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.



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/>.



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. 

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.

New Special Education Professional Learning Modules

The Bureau of Special Education (BSE) in partnership with the State Education Resource Center (SERC), has developed a series of Special Education Professional Learning Modules with three central themes running throughout the series:

  • individualized education program (IEP) development (for compliance and quality),
  • culturally-responsive family-school partnerships, and
  • State and federal special education regulations.

Several of these professional learning opportunities will be offered prior to the close of this school year, but all will be offered during the 2017-2018 school year, with some modules offered as overviews and others as in-depth learning opportunities.

Intentionally designed with a target audience that includes general educators/school leaders as critical partners, participants will return to their districts with tools and strategies ready for implementation to build staff capacity and to better support students with disabilities and their families.

Individual module details and registration information may be found at:

Special Education Professional Learning Modules

We’re Moving!

As a reminder, the Bureau of Special Education, along with all other offices of the State Department of Education, with the exception of the Connecticut Technical High School System, is moving to a new location.

Beginning on January 17, 2017, the Bureau of Special Education will be housed at 450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 604, in Hartford. The facility on Columbus Blvd. is located at the intersection of Interstates 91 and 84 along the Connecticut River. All telephone numbers will remain the same.


450 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, CT 06103. The new location of the State Department of Education

450 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, CT 06103. The new location of the State Department of Education

For mailing purposes, please use the following address: State of Connecticut, Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, P.O. Box 2219, Hartford, CT 06145, Attention: [consultant’s name here].

For a time, the Postal Service will forward any mail sent to the old Hartford or Middletown addresses.

If you are visiting our new location, our physical address is: State of Connecticut, Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, 450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 604, Hartford, CT 06103.

Visitors are directed to park in the Morgan Street garage and a nominal parking fee will be required. After parking, take the elevator down to the street level and using the cross walk, walk across the street to the public entrance of 450 Columbus Blvd. On-street parking is also available.

When visiting, you must sign in at the security desk with photo identification. All visitors will be entered electronically into the visitor management system and issued a visitor’s badge. Security personnel will contact the person whom you are visiting and direct you to an elevator where you will proceed to the appropriate floor. Your contact person will typically meet you in the elevator lobby of that floor and escort you to your meeting location. Please remember to turn in your visitor’s badge when you leave.

Additional information is available on the Connecticut State Department of Education Web site: CSDE is Moving!

Directions to the Morgan Street Garage

From the South

  • 91 North
  • Exit 32A-32B
  • Exit 32B Trumbull St
  • At light turn Left onto Market St
  • At 3rd light turn Left onto Talcott St
  • Garage is on your Left

From the North

  • 91 South
  • Exit 32A-32B
  • Exit 32B Trumbull St
  • At light turn Left onto Market St
  • At 3rd light turn Left onto Talcott St
  • Garage is on your Left

From the West

  • 84 East
  • Exit 50 Main St
  • At 3rd light turn Right onto Market St
  • At light turn Left onto Talcott St
  • Garage is on your Left

From the East

  • 84 West
  • Exit 50 Main St
  • At light turn Left onto Market St
  • At 2nd light turn Left onto Talcott St
  • Garage is on your Left

A map of 450 Columbus Blvd. and the Morgan Street Garage area.