SAVE the DATE for Back to School Meeting!

Please plan to join us on September 17, 2014, for the 11th Annual Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education Back to School Meeting.

For details and registration information, please view the meeting flyer below.

BSE 2014 Back to School Meeting Registration Information

Paraeducator Needs Assessment Results

Earlier this school year, the University of Connecticut (UCONN) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) conducted an online statewide survey of paraeducators’ training needs. This survey was based on the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC’s) Special Education Paraeducator Common Core Specialty Set (SEPCCSS). SEPCCSS contains 10 professional development guidelines and specific knowledge and skills that paraeducators working with children with disabilities should possess.

Participants were asked to rate their perceptions of their knowledge and skills within each of the SEPCCSS domains: Foundations; Development and Characteristics of Learners; Individual Learning Differences; Instructional Strategies; Learning Environments and Social Interactions; Language; Instructional Planning; Assessment; Professional and Ethical Practice; and Collaboration. In addition, participants were asked one open-ended question concerning the specific topics on which they desired additional training.

Responses were received from 2,438 paraeducators working in public schools in Connecticut. Information about the sample of paraeducators responding to the survey and the students they support is shown below:

  • The sample provided services to students across the PK-12 system, though more paraeducators appear to work in elementary school (1- 4; 31 percent) versus middle (7-8; 13 percent) or high school (9-12; 14 percent).
  • The majority of paraeducators working for greater than 10 years (54 percent) did not have a bachelor’s degree (59 percent) and were not certified as teachers (91 percent).
  • Paraeducators primarily provided services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receiving special education services (85 percent). However, fewer paraeducators had read the relevant pieces of their students’ IEPs (71 percent) or had their roles and responsibilities as mandated by the IEP explained to them (67 percent).
  • Twenty percent of the paraeducators reported not receiving any training in the previous 12 months; of those who reported receiving training, there was considerable variation in the number of training hours reported. Paraeducators also indicated a preference for small group/one-day workshops (51 percent) that were held during school hours (79 percent). Responses also indicated their desire for training on the following topics: specific disabilities, behavior management, technology, general education, language and communication, medical needs of students and the special education process.For additional results from the needs assessment, please visit the UCEDD Web site at: www.uconnucedd.org.

IEP/Smarter Balanced and Connecticut Alternate Assessment Updates

On May 22, 2014, a follow up to the May 12, 2014, e-mail regarding the revised Individualized Education Program (IEP) page 9 and the 2015 Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Test Supports/Accommodations Form was forwarded to Connecticut directors of special education and pupil personnel services from Dr. Patricia Anderson, education consultant in the Bureau of Special Education.

The following is the content of that e-mail:

Directors of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services:

This follow up e-mail to the May 12 e-mail dissemination of page 9 of the IEP (ED620) and the IEP Manual guidance is to let you know that the following documents have been updated with this new information and posted on the CSDE Web site under PPT Process and IEP Forms as follows:

IEP Forms

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Forms

  • Revised 5/2014: IEP Manual and SDE Forms  [PDF] [DOC] ***
  • Revised 5/2014: IEP Page 9 (ED620) [PDF], [DOC], Smarter Balanced Test Supports/Accommodations Form [PDF]

SDE Forms

IEP Forms***             ED620   [PDF] [DOC] Revised 5/21/14

***PLEASE NOTE: In ED620 – the primary change was made to page 9 – State and District Testing and Accommodations. HOWEVER – slight modifications were made to update two other IEP pages to reflect the change from CMT/CAPT to Smarter Balanced and CT Alternate Assessments:

  • Page 4 in the top header of the Present Levels of Performance page; AND
  • Page 7 – #8 under Evaluation Procedures

Student Assessment is sending out the following Updates for Special Populations this week in the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) Weekly Update regarding a slightly modified version of the Smarter Balanced Test Supports/Accommodations Form (latest version is dated 5-22-14); page 2 of the Accommodations Form now contains the Supports/Accommodations Quick Guide (dated 5-21-14), which is a brief description of all the supports and accommodations available on all statewide assessments; and some additional tools. All of these documents are posted on the Student Assessment Web site and will be on the Smarter Balanced Assessments Resources section of the Bureau of Special Education’s Web site next week.

Updates for Special Populations

In preparation for the 2014-2015 school year, various documents have been created for special populations. They include:

If you have any questions, please contact CSDE staff as follows:

Student Assessment/Accommodations Questions:

Joe Amenta                        (860-713-6855)  joseph.amenta@ct.gov

Janet Stuck                         (860-713-6837)  janet.stuck@ct.gov 

IEP Questions:

Patricia Anderson              (860-713-6923)  patricia.anderson@ct.gov

Gail Mangs                        (860-713-6938)  gail.mangs@ct.gov

Revised Individualized Education Program Page 9 and the 2015 Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Test Supports/Accommodations Form

On May 12, 2014, the following e-mail was forwarded to Connecticut directors of special education and pupil personnel services from Dr. Patricia Anderson, education consultant in the Bureau of Special Education. Please see the links that have been placed at the end of this posting in order to view any resources referenced in the e-mail.

The following is the content of that e-mail:

Directors of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services:

Attached, please find the revised ED620/IEP page 9 (student assessment), revised Individualized Education Program Manual guidance for page 9, the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form, and the CTAA and CMT/CAPT Science Skills Checklists Eligibility & Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI). Please replace the current IEP page (9 or 9a) and IEP manual pages as indicated. Page 9 and the IEP Manual guidance for Page 9 have been incorporated into the IEP Manual and Forms and are currently posted on the CSDE Web site on the BSE page/PPT Process and IEP Forms (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322680).

The 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form and the CTAA and CMT/CAPT Science Skills Checklists Eligibility & Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) that is to be used for guidance on determining eligibility for alternate statewide assessments are posted on the Student Assessment Web site: (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2748&Q=335214). This data will be entered on the CSDE Accommodations Collection Web site when it opens for the 2015 collection.

The Revised IEP page 9 and the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form are to be used immediately or as soon as is practically possible upon this release. Until the IEP Vendors have updated the electronic IEP forms, please use a hard copy of page 9 (revised 5/4/14) and the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form.

Up until this point, the CSDE has advised districts to use page 9a for 2014-15 IEPs until the revised page 9 was released. If an annual review PPT meeting has already been convened for a student, and page 9a was used and the information on page 9a is equivalent to the information on page 9 for THAT student (e.g., a student taking the Smarter Balanced Assessments without needing a change in the accommodations requested), the IEP does not need to be amended. In this case, page 9a may be used until the next PPT and/or annual review. HOWEVER, prior to the administration of the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessments, the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form will need to be completed, attached to the IEP and the accommodations submitted to the district test coordinator, to be entered into the CSDE Accommodations Collections Web site.

If an annual review PPT meeting has already been convened for a student and page 9a was used and the information on page 9a is not appropriate for identifying the statewide assessment that the student will be taking in 2015, (i.e., the Connecticut Alternate Assessment (CTAA), the CMT or CAPT Science, or the CMT/CAPT Science Skills Checklists) and/or the necessary accommodations, the IEP must be revised either by an amendment or by holding another PPT to discuss the new assessment(s) and possible accommodations using the new page 9 (revised 5/4/14) and the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form. One of the following procedures may be used in this case:

  1. If the PPT already discussed the appropriate statewide alternate assessment with the parents, including documenting elsewhere in the IEP (i.e., on page 2) what the appropriate accommodations should be, the IEP may be amended as needed through the use of form ED634 (Agreement to Change an Individualized Education Program Without Convening a Planning and Placement Team Meeting) with the agreement of the parent, guardian or the student (if the student is over 18 years of age). The district may complete the new page 9 (revised 5/4/14) and attach a competed 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form to ED634 and request that the parents sign and return the documents.
  2. If the PPT did not fully discuss the alternate assessments or the possible accommodations, a new PPT should be held to discuss these options and complete the new page 9 of the IEP (revised 5/4/14) and the 2015 CSDE Test Supports/Accommodations Form.

