Administrators Academy: A Brick-by-Brick Approach to Building Knowledgeable, Empowered Leaders in Special Education

Administrators Academy is a four-part, interactive coaching series designed to teach participants how to practically and effectively apply the legal requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

This academy is geared toward school leaders, such as principals and assistant principals, who want to better understand their role in the special education process; special education directors looking for a more comprehensive understanding of the intricate legalities involved in special education; and special education practitioners who are interested in the legal foundations and purposes of their jobs.

This intimate workshop experience will feature an in-depth analysis of obligations under the IDEA. Presenters will build participants’ knowledge and confidence brick-by-brick by explaining responsibilities as school and special education leaders through deconstructing and reorganizing the IDEA into coherent pieces, while allowing interactions with the information to improve comfort and familiarity with the material. The instruction received through this academy will provide the necessary foundation to be thoughtful and skilled decision makers and practitioners in special education.

Institute presenters will be Kacey Gregson, attorney and Director of Dispute Resolution for the Arizona Department of Education, and Shannon Chavez, special education teacher and Arizona Department of Education Corrective Action Compliance Monitor.

Registration Link: http://www.ade.az.gov/onlineregistration/EventLocationSelection.asp?EventID=3647

Event Dates:                                                                                                   

Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Friday, February 6, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015

Event Location:

East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)
1601 West Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

Registration Fee: $150 for the four-day attendance

Registration Deadline: September 30, 2014



AZCCRS for Special Educators – Discounted Registration Rate

ADE Training Opportunity Discount!

Meeting Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) for Special Educators
January 7–8 or March 4–5
Team up a special education teacher or leader with a general education teacher or leader and get 50% off one registration!

Throughout the two-day workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage in whole group, small group, and paired collaborative discussions within grade level and content areas to refine collaborative practices between general education and special education and develop and write AZCCRS standards-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

Training Outcomes

During this two-day workshop, participants will:

  • Expand understanding of the AZCCRS for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics in order to develop standards-aligned IEP goals aligned to the student’s AZCCRS present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP)
  • Integrate research of how children learn to order to identify areas of need in the development of IEP goals
  • Obtain a solid understanding of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to integrate learning into daily practice
  • Develop and write standards-aligned IEP goals related to students’ needs as described in the PLAAFP
  • Explore and use readily available resources, tools, and evidenced-based strategies to support students with disabilities to access the AZCCRS in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics

Elementary Emphasis:                            or                           Secondary Emphasis:
January 7–8, 2015                                                                     March 4–5, 2015

Sheraton Crescent Hotel, 2620 West Dunlap Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021

Registration fee: $175 covers the two-day attendance, or team up a special education teacher or leader with a general education teacher or leader and get 50% off one registration (i.e., $175.00 for the special educator, $87.50 for general educator). Please type “discount” after the payment number when registering the general education teacher or leader.

Register at http://www.ade.az.gov/onlineregistration/EventLocationSelection.asp?EventID=3793&EventDate=1/7/2015.



Meeting Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) for Special Educators

Throughout the two-day workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage in whole group, small group, and paired collaborative discussions within grade level and content areas to refine collaborative practices between general education and special education and develop and write AZCCRS standards-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

Training Outcomes:
During this two-day workshop, participants will:

  • Expand understanding of the AZCCRS for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics in order to develop standards-aligned IEP goals aligned to the student’s AZCCRS present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP)
  • Integrate research of how children learn to order to identify areas of need in the development of IEP goals
  • Obtain a solid understanding of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to integrate learning into daily practice
  • Develop and write standards-aligned IEP goals related to students’ needs as described in the PLAAFP
  • Discuss and explore how to use and differentiate assessments based on students’ IEPs to inform instruction
  • Explore and use readily available resources, tools, and evidenced-based strategies to support students with disabilities to access the AZCCRS in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics

Please bring laptop or iPad to the training if possible.

Presenters: Sharen Bertrando and Kevin Schaefer
WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention (CPEI)
Elementary Emphasis:
January 7–8, 2015

Sheraton Crescent Hotel
2620 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Secondary Emphasis:
March 4–5, 2015

Sheraton Crescent Hotel
2620 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Breakfast and lunch provided each day for both sessions.

Registration Fee: $175 covers the two-day attendance.

Make payment payable to Arizona Department of Education.
Mail to:
Arizona Department of Education
Attn: Abby Sanchez
1535 W. Jefferson, Bin #24
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

*At the discretion of Arizona Department of Education staff, ‘emergency situations’ are defined as: Illness, accident, etc.

Who Should Attend: Special education directors, special education teachers, and administrators.
Contact: Linda Mosteller @ 602-542-4469



Facilitated IEP Trainings

The Arizona Department of Education/Dispute Resolution Unit is excited to bring facilitated individualized education program (IEP) trainings to Arizona beginning in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year.

