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DSPS Solutions: The Year in Review: 2017-2018

by: Gail Conrad, Jill Jansen, and Jill Baker

The past academic year was especially busy, challenging, and always rewarding for DSPS Solutions. In our role as the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) Technical Assistance provider for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, our work days often reflect those of practitioners in the field. You know us for the services we provide, which include individual and group technical assistance (TA), joint-CCCCO training, and dedicated DSPS website support.

Our Services

When you send an email, call one of us, or leave a message, and we respond, that is individual technical assistance support. We hear from you for a variety of reasons for this type of support. These questions typically range from determining or accommodating a student’s disability-related needs, to issues with effectively delivering academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services and/or instruction to the student, to clarification in carrying out your administrative responsibilities such as budget oversight, staffing, expenditures, and more. When you feel you need a site visit to assist your program with many of these same types of questions, but on a larger scale, that is group technical assistance. And we deliver that assistance as well.

You know us for our co-training with the Chancellor’s Office from when you attended New Directors Training in the fall, as a new coordinator or director, and when you attended All Directors Training in the spring. And many of you use our website, which includes information in direct support in carrying out the responsibilities of your job. If you attended any of our co-training events, you downloaded your training materials from this site; and if you attended New Directors Training, you probably continue to use our Training Assets section.

You also may know us for our collaboration with CAPED. We participate as exhibitors, presenters, and sponsors for the fall Convention. We support the Spring Drive-In Training Conference, serving as facilitators and providing other assistance as needed. And we support the CAPED Mentorship Program in multiple ways, including participation in the online activities via Canvas; at their in-person training events; and with evaluation of needs and outcomes.

Our Year in Review

At the end of each year, we evaluate our services on behalf of the Chancellor’s Office. A brief overview of our findings for 2017-2018 is provided below.

Individual Technical Assistance:

  • Responded to 776 requests for individual technical assistance support and selected topics posted to the DSPS Directors listserv
  • Dedicated more than 600 hours to this service during the year
  • The most common topics for questions included:
    • Academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services and/or instruction for Students with Disabilities (SWD)
      • Including Course Substitutions and Waivers
    • Budget / Allocation / New Funding Formula
    • College policies (board policy/procedures) on Academic Accommodations for SWD
    • Faculty issues -how to get faculty buy-in for accommodating SWD
    • Legal issues / new rulings
    • Staffing / hiring
  • Evaluation survey responses indicated that:
    • Ninety-seven percent or more of respondents indicated that we responded to their question within two days (as required by contract), we clarified the question with them, and we provided a thorough response to their question.
    • Ninety-nine percent of respondents indicated that not only would they request support services from DSPS Solutions again, they would recommend our services to a colleague.
    • Open-ended responses indicated that for the second year in a row, respondents perceived this support as being promptly delivered, with information that was comprehensive, accurate, well-documented, and trusted. They perceived services as being delivered in a manner that was respectful, supportive, and collaborative. And that services were delivered by DSPS professionals who are highly knowledgeable and experienced in California Community Colleges DSPS practices, procedures, and policies, and the environment in which these programs must operate.
    • Recommendations for improvement included proactive communication to the field regarding trends emerging from questions currently being asked, so that all could benefit from the support. In response to this request, the “Hot Topics” page has been added to the DSPS Solutions website.

Group Technical Assistance:

  • Conducted four onsite college visits to provide requested group technical assistance;
    • The most requested topic continued to be Title 5 Regulations update and clarification, which all four colleges requested.
    • Specific topics within Title 5 and service delivery included: new disabilities definitions, verification of disability, documentation, the interactive process, student files, Educational Assistance Classes, new Weighted Student Count and College Effort in the new allocation formula, and identification and prioritization of college/program needs.

DSPS Solutions Website Support:

  • Improvements to the Website:
    • New, more robust Search feature, with another upgrade coming this year
    • Reduced amount of content on the site to make it more manageable and current for end-users
    • Increased accessibility of content located on the website (should have it all completed later this academic year)
  • Most-visited web pages included:
    • Resources Section 1: CCCCO: Title 5 Regulations and Guidelines and California Code Sections (As a group, visitors were still going back to the Regulations and Implementing Guidelines to search for clarification, but less so than in the two previous years.)
    • CCCCO Training (includes New Directors Training, All Directors Training, the original Title 5 Training [spring 2016], and an archive of webinars hosted by DSPS)
    • DSPS page, which provides a description of the DSPS program in California Community Colleges
      • Another highly-visited page was Technical Assistance, which explains what group Technical Assistance is and how to request it
    • Directory (top level page for all Directories)
      • Followed closely by DSPS Coordinators Directory, which provides contact information for all coordinators and directors in the system, and is located within the overall Directory section
    • Jobs (includes listings for current DSPS openings in the California Community Colleges)
    • Training (includes training modules provided directly by DSPS Solutions, including DSPS Directors Training, and LD Issues and Accommodations, the latter of which can be used in lieu of 3 equivalent units of coursework to take the Learning Disabilities Eligibility and Service Manual (LDESM) training for services within the California Community Colleges.

Co-Training with the Chancellor’s Office:

  • Presented at New Directors Training in fall 2017 and All Directors Training in spring 2018;
    • Topics were comprehensive for New Directors Training; while All Directors Training focused upon:
      • Allocation changes and the new funding formula; impact of college effort; and questions regarding SSARCC
      • The State Auditors Report and its impact on:
        • The Biennial Report to the Legislature, including a focus group activity regarding DSPS program strengths and challenges, and plans for developing guidance in the area of program review
        • Alternate media production, policies, and tracking
      • Presentation by High Tech Center Training Unit on achieving accessibility

Moving Forward with Services in 2018-2019

In looking to the current year, we will be continuing our work to meet your technical assistance needs. We ask that you continue to work with us, provide informal feedback and suggestions, and participate in survey assessments when requested to do so. Our services and training have improved significantly based upon this type of communication, and we hope to continue this growth. And we encourage all Coordinators and Directors to send us any job openings so that we can post them on our website.

How to Contact Us

To reach us for individual or other technical assistance, email us at: Or you can submit a form online at: Contact Us, on our website. You are also welcome to email or phone any of us directly.