If you have any questions, please contact CSDE staff as follows:

Student Assessment/Accommodations Questions:

Joe Amenta                        (860-713-6855)  joseph.amenta@ct.gov

Janet Stuck                         (860-713-6837)  janet.stuck@ct.gov

IEP Questions:

Patricia Anderson              (860-713-6923)  patricia.anderson@ct.gov

Gail Mangs                        (860-713-6938)  gail.mangs@ct.gov

Reference links:

  • revised ED620/IEP including the new page 9 [PDF] [DOC];
  • revised IEP Manual including guidance for page 9 [PDF] [DOC];
  • the 2015 CSDE Test Supports /Accommodations Form (scroll to 2nd page) [PDF];
  • Supports/Accommodations Quick Guide (page 2 of the 2015 Accommodations Form) [PDF]; and
  • the CTAA and CMT/CAPT Skills Checklists Science Eligibility & Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) [PDF].

School Paraprofessional Advisory Council Update

The School Paraprofessional Advisory Council (SPAC) had its last meeting of the school year on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.  During this meeting, the Council adopted the vision and mission statements that follow.

Vision Statement: Equity, Collaboration, COMMITMENT.

Mission Statement: Gather resources, examine data, investigate and study issues, provide guidance and professional learning opportunities, and maximize results using current relevant tools and strategies.

For additional information regarding the Council, including membership list and past meeting notes, please visit the Connecticut State Department of Education Paraeducator Information and Resources page at www.ct.gov/sde/para-cali .

Welcome to the Bureau of Special Education

Please join the Bureau of Special Education (the bureau) in welcoming Dr. Norma Sproul and Lisa Fayer.  Dr. Norma Sproul joined the bureau on February 2, 2014.  Dr. Sproul came from the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Turnaround Office and was previously with the bureau from 1993 to 2007.  She has provided an enjoyably light and personal narrative of her profile.  Click on the following link to access Dr. Sproul’s profile: Profile – Dr. Norma Sproul.  Ms. Lisa Fayer joined the bureau as a processing technician for the Surrogate Parent Program on February 21, 2014.  Ms. Fayer comes to the bureau from the State Department of Developmental Services.

Uninterrupted Scholars Act: Guidance to School Districts

Commissioners Stephan Pryor of the Connecticut State Department of Education and Joette Katz of the Department of Children and Families issued a letter to superintendents of schools on April 10, 2014, providing guidance to school districts on the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (Public Law 112-278).  The Uninterrupted Scholars Act, signed into law and effective on January 14, 2013, revises the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to make it easier for child welfare agencies throughout the United States to access the education records of children who are their charges in order to meet the educational needs of the students.

Click on the following link to access the Commissioners’ letter to school districts:

Uninterrupted Scholars Act guidance letter 4.10.2014

Click on the following link to access the press release and related documents from the U.S. Department of Education:

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-guidance-improve-educational-outcomes-children.

 

Use of Electronic Mail to Provide IEPs and Related Documents

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a policy letter in response to a state inquiry regarding school district use of electronic mail to provide parents with their child’s individualized education program (IEP) and  related documents, including progress reports.  The OSEP policy letter, dated March 20, 2014, was issued by Melody Musgrove, Director of OSEP, in response to an inquiry from the Maine Department of Education.

You may view a complete copy of this policy letter at the following link:

Use of Electronic Mail to Provide IEPs and Related Documents -OSEP Guidance

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Please review the bulleted items below related to the timely and accurate submission of specific State data collections.

  • ED166 – Discipline – Accurate Due Date: August 20, 2014
  • Due Process Resolution Meetings – Timely/Accurate Due Date: August 9, 2014
  • Restraint and Seclusion – Timely Due Date: July 20, 2014
  • Restraint and Seclusion – Accurate Due Date: August 31, 2014
  • Evaluation Timelines – Timely Due Date: August 15, 2014
  • Exiters PSIS/SEDAC – Timely Due Date: September 15, 2014
  • Exiters PSIS/SEDAC – Accurate Due Date: September 30, 2014

To review a copy of the 2014-15 Timely and Accurate Calendar, please click on the link below:

2014-15 Timely and Accurate Calendar