Strategic Plan Update

Juvenile Services Education System of MSDE

The Strategic Plan Verification Project Newsletter: August 2016, #4

Next Steps in UMD Strategic Plan support

We are developing our first report on Maryland State Department of Education/ Juvenile Services Education program and compliance with the Strategic Plan. We have finished the first phase of the project that included site visits and meetings with administrative team and central office personnel. We have gathered data, impressions, and evidence of progress in some areas with suggestions for improvement in other areas. To date we have visited all 13 JSE facilities, have interviewed more than 40 students and have observed more than 15 classrooms at seven JSE sites.

The brief classroom observations focus on Learners and Relevance and Environment and Culture. Learners and Relevance includes remarks on student engagement, student grouping (whole class, small/paired groups, individual) and level of student work (Bloom’s taxonomy). Observing Environment and Culture has us looking for classroom appearance, management and classroom culture – relationships, respect, student success and leadership.

The student interviews are voluntary. We ask students who agree to talk with us about their experiences in school including information about their favorite subjects, their ability to receive help if they are struggling in class, their access to reading material, and their recommendations to improve the school program. Interviews have taken about 10 to 15 minutes and in general students have been very positive while talking about their school experiences and future plans.

During the next phase, we will continue to interview students and observe classrooms. We also plan on administering an online student and a staff survey concentrating on data collection from several sources. The purpose of the observations, interviews, and planned surveys is to gauge the implementation of the Strategic Plan. Subsequent updates will provide more direct evidence about the status of education services.

Special Education – Prevalence in Corrections and JSE

Those teaching in juvenile justice facilities understand that many of our students in MSDE/JSE have learning needs, perhaps more than typical students in secondary education. Research data supports those perceptions that students with disabilities (as defined as juveniles eligible and receiving special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) are more prevalent in correctional detention and treatment facilities than would be expected based on their prevalence in the larger population.

A 2005 study of youth in juvenile justice facilities found an average of 34% of youth attending school were identified as having special needs and were receiving special education services. Across the states, service delivery rates ranged from 9 to 77%. This is in contrast to students with special needs constituting approximately 9% of students ages 6-21 nationwide. Some scholarship notes that the 34% could even be an underestimate due to issues with Child Find, record transfers and the general underrepresentation of psychiatric needs in juvenile corrections (Rutherford, et al, 2005).

In 2014 and 2015, the prevalence of students with special needs in MSDE/JSE was 25% and 27% respectively. Digging into the data a bit found that treatment prevalence fits national averages with 32% in 2014 and 35% in 2015 in MSDE/JSE. However, but there was much variation (18%) between lowest and highest percentages among treatment facilities. Detention centers had lower percentages of special needs students (24% in 2014 and 26% in 2015) and more variation among sites in the numbers of students with special needs served.

Though the numbers are slightly trending in the direction of serving more students with special needs. More work needs to be done in Child Find (identifying, assessing students) and serving students with their entitled right to Free Appropriate Special Education (FAPE) in confinement in Maryland and across the country.

Quinn, M. M., Rutherford, R. B. , Leone, P. E. , Osher, D. M. & Poirier, J. M. (2005), Youth With Disabilities in Juvenile Correction: A National Survey, Exceptional Children, Vol. 71, No. 3, pp. 339-345.

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CEEAS to work with MDUnjammed Sites on Scholastic ID Reading Program

Green Ridge, Meadow Mountain, Noyes and Hickey teacher fellows and administrators attended CEEAS' Unjammed 3.0 Tech Conference in Baltimore July 18-22 and our teachers ROCKED OUT!! In addition to the year long Blended Learning Initiative, these sites have also agreed to be pilot sites for a reading intervention. More information about Unjammed will appear in subsequent newsletters. If any other sites would like to participate, please reach out to Big kudos to the Maryland teachers. We are excited to see what is in store for blending learning in your classrooms.

67 Blankets

The MSDE Service-Learning project “67 Blankets” has wrapped up for the school year with a celebration at Waxter on July 8, 2016. Students at many JSE crocheted blanket squares (mostly 10" x 10") to be knit together to form larger blankets and given people who need them to keep them warm this winter. The squares were dedicated at a ceremony led by resource teacher Marcia Garcia and students with participation from Principal Prakash Anthony, Assistant DJS Superintendent Lyles, Debbie Gibson, JSE and Veronica Busby from 67 Blankets. The students finished their crocheting in time for Nelson Mandela Day on July 18 where blankets were displayed at the South African Embassy in DC.

Some students and teachers already knew how to crochet and taught others. Some Waxter students completed more than 100 hours of service-learning time crocheting when they finished their work at school. One Waxter student noted, “I learned how to concentrate more and to not quit when I don’t know how to do something. I will use it in the future to maintain my temper.” Though most squares were made at Waxter, squares were collected from many JSE sites: 28 squares were completed by boys.

The 67 Blankets service-learning project is definitely continuing at Waxter and maybe other places. One Waxter student commented that crocheting "is ... like art. I will use it to make blankets and sweaters and more things in the future. “

Engaging Families app sponsored by DJS.

Department of Juvenile Services has launched a family engagement app for desktop and mobile devices. The app provides up to date facility visitation hours and addresses to make it easier for families to find and come to the facilities. In addition, the site provides a list of resources (mostly legal) available for Maryland families. The app shows weekly menus at DJS facilities and the website has juvenile justice process, terms and concepts! The app has labels in Spanish (though most of the information is in English). Adding Education information to this app/website such as an MSDE/JSE handbook and school resources could make it a one-stop information center for families.

More information at