Guidance released on education of children with disabilities at public virtual schools
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter to ensure students with disabilities who attend public virtual schools receive the special education and supports they need.
The letter clarifies the responsibility for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities attending public virtual schools. It also requires each state and school district to enact child find policies so that all children with disabilities residing in the state who are in need of special education and related services, including those who attend virtual schools, are identified and evaluated.
Guidance issued on positive behavioral supports
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) recently issued guidance that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that many children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports.
Data indicates students with disabilities are disciplined at far higher rates than their non-disabled peers. The “Dear Colleague Letter on the Inclusion of Behavioral Supports in Individualized Education Programs” and a “Summary for Stakeholders,” which lays out the main points of the guidance in an easily digestible format, are now available on the Department’s updated school discipline webpage, Rethink Discipline.
New ADHD guidance and resource guide released
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
This new guidance provides a broad overview of Section 504 and school districts’ obligations to provide educational services to students with disabilities, including students with ADHD.
In addition to the guidance, the Department also released a Know Your Rights document that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD.
Paula F. Goldberg honored by Starkey Hearing Foundation
PACER Center Executive Director and co-founder Paula F. Goldberg was honored for her work as a humanitarian at the 2016 Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala on July 17 in St. Paul, along with Jennifer Garner and Tony Blair.
Goldberg was recognized for "making PACER a lifeline for parents of children and young adults with all disabilities," according to the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
In the photo below, Goldberg (second from right), Garner and Blair are with Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Technologies, and Tani Austin, co-founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
COPAA Policy Statement on Response to Intervention
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) recently released a policy statement on Response to Intervention (RTI). The document outlines COPAA’s concerns about its implementation and provides suggestions to improve RTI rules and procedures to ensure it is used appropriately in a way that does not delay services to students with disabilities.
U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services provide guidance on foster youth
The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting children in foster care. The guidance aims to assist state and local partners in understanding and implementing the new law, and to inform state and local collaboration between educational and child welfare agencies.
A recent U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report shows gaps in a variety of educational indicators including discipline, access to early learning, and college and career readiness. Data is analyzed by race/ethnicity, sex, disability, and English learner status.
Recent Study Shows Teacher Empathy Can Reduce Student Suspensions
Results from a new study out of Stanford University revealed that when middle school teachers were encouraged to take an “empathetic mindset” with student discipline, the percentage of students being suspended decreased by half. The intervention focused on helping teachers understand their students’ point of view and maintaining positive relationships even during disciplinary incidents.
PACER Center awarded $1 million by Otto Bremer Trust
A robot that goes to class and collects information when a child cannot. A pen with an internal audio recorder for those who have trouble focusing. Those are just two examples of technology designed for children and young adults with special needs at the Bloomington-based PACER Center.
Now efforts to develop more such technology have gotten a boost. At PACER’s annual benefit in Minneapolis on Saturday, it was presented with a $1 million donation by the Otto Bremer Trust — the largest the nonprofit has received since it was established almost 40 years ago.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)
Office of Special Education Programs and the Offices of Head Start and Child Care are partnering to join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in celebrating this year’s theme – “Communication Takes Care.” Join us for the BHSM Coffee Break Webinar series, May 16-20, 2016 from 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET to learn more about hearing screening and the use of assistive technology to support young children with disabilities and their families.
No registration is required to join the webinars.
May 16, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
May 17, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
May 18, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
May 19, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
May 20, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET