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Questions and Answers dated 4-28-16 pertaining to the Special Education Behavior Intervention Services RFP

Questions/Answers pertaining to the Special Education Behavior Intervention Services RFP dated 4-28-16


1.  Question:   Payment methodology - will vendor be paid by a contract for the full amount or fee for service? 

     Answer:   The vendor will be paid by a contract or fee for service. The district would prefer contract. 

2.  Question:    Ancillary Services - will PT, OT, ST and interpreter services be included in the rate or provided by the district or will we expect to have those services provided/coordinated/paid for in addition to the student placement? 

     Answer:   If the vendor has access to PT, OT< ST and interpreter services and would like to include these services in their contract, that would be acceptable. The district would also like to option to utilize specialized services - such as these, but which may include others such as TVI, etc... from our own staff should service provisions support this option.  

3.  Question:   School administration - will the vendor school require a principal, nurse, physical education, art/music education or will those roles be covered by the sending school? 

     Answer:   The school will be fully self-sustaining and maintain its own administrative/leadership team and data driven programming. 

4.  Question:   Will special education teachers, BCBA and other professional status staff be required to participate in the teacher’s union or will they be employees of the identified vendor? 

     Answer:  The employees of the school will not be employees of the school district. The school will be its own entity for the purposes of programming and staffing. 

5.  Question:   Will children be transported to specialized school located in Manchester or should the contractor include cost of transportation in the cost proposal?  

     Answer:   The school district will provide for the transportation of students to the school location. The vendor is not responsible for transportation. 

 6.  Question:   Are additional resources available for the start-up of classroom environment and pre-service teacher training?  

     Answer:    The school district will not be providing any resources for the school. The school needs to be fully self-sustaining. However, the school district may consider partnership with access to some programming space in the city per school board approval.  

7.  Question:   How many classrooms does MSD expect the vendor to provide to house 20-24 students?  

     Answer:   The vendor will need to determine the size of their classrooms based on the methodology and data that best supports the mission of their program.  

8.  Question:   How many children are currently served with in-school support? How many students do you expect to be served with in-school consultation? Is consultation from BCBA individualized per student or general classroom consultation with the RBT supporting children individually?  

     Answer:    Currently the school district provides in-district support to our Enhanced Specialized Programs in the disability areas of Autism and Emotional Behavioral Disturbance. Vendors work as consultants providing data and the individual student and program based plans to support success in self-contained classrooms. We have three elementary programs with 8-12 students each. These classrooms have an RBT working in the classroom and weekly BCBA consult to support FAPE access in this manner. In 2016-17 the school district would like to continue supporting programming in this manner. We would like to expand this level of support to our middle and high school self-contained programs (2). 

 9.  Question:   How many children are currently placed out of district? 

      Answer:   87 

10.  Question:   How many children are currently served in their home?  

       Answer:   7 

11.  Question:   Who is responsible for ESY services? 

       Answer:   The school district provides ESY for qualifying students.  

12.  Question:   In addition to school based services, is there a home-based/after school program component that we need to be aware of? 

       Answer:   There is not request for home-based or after school programming at this time. If vendors would like to include these items they would be considered.  

13.  Question:    Will there be other consultants involved at the program/student level that we need to be aware of? 

       Answer:   The district has reserved the right to provide a contract to more than one vendor as brought forth through this RFP. 

The school district will provide an LEA Representative to bridge services and supports for students enrolled in Special Education School. The Director of Students will work closely with school leadership to maintain collaborative approach to transitional services for students. 

14.  Question:   Is there access to all student programming and documentation? 

       Answer:   There will be access to the appropriate documentation necessary to provide specialized services for identified students.  

15.  Question:    Who is responsible for material cost? 

       Answer:   The school will manage its own supply/materials costs with the exception of specialized equipment required for individual students to access their FAPE as noted in the IEP. Any specialized equipment will be provided by the school district.  

