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Park Ridge/Niles, IL: District hires more mental health providers for disabled students

Aug 28, 2018, Chicago Tribune: New District 64 special ed director promises 'robust' program for students with disabilities http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/news/ct-prh-park-ridge-schools-follow-tl-0830-story.html The new director of special education for Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 vowed Monday to improve services for students with disabilities by retraining the district’s staff on how to develop federally mandated plans for each student in the special education program. “We will be more aggressive in developing a robust special education program,” said Lea Anne Frost, who started as the district’s director of student services less than two months ago. Frost is one of four new employees in the student services division, which the board agreed earlier this year to expand by three positions: a new elementary school special education coordinator, a new behavior analyst and a new psychologist. The additional psychologist allowed Frost “to balance caseloads, so psychologists can be more attentive,” according to a report she prepared for the board. After Frost started July 1, the district’s special education staff received additional training on the process of crafting individualized education plans, which are required by the federal government to determine what services students are to receive and what accommodations must be made for them. The district has also changed how it prepares those plans “to ensure greater compliance in identifying student needs. … That issue prompted several parents of students with significant disabilities to urge District 64 leaders to overhaul the entire special education program, saying they were dissatisfied with the treatment of their children and frustrated that they had not been consulted about changes….