As part of the 2018 Budget Act, the California Legislature empowered the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to designate Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) or consortia of SELPAs as special education leads. These SELPA Leads were entrusted with the mission of improving student outcomes as an integral part of the California Statewide System of Support (SSOS).

The 2018-2023 Cohort of SELPA Leads, consisted of Imperial County SELPA, Marin County SELPA, Placer County SELPA, South County SELPA, and the System Improvement Lead (comprising El Dorado County, Riverside County, and West San Gabriel SELPAs). A final evaluation conducted by RTI found the SELPA Leads successfully implemented nine essential features that contributed to their profound impact on partners, local education agencies (LEAs), and most importantly, students with disabilities.

Capacity Building: SELPA Leads focused on building the capacity of SELPAs to support local education agencies (LEAs) in meeting the diverse needs of students with disabilities, fostering collaboration, and integrating special education and general education.

Positive Impact on LEAs: Participant teams experienced significant improvements in continuous improvement approaches and implementations in their respective LEAs. This led to increased integration between special education and general education services, higher-quality Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and implementation, and improved student engagement.

Evidence-Based Practices: SELPA Leads emphasized evidence-based practices (EBPs) and tailored trainings, resulting in the perceived increase of EBPs within the LEAs and a potential positive correlation with heightened student engagement.

Sustainability: SELPA Leads took proactive steps in establishing sustainability structures, ensuring that 93% of partners involved with capacity building expressed their ability to continue implementing the practices learned even after the SELPA Lead support ends. These practices include integrating special education and general education, data analysis for decision-making, determining effective instructional practices, and utilizing online tools and resources.

We invite you to explore the detailed reports and findings showcasing the exceptional work of SELPA Leads in implementing the nine essential features that empower SELPAs to support LEAs and transform the lives of students with disabilities. 

As we move forward, the new cohort of Special Education Resource Leads will continue to foster sustainability and continuous improvement across the Statewide System of Support (SSOS). 

By utilizing the valuable tools and resources created by the Leads, you can actively contribute to the betterment of California’s educational system.