16.  Question:   Who is responsible for cost of trainings, such as crisis prevention trainings? 

       Answer:   The Special Education School will train its employees and staff in the best and most appropriate methodology to service students with behavioral needs. The methods used within the school setting should be directly in-line with the theories of learning promoted within the program.  

17Question:   We currently operate a certified 3-12th grade special education school. Is it okay to open a separate Early Childhood Special Education school pre-k-3 at a separate (and more appropriate) location based in Manchester?  

      Answer: Yes. The school district is looking for a specific school to meet the needs of students in the Manchester School District. The district would like general oversight and ownership of a set number of seats. The district would be responsible for ensuring the seats are filled through a contract. The school site would not be responsible for acquiring students. The school district would prefer a K-6 or K-8 school site.  

18.  Question:   Can we receive a list of current screening & assessment tools, testing, curriculum, etc. currently used in MSD special education programs? Will those continue to be paid for by MSD or should they be incorporated in the vendor proposal? 

     Answer:   The Special Education School can have some level of access to the curriculum and supports used to instruct children in the K-12 public school setting. However, the Special Education School will need to provide its own curriculum that would be imbedded with a research based behavior intervention model that supports students with challenging behaviors returning to their home school setting. 

 19.   On Page 5, Paragraph 3, the RFP describes services for ESP-A and ESP-E classrooms for high school, middle school, and elementary/preschool grades. Can you please clarify the following:

      Question:  How many high school classrooms for ESP-A and for ESP-E? Will the classrooms be at one high school or distributed across multiple high schools?

       Answer:  Currently the programs are located at one high school. Each program has 1-3 classrooms. However, the current school site has room for expansion. The school site is open to suggestions of the vendor relative to the class size required to deliver appropriate services. 

        Question:  How many middle school classrooms for ESP-A and for ESP-E? Will the classrooms be at one middle school or distributed across multiple middle schools? 

       Answer:  Currently the ESP-A program is housed at one middle school and the ESP-E program is housed at another middle school. This format is open to suggestion by vendor bid.  

       Question:  How many elementary/preschool classrooms for ESP-A and for ESP-E? Will the classrooms be at one school or distributed across multiple schools? 

       Answer:  Currently the ESP-A Elementary program is at one school. The ESP-E program is now in two schools and may expand to a third depending upon vendor bids for services to meet these needs. 

20.  Question:   For each of these "in-district" classrooms, can you please provide an estimate for how many students will be in each classroom?  

       Answer:  The class size will depend upon the ratios of student to staff recommended by the vendor.  Currently these classrooms support 8-12 students. The methodology used to support this number of students in the public school setting is not a number based on best practice. The school district has not been able to provide a consistent level of staff support for 8-12 students in a classroom over the 2015-16 school year. 

21.  Question:   For each of the ESP-A and ESP-E classrooms, would you prefer that we provide staffing ratios based on number of students per classroom (e.g., one Registered Behavior Technician for every 3 students), or a fixed number of staff for each classroom (e.g., each ESP-A classroom has two Registered Behavior Technicians and each ESP-E classroom has one Registered Behavior Technician)? 

       Answer:   The school district would prefer that you provide the staffing supports necessary to meet best practices relative to the field of ABA services. The district is interested in a proven methodology to support the diminishment of inappropriate behaviors so that students can acquire socially acceptable skills to return to the typical classroom setting. 

22.  Question:   Would you prefer that we bid to provide permanent Registered Behavior Technician staff for each ESP-A and ESP-E classroom for the entire school year, or would you prefer that we instead propose a timeframe to train and transition services over to MSD paraprofessionals? Compass is prepared to bid with one or both of these options. Please let us know what you prefer.  

       Answer:  The school district would ultimately like to transition from outside vendor support for its in-district classrooms. However, the district recognizes that this may take time. We would like to consider both bids for this level of service. 

