Dr. Fitch begins two-year term as President of CAPSES

July 25th, 2011 by admin

Dr. Suzy Fitch undertakes second term as CAPSES President

Dr. Suzy Fitch, TIEE’s Executive Director of Programs and Personnel, began a two-year term as President of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES) at the association’s July meeting held at TIEE’s business offices.

CAPSES is the statewide association of nonpublic schools, agencies, organizations, and individuals who specialize in the delivery of special education and related services to students with special needs. Its mission is to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities by advocating for them in public policy and by supporting its members in providing high quality special education and related services.

Non-public schools and agencies are on the continuum of education placements available to special education students in order to meet the Federal and State requirements for a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE). Qualifying schools and agencies, like TIEE’s schools, have meet stringent certification criteria by the California Department of Education, which permits them to contract with local public school districts to serve students with special needs. In 2010-2011, TIEE’s schools contracted with 25 San Diego and Riverside County school districts to serve students, whose needs could not be met in their public schools.

CAPSES is an association of 99 independent organizations, which operate a total of 135 non-public schools and two non-public agencies. The total special education student enrollment in CAPSES member schools was 8,500 in 2009-2010, which was approximately 75 percent of the number of students being served in non-public schools, and 1.2 percent of California’s 680,000 students who received special education and services. The average enrollment in CAPSES member schools is approximately 60 students, but some schools have as few as 5 students enrolled.

Dr. Fitch, whose two-year term runs until July 2013, is the 22nd CAPSES President. She has been a perennial member of the CAPSES Board of Directors, serving on the association’s Legislation Committee. She also served as CAPSES 14th President in the mid-nineties. TIEE’s Co-Executive Director, Dr. Ken Traupmann, served as CAPSES President in the late 1980’s.

In accepting the office of President, Dr. Fitch opined: “I am pleased to take over the leadership of our State-wide association during these challenging times for education and, specifically, for the education of students with disabilities. The fifteen Board members, all of whom volunteer their time on behalf of CAPSES, have worked diligently to develop what I feel is an effective strategic plan to guide our actions during my term and well past it.”