Take Advantage if You Have a Subscription to The NEAT Center at Oak Hill!

For the 2020-21 school year, the BSE has provided LEAs (by cohort identification) across CT with access to The NEAT Center at Oak Hill in a variety of ways.  Each of the LEA cohorts have access to unique Assistive Technology (AT) services either through a comprehensive subscription or engaging membership, at no cost. 

For more information, visit https://assistivetechnology.oakhillct.org/sde-subscription/ .

Sign up today for “Packing a Punch with AT: Getting the most out of your AT resources and supports!” This is a free, 2-hour webinar that will get you started with your subscription, build your AT capacity and review important resources for your team/district.

Available webinar slots (pick one) for any cohort member include:

September 23rd, October 2nd & October 15th from

10am – 12pm.

NEAT believes the most sustainable quality assurance plan is one that grows organically within each school district. During this webinar we will discuss how to increase fidelity and utilize best practice for assistive technology (AT) supports. We will also cover the latest AT trends and implementation strategies for the classroom and for remote learning.  There will be time for questions regarding NEAT membership and subscriptions: Cohort A and C have been provided a Subscription which allows for additional AT services to the Membership.  Cohort B has been provided a NEAT Membership this school year will be introduced to their Subscription in the year 2021-22.

 

 

Administration of and Data Reporting for the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Assessment

A new webinar about the administration of and data reporting for the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) assessment required for all Pre-K special education students is now available at https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Special-Education/Early-Childhood-Special-Education under the ECO subheading.

Please forward this information to all staff who administer the ECO as well as to those who submit the data.

 

Social Stories About Mask Wearing

Social stories about mask wearing have been created by The UCONN University Center for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in collaboration with the CT Pyramid Project.  They are available for download in English, Spanish, Portugese and Mandarin at https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/COVID19/COVID-19-Resources-for-Families-and-Educators/Resources-for-Educators  under the Early Childhood heading.

 

Related Services Communities of Practice for the 2020-2021 School Year

Communities of Practice for School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, Behavior Analysists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers have begun again for the 2020-2021 school year. These Communities of Practice are opportunities to join colleagues to collaborate, exchange ideas, focus on evidence based practice, and build your area’s collective capacity to support students in Connecticut. You may find more information regarding communities of practice for your service area including dates and times for these virtual Zoom sessions at: Related Services Communities of Practice 2020-2021 Flyer

UPDATE REGARDING IDEA ELIGIBILITY EXTENDED UNTIL AGE 22

On September 4, 2020, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued an updated memorandum to Superintendents of Schools and Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) eligibility being extended until age 22. This memorandum was an update to the July 24, 2020 memorandum, Updated Guidance Regarding IDEA Eligibility Extended Until Age 22.

Please see this important update at:

Update Regarding IDEA Eligibility Extended Until Age 22 (September 4, 2020)

Special Education Guidance for Parents Related to School Reopening

The CT Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) and the CT State Department of Education (CSDE) have compiled this three page document, Special Education Guidance for Parents Related to School Reopening, which describes the special education information found in Addendum 6: Reopening Guidance for Educating Students with Disabilities from the CSDE.  This document is intended to assist families of students with disabilities in understanding how special education instruction and related services may be delivered within the context of the three learning models in which students may be participating during the 2020-21 school year.  (Spanish translation coming soon.) 

CT Department of Education Announces Procurement of New Statewide Special Education Data Management System

 (HARTFORD) – The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced, after a thorough procurement process, the department is entering into a partnership with the Public Consulting Group (PCG) to support its goals and vision of developing a comprehensive statewide Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS) to make available to all of its local school district partners. CSDE’s commitment to improved efficiency for the state’s special education general monitoring and supervision system will provide numerous benefits for Connecticut’s more than 84,000 students with disabilities, their families and educators.

