Early Childhood Privacy and Confidentiality


The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released a guidance document on Early Childhood Privacy and Confidentiality to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) address privacy and confidentiality issues.  The document was produced and disseminated in response to requests for clarification of the privacy and confidentiality provisions of the IDEA for young children. This document is intended to provide responses to frequently asked questions to facilitate and enhance States’ implementation of IDEA privacy and confidentiality provisions and can be used in conjunction with the 2014 side-by-side guide of the IDEA and FERPA Confidentiality Provisions. The document can be accessed by the following link: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/idea-confidentiality-requirements-faq.pdf.

Birth to Three Transition Update

The Birth to Three System has undertaken a recent review of their policies, procedures and practices specific to a number of cost saving measures proposed by their Birth to Three providers.  Some of the proposed measures are specific to the transition of age-eligible toddlers with disabilities to their school district.  The Birth to Three System administration has undertaken a careful and considerate review of the proposed measures and has provided written guidance to their providers in response.

The guidance provided by the Birth to Three System to their providers includes the following:

  • Convening of a Transition Conference

The obligation of convening a Transition Conference is the responsibility of the child’s service coordinator in the Birth to Three System.  With parent consent, a representative of the school district will be invited to the Transition Conference.  The IDEA Part C regulations require that meeting arrangements be made with, and written notice provided to, the family and other participants early enough before the meeting date to ensure that all will be able to attend (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(2)).  The IDEA Part B requires a school district representative participate in the Transition Conference (20 U.S.C. 1412 Sec. 612(9)).

  • Location of a Transition Conference

The date, time and location of the Transition Conference is based upon the IDEA Part C requirement that the meeting be convened at a setting and at times that are convenient for the family (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(i)).  There are no requirements in the Birth to Three System about where a Transition Conference should or must be held.  Rather, the decision regarding the Transition Conference location is made by the child’s family.  Meeting locations could include the home as well as a school facility.

  • Transition Activities Under IDEA Part C

The IDEA Part C identifies a number of required activities that would assist in supporting the transition of a child and family from the Birth to Three System.  Included is discussions with, and the training of parents, regarding future placements and other matters related to the child’s transition; and ways to prepare the child for changes in service delivery, including steps to help the child adjust to, and function in a new setting (C.F.R. §303.344(h)(2)(i)-(ii)).  To that end, the Birth to Three System identifies that consideration should be given to holding the Transition Conference at a school location as a way to introduce the child and family to the school facility, school personnel and the school community.  This and other types of introductions to upcoming changes for the child and family can be planned next steps to assist the child and family in becoming acquainted with and establishing relationships with new service providers in their school district.

  • Providing Child Assessment Information for Transition

There is nothing in the IDEA Part C or in the Birth to Three procedures that require Birth to Three programs to provide child specific evaluation reports to the child’s school district.  The Birth to Three System’s procedures do identify that programs “may”, upon the request of a school district, provide updated child information to support the child’s transition.  The Birth to Three System requires that programs complete a curriculum-based assessment three (3) months after receipt of Birth to Three services, as part of the ongoing assessment of a child’s strengths and needs and prior to the child’s exit while enrolled in the Birth to Three System.  Birth to Three programs can provide any updated curriculum-based assessment summaries or other child specific information that might be helpful to the child’s school district in understanding the strengths and needs of the child.  The obligation for the initial evaluation to determine a child’s eligibility for special education belongs to the child’s school district under the IDEA Part B provisions (C.F.R. §300.301, §300.305, §300.306).

  • Participation at Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Meetings

Under the IDEA, Part B, the school district, at the request of the parent, must invite the child’s service coordinator or other representatives of the Birth to Three System to assist with the smooth transition of services (C.F.R. §300.321(f)).  The Birth to Three System encourages their providers to attend the PPT meeting to assist in contributing to the determination of a child’s eligibility for special education.  The family, with the support of the child’s service coordinator, can provide child specific information about a child’s strengths and needs and child progress made during receipt of early intervention which can contribute to the PPT discussion and decision-making.

