School Conversations

Superintendent's Update

On behalf of the Board and the staff at Hamilton County DD Services, I want to thank everyone who participated in the school stakeholder conversations this fall. The way we support students with disabilities is a key component in how we serve those with DD in Hamilton County. Your feedback and engagement with this topic is extremely important.

This is a difficult topic to discuss because there is no single correct path to take. We, as an agency, must respond to many unique needs, challenges, and pressures, all of which impact people’s lives. This includes families of children in our schools, families of children in their local schools, families on the waiting list, families who have waivers but want more options, taxpayers, school districts, and providers, all of whom need support from our agency in some way. And we must respond to these needs by working within a fixed budget, which requires allocating our scarce resources in the most effective way we can. These factors weigh on me, our board, and our staff as we consider this important topic.

For those who attended our conversations this summer and this fall, we listened, and we heard you. We’ve been working hard since the last round of conversations to answer your questions, provide you with more information, review our processes, and explore various financial scenarios generated at those conversations. We’re also pursuing new opportunities for collaboration with local school districts.

The first major change we’re making is to streamline and better clarify the enrollment process at our schools. Beginning November 30, Duerk Zinn will take on the newly created role of Director of School Programs. Duerk is currently the principal at Margaret B. Rost, and he will continue to serve in that role. As the Director of School Programs, Duerk will coordinate the referral process for enrollment at Rost and Fairfax. His intimate knowledge of the students and families we serve, our teachers, and the way our schools operate will provide valuable insight to the enrollment process. Duerk will report directly to me, as superintendent.

You’ll see in the responses to questions below that we have laid out the general process for referrals and enrollment at our schools. As Duerk begins in this new role, his first major task will be to assess and clarify this process so all stakeholders can fully understand the referral and enrollment process.

I want to thank you again for your participation in these discussions. My door is always open, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have concerns, questions, or ideas. I hope you’ll continue to engage with us as we work together to support people with developmental disabilities to live, work, learn, and fully participate in their communities.

Alice C. Pavey


We know that not everyone was able to make it to the conversations this fall, so we've made that presentation available to everyone here. Below you will find a video of the same presentation that was given at those conversations. You'll also find a document with updates on this topic and responses to the questions submitted by parents, staff members, and administrators of local school districts. Once you've watched the video and read the document, if you would like to contribute additional thoughts or submit additional questions, use the Google Forms link at the bottom of the page. 

Updates and Feedback

Many questions were submitted at the fall conversations. You can view updates and see responses to those questions here

Join in the conversation or submit a question using this form.