Transforming Special Education

On February 28, 2014, Angela Denning, Deputy Associate Superintendent of Arizona Department of Education’s Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) section, presented “Transforming Special Education in Arizona” at the 2014 AZCEC and AZCASE Annual Conference.  During the session, Ms. Denning described the changing expectations of special education at the national level from a system of accountability focused primarily on compliance to one that puts more emphasis on results and improved student outcomes.  Ms. Denning introduced the new vision and mission statements for ADE/ESS as well as specific initiatives to provide support and services to the education community.

Vision Statement

  • All students are well prepared for the next step at every point
  • Establish a System of Supports that wraps around each Arizona special educator so he/she is well prepared to meet the needs of every student.

Mission Statement

  • Exceptional Student Services provides high quality service that builds capacity to improve outcomes for all students.

Some of the key initiatives ADE/ESS has adopted to address to the shift of focus at the national level include:

  • Redesign of the Arizona Promising Practices website
  • Revision to the Monitoring System
  • Increased collaboration between general educators and special educators to focus on effective secondary transition planning through the Arizona College and Career Ready Team Training project
  • Adoption of new Special Education Certificates to increase rigor in college programs for pre-service teachers and improve reciprocity for candidates from outside of Arizona