HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 840        FILED ON: 1/14/2015

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1064

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Tom Sannicandro and Barbara A. L'Italien

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

James Arciero

2nd Middlesex

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Garrett J. Bradley

3rd Plymouth

Michael D. Brady

Second Plymouth and Bristol

Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex

Antonio F. D. Cabral

13th Bristol

Gailanne M. Cariddi

1st Berkshire

Tackey Chan

2nd Norfolk

Nick Collins

4th Suffolk

Edward F. Coppinger

10th Suffolk

Claire D. Cronin

11th Plymouth

Mark J. Cusack

5th Norfolk

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Diana DiZoglio

14th Essex

Shawn Dooley

9th Norfolk

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Tricia Farley-Bouvier

3rd Berkshire

Ann-Margaret Ferrante

5th Essex

Carole A. Fiola

6th Bristol

William C. Galvin

6th Norfolk

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Carlos Gonzalez

10th Hampden

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

20th Middlesex

Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol

Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol

Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk

Steven S. Howitt

4th Bristol

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Peter V. Kocot

1st Hampshire

Robert M. Koczera

11th Bristol

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Jay D. Livingstone

8th Suffolk

Timothy R. Madden

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

John J. Mahoney

13th Worcester

Christopher M. Markey

9th Bristol

Joseph W. McGonagle, Jr.

28th Middlesex

James M. Murphy

4th Norfolk

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

12th Hampden

Daniel J. Ryan

2nd Suffolk

Paul A. Schmid, III

8th Bristol

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Ellen Story

3rd Hampshire

William M. Straus

10th Bristol

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden

Walter F. Timilty

7th Norfolk

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

John C. Velis

4th Hampden

Chris Walsh

6th Middlesex

Viriato M. deMacedo

Plymouth and Barnstable

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Linda Dorcena Forry

First Suffolk

Robert L. Hedlund

Plymouth and Norfolk

Thomas P. Kennedy

Second Plymouth and Bristol

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 840        FILED ON: 1/14/2015

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1064

By Representative Sannicandro of Ashland and Senator L’Italien, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1064) of Tom Sannicandro and others relative to creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities.  Higher Education.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Eighty-Ninth General Court
(2015-2016)

_______________

 

An Act creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. Section 1 of Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “opportunities,” in line 10, the following:- , including individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities.

SECTION 2. Said section 1 of said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out after the word “beyond,” in line 19, the following:- and

SECTION 3. Said section 1 of chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 19, the word “and.”

SECTION 4. Said section 1 of said chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 23, the word “levels” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- levels; and

(d) to provide inclusive opportunities for individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities in order to improve academic achievement, employment, and independent living, and to enhance the learning environment for all students.

SECTION 5. The fourth paragraph of Section 7 of said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “students,” in line 33, the following:- , and students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities.

SECTION 6. The second paragraph of Section 7A of said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the word “and,” in lines 24 and 82; and by inserting after the word “sources,” in lines 25 and 83, the following:- ; and (10) improving access for students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities.

SECTION 7. Section 19 of said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the third paragraph, the following paragraph:- Such guidelines shall provide tuition and fee waivers for students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities participating in courses and campus activities pursuant to section 39A. The commonwealth, not the institutions of public higher education, shall bear the cost of such tuition and fee waivers.

SECTION 8. Said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 30 the following section:-

Section 30A. Public institutions of higher education shall offer inclusive opportunities to support individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities who are seeking to gain academic, career and technical, and independent living skills in order to prepare for gainful employment. Individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities shall not be required to: take any standardized college entrance aptitude test; have a high school diploma or its equivalent; meet minimum academic course requirements; meet minimum grade point average requirements; or obtain a passing score on the statewide assessment tests utilized as a basis for competency determinations, pursuant to section 1D of chapter 69 of the General Laws, in order to gain admission and enrollment in credit-bearing and noncredit-bearing courses that include students without disabilities, including enrollment in credit-bearing courses in audit status for students who may not meet course prerequisites and requirements, and participation in internships or work-based training in settings with nondisabled students. Students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities shall be socially and academically integrated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent possible, with provision of individual supports and services to support inclusion in academic courses, extracurricular activities and other aspects of the institution of higher education’s regular postsecondary program.

