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DSPS Solutions: Year Two in Review

by Gail Conrad, Jill Jansen, and Jill Baker

On June 30, 2017, DSPS Solutions completed its second year serving as the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) Technical Assistance provider.  It has been an especially exciting and rewarding year for us, as our services of individual and group technical assistance (TA), joint-CCCCO training, and dedicated DSPS website support became fully established during this time.  While Year One of the grant was marked by transition, including statewide support for implementation of the new Title 5 DSPS Regulations and the transfer of TA services from The Galvin Group to DSPS Solutions, Year Two was marked by constancy as you came to depend upon DSPS Solutions for your technical assistance needs, and Title 5 changes became more familiar.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, DSPS Solutions:

  • responded to over 600 requests for individual technical assistance support;

    •  highest occurring topics included accommodations and funding (including MIS counts).
  • conducted four onsite college visits to provide requested group technical assistance;

    • topics included Title 5 Regulations review and clarification, course substitution policies and procedures, and overview of DSPS procedures and practices.
  • participated in CAPED’s Spring 2017 Regional Drive-In Workshop;

    • topics covered by DSPS Solutions included Title 5 Regulations review and Learning Disabilities, in addition to support for the Question and Answer session for CAPED Mentorship training provided on Day 2.
  • delivered the “Allocations, Auditors, and SSARCC” webinar in June 2017;

    • scheduled to provide just-in-time support for directors and coordinators as they began their SSARCC reporting process.
  • presented at New Directors Training in fall 2016 and All Directors Training in spring 2017;

    • topics were comprehensive for New Directors Training, and focused upon allocation changes and formula, SSARCC, common assessment, and digital accessibility for All Directors Training; supported CAPED Mentorship Program on Day 2 of All Directors Training.
  • served as a host and presenter at CAPED’s Annual Convention in fall 2016;

    • opics included a review of the first year serving as the CCCCO’s DSPS Technical Assistance provider, a review of Title 5, and assistance with CAPED Mentorship Program; DSPS Solutions also co-hosted breakfast for one day of the convention, and hosted a vendor’s table.

Additional support to the DSPS community was delivered via the DSPS Solutions website, which provides state and federal laws and regulations, including Title 5, ADA, and Section 508; OCR decisions and legal cases; DSPS-related documents from the Chancellor’s Office; and specific information regarding DSPS program management and delivery of disability services. It also provides a variety of training materials, including a section that supports CCCCO Training such as New Directors Training, with its Training Assets section, and All Directors Training; and another that supports DSPS Solutions Training modules, including DSPS Directors Training, which is self-paced, and LD Issues and Accommodations Training, which, when successfully completed, is equivalent to a 3-unit graduate level course, which can be applied to the 15 units required by the CCCCO to get into the Learning Disabilities Eligibility and Services Model (LDESM) training.

As many of you know, at DSPS Solutions we evaluate all of our services. After each presentation or onsite visit, we administer a survey, and at the end of the year, if you received individual TA support, you received an evaluation survey via email. We use the findings from these surveys to determine what we are doing well, and where we can improve, and we make note of both for future presentations and services.

In terms of services we deliver, you rated us “very effective to highly effective” overall in the multiple-choice questions, which validates our current effort. But equally important, we look to your responses in the open-ended questions within the various surveys to guide our future services. For instance, analysis of open-ended questions provided insight for practice in terms of how you prefer to learn (interactively); how you prefer to receive your training materials (electronically, in advance of the training, via a predictable place on the website); and what you want to receive more of (sample college forms, policies, and procedures posted to the DSPS Solutions website).

In terms of Individual Technical Assistance Support Services, you indicated that we are doing a highly effective job of meeting your needs. In responding to an open-ended survey question regarding the benefits of this service, you said that we are prompt in responding to your questions; that you value the high caliber of knowledge and experience that we bring to the table, along with the supporting documentation we provide; and you appreciate the collegial manner with which we deliver support. One respondent summed it up with the statement: “They give us peace of mind.”

You also told us what you like on the website and what you would like more of. You did much of this last year with the detailed website assessment survey, which we are still acting upon, and indirectly each month via our website analytics reports which tell us the pages you are visiting. We know that new Title 5 Regulations are still a big concern for you, with the following number of page visits during the period of July 1, 2016 – May 30, 2017:

Title 5 Content: Page Title Number of Visits to Page
Resources: Section 1: Chancellor’s Office Resources: Title 5 Regulations and Guidelines, and California Code Sections 1,423
CCCCO Training: Title 5 Training page (this page has all of the Title 5 training documents from the 2015-2016 statewide training sessions) 1,569
Resources: Section 4: DSPS Program Management: New Title 5 forms (now part of Student Record Forms, by type) 537

CCCCO Training and DSPS Solutions (Online) Training sections were also important to you, with the following number of page visits during the same time period:

Training Content: Page Title Number of Visits to Page
CCCCO Training: New Directors Training (all sections combined, including Training Assets pages) 891
DSPS Solutions (Online) Training: LD Issues and Accommodations 676
DSPS Solutions (Online) Training: DSPS Directors Training (self-paced, and different from New Directors Training) 305

Over the past two years you also told us how we could improve the website. Several of the recommendations made to us last year are currently in-progress. First, we are creating a more robust “Search” feature based upon assigning keywords and subject headings to each new document posted to the website, and when retrofitting existing documents that we are keeping on the website. We are changing some of our navigation/architectural features to help you more easily find the materials you need in the various sections of the website. And we are adding more sample forms, policies, and procedures from your colleagues.

Based upon this year’s evaluation, we are creating a “hot topics” section to the website for posting items that emerge via the number of TA requests for individual and group support, and occurring with greater frequency on the DSPS Directors Listserv. An example of this was the amount of discussion we were seeing on the listserv and the number of requests for support that we were receiving regarding Math course substitution policies and procedures. In response we created a new webpage titled Course Substitution Policies and Procedures, which has four subsections, including: Accommodations; OCR Letters, Legal Cases, and Regulations Related to Course Substitutions; Course Substitution Policies and Procedures; and Fundamental Alteration and Undue Burden. Not all hot topics will result in development of a separate webpage, but all will be posted, with resources, to the hot topics page.

The team has created a plan, informed by Gaeir Dietrich, of the High Tech Center Training Unit, to develop a forward thinking, compliant website. To this end, we are in the process of making our site fully WCAG 2.0 Level 2 accessible; we have added an Accessibility page, which is linked to the bottom of each webpage on the site, stating our accessibility policy and how to contact us should someone have problems accessing the site. In addition, documents are rendered and posted in both accessible .doc and PDF formats whenever possible to expand accessibility of the site.

In looking to Year Three, 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.

To submit a question as part of our individual technical assistance services, email us at To request onsite individual or group technical assistance, go to the Technical Assistance webpage, and follow the directions there.

Thank you for another great year, and we look forward to serving you again this year!