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:
“Simple AT Solutions”
‘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 in the Classroom”
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:
“Assistive Technology Assessment”
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

Special Education Rule Committee 10/3/14 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 3, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the October 3 meeting.

Special Education Rule Committee 9/12/14 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 September 12, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the September 12 meeting.

Breaking the Code: Deciphering the Discipline Procedures in the IDEA

This comprehensive half-day training is designed as an interactive experience for participants to learn the ins and outs of the discipline procedures outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It’s a perfect training for any administrators, special educators, and others who are involved in disciplining students with disabilities and who want to make sure they are following the law.

The presenters will reinforce what you know, introduce you to what you don’t know, and challenge what you thought you knew.

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=3650

Event Dates and Locations:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Arizona Department of Education, 3100 N. West Street 3300, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Friday, October 3, 2014
Arizona Department of Education, 1535 West Jefferson, Room 311, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Cost: Free

2014 Evidence-Based Practice in Disability Disciplines Conference

Please visit the conference website for more information: http://nau.edu/SBS/IHD/Research/2014-EBP-Conference/.

INFORMATION: Review Final Draft of Arizona’s School Readiness Framework

The Arizona Department of Education, along with First Things First, Head Start, West ED, and various school district personnel, has comprised a cohort to create a common definition of school readiness. Arizona’s School Readiness Framework will serve as a document that describes what the adults in a child’s life can provide as supports for the child to prepare him/her for kindergarten.

Through the last year, multiple statewide vettings have been conducted, asking participants (early childhood educators, kindergarten teachers, administrators, directors, parents, librarians, etc.) to review, edit, and provide feedback to Arizona’s School Readiness Framework. The result is a final draft, in which we are inviting you to review a final time in preparation for its completion.

To view the final draft of Arizona’s School Readiness Framework, copy and paste the following link into a new web browser:


Thank you for your time and commitment to this project. We appreciate your feedback by October 1, 2014.