SECTION 9. Said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 39 the following section:-

Section 39A. Students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities enrolled in public secondary schools shall be allowed to enroll in credit-bearing and noncredit courses in public higher education institutions in the commonwealth that include nondisabled students, including enrollment in credit-bearing courses in audit status for students who may not meet course prerequisites or requirements, with necessary supports, services, and accommodations provided by the student’s school committee, to facilitate the student’s enrollment and to support inclusion in academic courses, extracurricular activities, internships, work experiences, and other aspects of the institution of higher education’s regular postsecondary program and provide a free and appropriate public education. Such students shall not be required to: take any standardized college entrance aptitude test; have a high school diploma or its equivalent; meet minimum academic course requirements; meet minimum grade point average requirements; or obtain a passing score on the statewide assessment tests , utilized as a basis for competency determinations pursuant to section 1D of Chapter 69 of the General Laws.

Section 10.  Said Chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 27  the following section: 27A:-

Section 27A.  The board of higher education, in consultation with the executive office of education, the department of elementary and secondary education, and the executive office of health and human services shall take steps necessary to include students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities in the residence life of all public institutions of higher education, with accommodations, supports, and services necessary to enable inclusive dormitory living. 

SECTION 11 Chapter 71B of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 16 the following section: -

Section 17: Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment

(a) Subject to appropriation, the Executive Office of Education shall develop and administer a discretionary grant program to provide monies to school committees and state public institutions of higher education partnering together to offer inclusive concurrent enrollment program options for school-aged children with disabilities ages 18 to 22, inclusive; provided:

(1) that the grant program shall be limited to said students who are considered to have severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, or other developmental disabilities; and

(2) in the case of students aged 18-19, the grant program shall be further limited to students with severe disabilities who have been unable to achieve the competency determination necessary to pass the statewide assessment test pursuant to section 1Dof chapter 69 of the general laws. .

(b) The goal of the grant program shall be for school committees to partner with institutions of higher education to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment that meets the transition needs of students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, or other developmental disabilities, and to support their academic success, participation in student life of the college community, and competitive employment. This shall be achieved by fully including said students in higher education institutions by requiring the following:

(1) development of partnerships between institutions of higher education and school committees which also include any relevant agency serving students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities, including but not limited to a vocational rehabilitation agency;

(2) enrollment in credit-bearing and non-credit courses that include students without disabilities including enrollment in credit-bearing courses in audit status for students who may not meet course prerequisites;

(3) participation in on-campus student life activities;

(4) adequate preparation for competitive employment;

(5) waiver of tuition for all courses by the institution of higher education;

(6) provision of supports and services necessary to facilitate a student’s enrollment and support inclusion in academic courses, extracurricular activities, internships, work experiences, and other aspects of the institution of higher education’s regular postsecondary program;

(7) training and technical assistance for teachers, faculty and personnel regarding strategy and teaching methodology to achieve successful inclusion of individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities;

(8) that students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities be socially and academically integrated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent possible; and institutions of higher education may choose to engage students pursuing study in the areas of special education, general education, vocational rehabilitation, assistive technology, psychology, or related fields;

(9) utilization of person-centered planning in the development of the course of study for each participating student.

(c) The Executive Office of Education, in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Higher Education and the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board, shall develop guidelines to ensure that the grant program meets this goal.

(d) Subject to appropriation, the Executive Office of Education shall designate an Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator to manage grant administration and coordinate reporting. The Executive Office of Education shall notify all participating school committees and institutions of higher education of the name and contact information for the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator.

