Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), like many other large urban school districts, faces significant challenges in meeting the individualized academic needs of its diverse group of students. M-DCPS has attempted to address learning and behavioral difficulties of its students through the use of the Child Study Team (CST), a multidisciplinary approach to prereferral intervention, evaluation and educational placement. However, the CST has resulted in over-referral for comprehensive evaluations and has not provided an effective approach for managing with children who are ineligible for special education placement.
In an attempt to address these problems the School Support Team (SST) model was developed and is being gradually implemented in M-DCPS. The SST model addresses three key areas identified as deficient in the CST process: (a) it offers research-based interventions, (b) it requires structured student progress monitoring, and (c) it integrates consultation and monitoring of the implementation of classroom interventions. However, data collected regarding the implementation fidelity and effectiveness of the SST process in the M-DCPS schools has been inconclusive. Therefore, the current proposal attempts to address this by implementing a formative program evaluation of the SST process using the Context, Input, Process, and Product Evaluation (CIPP) theory-based evaluation model.
The CIPP model will employ a mixed methods approach to assess and improve the SST's merit, worth, and significance. Several evaluation activities will be conducted including: (a) needs assessment, (b) site visit of a successful prereferral intervention program, (c) analysis of child and school level variables using latent growth curve modeling, (d) parent, teacher and administration satisfaction assessment, (e) staff training assessments, (f) implementation fidelity evaluation, (g) documentation analysis, (h) focus groups with school staff and parents, and (i) feedback workshops. The findings of this study will be reported to M-DCPS stakeholders in 6-month and final evaluation reports.