eBRIEF: January 2022

ebrief the newsletter for busy educators

January 2022

middle school student in black glasses looks at camera In this issue:


photo of lynn mckahan

Happy New Year to each of you!

With the thermometer reading 11 degrees outside, we invite you to pour yourself a cup of cocoa, review the newly released guidance documents from the Department, and join us for a professional learning course while you are keeping warm and toasty indoors.  You can find our upcoming professional development sessions listed below and on our calendar. We hope you can participate in the training opportunities that meet the needs of your students, families, districts, and schools.

Please take a few moments to review and provide feedback on Ohio’s draft Dyslexia Guidebook. ODE is seeking public feedback regarding this document. You may submit your comments via the Department’s website.

Lastly, we congratulate the Region 1 schools recognized as PBIS Award recipients for 2020-21. Your hard work during a most challenging season of learning is to be commended. Well done!

Thank you and stay warm!

Lynn McKahan, M.A., Director
State Support Team 1

Please note:  Our offices are closed Monday, January 17 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

teen in tie dye shirt sits outside school


Each Child Means Each Child is Ohio’s plan for improving learning experiences and outcomes for students with disabilities. Its title also serves as a reminder that each child deserves the same high expectations and rigorous educational opportunities, regardless of any special needs designation.

Historically, Ohio has struggled with providing equitable learning experiences for all students, but its important to remember that although more than 270,000 students are eligible for special education services, the vast majority of students with disabilities have the same cognitive potential as their nondisabled peers.

This means that most of the accommodations we discuss in this issue of eBRIEF are intended only for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. It is important to remember that these standards and assessments offer an opportunity for these students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an appropriately rigorous assessment.

This month, we will provide an overview of the following:

  • Extended Learning Standards
  • Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Difficulties
  • New Alternate Assessment Participation Decision-Making Tool
  • Ohio’s New Long-Term Graduation Requirements

As always, if you have any questions about serving students with disabilities, please contact us. We are happy to provide support as you help all of your students achieve their educational goals.

Send an email        View the SST 1 staff directory
Learn more

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Ohio’s Learning Standards (OLS) identify the knowledge and skills all students need to have to ensure they are on track to graduate from high school with the skills they need to enjoy success in further education and training, the workplace, and life. There are standards for each grade level from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

Ohio’s Learning Standards – Extended (OLS-E) help to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities are provided with multiple ways to learn and demonstrate knowledge. At the same time, the “extended standards” are designed to maintain the rigor and high expectations of Ohio’s Learning Standards.

Educators can use the OLS-E to differentiate instruction for a wide range of students by using the extensions as entry points to the OLS, but the focus should remain learning the content as presented in the OLS.

These extensions can provide entry points into the OLS. Students who do not take Ohio’s Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) will take the general assessments aligned to the general Ohio Learning Standards. 

Students who do not qualify for the AASCD as per the new Decision-Making Tool should be taught using a curriculum based primarily on the OLS, as these are the standards the general assessments are based upon.

In addition to the general and extended standards, the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) have broken skills down further into Learning Progressions. These are typically used with students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Learning progressions help education professionals maintain age/grade-level alignment for each learner while still addressing both strengths and needs.

Learning Progressions are a sequence of skills linked to each academic grade level OLS-E that build base skills and engagement as learners make progress toward mastery of the standard or learning target.

GOAL: To see each and every learner as part of the learning continuum at their academic grade-level

Remember: no matter where the entry point, all learners can demonstrate skills leading to grade-level outcomes, and learning progressions help students demonstrate and educators document progress for learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities.



AASCD Testing Window:
February 22 – April 15
State and federal policy recognize it is unreasonable to require students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to be assessed in the same manner as other students. Therefore, states are authorized to administer an alternate assessment to students who meet very specific criteria that demonstrate they have the most significant cognitive disabilities.

Ohio’s Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) is only for students with the most significant cognitive delays. It is important to carefully evaluate the needs of each learner to ensure they have access to appropriate rigorous core instruction and the related assessments in order to gain the knowledge and skills needed for future success.

