Bureau of Special Education to Get New Bureau Chief

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has appointed a Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Special Education (BSE).  Dr. Isabelina Rodriguez was recommended and has accepted the bureau chief position.  It is anticipated that Dr. Rodriguez will join the Department in late March.

In year 30 as an educator, Dr. Rodriguez began her career as a special education teacher in the Springfield, Massachusetts public schools before being promoted as a supervisor of special education in that district.  After nine years in the Springfield school system, Dr. Rodriquez worked in Northampton, Massachusetts public schools, first as the director of pupil services for 10 years and then as superintendent of schools for six years.  Dr. Rodriguez currently serves as the superintendent of schools for the Granby, Massachusetts public schools, a position she has held since January 2011.

As superintendent, Dr. Rodriguez has presented on issues related to special education, English learners, teaching strategies, and school committee relations and budgeting at state and regional conferences.  She has also held various adjunct faculty positions in education and for the past six years with the American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.  She has served on many state advisory committees and has represented the Massachusetts’ superintendents at the state level on the executive board of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and as Massachusetts’ national representative of the Association of School Superintendents.

Dr. Rodriguez brings a wealth of experience to the CSDE and Connecticut in the role of state director for special education and chief of the BSE.  In addition to her considerable knowledge in the area of special education, Dr. Rodriguez has led systemwide school change efforts to raise the achievement levels of all students, including students with disabilities and other student populations.  In her administrative positions, Dr. Rodriguez has consistently demonstrated a collaborative, inclusive approach and has proven to be a highly effective educational leader.  She supports Connecticut’s current reform efforts and will be a welcome member of the CSDE management team.

Sending Education Records to Proposed Out-of-District Placements Without Parent Consent

The State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is providing guidance on a school district’s ability to disclose personally identifiable information from education records in connection with an education placement made under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B.  The guidance is based upon clarification from the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), which indicates that a student’s education records can be provided to proposed out-of-district placements without parent consent so long as the district’s annual notification of rights includes that the district discloses education records for enrollment purposes or the district makes a reasonable attempt to notify the parent in advance of such disclosure.

To see the entire guidance document, please click on this link:

Sending Educational Records to Proposed Out-of-District Placements without Parent Consent



Updates to the Connecticut Individualized Education Program (IEP) Form

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE) recently issued guidance via e-mail distribution to directors of special education and pupil services.  The guidance issued by Dr. Patricia Anderson, consultant with the BSE, was specific to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) form and related documents.  The same information provided to directors has also been sent to vendors of electronic IEPs. The e-mail distributed to directors of special education and pupil services as well as IEP vendors is provided along with related IEP pages. Related documents  can be accessed by clicking the links below.  Please review the information carefully.

Access guidance e-mail and updated documents here:

Email guidance of updates to the Connecticut Individualized Education Program

IEP 2014-15 Page 1 10-1-14 R2 (MS Word Doc.)

IEP 2014-15 Page 1 10-1-14 R2 (PDF)

IEP 2014-15 Page 12 9-29-14 (MS Word Doc.)

IEP 2014-15 Page 12 9-29-14 (PDF)

ED625 -Consent Initial Eval 10-1-14 (MS Word Doc.)

ED626 -Consent Initial Provision Spec.Educ. 10-1-14 (MS Word Doc.)

ED627 -Consent ReEval 10-1-14 (MS Word Doc.)


Occupational Therapy Guidelines Revision Project

The Bureau of Special Education (BSE) and the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association (ConnOTA) are resuming work on revisions to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s publication, Guidelines for Occupational Therapy in Educational Settings (1999).

The forthcoming work is based upon regional focus groups held in June 2014 to gather feedback and recommendations from the field and to re-engage the field in the work.  A Strategic Committee composed of practitioners, administrators, and higher-education personnel will draft proposed revisions by July 2015 in collaboration with the BSE.

