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Humble, TX: "Growing special ed population" means more has to be done

June 22, 2018, My San Antonio: Humble ISD’s growing special ed population leads to expansion of services https://www.mysanantonio.com/neighborhood/humble/schools/article/Humble-ISD-s-growing-special-ed-population-13015535.php Educational support services personnel presented the Humble ISD school board with updates about their departments during a meeting on June 14…. Koerner said the Integrated Athletics Program is anticipated to expand to the middle school level over the next two years. Humble ISD opened their new Insperity Adaptive Sports Complex during the 2017-2018 school year, which was built to accommodate children of all abilities…. Increasing special education needs Through the Child Find process, over 3,400 students in Humble ISD were served in special education during the 2017-2018 school year. The district also conducted 700 initial evaluations, out of which 539 students were identified as being eligible for special education services. Pomberg believes that the TEA’s action plan will serve to increase the number of initial evaluations even more. Building awareness may boost the number of students who are referred for Child Find evaluations. “I anticipate an increase in the number of evaluations that we’ll be conducting, so that 700 I anticipate will be much higher next school year,” Pomberg said. Humble ISD’s responsive services department consists of health services, Section 504 and dyslexia. Section 504 is a rule requiring school districts to provide students with a disability of any severity to “free appropriate public education.” According to Laura Dowdy, assistant director of responsive services, because of the Child Find efforts, Section 504 has increased by 20 percent over the last two years. “It’s a growing population and we now have 3,180 students at the end of the year that were served under 504,” Dowdy said. According to Dowdy, Section 504 used to concentrate more on medical issues such as asthma, diabetes and allergies. “Now we’re really seeing a shift and we have, but ADHD represents 34 percent of our populations,” Dowdy said. “If you add up ADHD and dyslexia, it’s 39 percent of our students served under 504.” Dowdy projects approximately 17 percent of the student population may have dyslexia. Because there are varying degrees of dyslexia, the district will likely not be able to identify all 17 percent, but they will identify those students who are struggling in order to provide early intervention, which she said is tantamount to countering dyslexia…. Dowdy announced that Humble ISD was one of the districts chosen by the TEA to receive a $1 million grant to use towards services for students with dyslexia. The district will utilize the grant funds beginning next school year. “This grant will help us identify students earlier,” Dowdy said….