FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Gary Community School Corporation Regains Local Control of Special Education Services After Eight Years
Milestone marks progress with providing students the services they deserve; more work ahead
(Gary, IND) – After eight years of special conditions imposed by the Indiana Department of Education, the Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) regained local control of its special education services, Dr. Paige McNulty announced today.
This progress comes after nearly a decade of pressure from the state to take corrective action to achieve compliance with state and federal special education regulations. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, administrators, and families, GCSC has “met all requirements,” according to a letter sent last week to the district from the Indiana Department of Education.
“This milestone is the result of a lot of hard work from teachers and administrators to give students the services they need to support their learning,” Dr. McNulty said. “This is a milestone, not a finish line, and we have much more work to do, but I’m proud of our team’s achievement and what it means for our students.”
Ever since the 2012 fiscal year, the Indiana Department of Education has imposed “Special Conditions” on GCSC to ensure students are being evaluated and placed in the least restrictive environment. More recently, with support from MGT Consulting, GCSC has been able to improve the quality of the special education services provided, thus making this accomplishment possible.
In the 2020-21 school year, approximately 15 percent of GCSC students identified as students with disabilities, according to Indiana Department of Education data.
“There is a lot of talk these days about equity; well, this is what equity looks like, when all students get what they need,” said Dr. McNulty. “We are laser-focused on improving academic outcomes, and ensuring all students get appropriately evaluated and receive the services they deserve is a key step forward in our ongoing work to advance student learning.”
McNulty shared this progress at today’s meeting of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB), which oversees GCSC.
McNulty and her team shared other advancements during the DUAB meeting, all as part of the latest progress report for The Path Forward, the district’s two-year plan to improve academics, engagement, fiscal matters, and operations. Among the other achievements noted were the creation of new Career and Technical Education pathways (auto mechanics and horticulture), increased training opportunities for school-based staff as well as for families, and a 21 percent decrease in findings on state and federal audits from 2016-18 to 2018-20.
This progress comes as GCSC welcomes back thousands of students for in-person learning with changes to the learning environment designed to improve students’ success. The most notable change is extending the school day for one hour each day over the course of the entire school year. This change will result in the equivalent of 30 days a year of additional instruction for students. Over their K-12 educational career, the longer school day will add up to nearly two more years of learning time for students.
“Over the last few years, we have made tremendous progress in stabilizing our budget, and the next mountain for us to climb is academics,” said Dr. McNulty. “While we have much more to accomplish, today’s announcement is an encouraging reminder of the gains we are making.”
All media inquiries should be directed to Chelsea Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org.