Accessible eBooks Takes a Leap Forward

Exciting information from Benetech (also known as Bookshare), regarding Accessible eBooks and commitment from major Education Publishers. The program will empower publishers to produce accessible eBooks and educators to easily recognize accessible content during the procurement process. This is a big step forward on our march toward making sure eBooks serve all students equally. The following article provides information related to accessible eBooks. This should not be considered the CSDE’s endorsement of any product or agency.

 

BENETECH ESTABLISHES GLOBAL CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE PROGRAM TO ENSURE CONTENT SERVES ALL STUDENTS EQUALLY

PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 22, 2017 — Benetech<https://www.benetech.org/>, the leading software for social good nonprofit, in conjunction with Dedicon, Royal National Institute of Blind People, and Vision Australia, today announced Global Certified Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/certification/>. The program is the first third-party ebook verification program for accessible content. Global Certified Accessible supports publisher efforts to meet or exceed accessibility requirements set by K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a six-month beta program with participation from industry leaders spanning educational, academic, professional, and trade publications.

Global Certified Accessible ensures students unable to read standard print due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability have equal access to the same content as their peers. The program has a global footprint in order to serve students around the world. Benetech developed the certification standards and serves as the lead certification provider for North America. Dedicon provides certification for mainland Europe, Royal National Institute of Blind People for the United Kingdom, and Vision Australia for Australasia.

“The importance of electronically published books continues to grow, but many ebooks lack core accessibility features that students require, falling short of procurement requirements and student needs,” said Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO, Benetech. “As the nonprofit operator of Bookshare<https://www.bookshare.org/>, the largest online library of accessible books, Benetech is well suited to offer a Global Certified Accessible program that not only gives procurement offices the confidence that comes with third-party certified materials but also allows publishers to serve a larger addressable market.”

Global Certified Accessible is part of Benetech’s Born Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/> initiative, which encourages the education community to request accessible digital content and engages the publishing community to produce content that is accessible from the moment it is created. As a result of the recently released EPUB Accessibility Specification 1.0 and the growing demand for accessible materials, leading publishers and educational institutions are increasing their support for accessibility as a business and a classroom imperative.

Ingram Content Group’s VitalSource® and CoreSource® will include the accessibility ratings for eTextbooks from publishers participating in the Global Certified Accessible program as a part of their metadata and catalog feeds through Bookshelf®, VitalSource’s content-delivery platform. By doing so, procurement offices and school districts will be able to easily identify and prioritize third-party certified, accessible eTextbooks from publishers who choose to participate.

“VitalSource is excited to help accelerate the adoption of accessible publishing,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy, VitalSource®. “As a global solutions provider, receiving accessibility certifications from Benetech and their global partners is a logical choice. As publishers increase their ability to produce content that provides access to all students, having a trusted source that can certify their accessibility will provide a welcome level of transparency to all involved.”

Learn more about Global Certified Accessible<https://www.benetech.org/our-programs/literacy/born-accessible/certification/>.

 

 

2017 Guidelines for Occupational Therapy in Connecticut Schools

In a May 10, 2017, memorandum to Connecticut Special Education Directors, it was announced that the 2017 Guidelines for Occupational Therapy in Connecticut Schools is now available. Please review this memorandum which contains the Web link leading to this guidance document.

Memorandum 2017 Guidelines for Occupational Therapy in Connecticut Schools

Changes to IEP Page 9, State and District Testing and Accommodations

On April 28, 2017, then Interim Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Isabelina Rodriguez, issued a memorandum to Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services regarding changes to the Individualized Education Program Page 9, STATE AND DISTRICT TESTING AND ACCOMMODATIONS.

The memorandum as well as the updated information related to IEP Page 9 (i.e., PDF and DOC forms as well as the IEP Manual revision) may be found at each of these links.

Memorandum to the Field – Changes to IEP Page 9 – 4.28.2017

IEP Manual Pg 9 Rev. 5-1-17

IEP Page 9 – State and District Testing Accommodations Rev. 4-28-2017  (DOC)

IEP Page 9 – State and District Testing Accommodations Rev. 4-28-2017 (PDF)

This information will be posted to the CSDE, BSE Web page under PPT Process and IEP Forms (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322680) later this week. 

SAVE THE DATE for Putting Research-to-Practice in Teacher Preparation: a CEEDAR Conference on September 29, 2017

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education, the Connecticut State Department of Education presents this conference as a culminating, scale-up event.  Join us in showcasing the notable work done in Connecticut focused on training pre-service candidates in evidence-based practices to support students with disabilities, struggling learners and English learners.

The Department is pleased to present two renown keynote speakers: Dr. Deborah Ball and Dr. Kenneth Zeichner. In addition to encouraging conference attendance, faculty and candidates from all institutions are encouraged to propose presentations or poster sessions in alignment with conference themes. The RFP for presentations or poster session proposals is attached and due by April 3, 2017.  Registration information will be made available at the end of April 2017.

CEEDAR Conference Flyer

CEEDAR Conference Presentation and Poster Session Proposal Form

REMINDER: Required Legislation – Language and Communication Plan for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Effective July 1, 2012, Section 11 of Public Act (P.A.) 12-173, entitled an Act Concerning Individualized Education Programs and Other Issues Relating to Special Education, requires that the individualized education program (IEP) of any child identified as deaf or hard of hearing must include a language and communication plan (LCP) developed by the child’s planning and placement team (PPT).  Any child with an identified hearing loss, regardless of whether deafness or hard of hearing is the primary disability category, must have a LCP which documents the considerations and/or actions discussed and identified by the child’s PPT.

