DSISD special education audit underway

By Megan Wehring
DRIPPING SPRINGS — After discovering two necessary policies were missing, the Dripping Springs ISD’s (DSISD) special education department will endure an audit.
During the Dec. 13 meeting, the DSISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the new audit to be conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and the installation of the two policies.
The special education department is currently in the process of a Texas Education Agency (TEA) audit that focuses on compliance and documentation through the inspection of policies and procedures, according to board documents.
In addition to the TEA audit, DSISD will undergo a complete Special Education Program Review by TASB that will focus on the full scope of special education services and responsibilities, according to board documents. The last review of this nature was conducted in 2016.
“The reason we are suggesting TASB is because of the depth of their audit,” said Nadine Hogan, director of special services. “They would do things such as meeting individually with administrators, campus stakeholders, doing surveys so looking at some of that qualitative data from the staff that work with our students, in addition to observing our classrooms.”
Under the new policies, teachers will be required to complete annual training on educating students with dyslexia. Also, when a child moves from early childhood intervention (ECI) to early childhood special education services (ESCE), the district will develop an individualized education program (IEP) by the child’s third birthday.
While it was a unanimous vote to approve the audit, board member Stefani Reinold said the district needs to be proactive before an issue occurs within a specific department or the district as a whole.
“It seems like whenever there is a problem in our district,” Reinold said, “we do an audit of that department as some sort of way to show some transparency, good will to the community and also for our own sake. But I feel we as a board need to talk about putting some better systems in place or how we are doing reviews and audits in the future.
The TEA audit will be completed prior to the TASB review, Hogan said. The district is expecting to receive feedback from TEA as late as January 2022.
Feedback by TASB on staffing practices and workload analysis will be available by late February 2022, in time for the Spring budget process, and the rest of the audit would be completed in April.

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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