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/>.

 

 

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.

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.

 

Upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities and Conferences

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) in partnership with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) is offering four professional learning opportunities related to Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia. In addition to these important SLD/Dyslexia learning opportunities, the CSDE/SERC partnership has planned an exciting Transition to Careers conference.

Please review the links below to learn more!

SLD-Dyslexia Professional Learning Opportunities 2015-16

CT Forum on Promising Practices in SLD- Dyslexia

Transition to Careers Conference

Assistive Technology Resource Guide

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has published a resource document on assistive technology (AT) called the Connecticut’s Resource Guide of Assistive Technology, Supports and Accommodations for Daily Instruction and Formative, Interim and Summative Assessments.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) states that AT must be considered in the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students often need assistive technology supports to access instruction and participate in assessments.

The purpose of Connecticut’s Resource Guide of Assistive Technology is to inform educators, instructional staff, parents and students about available resources for consideration during instruction and highlight elements for individualized supports/accommodations that mirror supports utilized during instruction for assessment such as on the Connecticut’s Alternate Assessment (CTAA) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Utilizing these resources in conjunction with the Connecticut AT Guidelines during instruction as well as assessment, provides students access to enriched educational experiences, prepares them to be career and college ready, and ensures that positive educational outcomes can be realized for all students.

If you have questions related to the AT Resource Guide and/or AT Guidelines, please contact Thomas Boudreau, Bureau of Special Education, at 860-713-6925 or thomas.boudreau@ct.gov.

 

Easing into Secondary Transition: A Comprehensive Guide to Resources and Services in Connecticut

A publication on secondary transition has been developed through a joint collaboration between a number of state agencies; Regional Educational Services Centers (RESCs); the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC); and the State Education Resource Center (SERC).  The publication is entitled, “Easing into Secondary Transition: A Comprehensive Guide to Resources and Services in Connecticut.”  This publication provides information on professional development opportunities, resources and services related to secondary transition for students with disabilities. If you are looking for customized services or further information, please contact the agency representative listed on the brochure. To review this important resource, please follow the link below.

Easing into Secondary Transition A Comprehensive Guide to Resources and Services in Connecticut

New Connecticut Administrators of Special Education (NCASE) 2012-13 Informational Forums

The State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education (BSE) in partnership with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) continues to support new Connecticut administrators of special education through a series of informational forums targeting the most pressing needs for these new administrators.

NCASE informational forums are designed for those educational professionals who have been special education administrators in Connecticut for fewer than two years.

Through a series of live presentations and easy-to-access web-modules, NCASE participants receive information related to the IDEA grant application and current fiscal issues, the latest data issues and updates, extensive web-based resources through BSE and SERC web site tours, along with information on other critical areas of special education administration.

By following the link below you may access the schedule of 2012-13 NCASE informational forums.  If you are a new Connecticut administrator of special education, please take this opportunity to review the upcoming events and consider participating. If you are not new, but know someone who is, please consider supporting them by making them aware of the NCASE offerings.

If you would like to be included in the NCASE email dissemination list, please contact Jacqueline Denault (SERC) at denualt@ctserc.org or 860.632.1485 ext. 294.

For questions related to specific content for an NCASE event please contact Jay A. Brown (BSE) at jay.brown@ct.gov, 860.713.6918 or Thomas Foote (SERC) at foote@ctserc.org, 860.632.1485 ext. 395.

Follow this link to review upcoming NCASE events: NCASE Schedule of Events 2012-13

Surrogate Parent Contact List 2012-13

The Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education has created a list of Surrogate Parents who have been contracted for the 2012-13 school year.  A copy of that list is available by visiting the link below.  Please contact Christine Spak at christine.spak@ct.gov or 860-713-6916 with questions related to the Surrogate Parent Program.

Surrogate Parent Contact List for 2012-13 school year

Mark Your Calendars!

  • CSDE,BSE Annual Back to School Meeting 2012: September 19, 2012
  • Exiters PSIS / SEDAC – Timely Due Date: September 15, 2012
  • Exiters PSIS / SEDAC – Accurate Due Date: September 30, 2012
  • PSIS October 2011 Collection – Timely Due Date: October 15, 2012
  • PSIS October 2011 Collection – Accurate Due Date: October 29, 2012
  • Early Childhood Outcomes – Timely Due Date: November 1, 2012
  • Early Childhood Outcomes – Accurate Due Date: November 15, 2012
  • SEDAC-G December final certification statutory Due Date: December 1, 2012
  • SEDAC – Oct 1 Child Count Timely Due Date: December 5, 2012
  • SEDAC – Oct 1 Child Count Accurate Due Date: December 15, 2012

Click for the Timely and Accurate Calendar:
2012-13: Timely and Accurate Calendar 2012-13