About Bureau Bulletin

The Bureau Bulletin is a news publication of the Bureau of Special Education, Connecticut State Department of Education

Special Education Mediation in Connecticut – 2017

In accordance with the directive of the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is moving to a mediation system that utilizes independent contractors as mediators; as of September 1, 2017, employees of the CSDE will no longer be mediating. Please access the profiles of the new mediators, a revised form you may use to request mediation and a form to assist us with professional development using these links or the links provided at the bottom of this notification.  (Fillable forms will soon be available on our website.)

As part of the move to the new mediation system, certain changes are being made to the existing practices and procedures. Please note the following:

  • Through August, the new mediators will transition from observing mediations to conducting mediations with the current mediators observing;
  • For the current time, mediation notices will continue to be issued by the Bureau of Special Education;
  • Whether mediation is requested through use of the revised form, letter or electronic mail, we are asking that the same information requested on the form be provided in the request including a simple statement of the issues and proposed resolution;
  • Mediation requests will be assigned to the new mediators on an alphabetical, rotating basis;
  • The mediators will contact the parties to arrange the date of mediation; it is not necessary to provide dates.

We hope to make the transition to the new process as smooth as possible. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Gail Mangs                                          Mary Jean Schierberl

gail.mangs@ct.gov                              maryjean.schierberl@ct.gov

860-713-6938                                      860-713-6943

 

Mediator Biographies 2017

Request for Mediation Form 07-13-17

Mediation Response Form

 

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).