity to attend school and the consequent loss of social and educational experience. It is accepted that most health services can be delivered in the school setting and that health impairments no longer represent an obstacle to regular school attendance.
Health service may include special feedings, catheterization, suctioning, administering medication, and planning for the child's safety in school (such as securing appropriately modified physical education and preparing an evacuation plan for children with limited mobility in case of fire or other disaster). It also assures that care will be given in the classroom to prevent further injury (such as arranging for frequent position changes to prevent pressure sores) (Black & Dorsett, 1987). Health service workers participate in the multidisciplinary evaluation conference by providing a health assessment and medical history.
An effective health services program is an integral part of the school program. The absence of such a program can cause both physical and mental harm (DeRoche & Kaiser, 1980). An example of physical harm might be the rapid spread of a communicable disease. Mental harm might result from lack of information about various risks involved with a health-related behavior (e.g., substance abuse). Because each of these possibilities can represent substantial disruption to the educational process, the school health services program is a necessary function rather than one of the first programs to be discontinued during a financial crisis.
The availability of health services is also an important part of the special education program. Required for all students when the service is needed to benefit from the educational program, health services allow many students to attend the regular school who were historically excluded. This opportunity is considered fundamental to the normalization of children with disabilities.
Because the specialized procedures that might be needed for some children with disabilities are so unfamiliar to the school setting, it can be expected that these services will be the target of some anxious concern by the students, faculty, and staff. Only the school nurse or appropriately trained paraprofessionals should be expected to perform health services. It is important to maintain the traditional boundaries between professions. Teachers should not become health service aides. It will also be important to provide staff inservice training regarding general health service and extraordinary services. Increased support for the health services program will come from a well-informed staff.
Federal legislation passed in the 1970s that guaranteed education programs for children with disabilities forever changed the face of public education (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975). Children with disabilities placed in programs not designed to meet their special needs and children excluded entirely from public school programs were assured access to a free, appropriate public education. This landmark legislation was based on numerous court cases. It provided that all children must share our public resources and no group can be relegated to a position of less than equal opportunity. This principle of equal protection under the law is fundamental to the guarantees now in place for the provision of special education programs for
children with disabilities.
Six basic principles were incorporated into the law and constitute the major charge to the public schools. Special education programs appropriately designed and implemented must assure adherence to each of these basic principles. Regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education and paralleled in state education codes guide these efforts and govern the administration of special education programs.
No child with disabilities, regardless of the severity of his or her disabling condition, may be excluded from a free, appropriate education. During the development of special education legislation in California, it was determined that all individuals with exceptional needs have a right to participate in free, appropriate, public education and that special educational instruction and services for these persons were needed in order to ensure them of an appropriate educational opportunity to meet their unique needs (Education Code §56000). The operative term for the implementation of the zero reject concept is all. Based on the belief that no child is so severely disabled that some benefit would not be received from education, the full range of programs and services is assured to all children regardless of their limitations. Rather than being viewed as a privilege, the availability of education for children with disabilities at public expense has become firmly established as a right protected by federal law.
In order to assure that placement and service in the public schools are appropriate, children with disabilities must receive fair educational assessment. Procedures have been developed to assure the placement of eligible children and to avoid the placement of ineligible students.
Prior to referral to determine special education eligibility, all regular education options and modifications must be explored (Education Code §56303). When classroom modifications fail, the child may be referred to the site-based Student Study Team. This team is charged with the responsibility of considering further modifications in the regular program. These efforts are regular education interventions and should be used prior to referral for special education evaluation. Should these regular class modifications not be successful, a referral is made to determine special education eligibility.
Special education evaluations are completed by a multidisciplinary team. The various specialties on the team help ensure a thorough and balanced evaluation. Evaluation procedures included in federal regulations are required to be racially or culturally nondiscriminatory. California adds the requirement that evaluations be sexually nondiscriminatory (Education Code §56320).
Federal law also establishes various categories of disabling conditions for the purposes of special education that are generally recognized by California diagnosticians. These include: deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, mentally retarded, multihandicapped, orthopedically impaired, other health impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed, specific learning disability, speech impaired, and visually impaired. Though California has assured the federal government that they are serving children with these various disabilities, they have used fewer categories with different criteria. Students in California are generally considered learning handicapped (LH) or severely handicapped (SH) based on degree or severity of disability, and physically handicapped (PH) or communicatively handicapped (CH) based on the existence of disabling conditions.
Each child is guaranteed an education that is appropriate and meaningful and one that is in keeping with the limitations of the disabling condition. Simply allowing children with disabilities access to the public schools on an equal basis is insufficient opportunity. Because children with disabilities have unique educational needs it is necessary to provide specially designed instruction to meet these needs. Equal access can only be achieved with special education. In other words, more (program and services) is required to guarantee equal (access and benefit). The method employed to plan and implement appropriate education is the individualized education program (IEP). The IEP must be written and include a statement of the child's present level of performance and a statement of annual goals and short-term objectives necessary to meet the goals. The specific special education and related services to be provided and the amount of mainstreaming must be indicated as well as the method of evaluating student progress.