IEP facilitation is a student focused process in which a trained individual (facilitator) assists the IEP team in developing an IEP that provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student.

The Dispute Resolution Unit believes there are three components needed to facilitate a successful IEP meeting: standardized meeting practices, knowledge of the IEP process, and the use of meeting management skills that aid in minimizing conflict and maximizing collaboration. This training is designed to teach these three components.

TRAINING DATES, LOCATIONS, and TIMES:

August 19 – 20 – Mohave County
September 4 – 5 – Pinal County
September 9 – 10 – Yuma County
October 15 – 16 – Yavapai County
October 28 – 29 – Apache County
November 4 – 5 – Navajo County
December 2 – 3 – Cochise County

(Breakfast and lunch will be provided)
Sign-in: 8:30 – 9:00
Event: 9:00 – 4:00

Click here to select the date and location you want to attend.

Who Should Attend: Any school personnel involved in a student’s IEP including special education and general education teachers, district representatives, and school psychologists.
Contact: Amy Dill @ 602-542-7579



Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision-Making

Utilizing materials from the What Works Clearinghouse, and other evidence-based sources, participants will:

  • Learn the basics of student achievement data—what it is, where to find it, what to do with it
  • Practice working together to analyze student achievement data and make instructional decisions, using a research-based process
  • Assess their school’s current process for using data to improve instruction, using a comprehensive planning template
  • Explore strategies for improving outcomes for students with disabilities, English language learners, and other students whose achievement falls short

Using student achievement data to support instructional decision-making is a collaborative process. Therefore, participants are encouraged to register in teams, either already-formed data teams or simply multiple participants from the same school. A portion of this workshop will be dedicated to planning and working in school teams, but individuals who attend on their own will benefit as well.

Participants should plan to bring laptops and as many sources of student achievement data as possible. Web-based sources are preferred. Data sets in electronic or hard copy form also can be used.

Participants, please click on this link to download the PowerPoint presentation.

Presenters: WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention Elementary

November 5–6, 2014
Sheraton Crescent Hotel
2620 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Breakfast and lunch provided each day for both sessions.

Registration Fee: $230 covers the two-day attendance.

Make payment payable to Arizona Department of Education.
Mail to:
Arizona Department of Education
Attn: Abby Sanchez
1535 W. Jefferson, Bin #24
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

For questions regarding registration, please contact:
Abby Sanchez
Phone: 602-364-3026
Email: abby.sanchez@azed.gov

Who Should Attend: Principals, Teachers, School Psychologists, etc.
Contact: Linda Mosteller @ 602-542-4469



October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

To remind schools of the need to prevent and end bullying in our schools, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a guidance to schools letter during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. It is a reminder that bullying persists in our schools, especially for the 6.5 million students with disabilities. The letter details public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (both of which OCR enforces) to protect students with disabilities from bullying. The increase in the number of OCR complaints indicates that disability-based harassment is a troubling trend, and schools need to fully understand their legal obligations. Building on past letters, this guidance letter explains that bullying a child with a disability can result in a denial of FAPE (either 504 FAPE or IDEA FAPE) or a disability-related harassment violation. When a school knows or should know about bullying based on disability, it must take immediate, appropriate action to remedy the violation. For information on bullying prevention and remedies, visit the federal website, www.stopbullying.gov. Also, a fact sheet for parents on schools’ obligations to address bullying is available in English and in Spanish.



Students with Disabilities and Testing Accommodations

In an effort to reduce anxiety and be proactive, the Assessment and Exceptional Student Services Sections want to provide some information regarding students with disabilities who will be participating in the new statewide achievement assessment. Please share this information with your district administrators, principals, department heads, special education teachers, school psychologists, and case managers.

As a reminder, all students are required to participate in state assessments. It is not a requirement that IEP teams convene specifically to identify the name of the new state achievement test in a student’s IEP. Exception: If a student qualifies for the Alternate Assessment and is participating in the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) or AIMS A Alternate Assessment, the IEP team must be convened to address eligibility for the tests, including why the particular alternate assessment the student will be participating in is appropriate for the student, and why the student cannot participate in the regular assessment. (IDEA 2004 300.320(a)(6).)

Per IDEA 2004 (300.320(6)(i)) and the Elementary and Second Education Act 612 (a)(16), if a student has specific accommodation(s), these must be identified for use in the state achievement assessment. Accommodations should only be identified if they are used routinely during instruction. The identification of accommodations should not be limited to nor based on what is allowed on the state achievement test. Accommodations should be determined based on individual student need rather that what is allowable on an assessment.

