• A Note from the Principal at Joe Dale Sparks in Denton ISD

    Information for Campus Administration at the Receiving School


    1.        The Joe Dale Sparks Campus of Denton ISD is housed within the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center (DCJDC) facility.

    2.       Students at the Joe Dale Sparks Campus have been detained in the DCJDC facility by order of the court.  Students are considered to have been detained by the court, not arrested.

    3.       Students in detention are considered to be in a short-term program and appear before the judge every ten working days.  They can be released, re-detained or sent to a placement, as determined by the court.

    4.       POST Adjudication students are placed in a long-term program by the court for a minimum of six months and exit the program based on their progress in the POST program, not the school.  POST residents do not appear before the court after initial placement.

    5.       Sparks Campus enrolls students immediately after the court order “to detain” is issued by the judge.  Parents/guardians are ordered by the judge to meet with the Sparks Campus registrar in the courtroom.

    6.       Students have no school information when they are detained, appear before the court, or register at our school.  Students detained on the first day of school for the school year enroll themselves, as parents are not present.

    7.       At the time the campus registrar meets with the parents in the courtroom, the registrar obtains as much information as possible from the parents/guardians regarding the student’s education and services, including special education services.

    8.     Records requests from the Joe Dale Sparks Campus are immediately sent to the last reported school of record for each student.  The Joe Dale Sparks Campus uses the TREX electronic records system to secure records for Texas students.

    9.       Each time a student is detained in our facility we must send for records – even if that student is frequently enrolled in our school.

    10.   If the parent indicates that a student is receiving services as a student eligible for special education, a transfer ARD is held within ten working days.  This ARD is a “significant change of placement ARD”.  Our information is dependent on the accuracy of the information provided by the parent and any records we receive within those ten days.

    11.   Special education students who remain at Sparks for at least thirty days always have a thirty-day permanent placement ARD.

    12.   Manifestation Determination ARD’s are not necessary for a special education student who has been detained.

    13.   The instructional arrangement for special education students attending the Joe Dale Sparks Campus is 81 for special educational purposes.  This reflects a mainstream instructional arrangement, with in-class support and accommodations, provided within a residential setting.  This instructional arrangement allows for the provision of individualized educational services to students while also accommodating the security procedures of the detention facility.

    14.   Special education services are provided and previous IEPs are considered and matched with the curriculum sequence of DISD.  Students at Sparks are provided services through in-class support /inclusion.  Students cannot be taken from their homeroom to attend a resource room or content mastery based upon facility and security rules.  Students are instructed with grade-enrolled TEKS at the appropriate instructional level.  Indicated accommodations are utilized and developed.

    15.   All special education laws and regulations are carefully enforced.

    16.   Behavior intervention plans received from sending districts are reviewed and adapted to reflect student needs for the Joe Dale Sparks Campus setting.  Related services, to be received by the student based on information received from sending campuses, are also reviewed and adapted to reflect student needs while they are placed at the Joe Dale Sparks Campus.

    17.   All students at Sparks who are identified as special education have the services of a DISD diagnostician and all other required services.  All special education students who are enrolled at Sparks are considered to be a part of the TEA Residential Tracking System.

    18.   We have two programs at Sparks:  POST adjudication and detention.  The POST program is a long-term therapeutic placement made by the court.  Students in this placement usually are enrolled in the POST program for several months.  Detention is a short-term program for students who are awaiting another court appearance.  Detention placement is usually from ten to twenty days, but can be longer if a student is awaiting trial.

    19.   Classrooms are very diverse.  Students may be age 10-17.  Students represent every group in the public school system and are grouped by the facility without any educational consideration. Students attend the classroom that corresponds to the section to which they have been assigned by the detention facility.

    20.   The number of students in a classroom never exceeds twelve, and there may only be three students in a class.  At all times there is a fully certified teacher in the content area for all appropriate age levels.  Many teachers are also certified in special education.

    21.   The county provides at least one highly trained staff member in each classroom for the entire educational day.  Detention facility staff members are responsible for implementing the security procedures of the facility and intervening with students who do not comply with the behavioral plan required by the facility.  Teachers are responsible for classroom management.

    22.   Students are provided instruction in core subject areas matched to the core courses they were taking at the time of their withdrawal from their home districts.  Two electives are also offered to make a total of six classes.

    23.   Grades and attendance are carefully monitored and recorded.

    24.   Report cards are generated on a six weeks reporting schedule.  We combine our grades with those sent from the home campus.  If a student is not at Sparks long enough to earn a six weeks grade, the grade sheet from each teacher is provided to the parent to present to the school when the student re-enrolls at his or her home ISD.  The POST program teachers also provide progress reports to all students on a three week reporting schedule.

    25.   Joe Dale Sparks Campus provides ESL services to students requiring such services.

    26.   Sparks Campus uses the DISD curriculum, scope and sequence, and grade reporting system.

    27.   When the student is released he or she is ordered by the judge to enroll in school within two hours.  The student may or may not follow these court orders.

    28.   Students who are released but not ordered to return to their home campus may be required to attend HSEC (High School Equivalency -GED) courses, some students who are ordered to attend are as young as sixteen years of age.

    29.   All students are tested for achievement level within the first two days of entry so that the faculty has an approximate idea of achievement level until we receive records.  Often students are released before we receive records from the sending school.

    30.   Differentiated instruction is used in every classroom and for every student.

    31.   Males do not attend classes with females.

    32.   Students are grouped by the county according to compatibility, seriousness of crimes or gang affiliations.  Grouping may change daily.  Juveniles with significant disabilities may be moved or transferred to another facility better equipped or designated to handle specific disabilities.

    33.   All students are monitored by teachers, staff, and security cameras which have the storage capability of six months.  These are very sophisticated cameras.

    34.   All students have the benefit of a full range of therapeutic services provided daily by the county.

    35.   Students are successful at Sparks because of class size, behavioral supervision, differentiated instruction for each student, and teachers who are specifically trained in dealing with detained and “very at risk” students.  All distractions are removed from the educational setting.  Every effort is made to diffuse potential disruptive situations and an encouraging atmosphere prevails at all times.  Often the students here are experiencing their first success in the educational system.

    36.   Because we change instructional settings and arrangements for our special setting, it is recommended that when a student returns to his or her home campus that the instructional setting be carefully reviewed.  Our extremely structured situation is unlike most “more traditional schools”.  We will include, if we have the information, the previous instructional arrangements from the previous school to help this transition to be appropriate and more conducive to the home campus.

    37.   Many of our students have not been in school for a long time and the only reason that they are in school is because they have been detained by the court system.  For many of our students, complete school records simply do not exist.

    38.   Many of our students have attended multiple schools or placements in a very short time.  Since schools only send their own records, it often time takes an extended amount of time to secure the entire or accurate school history.

    39.   Many of our students are repeating grades and have an inadequate number of credits for graduation.

    40.   We determine what state standardized tests students are to take and we administer the exact test on the state mandated date.