August 19, 2021
Dear KLSD Community,
In recent weeks we have heard from concerned members of our parent community about certain elements of our special education program. Be assured that our administrative leaders and the Board of Education are listening with open minds and a firm commitment to resolving concerns through substantive action and better communication.
At their core, the concerns we have heard revolve around student safety and dignity, two of our fundamental priorities. With that in mind, I want to share with our families, staff, and the broader KLSD community the specific actions we have instituted and are about to undertake to ensure the well-being and safety of all students:
1. Last spring, we formally revised our district policy to further emphasize that protective holds (a range of physical intervention strategies used to calm a child who has become dysregulated) are a last resort, to be used only after all other strategies have been exhausted, and only when the safety of students or staff is at risk.
2. New policy language requires that parents be notified as soon as possible and no later than the end of the day when a protective hold is used. This summer, our administrators have developed the protocols that will ensure adherence to this important new policy language.
3. On September 1 and 2, appropriate staff will receive additional training to support students with autism and further training on de-escalation strategies. We are also working to provide additional autism training for staff at other times during the school year.
4. We are now vetting outside consultants with expertise in autism, neurodiversity, and communication who will visit this fall and provide us with feedback.
5. In September, prior to the start of school, there will be a new opportunity for students in our four self-contained classes, and their parents, to meet in-person with the teachers of those classes.
As always, any parent with a question or concern is invited to speak as soon as possible to the appropriate staff member. We will continue meeting regularly with our SEPTO leadership to exchange ideas and address questions.
When concerns are raised, we take them seriously. We investigate as broadly and deeply as necessary, and we act as swiftly and as significantly as warranted.
Can we do better in our work? Yes. We care deeply for our students, our families, and our staff. For all of them, we always want to be improving.
As your Superintendent, it is my job to maintain your trust by communicating promptly and effectively. That will always be my goal. Thank you for your ongoing partnership.
Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools