STRATEGIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Citywide Education Progress Reports

NEW ORLEANS: City Upgrades Special Education Application and Enrollment Process

Families of children with IEPs want to know what specific services are available at a school before applying, but school information guides rarely provide  descriptions about these services, leaving families. This means families must track down someone to talk to at the prospective school or enroll and find out midyear whether it is a good fit.

EnrollNOLA, the city’s application and enrollment system, publishes detailed information about which special education services are available at each school. A family will know whether the school is inclusion-only or has special programs for students with moderate to severe needs.

To improve the application and enrollment process, the city conducted a landscape analysis in 2017 to identify available special education seats. It is also working to set aside space for students requiring specific services. EnrollNOLA adjusted its algorithm for how students are assigned and when they can transfer, so special education students can more easily transfer when a school is not the right fit.

Meeting the needs of students requiring specialized services has been a weakness for New Orleans in the past. The measures above are not perfect: schools still don’t report the percent of students receiving special education services. But these are critical improvements for any family living in a high-choice city.

View New Orleans’ citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.