The LCP must address:

  • The primary language or mode of communication chosen for the child;
  • Opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the primary language or mode of communication for the child;
  • Educational options available to the child;
  • The qualifications of teachers and other professional personnel administering the child’s LCP, including the teachers’ or professionals’ proficiency in the primary language or other mode of communication for the child;
  • The accessibility of academic instruction, school services and extra-curricular activities for the child; and
  • Communication and accommodations in the physical environment for the child.

Section 300.324(a)(2)(iv) of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requires that the child’s PPT consider the following areas regarding the communication needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing:

The child’s language and communication needs;

  • Opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode;
  • The child’s academic level;
  • The child’s full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and mode of communication; and
  • Whether the child’s needs a technology device and/or service(s).

Section 11 of P.A. 12-173 requires documentation of the special considerations outlined in the IDEA and P.A. 12-173 through a LCP developed by the child’s PPT and included in the IEP of each child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  This requirement is reflected on page 10 of the IEP.  The LCP is available on the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) web site at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/word_docs/deps/special/language_and_communication_plan.doc

The CSDE has made available the LCP since 2009 as a tool recommended for use as a best practice document for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The passage of P.A. 12-173 now makes the LCP a required part of the IEP for each child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  The CSDE has posted the LCP as part of the IEP form on the CSDE web site.  To assure that each child’s unique needs are identified and considered in the development of a child’s IEP, the LCP must be developed at the initial IEP for each child who is deaf or hard or hearing and must be reviewed at least annually and revised as appropriate. The LCP as developed and/or revised must be included in the IEP.

Additional LCP resources that are available on the CSDE website include:

Annotated Language and Communication Plan [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/annotated_language_and_communication_plan.pdf

Language and Communication Plan FAQ’s [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/faqs_langauge_and_communication_plan.pdf

Memo from Chief Operating Officer – Section 11 of Public Act 12-173: Required Language and Communication Plan for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/public_act_12_173_lcp_memo.pdf

Questions regarding the LCP can be directed to Colleen Hayles at 860-713-6922 or via email at colleen.hayles@ct.gov.

 

NEW: Testing for Students Enrolled in Out-of-State Facilities or State Non-Approved Schools

Connecticut public school districts are now responsible to test students in the Public School Information System (PSIS) who are enrolled in out-of-state facilities or are enrolled in state non-approved schools. Please see the following important previously published documents for information.

Students in PSIS who attend Out-of-State Facilities or In-State Non-Approved Facilities

http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/student_assessment/smarter_balanced/Out_of_State_and_Non_Approveds_2_14_17.pdf

 

Connecticut Alternative Assessment System Participation Guidance for Planning and Placement Teams

http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/student_assessment/special_education/Alternate_Assessment_Participation_Decisions_Flowchart.pdf

 

RESCHEDULED: Leadership and Mental Health Supports for Students forum

The leadership forum, titled Leadership and Mental Health Supports for Students, which was cancelled due to inclement weather on February 10, 2017, has been rescheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the ITBD (CCSU), 185 Main Street, New Britain, CT 06051

Those participants previously registered are automatically enrolled in this rescheduled event.

New participants may register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-bureau-of-special-education-february-leadership-forum-registration-27758535527 .

A link to presentation materials for download will be sent to participants via email just prior to the event.

For questions regarding this event please contact Stephen Proffitt (proffitt@ctserc.org; (860) 632-1485 ext. 322) or Jay Brown (jay.brown@ct.gov; (860) 713-6918).

 

Connecticut Alternate Assessment System FAQ Regarding Students with Disabilities

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document related to the Connecticut Alternate Assessment System that includes important information regarding students with disabilities. You may access that document at Frequently Asked Question and Answers About the Connecticut Alternate Assessment System [pdf] or at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322680#CMT

For questions related to this document please contact Rhonda Kempton, Education Consultant, Bureau of Special Education, (860) 713-6924 or Rhonda.kempton@ct.gov.

Opportunity for Support – Connecticut’s School Climate Transformation Grant (CT SCTG)

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has partnered with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to support the continued implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) across our state.  Currently, over 150 schools have participated in this project’s effort, which uses a multi-tiered behavioral framework fidelity tool called the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) to inform a school’s current PBIS implementation levels.  This self-assessment tool focuses on core systems, practices, and data structures present within each tier of implementation.  Schools who participate in this process receive a snapshot of their current implementation fidelity within each tier, an action plan for continued school improvement, and specific recommendations for next steps.

Each school who signs-up for this support receives a half-day of assistance from a trained TFI facilitator who works with the school’s leadership team.  This half-day support is at NO-COST to the school as it is funded through the CT SCTG project.

 To be eligible for this support, the interested school must have completed 3-years of PBIS training in the past. To schedule your, SWPBIS TFI please visit www.ctserc.org/sctg  and complete the Online Request Form. For troubleshooting questions, please call Lauren D. Johns, Education Services Specialist at (860) 632-1485 ext. 256 or johns@ctserc.org. For more information on the TFI process, please contact Sarah L. Jones, Project Officer at (860) 632-1485 ext. 307 or sjones@ctserc.org.

CANCELLED Leadership and Mental Health Supports for Students forum

Due to inclement weather-related issues, tomorrow’s (February 10th) leadership forum, titled Leadership and Mental Health Supports for Students, at the ITBD in New Britain HAS BEEN CANCELLED and will be rescheduled at a future date yet to be determined.

Participants will receive an official notification via the event registration website. SERC will provide details on the rescheduled event as soon as possible.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at the rescheduled event. For questions regarding this event please contact Stephen Proffitt (proffitt@ctserc.org; (860) 632-1485 ext. 322) or Jay Brown (jay.brown@ct.gov; (860) 713-6918) after February 10th.