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DSPS Solutions: A Busy Year!

by: Gail Conrad, Jill Jansen, and Jill Baker

It has been another busy and eventful year for DSPS Solutions. This was reflected not only in the technical assistance phone calls and emails we received, or the co-trainings we conducted with the Chancellor’s Office, but also on our website. Hot Topics this year included Guided Pathways; AB 705 and the AB 705 Webinar; 2019-2020 DSPS Allocation Formula, including the Town Hall Meeting and “the pause;” and last but not least, the 2019-2020 DSPS Allocations. Other sections of the website that were updated and expanded to address the needs of the field included: Resources Section Six: 508. Alternate Media, Distance Education, and Assistive Technologies, due to the ongoing implications of the December  2017 State Auditors Report; Resources Section Two: Relevant OCR Decisions and Lawsuits, which continues to be of high importance to colleges; and Resources Section Ten: Budget/MIS, which aligns with the high interest in 2019-2020 DSPS Allocation Formula and 2019-2020 DSPS P1 Allocations.

Our Services

For those of you not familiar with our services, we provide technical assistance support to individuals via email and telephone; to groups and colleges for site visits in person and via Zoom teleconferencing; and via co-training with the Chancellor’s Office, including New Directors Training and All Directors Training. For 2019-2020, All Directors Training will be replaced by selected webinars, but DSPS Solutions will still be involved with them.

You may also know us for our collaboration with CAPED. For the past three years we have participated as sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters for the fall Convention, and provided support for the Spring Drive-In Training Conference, as needed. In addition, we actively support the CAPED Mentorship Program (CMP) throughout the year, including collaboration with outreach to new directors and mentors at the beginning of the year; at the CMP face-to-face training events; and with evaluation of needs and outcomes. Many of the new directors use the services of both grants, and our collaboration assures seamless, comprehensive response to their needs.   

Our Year by the Numbers

At the end of each year, we evaluate our services on behalf of the Chancellor’s Office. A brief overview of our findings for 2018-2019 is provided below.

Individual Technical Assistance:

  • Responded to 648 requests for individual technical assistance support and selected topics posted to the DSPS Directors listserv
  • Dedicated 657 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:
      • Extended time on assignments and homework
      • Accommodation statements
      • Presentations to faculty on academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services
      • Use of aides/personal assistants
      • Denial of accommodations
    • Budget / Allocation / New Funding Formula
    • AB 705 practices
    • College policies (board policy/procedures) on Academic Accommodations for SWD
    • Legal issues / new rulings
    • Staffing / hiring
  • Evaluation survey responses indicated that:
    • For the third year in a row, 97% or more of respondents reported that we responded to their question within two business 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 reported that they would request support services from DSPS Solutions again, while 97% said they would recommend our services to a colleague.
    • Open-ended responses indicated that for the third year in a row, Individual Technical Assistance was delivered in a timely manner, with information that was accurate, well-documented, and thorough. The services were delivered in a manner that was respectful, supportive, and collaborative. And the 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. Some of the quotes included:
      • “Friendly, collegial, professional, and thorough responses EVERY time -I’m so grateful to have DSPS Solutions as a resource.”
      • “Personalized responses to individualized questions or issues.”
      • “I was able to discuss a particular issue with a consultant and validate the response our campus would take as viable and appropriate.”
      • “Their detailed answers sometimes go above and beyond which is extraordinary in all regards.”
    • While there were few recommendations for improvement, respondents suggested adding Skype consulting and offering an appointment option to schedule telephone consultation. Other suggestions included webinars and additional website content.

Group Technical Assistance:

  • Conducted two virtual college visits to provide requested group technical assistance;
    • The most requested topics mirrored many of those we received via individual technical assistance requests, including:  
      • New funding formula, including college effort, new categories and weights, and the full allocation and budget
      • AB 705, and how to support students gateway courses
      • Accommodations, including testing rooms
      • Administrative concerns, including Board Policies and Procedures for DSPS services, including service animals; contents of Student Handbook; and dual enrollment and MOUs
      • Front office operations and student file contents
      • Clarification of roles for program personnel, including disability verifications, and determination of accommodations
      • Training of 504/ADA Coordinators
    • Evaluation feedback from both sites indicated a high level of satisfaction with the expertise of the presenters in terms of the topics covered; that their facilitation skills led to a productive learning experience; there was sufficient opportunity for questions and answers; the training was well-paced; and participant expectations were met. One participant noted of their presenter:
      • “The knowledge and understanding of [the presenter] was phenomenal. She was able to tailor her responses directly towards our immediate needs and specific circumstances. She picked up on our issues and helped problem solve and brainstorm solutions.”

DSPS Solutions Website Support:

  • Improvements to the Website:
    • Continued updating of each section of the website.
    • Very close to full accessibility of all documents on the site, and full accessibility of the platform.
  • Most-visited web pages, in rank order, included:
    • DSPS Solutions Homepage, with 5,334 page visits. (This is the homepage for the website, and is the first point of contact for many new and returning visitors.)
    • Resources top level page, with 2,210 page visits. (This is the top level page for the multiple resource sections, and provides links to each section.)
    • CCCCO Training top level page, with 1,821 page visits. (Includes links to New Directors Training, All Directors Training, the original Title 5 Training [spring 2016], and an archive of webinars hosted by DSPS.)
    • DSPS page, with 1,514 page visits. (Provides a description of the DSPS program in California Community Colleges.)
    • Training top level page, with 1,157 page visits. (Includes training modules provided directly by DSPS Solutions, including DSPS Directors Training, and LD Issues and Accommodations.)
    • Directory top level page for all Directories, with 1,106 page visits. (Provides a listing all directories with hyperlinks to access them.)
    • DSPS Coordinators Directory, the sub-directory with the highest number of page visits, 1,040 in total. (Provides contact information for all coordinators and directors in the system.)
    • CCCCO Training: New Directors Training, top level page for this training, with 743 page visits. (Provides all information and downloadable materials for the training, including links to the Training Assets page, which provides links to a wide variety of resources for all directors.)
    • Technical Assistance, with 703 page visits. (Explains what group Technical Assistance is and how to request it.)
    • Jobs, with 696 page visits. (Includes listings for current DSPS openings in the California Community Colleges.)

Co-Training with the Chancellor’s Office:

  • Presented at New Directors Training in fall 2018 and All Directors Training in spring 2019;
    • Topics were comprehensive for New Directors Training; while All Directors Training focused upon:
      • Allocation changes and the new funding formula; impact of college effort
      • AB 705
      • Program Evaluation Plan (Survey)
      • Vision Resource Center
      • Regional Breakout Groups
    • Evaluations were positive overall for both trainings, reflecting recognition of changes made over the past four years in direct response to participant feedback. The one area that was cited as unsatisfactory was the size and configuration of the room for All Directors Training.

Moving Forward with Services in 2019-2020

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, as well as presentations you have done for your faculty, MOU’s you have developed, policies and procedures, documents, handbooks and forms if they are accessible.

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. Email: Gail Conrad at, Jill Jansen at, and Jill Baker at Our phone numbers are available at Contact Us.

Note: Following publication of the print version of this article by CAPED at the 2019 Convention, it will be posted on the DSPS Solutions website at and all of the links will be live.