Mentees & Mentors needed for New Special Education Director Mentor Program

The Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services will offer a mentoring program for new special education directors for the 2014-2015 school year. A “new special education director” is defined as a special education administrator who has served in this role for one or two years. If you are a new special education director and you are interesting in participating in this program, please find the mentee application attached to this email.

Additionally, ADE/ESS is seeking qualified mentors for the Arizona New Special Education Director Mentor Program. Mentors must have at least three years of experience serving as a special education director in order to apply. The mentor’s role is to provide ongoing support and assistance to mentees, as well as share his or her knowledge and skills throughout the school year in order to build confidence, competence, and awareness of the various demands of being a special education director. A stipend of $200 will be offered to mentors. Attached, please find the mentor application.

Please note the deadline for submission of all materials is Friday, September 5, 2014. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Aaroe at lisa.aaroe@azed.gov.

Mentor Application Mentee Application


Tour UDL Resources with the National Center on Universal Design for Learning

If you’d like to learn more about universal design for learning, a good place to start is with Take a tour of UDL Resources. This link will lead you to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning’s added pages about universal design to build your own background knowledge and skill and those of your teachers. UDL is based on a variety of fields—education, psychology, and neuroscience—and is organized around three learning networks of the brain. After exploring all these resources, you’ll be more informed and up to date in this field.


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Early Childhood Grant Competition Available for Low to Moderate Income Communities

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell have announced that applications are now available for the $250 million Preschool Development Grants competition. It’s for states that want to develop or expand high-quality preschool programs. To read the announcement from both departments, see http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-secretary-duncan-and-health-and-human-services-secretary-burwell-annou. A flyer is available at this link: http://www.azed.gov/special-education/files/2014/08/ec-grant.pdf.



Document Clarifies Medicaid Coverage for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Center for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recently published a five-page informational bulletin, “Clarification of Medicaid Coverage of Services to Children with Autism,” which is found at: http://www.medicaid.gov/Federal-Policy-Guidance/Downloads/CIB-07-07-14.pdf. The document discusses preventative and diagnostic services, as well as therapy services. It’s technical, but it includes a way to ask questions about these services: AutismServicesQuestions@cms.hhs.gov.



Alternate Assessment Newsletter for Special Educators Includes Accountability Tips

To keep special educators (and directors) up on alternate assessment news, our monthly newsletter, Tidbits, addresses topics of interest and important dates for pilot testing and assessments. This month’s newsletter focuses on increasing performance expectations and Results Driven Accountability. To access the newsletter, go to http://www.azed.gov/assessment/aims-a/ and click on Newsletters.



Obama Signs Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

President Obama recently signed the bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes the Workforce Incentive Act, which includes the vocational rehabilitation programs. A one-page summary of the legislation is at http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/workforce_innovation_and_opportunity_act_-_one_pager.pdf. Prominent in the information presented is the fact that individuals with disabilities have the highest rate of unemployment of any group, and more than two-thirds don’t participate in the workforce. If you’re interested in the entire bill, search for H.R. 803 at http://thomas.loc.gov.



Guidance Released on Informing Parents and Students about Data Collected

The US Department of Education (ED) has issued a press release on keeping students and parents informed about what kinds of student data is collected and how it will be used. Schools are urged to be proactive in communicating how they use student data and to have answers to questions ready before they are asked. Here’s the links to the privacy center: http://ptac.ed.gov/ and the guidance document: http://ptac.ed.gov/sites/default/files/LEA%20Transparency%20Best%20Practices%20final.pdf.



Department of Education Sets Up New Family Policy Website

The US Department of Education (ED) has established a family policy website to dispense information about the two federal laws concerning privacy in schools—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). The website includes videos, resources for parents and school officials, and ways to contact ED with privacy questions. You’ll find the website at http://familypolicy.ed.gov/.



Public Comment Sought on Disproportionality in Special Education

The US Department of Education is requesting public comment on actions it should take in addressing disproportionality related to race and ethnicity among special education populations. This issue may affect the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities. Comments will be accepted through July 31, 2014, related to several questions: proposed regulations regarding a standard approach to determination and other possible actions and research. Click HERE to download a copy of the Federal Register document that requested public comment (published June 19, 2014). And to make your comments, go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Then type in Special Ed Disproportionality on the search line.



Special Education Rule Committee 7/18/14 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 July 18, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the July 18 meeting. Also for your review are the two drafts pertaining to child find and evaluation.