The AASCD is aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards–Extended (OLS-E) and designed to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an appropriately rigorous assessment. The AASCD is administered by grade level.

Grades 3, 4, 6, 7 Grades 5 & 8 High School
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

To guide and support Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams in determining whether a student is most appropriately assessed with an alternate assessment (AASCD), the Ohio Department of Education, in consultation with parents, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders, has developed a new Alternate Assessment Participation Decision-Making Tool.

The new tool does not replace the existing alternate assessment decision-making framework.
The tool clarifies and sets specific criteria that students must meet in order to take the Alternate Assessment.

  • This tool is required, and IEP teams must use the tool each time the team is considering participation in the alternate assessment.
  • If the IEP team determines the AASCD is appropriate for a student, that student uses the AASCD in all subject areas available for that student’s enrolled grade.

student in graduation cap and gown dances with diploma


The state’s new long-term high school graduation requirements are upon us and students graduating with the class of 2023 and beyond will have more flexibility than ever to create a plan that prepares them for graduation and beyond. These new requirements provide nearly all students with the flexibility they need to earn credit, demonstrate competency, and show readiness.

Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities have additional opportunities to show what they know, but don’t forget – they also need to participate in an appropriately rigorous assessment of their knowledge and abilities.

Stay tuned: Scores needed to demonstrate competency are not finalized yet, look for more information to come!

It is important to note:

  • Proficient Alternate Assessment scores in English and Math can count for demonstrating “competency” for graduation pathway purposes.
  • All students who do not first pass the assessments, must receive remediation, then retake the test(s) before they can pursue other competency options for graduation.

Remember: Districts must maintain records to identify any students who have not met the requirements for earning a high school diploma. The Ohio Department of Education offers a fillable Graduation Plan worksheet template that you may choose to use to assist with this process.



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If you have questions about Extended Learning Standards, Alternate Assessment, Graduation Planning, or Transition give us a call! Our consultants are more than willing to provide the answers, resources, and tools you need to support your students.

View our staff directory


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The Department invites public input on the draft Ohio Dyslexia Guidebook. Please note that this is a draft and not the final version. The purpose of the Guidebook is to provide information regarding best practices and methods for universal screening, intervention and remediation for children with dyslexia or children displaying dyslexic characteristics and tendencies using a multi-sensory structured literacy program.  The questionnaire is open until January 19.

Access the questionnaire and provide feedback.

Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 229 of the 134th General Assembly on December 14, 2021, changing the promotion criteria for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for this school year. The emergency clause affecting retention criteria, parental consultation in promotion decisions, and parental notification of remediation plans takes place immediately.

Click here to see these important changes

The Department has updated its training for those who serve, or wish to serve as a surrogate parent for a child with disabilities. The new online training is comprised of seven modules designed to help you understand key terms, child and parental rights, and your role and responsibilities.

Learn more

Nominate your peers for Teachers of Ohio Representing Character and Heart (TORCH) recognition through January 31. Five teachers from across the state will be honored for demonstrating strong personal character and concern for their students, colleagues, and communities.

Submit a nomination


group of teachers hears from presenter



Ohio’s Academic Content Standards Extended (OACS-E) |  On-Demand  |  Ohio Department of Education

These training modules from will help you to identify the purpose and structure of the Ohio Academic Content Standards-Extended (OACS-E) and introduce you to appropriate methods, tools, and strategies to help you meet the educational needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Cognitive Disabilities |  On-Demand  |  Ohio Department of Education

Information and guidance regarding the Alternate Assessment Decision-Making Tool and Tiered Monitoring, along with resources for determining most significant cognitive disability and accommodations were shared with educators at the first-ever Ohio Assessment Conference in September. The recordings and presentations are available online.

CTE Special Education Leaders  |  January 11
Collaborate with other Career Technical Education administrators to improve the achievement of students with disabilities.