Concern has been expressed that since the allowable accommodations are not yet known for the new state assessment, if a student needs specific accommodation(s), these should have already been identified in the student’s IEP. Please note that what is most important regarding accommodations is to identify what type of accommodations your student needs. Once the accommodations for the new assessment are known, ADE will make that information available as soon as possible.

The following online resources are free tools that will help you determine appropriate instructional accommodations for your students.

  • AIM Navigator is a tool to help IEP teams make decisions about need, selection, acquisition, and use of accessible instructional materials: http://aim.cast.org/navigator/page/.
  • AIM Explorer is a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software, including: custom text, background colors, text to speech, text highlighting, and layout options that allow students to decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text: http://aim.cast.org/navigator/page/.


Special Education Rule Committee 10/20/14 Communique

The Special Education Rule Committee’s purpose is to examine Arizona Special Education State Board 401 rules, to propose rules that are clear, instructive, and aligned to the IDEA, and to provide guidance for implementation. Please read the October 20, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the October 20 meeting. Also attached for your review and comment is proposed guidance regarding evaluation and IEP.



Spotlight on Assistive Technology

one day flyer

Click on one of the titles below to register for an Assistive Technology workshop.

Therese Willkomm in:
‘AT Solutions in Minutes’ with Therese Willkomm, PhD. Dr. Willkomm is an occupational therapist who is known as ‘the MacGyver of AT’- and after spending a day with her, you will know why! Dr. Willkomm will discuss and demonstrate DIY assistive technology projects that can be made quickly and inexpensively using common materials you can find at your local hardware store, including PVC pipe, corrugated plastics, new Velcro materials, and double sided tapes.
October 24, 2014
at Arizona Department of Education
1535 W Jefferson 3rd Floor, Phoenix
Tony Vincent in:
iPads are finding their way into the hands of excited teachers and students since thousands of useful apps and superb accessibility options make these devices popular. Bring your own iPad to get hands-on time with Tony Vincent as he guides you through using some of the best apps around. Tony will share sample activities across various subject areas grade levels K-8 and you’ll learn how iPads can personalize learning and engage all students. Special education and apps can certainly go hand-in-hand!
January 13, 2015
at Arizona Department of Education
1535 W Jefferson 3rd Floor, Phoenix
Penny Reed in:
Are you confused about your responsibility to provide assistive technology devices and services? Are you frustrated with delays in obtaining AT assessments from sources outside of your district or with the cost of those assessments? Are you looking for an efficient, effective way to determine a student’s need for assistive technology? Then this workshop is for you! This workshop will present a team-based model for completing assistive technology considerations and assessment. It begins with a brief overview of the laws related to the provision of assistive technology in the schools. A simple, easy-to follow system of AT considerations of IEP teams will be demonstrated. Then an assistive technology assessment process will be explained. This assessment process includes three stages: information gathering, decision making, and trial implementation. Specific, easy-to-follow forms will be provided. There will be opportunities for guided practice and feedback throughout the day.
May 6, 2015
at Arizona Department of Education
3300 N. Central Ave, 16th Floor, Phoenix


TBI 202 — Assets, Assessment and Analysis: Behaviors After Brain Injury and Neurological Insult

This behavior workshop will include an overview of brain-behavior relationships, the importance of executive functions, and signs/symptoms of brain injury and neurological impairments as observable behaviors. Focus will be on executive functioning, behavior management and determining students’ strengths and assets using a hypothesis testing approach to assess and create appropriate interventions and strategies for use in the classroom and community. The format will be short lecture with open discussion, situation study and one case study with an emphasis on strengthening team interactions.Materials will be provided..

You must have taken TBI 101 prior to this workshop.

Who Should Attend: Administrators; Directors of Special Education; Secondary and Elementary Principals; School Nurses and Health Assistants; School Counselors/Behavior Coaches; School Psychologists; Secure Care Staff; Special and General Education Teachers; Speech/Language Pathologists; Occupational and Physical Therapists; Interested Community Members; Community Agencies working with Children; Parents and Foster Parents; Support Personnel (bus drivers, clerical staff)
Contact: Jeannette Zemeida @ 602-542-3855

Eastern Maricopa County Regional Training
Gilbert Unified School District
Gilbert Community Education Center
6839 E. Guadalupe Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85212
Part 1 of 2, October 21, 2014 4:30 – 8:00 PM
Part 2 of 2, October 22, 2014 4:30 – 8:00 PM

Northeastern Regional Training
Blue Ridge School District
Blue Ridge High School Library
1200 W. White Mountain Blvd.
Lakeside, AZ
October 25, 2014, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Northern Regional Training
Flagstaff Unified School District
Family Resource Center – CPLC (Christensen Elementary)
4000 N. Cummings St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
January 24, 2015, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Central Maricopa County Regional Training
Washington Elementary School District
Governing Board Room
4650 W. Sweetwater Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85304
March 10, 2015, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM