Every school that operates a Special Education program in the United States is required to file detailed reports documenting its compliance with all relevant state and federal regulations. These reports require teachers and administrators to compile a great deal of information on mandatory Individual Education Plans, parent–teacher discussions, and scheduling — all of it required to be complete, up–to–date, and accurate. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, nearly 900 individual schools have to prepare and submit these documents — and all of this must be supervised by just 20 people laboring in the Special Education Compliance Department. "We do this through 3 approaches," explains Special Education Compliance Specialist Tim Skilton. "We educate, we support, and we monitor. We build and distribute training modules and offer workshops and presentations related to compliance, we visit and advise schools on best practices and procedures, and we also respond to specific questions about specific cases."
Each year, the department audits and reviews the compliance of approximately 200 district schools, which involves one–to–two day visits by department staffers, examination of original documents, interviews of teachers and parents, checkups on implementation of services, and actual classroom monitoring. This process gathers plenty of data which are then organized and processed rapidly and efficiently. "We wind up with close to 200,000 data points a year," Tim notes. "What we collect changes a little bit each year, so we have to be flexible. Then we have to distribute the data to lots of different consumers, each with their own requirements."