Using the Indicator 13 Checklist for Transition Plan Writing with Fidelity  |  January 12
Learn how to write data-driven, results-oriented, and compliant transition plans to improve post-secondary outcomes for students.

New Special Education Leaders Meeting  |  January 14
Receive support in addressing compliance/documentation and performance/implementation as they relate to special education.

Regional Transition Network |  January 18 or January 19
Stay-up-to-date on the latest post-secondary transition and graduation-related information, learn about new state and federal initiatives, and network with others who support students during this pivotal point in their lives.

Supporting Students with Disabilities through Integrated Leadership  |  January 25
Ensure there is a team of people in your district ready to help each student with a disability receive rigorous, evidence-based instruction.


PBIS Virtual Office Hours  |  January 11
Bring your questions, help brainstorm ideas and solutions, and network with other schools to support your PBIS implementation efforts.



Preschool Leader Network  |  January 13
Learn to use the 5-Step Process to ensure that teachers are better able to use data to strengthen instructional decision-making.

Learn More


Federal Programs ED STEPS Trainings |  January 18
ODE’s Office of Federal Programs will present relevant topics current to Enhancements to the One Needs Assessment and New One Plan.

Learn more


NEW! Family Engagement Community of Practice |  January 19
Explore evidence-based practices around family and community engagement, learn new skills, and plan for next steps in your school.

Learn more


Graduation Power Hour  |  January 20
Gain strategies to enhance student, family, staff and community engagement to improve graduation rates and post-secondary outcomes.



PBIS Tier III Training  |  January 20
Learn how to create functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plans to help meet the needs of students with more challenging behaviors.

Register by January 14

Literacy Leaders Network  |  January 20
Create a structured literacy model and learn to use evidence-based strategies and practices to promote positive outcomes for all learners.

Sign up here


The Leadership Series for Bringing Back Better  |  January 21
Guest presenter, Cathy Lassiter will help you discover instructional and cultural practices that foster learning at high levels for all students.

Register today


NEW! Emergent Literacy Series  |  January 21
Increase your knowledge and practice of emergent literacy strategies, oral language, and phonological and print awareness for children, birth through age five.

Sign up here


NEW SESSIONS ADDED! PBIS Virtual Network  |  February 10
Advance your PBIS efforts by learning from your  peers! Join us for informal after-school presentations by Region 1 districts and schools.

Register today


NEW! Equity by Design  – Winter Book Study  |  February 17
Remove barriers to creating inclusive classrooms and take steps to provide a culturally responsive learning environment for all students.

Learn more


NEW! Unlearning  – Spring Book Study |  May 2
Discuss the unlearning cycle, use the UDL framework to transform practices, and begin to think differently about what, how, and why we teach.

Join us


NEW! Engage to Empower: Building a Strong Community for Career Readiness
June 1 & 2
Discover how to build pathways and create strong partnerships to support your students’ career exploration and preparation with Dr. Hans Meeder and Dr. Kevin Fleming.

Don’t miss this training!

NEW! Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity Institute
June 21 – 23
Dr. Elise Frattura and Dr. Colleen Capper will help you eliminate inequities for all students by building frameworks and processes aligned with your vision, mission, and plan that sets equity as the core of your district’s work.

Register now
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eBRIEF! is the primary source for the latest news and information from State Support Team 1. The monthly digital publication is designed to provide you with relevant education resources, timely news and announcements, and upcoming professional learning opportunities.

Level Up with Literacy is a bi-monthly digital publication that provides information and resources to help you ensure all learners have access to high-quality language and literacy instruction and appropriate interventions from birth through grade 12.

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State Support Team Region 1
Lynn McKahan, M.Ed., Director
2275 Collingwood Blvd. | Suite C | Toledo, OH 43620
info@sstr1.org | 419.720.8999 | www.sstr1.org

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This website was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, (Award H027A210111 CFDA 84.027A, awarded to the Ohio Department of Education). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and no official endorsement by the Department should be inferred.