Welcome to October! Just like the leaves changing color, education, especially in the area of vulnerable student populations, is undergoing many changes to better meet the needs of students with disabilities. In this issue of eBRIEF you will find multiple resources that will assist and support your district in the provision of instruction and services for students with disabilities.
You will also find information regarding National Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month, as both are recognized in October.
We hope you take a moment to acknowledge the wide diversity of our student populations, and pause to enjoy the beautiful changes autumn brings to our world.
Lynn McKahan, M.S., director
State Support Team Region 1
Please help us reach your colleagues! Share this newsletter with new administrators, educators, and staff in your district. We’d love to get to know them better and to begin to connect them with resources in Region 1.
NATIONAL LEARNING DISABILITIES AWARENESS MONTH
October was originally designated as Learning Disabilities Awareness Month in 1985 through a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan. Various events and awareness campaigns are held by states, schools, and organizations to encourage systemic change that promotes equitable access to learning and supportive environments in which individuals with learning disabilities are accepted, supported, and empowered to live fulfilling lives.
DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH
October is also Dyslexia Awareness Month and while not all students identified as having dyslexia will need special education services, we encourage all educators to learn more about this common neurological condition. In our August issue of Level Up with Literacy, we addressed some misconceptions about dyslexia, provided an overview of Ohio’s dyslexia legislation, and shared tools for helping to keep you on track with aligning your school improvement efforts with the implementation timeline of Ohio’s new dyslexia guidelines. We will continue to share news and information regarding Ohio’s plan for improving dyslexia screening and intervention supports as they are made available.
SPECIAL EDUCATION IN OHIO
School and district data show consistent gaps in academic performance and graduation rates of students with disabilities compared to their nondisabled peers. In response, Ohio is working to change its focus to educating students with disabilities. Thousands of stakeholders, including parents, educators, students, and community members came together to identify key areas of improvement to improve the learning experiences and outcomes for all of Ohio’s students. This work resulted in Each Child Means Each Child: Ohio’s Plan to Improve Learning Experiences and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, a roadmap for ensuring students with disabilities receive the education and services they need to be successful in school and beyond.
EACH CHILD MEANS EACH CHILD
The plan, released earlier this year offers recommendations, tactics and action steps to ensure students with disabilities receive the education and services that lead to academic and post-secondary success. This improvement plan is centered on three main focus areas:
- Getting to the Problem Early: Multi-Tiered System of Support [jump to section]
- Building Educators’ and Systemwide Capacity: Professional Learning [jump to section]
- Educating for Living a Good Life: Postsecondary Readiness and Planning [jump to section]
GETTING TO THE PROBLEM EARLY: MULTI-TIERED SYSTEM OF SUPPORT
The purpose of a tiered model of instructional and social and emotional behavioral supports is to improve age-appropriate, core instruction. This can lead to improved student achievement, reduce the need for punitive discipline that removes students from the learning environment and mitigate the likelihood of overidentifying students with disabilities.
While focusing on improving outcomes for students with disabilities, we must continue to ensure the rights afforded them through IDEA are met, which means we need to develop and maintain compliant IEP and ETR documentation.
SUPPORT & GUIDANCE FOR ETR AND IEP COMPLETION
The Ohio Department of Education has prepared a series of Universal Support Modules to provide guidance and training for completing Evaluation Team Reports (ETR), Individualized Education Programs (IEP), and/or Secondary Transition plans and offers basic information regarding IDEA. The narrated presentations and transcripts are helpful whether this is your first time completing these forms or if you just need a refresher course. SST 1 consultants, Lynn McKahan, Tara Shumaker, and Aaron Weisbrod are also available to answer any specific questions you may have.
Take a closer look!: SST 1 consultant and Urban Literacy Specialist, Jackie Jacoby presented a breakout session at the September 17 Ohio Family Engagement Leadership Summit to offer suggestions for holding more effective planning meetings with students and their caregivers. You can view a recording of her training, Holding Great Meetings for Families on YouTube.
ALTERNATE ASSESSMENT: DID YOU KNOW?
Federal regulations limit the number of students who should be assessed statewide with an alternate assessment to 1% of the total number of students tested. Ohio’s New Alternate Assessment Decision-making Tool can help you determine which students qualify. In addition, there are multiple options for demonstrating competency available to students who do not qualify for alternate assessment. In order to earn a high school diploma, students graduating in 2023 and after must have:
- Credit: by earning a minimum of 20 credits across a variety of subjects
- Competency: by earning a passing score on Ohio’s Algebra & English II tests, or:
- Option 1: Demonstrate Two Career Focused Activities
- Option 2: Enlist in the Military
- Option 3: Earn college credit
- Readiness: demonstrate academic, technical, and professional skills by earning two diploma readiness seals
More information about these requirements and options is available in the Ohio’s Graduation Requirements: Classes 2023 and Beyond infographic. If you have specific questions about the graduation requirements, please reach out to SST 1 Consultants, Lisa Hite or Aaron Weisbrod.
Related Training Opportunities from SST 1
Collaborate with other Career Technical Education administrators to improve the achievement of students with disabilities. You will receive special education updates as they relate to CTE, discuss data, face challenges together, collectively problem-solve, and share successes.
