Sample California Department of Education Public Records Request

[Date]

California Public Records Act Requests

Re:       Public Records Act Request – Data on Youth in Residential Non-Public Schools

 To whom it may concern:

[Organization or Person] is submitting this request pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for copies of certain records in the possession, custody, or control of [entity]. See California Government Code §§ 6250 et seq. Our request encompasses the documents falling within the specific categories set forth below.

Definitions Used in this Request:

For purposes of this request, the terms “policies and procedures” include, but are not limited to, codes, board policies, rules and regulations, exhibits, bulletins, memoranda, directives, and training materials. If any of the policies or procedures we have requested are currently being updated or revised, please let us know in writing.

The terms “documents” or “records” as used in this request have the same broad definition as is given the term “writing” in section 6252(g) of the Government Code, as set forth below, and includes drafts of all documents encompassed in this request:

Any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostatting, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.

Further, these terms include, but are not limited to, any electronic information, reports, evaluations, memoranda, correspondence, letters, emails, charts, graphs, flyers, meeting agendas and minutes, diagrams, forms, DVDs, tapes, CDs, notes, and other similar materials.

The term “school” includes all elementary, middle, and high schools in the District as well as any alternative schools, including but not limited to continuation high schools.

The term “students” refers to students at all elementary, middle, and high schools in the District as well as any alternative schools, including but not limited to continuation high schools.

All references to “disability status” include learning disabilities and the existence of an Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan.

Preserving Privacy:

We understand that some of the documents we have requested may contain information that would identify individual students if produced in their unredacted form. We both expect and encourage the District to comply with its obligation to protect the privacy of its students. We, therefore, request that, where necessary, responsive documents be redacted to replace student names and Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) numbers with pseudo-identifiers consisting of random sequences of numbers and letters. This will protect students’ identities while allowing us to know if certain students are repeatedly referred to in the documents provided.

If any records in this request are claimed to be exempt from disclosure, we request that: (1) you exercise your discretion to disclose some or all of the records notwithstanding the exemption; and (2) with respect to records containing both exempt and non-exempt content, you redact the exempt content and disclose the rest, consistent with California Government Code section 6253(a). Additionally, if any records are withheld or redacted, please provide a written response that describes the records being withheld or redacted and the claimed reason for exemption under the Public Records Act.

Records Requested:

Please provide us with copies of the records specified below. Each lettered or numbered paragraph should be considered a separate request under the CPRA. For each set of records produced, please identify the paragraph to which the records are intended to respond.

We also request that you provide any public record identified in the following electronic formats to us in that electronic format, instead of in paper format: PDF format or all Microsoft Office formats, including Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. See California Government Code § 6253.9.

Please provide us with the following records from the [requested years] academic years unless specified otherwise:

I. Residential Nonpublic School Placement Data, disaggregated for each school year:

This section is intended to give us some basic numbers about how many students, and which students, from LAUSD have been placed in a residential NPS.

For the 2020-21 school year, LAUSD has 63,826 students with a disability enrolled, but we have not been able to find public data on how many of those students are in a residential NPS.  

A. The following aggregate data regarding nonpublic school placements for the District, local district, and broken down by school level and academies within schools:

    1. Total number of students placed in a residential nonpublic school
    2. For all student placements, the following:
      1. Previous school
      2. Residential nonpublic school placement
      3. State and county of residential nonpublic school placement
      4. Reason for placement
      5. De-identified information regarding the pupils:
        1. Age/Grade;
        2. Gender;
        3. Race/Ethnicity;
        4. Disability status;
        5. Free or reduced lunch status;
        6. English Learner status;
        7. Foster youth/Dependency court involvement;
        8. Probation/Juvenile Justice Court involvement;
        9. Housing stability status; and
        10. Length of stay.

B. Any and all written criteria or policies and procedures governing the process through which the IEP team selects a facility, including but not limited to checklists of services or therapies available, staffing requirements, or licensing requirements.

C. The following aggregate data regarding the services and programs available at residential nonpublic school

D. Information regarding the activities offered at the facility, including but not limited to social activities, outings, group socialization activities, and recreational activities.

E. Information regarding the services offered at the facility, including but not limited to group or individual therapy, mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, and family counseling

II. Residential Nonpublic School Outcomes, disaggregated for each school year:

This section is intended to show whether NPS placements are serving their intended purpose of providing services that a student could not receive in their community school, which should better enable the student to progress in their education.

A. Graduation rates and total number of graduates for students placed at a residential nonpublic school.

B. Total number and rates of students who return to comprehensive or traditional school after placement in a residential nonpublic school.

C. Total number and rates of students who return to any less restrictive environment after placement in a residential nonpublic school.

D. Total number and rates of students who return to mainstream classes for the majority of the school day after placement in a residential nonpublic school.

E. Total number and rates of students who are sent for a second time to a residential nonpublic school after initial placement and temporary return to a less restrictive environment.

III. Residential Nonpublic School Monitoring and Oversight, disaggregated for each school year:

This section is intended to fill in gaps in information about the district and state’s oversight of residential NPS facilities, both in-state and out-of-state. How detailed are their onsite monitoring visits? How much information do they keep about use of force, restraint, and seclusion? What staffing or programming requirements do they impose?

A. The following data regarding Behavior Emergency Reports submitted by residential nonpublic schools, as described by Cal. Ed. Code section 56521.1.

    1. 100 randomly selected Behavior Emergency Reports with SSID and DOB redacted
    2. The total number of BERs filed by residential nonpublic schools for LAUSD students
    3. For each BER, all available summary data maintained for each report, including but not limited to:
      1. the date
      2. the name and ID # of the facility
      3. student age
      4. type of intervention
      5. injuries to students or staff
      6. whether the incident led to a functional behavioral assessment
      7. whether the incident involved an intervention prohibite