Developing an IEP is a procedure in which all the professionals who work with the child and the child's parents confer to determine his or her needs and then design a very specific program to meet those needs. Though the IEP does not constitute a legal contract, it is clearly a firm commitment regarding the goals of a child's program and the procedures that will be employed in reaching these goals. Efforts to provide individually designed programs have been made by competent teachers for years. The IEP process is unique, however, in that it is required by federal and state law, it must be written, and parental involvement is required.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Children with disabilities must be educated in a setting that will best facilitate learning. They cannot be excluded unless their disability would preclude benefiting from such a placement. Children with disabilities must be educated with nondisabled peers in a regular classroom unless the nature and severity of their disability requires services that cannot be provided in that setting. Students move to a more restrictive option only if the prior level has been insufficient to facilitate appropriate student performance. Figure 5.1 illustrates the typical configuration of placement options in California schools. Districts must provide a range of program options for students eligible for special education services (Education Code §56360). Though some children
with disabilities are served in special schools, state schools (such as a school for the deaf), or nonpublic
schools, three major service models are used for most children placed in California public schools: special day classes (SDC), resource specialist program (RSP), and designated instruction and services (DIS). Special day classes serve students placed in special education for more than half of their instructional day. This placement is considered to be the most restrictive of the three and should be used only after other options have been tried. The resource specialist program (RSP) serves students for less than half of their instructional day. Students receive RSP placement when the IEP team determines that this support is needed for the student to profit from the educational program (Education Code §56362). Designated instruction and services (DIS) are supplemental services and are required when they are necessary for a student to benefit from special ducation. DIS may include such related services as speech therapy, adaptive physical education, counseling, and special services for low incidence disabilities (e.g., deaf, blind).
As with all attempts to provide appropriate programs, providing for LRE must be an individual consideration. This decision should be based on an individual child's needs rather than program availability. Unfortunately, it is easy to base decision-making on the programs that are in place (e.g., self-contained versus resource) and choose the most appropriate LRE from what is available rather than what is most appropriate for the
individual child. This approach runs counter to the spirit and intent of LRE and makes it unlikely that LRE implementation will take place.
Public schools are required to make a continuum of alternative placements available not only to ensure an appropriate instructional program but to insure that the program is provided in the LRE. Programs employing few placement options would be unlikely to fulfill the continuum requirement and the LRE goal.
Parents of children with disabilities have the right to object to the placement or program provided by the school. The school system has the obligation to object to the refusal of services by parents. Specifically, parents can initiate due process procedures that involve proposals to initiate, change, or refuse to initiate or change the identification, assessment, or educational placement of a child or the provision of a free, appropriate public education to the child (Education Code §56501). This provision is purposefully broad and allows a hearing on almost all issues. In California, an additional problem-solving option has been added in the form of mediation (Education Code §56502).
Due process or fair hearings are conducted under a specific set of rules but are not a formal or court hearing. The only rule of evidence that applies is that all material must be provided five days prior to the hearing. Parents can present evidence, cross-examine and compel the attendance of witnesses (Education Code §56505). Parents have the right to an independent educational assessment at public expense if they disagree with the one provided by the district (Education Code §56505 and §56329). Parents may recover their attorney's fees if they prevail in the hearing. Parents can appeal hearing decisions (Education Code §56501) and ultimately seek redress in the courts.
Though not by design, the hearing process has become increasingly adversarial. It is important that good communication and relations between parents and school personnel be maintained. However, this goal should not be allowed to interfere with the goals of appropriate education for children with disabilities. School personnel should make their best professional judgements and proceed to implement programs accordingly. The fair hearing provides a check and balance system, but should not be allowed to disrupt this process.
Parent participation is assured in the process of planning and designing programs for children with disabilities. Both parent consent and informed collaboration are necessary in developing appropriate educational programs. Public Law 94-142 states as its purpose to "assure that the rights of handicapped children and their parents or guardians are protected" (The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975). Parents have been given a shared responsibility in the education of their child. This role is specifically identified in all of the functions implemented in the law: evaluation, appropriate education, provision of LRE, and procedural due process. Parents are guaranteed access to their child's records and are considered an important resource in
determining the appropriate program for their child.
In addition to individual parent participation, other opportunities for parents to be involved in the education process are provided. Both federal and state law require that advisory panels that include parents be established to monitor special education in the state. This representation is designed to systematically represent the views of consumers.
A new configuration of programs and services called the regular education initiative (REI) will be the dominant trend in the 1990s. The REI basically asserts that regular and special education have a shared responsibility for children with disabilities (Will, 1984). Many services needed by children with disabilities can be effectively incorporated as part of the regular classroom. The need for separate programming should only be necessary for children with more severe disabilities.