“At the forefront of our commitment to ensuring all students are provided a high quality education is prioritizing equity and access for our most vulnerable students including students with disabilities,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. “The implementation of this system will allow local school districts to redeploy funds toward a streamlined special education data collection process and student based programming needs that were previously used to support an online IEP system. This statewide initiative will reduce the overall reporting burdens on local school districts and schools a necessary resource to better serve students with disabilities and their families. We are excited to partner with PCG and get this extremely important work underway.”

CT-SEDS adaptive electronic Individual Education Program (IEP) document was designed to improve format and flow of information with intuitive, easy to use displays. The new system includes a parent portal for families to access their student’s IEP and other important information as well as a language translation feature to ensure that parents receive information in their native language.  The new and improved document will also assist planning and placement teams (PPTs) in navigating the special education process, leading to the development of high quality IEPs for Connecticut’s students.  School districts will also have access to additional modules within the system to support Scientific Research Based Interventions (SRBI)/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Section 504, Gifted and Talented, and Medicaid Reimbursement processes.

“Public Consulting Group is excited to partner with the Connecticut State Department of Education in the development of its new statewide special education data management system,” said Grant Blair, Director of PCG’s Education practice. “Our team is successfully supporting similar efforts in a handful of other states and we look forward to bringing that hands-on experience and lessons learned to Connecticut. We’re thrilled to embark on this project that will ultimately lead to improved student outcomes across the State.”

The 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years will be devoted to standing up and customizing the system to meet Connecticut’s needs. This complex endeavor will involve piloting the system with select districts, making necessary adjustments to system functionality and, to the greatest extent possible, migrating historical data. Ensuring a thoughtful and deliberate implementation timeline will allow for extensive system testing, comprehensive end-user training, and provide time for existing school district software contracts to expire in advance of full implementation during the 2022-23 school year.

CAS Special Education Executive Coaching for 2020 – 2021

ANNOUNCEMENT! Special education administrators may now apply to receive a CAS Special Education Executive Coach for the 2020 – 2021 academic year at no cost to the district (application here: CAS Competitive Grant Application – Coaching Support for Special Education Administrators). Applications may be submitted electronically, however, two hard copies must be received at CAS by September 11, 2020.

The primary focus of coaching support is to assist administrators with the reopening of schools. A committee of special education coaches developed a five-part series entitled “Special Education Considerations as Schools Reopen” which includes a district self-assessment. This document which is posted on the CAS website (http://www.casciac.org/) will be used with the administrator in developing an action plan. The coach will assist the administrator with the details of ensuring that effective programming and services for students with disabilities are achieved. The coach will work directly with the teachers and pupil personnel that the administrator deems necessary. Coaches can also assist with planning PPT meetings. Differentiated support will be provided based upon individual, school and district needs. In addition to working toward an educationally sound, safe and healthy school year, coaches also help the administrator enhance time management, organizational skills and communication strategies. Targeted outcomes include timely responses and resolutions to compliance related matters, improved communication and increased staff and parent confidence and satisfaction. Initial visit will be off site and until it is permissible for coaches to enter schools, coaching will be conducted remotely and through email and cell communication.

Please distribute this information as appropriate!

Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators

On Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. there will be a Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators. Please see the flyer for this event here: Principal’s Roundtable for Preschool and Kindergarten Administrators Flyer_ Session 2

Please pass this information on to building principals and district early childhood leaders!

What is the Closer Look Forum?

Closer Look Forum is a different kind of online learning experience. Created by New England Assistive Technology (NEAT), it is designed to give participants a deeper understanding of Assistive Technology (AT). One day a week for one month in October, you will have the opportunity to engage in focused topics that will help increase independence in your students and loved ones. The first two weeks will involve topics under the theme of Learning, and the second two weeks will cover topics under the theme of Living. Each topic will be divided into two meetings. The first meeting will be presentation-based and led by an AT specialist. Attendees will have a week to digest the topic and submit questions and comments. That feedback will then be discussed during a “closer look” second meeting. Take a moment to review the Closer Look Virtual Conference Flyer here.