The Bureau of Special Education Welcomes Its Newest Member

The Bureau of Special Education welcomes its newest member, Dorothy (Dori) Papa-Santini. Dori started at the Bureau two weeks ago as an Education Service Specialist and is a welcome addition to the Special Education Program Improvement Unit.  Her primary responsibilities include: Least Restrictive Environment (State Performance Plan Indicators 3 and 5); Complaint Resolutions; and general special education support for school districts and parents. 

Dori comes to the Bureau with a wealth of knowledge and experience as a Special Education Teacher, Department Head, and Interim School Principal within the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Unified School District 2 (USD #2).  Dori has earned her Special Education CT Endorsement #165 in Comprehensive Special Education Teaching (K-12), an M.S. in Special Education with a concentration area in Serious Emotional Disturbance, a CT Endorsement #092 in Intermediate Administration and Supervision, and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership (Ed.D).    

Dori may be reached by email at Dorothy.Papa-Santini@ct.gov  or by phone at (860) 713-6918 extension 6923.

 

Technical Assistance Available Through the CT School Transformation Grant

A technical assistance opportunity through the Connecticut State Department of Education’s School Climate Transformation Grant is available to schools that have completed one year of PBIS training in the past.

Please see additional information by visiting:

School Climate Transformation Grant technical assistance opportunity

SAVE THE DATE: Paraeducator Symposium November 16, 2017!

The Second Annual Paraeducator Development and Leadership Symposium supporting social and emotional learning will be held Thursday, November 16, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. For detailed information related to this important event, please view this symposium announcement: Paraeducator Symposium 17-18 Announcement.

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.