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Virtuoso Education Consulting Partners with Indiana University’s Equity Project for a Bold New Disparity Study and Solutions for the Indiana’s Office of Special Education

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 3, 2017)—Virtuoso Education Consulting, LLC, just announced its new project in conjunction with The Equity Project at Indiana University to study disproportionality in special education identification and placement and in school discipline for students with disabilities in Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) within Indiana. As The Equity Project website explains, “In Indiana (and across the nation), there are a number of sources of racial/ethnic disparity in school services and school outcomes.” Russell J. Skiba, PhD, director of The Equity Project and Renae Azizz, EdD, founder and CEO of Virtuoso Education Consulting will work together with their respective teams to identify and reduce these sources of disparity and discipline issues among students with disabilities.

According to the agreement, the project was awarded by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Office of Special Education to study existing disproportionality data provided by the IDOE and The Equity Project and Dr. Skiba, identify and monitor non-compliance, and provide strategies and resources to help educators in all LEAs eradicate and avoid disproportionality across all racial/ethnic groups.  The teams will identify non-compliance and significant disproportionality citations among schools and school districts. Initial consults will begin almost immediately with non-compliant educators.  Similar to his colleague, Dr. Renae Azziz, Dr. Skiba has worked with schools across the country and published extensively in the areas of school violence, school discipline and classroom management, and equity in education. Virtuoso, Dr. Azziz’s renowned education consulting firm, will also provide support through webinars, onsite observations, professional development, and training. Support will continue long after the project is completed as the firm will establish a technical assistance resource center for the Local Educational Agencies.

The coordinated effort will begin by looking at data according to Dr. Azziz. “We will look at data on disproportionality and school discipline regarding students from each racial/ethnic group who receive special education services,” she says.  “Then we examine the proportional relationship between those groups and the history of expulsion and suspension in the Indiana public schools. This will be the springboard to identify non-compliance, needs, gaps, and solutions and then establish goals and expectations for LEAs for the 2017-18 school year.”  The firm also provides implementation assistance and plans to review progress throughout the process, including quarterly plan reviews.  

Known for its expertise in educational training and implementation assistance, the company often trains educators on the ways in which culture impacts behavior and learning, emphasizing more positive and effective discipline methods. Therefore, such a project will have a direct impact on the success of students in SpEd programs.

Virtuoso’s Dr. Azziz looks forward to the results of the partnership and the study and eventual solutions.  “We are honored to be involved with Dr. Skiba and The Equity Project for this venture and want to see our most fragile students succeed and find fewer and fewer disproportionate discipline issues such as expulsion or suspension among them,” explains Azziz. “In fact, we hope to see such disparities cease to exist.”

About the Company:

Renae Azziz EdD, NCSP is CEO at Virtuoso Education Consulting LLC, a professional development firm that empowers educators on best practices in the K-12 market. Her team helps educators meet school improvement goals, address disproportionality, and close achievement gaps.  She is the author of many best-selling professional development products. Visit www.virtuosoed.com or contact us at ed@virtuosoed.com or razziz@virtuosoed.com.

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