 

Announcing CAS Special Education Coaching Support Grant

Time sensitive – open submission ends December 15, 2016.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Bureau of Special Education and the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) Partnership

CAS is pleased to announce the availability of a grant to support special education administrators who are in years one through three in their position. In response to reports from the field indicating that newly appointed special education administrators would benefit greatly from the support of an executive coach with special education expertise, CAS has been working with the CT State Department of Education to develop a special education executive coaching model. The new model was approved in September and the CSDE has agreed to support the model through a competitive grant process made available to districts. Grant awardees can receive a coach at no cost for the services provided.

Through this grant, the CSDE and CAS will work collaboratively with partner districts to:

  • support the transition of a new special education administrator;
  • create a structured, individualized support plan for the administrator;
  • build capacity for supporting equitable learning experience for all students, specifically, students with disabilities; and,
  • enhance district capacity for implementing and sustaining successful practices that are developed throughout the year by providing training and technical assistance and resources to identified special education administrators.

Coaches will work with administrators to develop good time management and organizational skills. Systemic collaboration with all staff within the district will also be an area of focus. Ultimately, differentiated support will be provided as determined by district and school needs. Projected outcomes include increased job effectiveness; improved staff satisfaction and retention; timely responses and resolutions to compliance related matters; improved staff and family communication; and increased parent satisfaction. The coaching support will help to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.

For further information and to download the grant application, please visit
CAS Special Education Coaching Grant Application or go to Web address: http://www.casciac.org/pdfs/CAS_Special_Education_Coaching_Grant_Application.pdf

For specific questions pertaining to this competition, please contact:

  • Marie Salazar Glowski, Assistant Executive Director — Connecticut Association of Schools, at (203) 250-1111, extension 3926 (mglowski@casciac.org); or,
  • Dr. Don Briere, Education Consultant – Connecticut State Department of Education, at (860) 713-6931 (donald.briere@ct.gov).

 

 

Birth to Three Transition Update

The Birth to Three System has undertaken a recent review of their policies, procedures and practices specific to a number of cost saving measures proposed by their Birth to Three providers. Some of the proposed measures are specific to the transition of age-eligible toddlers with disabilities to their school district. The Birth to Three System administration has undertaken a careful and considerate review of the proposed measures and has provided written guidance to their providers in response.

The guidance provided by the Birth to Three System to their providers includes the following:

1. Convening of a Transition Conference
The obligation of convening a Transition Conference is the responsibility of the child’s service coordinator in the Birth to Three System. With parent consent, a representative of the school district will be invited to the Transition Conference. The IDEA Part C regulations require that meeting arrangements be made with, and written notice provided to, the family and other participants early enough before the meeting date to ensure that all will be able to attend (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(2)). The IDEA Part B requires a school district representative participate in the Transition Conference (20 U.S.C. 1412 Sec. 612(9)).

2. Location of a Transition Conference
The date, time and location of the Transition Conference is based upon the IDEA Part C requirement that the meeting be convened at a setting and at times that are convenient for the family (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(i)). There are no requirements in the Birth to Three System about where a Transition Conference should or must be held. Rather, the decision regarding the Transition Conference location is made by the child’s family. Meeting locations could include the home as well as a school facility.

3. Transition Activities Under IDEA Part C
The IDEA Part C identifies a number of required activities that would assist in supporting the transition of a child and family from the Birth to Three System. Included is discussions with, and the training of parents, regarding future placements and other matters related to the child’s transition; and ways to prepare the child for changes in service delivery, including steps to help the child adjust to, and function in a new setting (C.F.R. §303.344(h)(2)(i)-(ii)). To that end, the Birth to Three System identifies that consideration should be given to holding the Transition Conference at a school location as a way to introduce the child and family to the school facility, school personnel and the school community. This and other types of introductions to upcoming changes for the child and family can be planned next steps to assist the child and family in becoming acquainted with and establishing relationships with new service providers in their school district.

