• Dallas ISD Special Education Program

    Thanks to a team collaborating and working together, Dallas ISD has successfully eliminated a backlog of about 2,000 unprocessed referrals for Special Education services.

    Nearly 400 Dallas ISD employees have worked since late May to process the backlog.

    As part of the district’s ongoing commitment to educate all students, last spring, Dallas ISD discovered the backlog of about 2,000 unprocessed evaluations and referrals for Special Education services. The program is one of the district’s fastest growing areas.

    To process the backlog, the Dallas ISD Special Education team reached out by phone, email and in-person to connect with every family with an unprocessed evaluation or referral. Parents then decided whether to consent or decline a student evaluation for Special Education services. The district has up to 45 days to complete the evaluation after the parent consents, but is working to complete evaluations much sooner.

    “There is still a lot of work to be done, but it’s amazing how a team with a common vision, goal and deadline can race to the finish line together and pick each other up along the way,” said Gena Koster, assistant superintendent of Special Populations.  “We are committed to not only processing the backlog, but also to revising processes, inputs, and expectations that have led to this problem.”

    Dallas ISD has partnered with Stetson & Associates, nationally recognized firm that supports special education departments across the country, to help redefine the district’s processes and procedures.  

    Koster added that the district will diligently work to ensure such a backlog never happens again.

    “We’ve turned the first corner, but we still have room to grow and improve,” Koster said. “But thanks to a team that is dedicated to helping meet every student’s needs, we are confident that we will ensure all of our students CAN!.”



    To make a referral for special education services or for any other questions, use Let’s Talk or call (972)581-4120.

    Contact Special Education

Backlog Tracker (updated 9/17/21)

Updated Weekly

2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
# of Backlogged Referrals 275 370 818 681
% of Referrals processed 100% 100% 100% 99%

% of Referrals processed means that case has moved onto informed consent, evaluation, and/or ARD. It also includes cases that have declined evaluation or withdrawn from the district.

2020-2021 data is based on the original capture of cases taken in May. It does not currently include cases received over the summer.

  • Cumulative Progress

    100 % Complete
    This represents the overall percentage of completed backlogged cases from prior years, not including 2020-2021. 465 cases were referred in 2020-2021 between 05/27/2021 and 07/31/2021. Those cases do not qualify as backlogged at this time and continue to be processed.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • How did Dallas ISD discover the backlog?

  • What caused this backlog?

  • What’s being done to fix the backlog?

  • How many students does this affect?

  • What can a principal or teacher expect in the way of positive changes?

  • When is the backlog expected to be rectified?

  • Is the TEA aware of this?

  • Why are we learning about this now?

  • How do students and their families make up for lost time?

  • Who is responsible for this backlog?

  • How are you monitoring progress?

  • Where can I find the corrective action plan?

  • How should the referral system work?

  • Where can I go for more information?