A similar initiative called Every Student Succeeds (ESS) has begun in California (California Department of Education, 1990). This program targets a wide variety of student problems that occur in both disabled and nondisabled populations. ESS efforts do not distinguish between the two groups because the programs are basically problem rather than cause oriented. Both the REI and ESS represent fundamental changes in how we view individuals with disabilities and their appropriate places in society generally, and in the public schools, specifically.
Administration of the various pupil personnel functions will occur at more than one level in school districts. Specific responsibility for certain aspects of pupil personnel services may be assumed by someone at the cabinet level in a single district, in an intermediate district or county office that operates a cooperative program, by district office supervisors or coordinators, and at the site level. Though configurations may vary from district to district, they share the common purpose of supporting the delivery of effective services to children at the school site. Figure 5.2 illustrates an administrative hierarchy typical for pupil personnel services.
It is likely that a cabinet level administrator will maintain administrative oversight of the pupil personnel services program. In smaller districts, the superintendent, though generally responsible for all programs, will probably directly monitor the pupil personnel services area because of its centrality to special education. In larger districts, the assignment of an assistant or associate superintendent can be justified because of size alone. Administrators at this level will be involved primarily in compliance with federal and state regulations. They might also have responsibility for communicating the nature of these programs to school boards and the larger public.
Larger districts have an additional administrative tier between district and site level administration. These positions typically carry the title of director and are assigned administrative responsibility for program development, operation, and supervision. A director might be assigned the overall responsibility for pupil personnel services or might have an assignment specific to special education or counseling and guidance. These positions are typically staff positions who work cooperatively with site level administrators. Because of the very specialized nature of the programs administered by directors, substantial leadership is expected and extensive authority is given. If district size warrants increased specialized staff, other supervisors or coordinators can be assigned to assist in the delivery of services. Districts might also employ someone with specific coordination responsibility for areas that require special expertise like school psychology or school health programs. Since these are also staff positions, it is expected that the relationship between these district positions and site level administration will be collaborative.
Because many of the pupil personnel services were identified as important related services needed in the education of children with disabilities, service delivery systems were changed to accommodate this responsibility. One change that took place was the development of joint or cooperative programs. Throughout the country, districts joined forces to deliver services by establishing shared programs administered by an existing unit like a county department of education or by developing a new intermediate district. These shared programs allowed single districts to provide a service to children in their district that they were unable to provide alone because of low demand or high cost. California, for example, created SELPAs (Special
Education Local Plan Area) for this purpose. Districts employed specialized personnel to administer joint programs. Though larger districts may be their own SELPA, the vast majority of districts participate in cooperative agreements. Personnel employed by these shared programs have administrative authority delegated by the participating districts. Governance typically includes representatives from each of the cooperating districts.
Because most pupil personnel services are ultimately delivered at a school site, the site administrator has an important role of ensuring effective delivery of pupil personnel services. Large schools, typically secondary, might appoint department heads for counseling or special education. Though administrative in nature, these positions primarily support the site administrator and are an extension of that authority. In those cases where buildings have assistant or vice principals, they might also be assigned the responsibility for working with pupil personnel services. However, it is important that this responsibility not be delegated in such a way as to remove the site administrator from maintaining close contact with pupil personnel services.
The site administrator should provide specific supervision to the pupil personnel program. This should include: (a) reviewing program goals and objectives, (b) directing the development of a needs assessment, (c) reviewing program relevancy and directing changes necessary to meet the needs of children in the school, (d) participating in the selection of pupil personnel workers, (e) evaluating personnel performance, (f) facilitating the integration of the pupil personnel function in the overall school program, and (g) representing these services to parents and to the larger community. Many of the pupil personnel services are provided on a district basis. For this reason the cooperation of various levels of administration is needed to ensure an effective program. Because many of the services are determined by student need and much of the regulatory language represents an individualized approach, administrative decision-making should be centered at the site level. Site administrators are closest to the need and can best assess program impact. The site administrator maintains direct contact with parents and represents the first opportunity for assuring public awareness and developing public support. District administration should provide the necessary support to ensure that site programs stay within the overall boundaries of state and federal regulations. The flexibility for developing programs that fit a student population in a specific school will be important if student needs are to be met.
District administration should have the responsibility to empower this kind of site authority. Current trends to decentralize school governance should not exclude district-wide programs like special education and other pupil personnel services. Though state and federal regulations governing these services might make decentralization a greater challenge, the process of giving this authority to the site has the overriding benefit of establishing ownership and commitment.
1. Why are pupil personnel services considered of secondary importance to public education? How might this perception be changed?
2. How has special education affected public education? Discuss ways that this effect might be both positive and negative.
3. What are the problems for the site administrator associated with working with district office personnel? How might these problems be addressed?
1. Attend an individualized education program (IEP) meeting. Record the various roles and contributions of participants.
2. Conduct a mock IEP meeting in class. Students should assume the various professional roles.
3. Review the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) agreement. What are the advantages and possible disadvantages of district participation?
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