It is anticipated that revisions to the Guidelines document will reflect current school-based practices such as aligning services to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS); Universal Design for Learning (UDL); Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI); and school mental health.

Please see the following resources, for more information on the role of school-based occupational therapy practitioners and how they enhance positive student outcomes:

What is the role of the School-Based Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Occupational Therapy in School Settings

Occupational Therapy and School Mental Health


Please contact Jim Moriarty at 860-713-6946 or james.moriarty@ct.gov with questions regarding the Guidelines revision project.

Transfer Students with Lapsed Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

In response to questions regarding appropriate procedure when students with lapsed IEPs transfer into districts, the Bureau of Data Collection, Research and Evaluation has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to assist districts.

You may access the FAQ document at the following link:

FAQ Regarding Lapsed IEPs – Reevaluation or Initial Referral


As districts order text books and other print instructional materials, the procurement process must include the enactment of a written contract with publishers of the materials to provide electronic files containing the contents of the print materials to the National Instructional Material Accessibility Center (NIMAC).  The publishers are required, on or before delivery of the print materials, to prepare and provide the print content using National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) filesets, in order for the content to be stored in the NIMAC and produced or rendered into specialized formats (braille, large print, digital text or audio) as needed.  

Resource links are provided below that include: new suggested language for purchase orders/written contracts with NIMAC in order to access updated materials and links, creating accessible digital instructional learning materials, and Frequently Ask Questions about NIMAS/NIMAC.

NEW Purchase Order Language

Digital Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about NIMAS and NIMAC


Technical Edits and the Individualized Education Program (IEP)

As a result of questions regarding a district’s authority to make technical edits to a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) issued a guidance memorandum on September 9, 2014. Accompanying that memorandum was a copy of Connecticut’s IEP document with highlighted sections that correspond to the guidance in the memorandum.  The highlighted sections of the IEP document indicate the areas of the IEP document that can only be changed by a planning and placement team (“PPT”) or through the IEP amendment process.

The complete guidance memorandum as well as the highlighted IEP document is available for your review by following the links below.

Technical Edits and the IEP – guidance memorandum

Technical Edits and the IEP – highlighted IEP document


Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) and the IED-II (2004)

The State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, will continue to use the Brigance IED-II (2004) as the assessment instrument to collect and report early childhood outcome (ECO) information in the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR).  The IED-II (2004) is the same assessment instrument that has been used since 2005.  The state will not be converting to a new edition nor a new assessment instrument for the 2014-2015 school year.

A letter was recently issued to all of Connecticut’s school districts informing them that the Brigance IED-II (2004) will continue to be the assessment instrument utilized for ECO reporting.  The letter also contains ordering information for those school districts that may need additional IED-II Developmental Record Books.  Please click on the attached link for access to the letter to districts.

ECO Brigance Letter 2014-2015

Transportation for Students Receiving Transition/Vocational Services

The safe transportation of students, including students with disabilities, is a high priority for every Connecticut school district.  This includes the transportation of students who, as part of an individualized education program (IEP), are participating in community-based transition services and employment worksite settings provided by school districts and/or transition/vocational service providers.

On July 28, 2014, Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer of the Connecticut State Department of Education, issued a memorandum to Directors of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services clarifying Connecticut regulations related to the transportation of such students.  Connecticut regulations state that all operators and vehicles used to provide transportation for students with an IEP must comply with the statutes/regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To review a complete copy of this memorandum and a student transportation FAQ, please follow the link below.

Transportation for students receiving transition-vocational services letter

Transportation for students FAQ




Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students

A new Guide, Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students, has been created as an instructional tool for the development of self-advocacy skills and transition planning.

Stepping Forward was developed through a joint effort between the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE), and Transition Consulting, LLC with funding provided by the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). This manual replaces the Educational Journey for Self-Discovery and Advocacy: a Handbook for Students (2003).

You may view this exciting resource by visiting the BSE webpage at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322676 or by directly accessing the following link: Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students (2013) [PDF]