23.  On pages 5-6, paragraph 4, you describe requirements for a location for placement of 20-24 students in grades K-5 or K-8 who need a more restrictive environment. We have a few questions about this location: 

       Question:   Given the ages of children (particularly in the younger grades), will this environment need to offer a playground for outside play/recess times? If yes, will a Manchester public playground be acceptable if it is within close proximity to the location being proposed? 

        Answer:   Yes any public space -with proper staffing supports- would be acceptable for outdoor activities such as a recess. 

      Question:  Will this location be required to have a cafeteria and/or kitchen facilities? 

     Answer:  The location should provide a location for students to eat. However, the location may require students to bring their own food. The school district would consider working with the school to provide meals from an in-district school site should the location and service be viable.

24.  IPPI is planning to respond to the RFP for behavior intervention services.  We have a question regarding #4 on page 5,  “licensed educational and therapeutic Special Education placement for students requiring a more restrictive environment (outside of typical classroom/school setting.) “ 

I would like clarification regarding what the school district is looking for here.  IPPI operates ABA based classrooms within school districts in CT.  We also operate two schools, one in CT and another in MA.  Would the district be open to either: 

     Question:   Classrooms operated by IPPI in a Manchester SAU setting? 

      Answer:   Yes, a proposal can be made for a classroom that uses ABA strategies to support students in our in-district programming within our school buildings. 

     Question:  A separate school, for example, the expansion of one of our existing schools into Manchester? 

      Answer:   Manchester School District would like its own school that we can control the allocation of seats and the students to be placed. The school itself would be a separate agency. However, the relationship with the Manchester School District would be constituted by its pre-set financial commitment to the program. In lieu of this support, the district will manage all seats.

25.  Question:  Is the expectation that there would be capacity for 20-24 right away in September?

     Answer:   There is no expectation for capacity to start the first day of school in September. However, the school district would like a set date in the fall (October) in order to begin planning and transitioning students. The district would like to fully transition students from current out of district placements (15-20) into the new school in January. Students currently in-district requiring services prior to this date would be transitioned as needed during the fall.

26.  Question:   Can you describe in more detail the type of students who would be your highest priority for placement. 

     Answer:   Highest priority students will be those identified students with behaviors that impede their access to FAPE. Students can have any Special Education identification. The purpose behind the placement in the school will be to provide the student with the skills and support to learn socially appropriate behaviors that support their individual educational needs. The ultimate goal will be to return the students to the home school setting. 

27.  Question:   Is there a requirement for Grades K-1 in the offsite facility to be located on the first floor? 

     Answer:   The National Fire Protection Codes require a number of supports to be in place should a primary grade classroom be located on a floor that IS NOT the first floor. Some of these supports include a dedicated stairwell. Each case can be reviewed by building code officials as to whether or not the classroom meets specific safety codes. The school district will look to the vendor to ensure that building codes are in place to support the safety concerns of the student. 

28.  Question:   For the offsite location for the 20-24 students in need of a more restrictive environment, will we be required to provide a nurse for dispensing medication?  

     Answer:    A nurse is not necessarily required. The requirements for nursing services will depend on individual student IEPS. Additionally, the requirements for dispensing medication will fall under the program's licensure. The State of New Hampshire school approval process provides guidance in this area relative to the nature of the school as a private provider. 

29.  Question:  Would you like the proposal to cover a contingency in the event that there is a need for more than 24 students in the offsite location? For example, would you like to know the costs associated with securing additional space to cover additional students?

     Answer:   Vendors can submit a bid that includes the request for 20-24 students and additional seats.  Also, vendors can submit a bid that includes a program expansion or any other contingency that can be reflected in the program vision.

30.  Question:   Is there a goal to transition students in the offsite program back to a least-restrictive environment in an MSD school during the school year? Or, do you prefer to keep these 20-24 students in the offsite location for the entire school year? 

     Answer:   Currently the school district is tentatively planning to return approximately 15 students from out of district placements to the new school site in January 2017.  The district will look to place students (not already in an out of district placement) into this new school during the fall of 2016. Additionally, the district will offer a set number of the seats to surrounding school district on a set tuition rate.