Posted on October 18, 2021
Categories: equity, special education, system trends

This report provides a descriptive summary of the nine Specialized Service support programs provided to 20,787 students with one or more Individualized Education Plan (IEP) classifications in the School District of Philadelphia during the 2019-20 school year. It follows from our first report on the special education landscape in 2018-19 that focused on patterns by student IEP classifications by demographics, attendance, and suspensions data.  This report concentrates on Specialized Service support programs, because curriculum, professional development for teachers and support staff, and other services provided to students are often organized by Specialized Service support programs. This report also includes additional data on student outcomes and progress. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all District programs, including Specialized Service support programs, converted to virtual learning in March 2020. Therefore, all data included in this report is from on or before March 13, 2020.

Key findings include:

  • In 2019-20, 15% of students in District schools were considered Special Education students or had IEPs. The majority of students (59%) were in the Learning support program, and the majority of students received supplemental support.
  • Black/African American students made up the highest percentage of students in most Specialized Service support programs, consisting of about 53% of students with IEPs. However, Black/African American students were overrepresented in the Emotional support program at 72%.
  • Nearly 70% of students with IEPs were male.
  • Higher percentages of students with IEPs were in fourth through seventh grade than in other grades.
  • Fewer than 50% of students with IEPs had 95% or higher yearly attendance rates.