4. Providing Child Assessment Information for Transition
There is nothing in the IDEA Part C or in the Birth to Three procedures that require Birth to Three programs to provide child specific evaluation reports to the child’s school district. The Birth to Three System’s procedures do identify that programs “may”, upon the request of a school district, provide updated child information to support the child’s transition. The Birth to Three System requires that programs complete a curriculum-based assessment three (3) months after receipt of Birth to Three services, as part of the ongoing assessment of a child’s strengths and needs and prior to the child’s exit while enrolled in the Birth to Three System. Birth to Three programs can provide any updated curriculum-based assessment summaries or other child specific information that might be helpful to the child’s school district in understanding the strengths and needs of the child. The obligation for the initial evaluation to determine a child’s eligibility for special education belongs to the child’s school district under the IDEA Part B provisions (C.F.R. §300.301, §300.305, §300.306).

5. Participation at Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Meetings
Under the IDEA, Part B, the school district, at the request of the parent, must invite the child’s service coordinator or other representatives of the Birth to Three System to assist with the smooth transition of services (C.F.R. §300.321(f)). The Birth to Three System encourages their providers to attend the PPT meeting to assist in contributing to the determination of a child’s eligibility for special education. The family, with the support of the child’s service coordinator, can provide child specific information about a child’s strengths and needs and child progress made during receipt of early intervention which can contribute to the PPT discussion and decision-making.

SAVE THE DATE for the Paraeducator Development and Leadership Symposium

On November 16, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building at 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford the Paraeducator Development and Leadership Symposium will be held.
For the symposium flyer and a look at the list of high caliber key speakers follow the link below.

paraeducator-development-and-leadership-symposium-16-17-flyer

Student Assessment Update to Special Education Directors – Guidelines and Resources

The Bureau of Student Assessment recently released two updated resources which include information on assessment for special student populations. These are the 2016-17 Assessment Guidelines and the 2016-17 Test Supports and Accommodations Form.

The updated 2016-17 Assessment Guidelines may be viewed on the Student Assessment web page under Special Populations Documentation and Resources. This resource provides guidance to Connecticut school district personnel who must make decisions about testing special student populations on the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) Science, the Connecticut Academic Achievement Test (CAPT) Science, the CMT Skills Checklist Science, the CAPT Skills Checklist Science, and the Connecticut Alternate Assessment (CTAA). These special student populations include students identified as eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students identified as disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and students who are identified as English Learners (EL). This decision-making also includes general education students who may require additional supports.

Further, the 2016-17 Test Supports and Accommodations Form, also available on the Student Assessment web page under Special Populations Documentation and Resources, was recently updated. The form is used to document the Smarter Balanced and CMT/CAPT Science supports and accommodations for students with disabilities or English Learners.

If after reviewing these documents you have questions about the special student populations, the criteria for participation in various assessment options or allowable supports or accommodations, please contact the Bureau of Student Assessment at 860-713-6837 or 860-713-6855.

2016-17 Leadership Forums – SAVE THE DATES

Once again, the Connecticut State Department of Education, the State Education Resource Center, and the Connecticut Council for Administrators of Special Education have come together to offer leadership forums packed with important information for educational leaders in the field. Please visit the leadership forum flyer below and save these important dates in your calendars!

2016-17 Leadership Forum Flyer

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.

 

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

 CSDE has partnered with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to assess the status of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implementation across the state.  By visiting schools that have been trained in PBIS and conducting the School-wide PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) alongside the school’s team, SERC will be able to assist schools in evaluating their progress, guide their implementation, and develop action plans for improvement. This half-day support is at NO-COST to the school and district and is funded through the CT SCTG project.

The SWPBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) is  a tool schools can use to efficiently assess their implementation of PBIS. By measuring the core structures across all three tiers of this multi-tiered behavioral framework schools get a snapshot of their current implementation fidelity, an action plan for continued school improvement, and specific recommendations for content knowledge development that would advance implementation. To be eligible for this no-cost support, the interested school must have completed PBIS training in the past.  Once scheduled, the school’s leadership team will meet with an external TFI facilitator for 90-120 minutes to work through the TFI process.

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.