Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Support Team Provides Valuable Help



Topeka Public Schools has more than 2,000 students who live in a household where a language other than English is spoken. Many of these students have educational and social-emotional needs that require services and support beyond what general education programs can provide. The mission of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Support (CLDS) Team is to assist these students, their families, and the school staff that serve them. A primary focus of the team is to advocate for the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students and help their families navigate the Student Improvement Team (SIT) process, special education evaluations, and community resources. The team consists of social workers, speech/language pathologists, school psychologists, English Language Learner (ELL) instructional coaches, and Migrant services providers.  Many these educational professionals are bi-lingual.

The CLDS team developed guidelines for school teams to follow when implementing general education interventions through the Student Improvement Teams and when conducting special education evaluations. In the spring of 2011, the team created an ELL fact sheet for Spanish speaking parents that describes the services and assessments offered through the TPS ELL program. In the spring of 2012, the CLDS team collaborated with the Migrant Department to produce a community and educational resource guide for English and Spanish speaking families. 

Additionally, the team reviews general education intervention and special education evaluation cases on an ongoing basis to problem solve and implement best practice when working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and families. Our team meets regularly at the Burnett Center. Please contact Steve Greer at 235-7601 if you have ideas for our team, would like our assistance in serving your ELL students, or if you would like to join us!