(e) The Executive Office of Education shall establish an Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board to evaluate and to advise the Executive Office of Education on efforts to implement inclusive concurrent enrollment and to participate in educational outreach efforts on inclusive concurrent enrollment. The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board shall include representatives of school districts and colleges and universities where the inclusive concurrent enrollment program has been successfully implemented, two former or current students who have participated in an inclusive concurrent enrollment program, the co-chairs of the joint committee on Education or designees, the co-chairs of the joint committee on Higher Education or designees, the Commissioner of Higher Education or designee, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education or designee, the Secretary of Education or designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Development Disability Services or designee, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission or designee, a representative of Massachusetts Advocates for Children, a representative of the Federation for Students with Special Needs, a representative of the Institute for Community Inclusion, and the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator. The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board shall meet quarterly.

(f) The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator, in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Higher Education and the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board, shall develop strategies and procedures designed to assist institutions of higher education in sustaining, expanding and replicating inclusive concurrent enrollment partnerships established through the Executive Office of Education’s discretionary grant program. Strategies and procedures shall include but not be limited to:

(1) provision of continued grant funding for partnerships between institutions of higher education and school committees that have developed inclusive concurrent enrollment programs in order to sustain the existing programs and to retain employment specialists to assist students in meeting competitive employment and other transition-related goals;

(2) adoption of procedures and funding mechanisms to ensure that new partnerships providing inclusive concurrent enrollment programs fully utilize the models and expertise developed in existing partnerships to ensure that all programs are successful and sustainable;

(3) development of a mechanism to encourage existing and new partnerships to expand capacity to respond to school committees and individual parents who are not currently benefitting from those partnerships and who request an opportunity for their children to participate in inclusive concurrent enrollment;

(4) outreach to institutions of higher education and school committees that are not currently participating in inclusive concurrent enrollment, with intent to encourage such institutions of higher education and school committees to offer inclusive concurrent enrollment programming;

(5) addressing of challenges frequently faced by institutions of higher education and newly created inclusive concurrent enrollment programs and a compilation of best practices to address these difficulties;

(6) for those institutions that offer residential life for students, the integration of students with severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities into the housing offered to nondisabled students with the accommodations, supports, and services necessary to enable inclusive dormitory living.

(g) The executive office of education shall distribute strategies and procedures developed pursuant to subsection (f) to all public colleges and universities in the Commonwealth annually.

(h) The executive office of education shall select grant recipients no later than July 15 of each year.

(i) The executive office of education, in consultation with the department of elementary and secondary education and the department of higher education, shall make a report available online on the status of the grant program annually, no later than March 15. The report shall include but not be limited to the following components:

(1) enrollment data that details the number of students enrolled in inclusive concurrent enrollment each semester and the unduplicated count of total students served at each institution;

(2) a list of all full-time and part-time employment positions supported by the grant program that are dedicated to supporting students with severe disabilities through the inclusive concurrent enrollment program and the average salary for those positions including but not limited to:

(i) educational coaches;

(ii) educational specialists;

(iii) job coaches and vocational specialists;

(iv) program specialists;

(v) program directors;

(vi) peer mentors, note-takers, and tutors;

(vii) contracted employees;

(viii) parent and school committee liaisons.

(3) a list of all courses taken by all students participating in the inclusive concurrent enrollment program during the academic year with indication as to whether the student attempted the course for credit or for audit and whether the student passed or completed the course;

(4) a summary of innovative strategies and practices  implemented at each institution of higher education that helped foster their relationship with school committees or helped students succeed;

(5) employment data for students and graduates, obtained to the best of the ability of the school committee and the institution of higher education;

(6) a report detailing the amount of grant funds allocated to each institution of higher education in the planning and implementation phases, the amount allocated to the department of elementary and secondary education and the department of higher education, and the amount allocated to the executive office of education.

SECTION 12. The executive office of education shall promulgate guidelines pursuant to section 17 of chapter 71B of the General Laws on or before January 1, 2015.

SECTION 13. Section 2 of Chapter 71B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting   the following phrase after the tenth item of the third paragraph:-

; and (12) For older students ages 18-22, options including continuing education, enrollment in credit and noncredit courses that include students without disabilities in an institution of higher education, development of independent living skills, development of skills necessary for seeking, obtaining, and maintaining jobs, development of skills to access community services, and development of skills for self-management of medical needs.