Gain the necessary knowledge to provide rigorous instruction for students with the most significant cognitive difficulties and properly identify students who qualify for alternate assessment.
Explore the components of UDL, set the state for implementing the framework in your school, and begin to improve instruction by removing the barriers that marginalized students face.
BUILDING EDUCATOR AND SYSTEMWIDE CAPACITY: PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
Educator and leadership capacity are key to the successful implementation of a multi-tiered system of support, and data shows professional learning by educators has a positive effect on student achievement. Meeting the needs of students with disabilities in an inclusive environment will require a shift in many educators’ skills and competencies – that’s why Ohio is committed to providing high-quality professional learning opportunities for educators.
Ohio’s Statewide System of Support offers a variety of free courses, both in-person and online to support your learning and development. We invite you to join one of our professional networks, a book study, or register for a series — but we also understand the challenges you are currently facing in the classroom.
If you have questions, or wish to schedule a specific training, please let us know. We are happy to provide training and coaching sessions to meet your needs.
Upcoming Professional Learning from State Support Team 1
Collaborate to improve the achievement of students with disabilities, and receive special education updates, discuss data, face challenges together, and share successes.
Navigate the many expectations of your new role, ensure you are meeting guidelines, and connect, share, and problem solve with other new leaders from across the region.
Join in deep discussions regarding meeting the needs of special education students and ensuring they each receive rigorous, evidence-based instruction.
EDUCATING FOR A GOOD LIFE: POST-SECONDARY READINESS & PLANNING
The goal of education is to ensure all students, including those with disabilities, are prepared for successful employment, continued education and training, and independent living upon graduation. It is critically important that we educators work with students, families and community members to inform all students about the variety of post-secondary opportunities available that are focused on students’ preferences, interests, needs and strengths.
One Goal: Ohio will increase annually the percentage of its high school graduates who, one year after graduation, are:
• Enrolled and succeeding in a post-high school learning experience, including an adult career-technical education program, an apprenticeship and/or a two-year or four-year college program;
• Serving in a military branch;
• Earning a living wage; or
• Engaged in a meaningful, self-sustaining vocation
GRADUATION PLANNING REMINDER
Graduation Plans are a universal (Tier 1) level of support for all students Grades 9-12. As of this school year, every student must have a documented plan to determine a graduation pathway to both document progress and determine if a student is at risk for not graduating.
Some key takeaways regarding this new requirement:
- Each Graduation Plan must be developed by the student and a district or school representative and updated each school year the student is enrolled, or until the student qualifies for a high school diploma
- The district or school must invite the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian to assist in the development and updating of the graduation plan to monitor progress, make adjustments, and/or consider support and/or intervention as necessary
- Graduation Plans supplement, but do not replace, Career Advising Policy, Student Success Plans, and IEP/Transition Planning
ODE provides additional details on writing compliant graduation plans, and offers a free, downloadable, and customizable Graduation Plan template on it’s webpage, Graduation Plans and Policies for Identifying Students at Risk of Not Graduating.
Post-Secondary Readiness & Planning Training from SST 1
Learn how to write data-driven, results-oriented, and compliant transition plans, and begin to use the Indicator 13 checklist to ensure compliance and fidelity in transition planning.
Help ensure successful graduation and post-secondary outcomes for all students, through education/training, competitive integrated employment, and independent living.
Ensure your students are prepared to graduate and poised for success beyond high school. With morning and afternoon sessions available, this training series offers resources and strategies designed to improve graduation rates and post-school outcomes for students.
Build on the skills, resources, and strategies gained in Graduation Power Hour Series 1. We will discuss Ohio’s graduation seals, earning industry-recognized credentials, and improving family engagement in transition planning and preparation.
NEWS & UPDATES FROM AROUND THE STATE
POSITION AVAILABLE: EDUCATION SUPPORT SPECIALIST, WESTERN REGIONAL SUPPORT
The Ohio Department of Education is seeking an Education Support Specialist for Western Regional Support. The position provides technical assistance and strategic support to State Support Team (SST) fiscal agents, SST directors, and others to promote a high level of implementation of the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP). Applications will be accepted through October 10.
NEW! PBIS AND THE USE OF RESTRAINT & SECLUSION FAQ
The Ohio Department of Education Office for Exceptional Children and Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities recently released Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) and the Use of Restraint & Seclusion FAQ for guidance in the use of restraint and seclusion in the PBIS framework. Topics include general guidance regarding the emergency use of restraint and seclusion, preschool children, students with disabilities, training, and staff roles and responsibilities including documentation and reporting.
Related Training Opportunities from SST 1
The knowledge you take away from this training will help support your students social, emotional, and behavioral needs which will increase opportunities for academic success during this year of pandemic recovery.
Meet representatives from Van Buren Elementary and hear about the successes and challenges they have experienced in Tier II, including their Reset Room for students needing behavioral support. Opportunity for networking is also provided.
These drop-in virtual office hours are offered to support your PBIS implementation efforts. Bring your questions, help brainstorm ideas and solutions, and network with representatives from other districts.
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.
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.