Special Education Paperwork Reduction via PDF

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE)
City & State:
Santa Clara, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement
Our Mission at PACE is to provide high quality programs for individuals with Autism /developmental disabilities, so they may experience the satisfaction and fulfillment that accompany learning, self expression, self-care, productive work and interpersonal & community experiences.

Submission Information

Impact Essay
*** Problem **** Non-Public Schools (NPS) are special educational programs certified by the California Department of Education (CDE). Students that attend these programs are supported by the same Individualized Education Program (IEP) requirements that are mandated by the Federal and State laws ensuring a free and appropriate education for all children. Given the significant tracking and goal measures in place for special education, the paperwork for each student can be considerable in the IEP process. Also, since many individuals are involved in the review process, multiple paper copies are routinely made for each party. While many school Districts have moved to online forms for greater electronic management of the IEP process, NPS schools have been excluded from this process due to the need for internal network security, which precludes allowing outsiders onto their network. Therefore, most NPS schools must rely upon traditional hard copy paper submissions and archival for their records resulting in a significant amount of printed and stored paperwork. *** Solution **** Through a generous grant from Adobe via TechSoup for the purchase of several copies of Adobe Acrobat Professional, the Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE) began a process last year of converting all of the IEP documents over to dynamic PDF forms. These files are shared and stored electronically on the agency server as independent components of a student’s IEP. In this manner, the various professionals that are responsible for different aspects of a student’s education can collaborate on the files. When the IEP is complete, the files can be bounded and encrypted in PDF and sent electronically to the various members of the team in advance of the formal annual IEP meeting which dramatically cuts down the cost and delivery of paper products which can be as large as 1-2 pounds of material. By publicly distributing the raw PDF forms for download (http://www.specialneedsdirectory.org/info_iep.asp ) , a number of other NPS agencies have been able to quickly adopt the forms into their routine thereby further reducing the carbon footprint across a growing number of agencies. As the interest picks up from other schools, the design can scale to hundreds of NPS schools. *** Enhancement **** By working in conjunction with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE), the concept has moved forward in another direction towards enabling the XML feed from the PDF forms to be used as translated input into the California education database, CAESMIS system. This will allow the special education data from the NPS schools to be easily integrated into the overall state data numbers for special education which will ultimately provide a much greater depth of understanding about the complete landscape of special education services in California. *** Conclusion *** Through the use of Adobe Acrobat, our agency as well as others have been able to significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with excessive paper documentation creation and storage in an effort to build a stronger green initiative.
Submission Category
Environmental Impact Print/Photo
Supporting Work Files