What is a SELPA
In 1977, all school districts and county school offices in California were required to form geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region’s boundaries. Each region became known as a Special Education Local Plan Area – SELPA.
Today, there are over 130 SELPAs in the State. The SELPA governance structures vary in form, including models for Multi-District SELPAs, Multi-District/County Office SELPAs, Single District SELPAs, Multi-District/Multi- County SELPAs, County SELPAs with Joint Powers Agreements, and Charter only SELPAs.
Each SELPA has a Local Plan describing how it provides special education services. Specific components to be included in the Local Plan are delineated in the Education Code. The SELPA fosters coordination between general and special education for prevention and early intervention of suspected disabilities. The SELPA also ensures appropriate education services for individuals with disabilities by working cooperatively with other public and private agencies to support a full complement of special education services for students.
Each SELPA must have an Administrative Unit (also known as the Responsible Local Agency), which serves as the legal entity that receives funds.
The Goal of the SELPA
Even though there are many organizational structures for a SELPA, all SELPAs have the same basic goal:
to deliver high quality special education programs and services to students with disabilities in the most effective manner practicable.
SELPAs believe that all students can learn and that students with special needs must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for students with special needs and training for parents and educators. SELPAs collaborate with county agencies and other Local Educational Agency (LEAs) to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which students with special needs can succeed.
Strategies employed to achieve these and the following goals include:
Responding to specific areas of local, state and public concerns;
Emphasizing the need for effective special education services to improve educational and life outcomes for students with disabilities;
Organizing SELPA Administrators for support of common education goals; and
Defining SELPA governance and organization with flexibility at the local level.
For Students with Special Education Services
Assuring that appropriate programs and services are provided to meet the needs of each child with disabilities throughout the state.
Assuring that a full continuum of programs is available to each individual with disabilities served by each SELPA.
Maintaining programs and services within the SELPA which will allow each individual with disabilities to achieve at a level commensurate with his or her ability.
Assuring that each individual with disabilities is integrated within and has access to the district core curriculum and extracurricular activities as appropriate.
Assuring the availability of due process rights for students and their parents served in each SELPA.
For Special Education Services
Eliminating duplication of services within the SELPA
Improving the quality of programs through the use of on-going evaluations.
Encouraging involvement by parents of each child with a disability in the IEP process.
Increasing awareness of parents of individuals with disabilities through a comprehensive program of parent education.
Assuring that all certificated and classified staff members achieve professional growth through a comprehensive regional program of staff development.
Maintaining opportunities for sharing technical resources and information among SELPAs.
Fostering public support for special education through the maintenance of a strong position of child advocacy.
Assuring that an effective management information system is available to monitor student data.
Implementing cost-effective procedures and management systems to maximize the quantity and quality of services and programs for the benefit of students with disabilities.
Maintaining lines of communication with parents, staff and Community Advisory Committee members.
Maintaining line of communication with all publicly supported agencies providing services to students with disabilities.
Maintaining lines of communication with the community regarding special education programs and services.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 20 United States Code (20 USC) Section 1400 et seq. and related federal regulations, require each special education local plan area (SELPA) to ensure a continuum of program options are available to meet the needs of students with disabilities for special education and related services.
Students who are eligible to receive special education services are guaranteed a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Federal, state, and local mandates provide a vast array of requirements that special educators must follow when implementing the programs designed to provide students with FAPE. These mandates are extensive and often confusing.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an informal method of settling disagreements that may arise during an IEP meeting.
ADR uses specific options of this process to promote understanding, open communication, and satisfying solutions to conflict that support and strengthen relationships.