The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Arizona has been awarded a $20 million development grant under the Preschool Development Grants program as one of 18 states allocated with funding. With the planned focus of increasing access to high-quality preschool programs, the grant was awarded to states with small or no state-funded preschools; it was earmarked for states that serve less than 10 percent of four-year-olds and have ambitious plans for serving additional eligible children. This grant is groundwork for the Preschool for All initiative. Read more about this exciting opportunity for Arizona’s preschoolers at http://www.azed.gov/special-education/files/2014/12/preschool-development-grant.pdf.
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 December 2, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the December 2 meeting.
What is Inclusive Schools Week?
Inclusive Schools Week is an annual international event designed to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of teachers, administrators, students, and parents in making their schools more inclusive, thereby significantly contributing to the development of a more accepting society.
What are the goals of Inclusive Schools Week?
- Celebrate the progress schools have made in serving a diverse student population.
- Acknowledge the commitment to schools, families, and communities in creating inclusive opportunities.
- Encourage reflection on how culture, policies, and practices in schools can promote inclusive education.
- Promote action to increase the capacity of schools and communities to meet the needs of all learners.
Why is Inclusive Schools Week important?
Inclusive Schools Week increases the dialogue on the importance of building inclusive schools and communities, where ALL students have full access to educational opportunities.
Theme: Inclusive Education: One School Community
As the diversity of learners within our classrooms continues to grow, the need to structure curricula, lessons, and activities that not only meet the needs of all students but also celebrate the diversity among those learners becomes critical. The resources we have will encourage and inspire movement toward a more inclusive community.
To assist you in planning for the week, we have categorized the activities into three groups: (1) for classrooms; (2) for schools; (3) for communities. Within these categories, there are three levels of implementation:
1) Activities that promote awareness: These activities help create an awareness of the benefits of inclusive education.
2) Activities that build knowledge and skills: These activities reflect the importance of taking action.
3) Activities that influence the system: By changing policies, procedures, and culture in our schools, it is more likely that positive advances in inclusive education will become an integral part of the community framework.
There are also self-assessments, planning guides, group activities, ideas, and resources aimed at helping schools get organized and motivated. You can access further information at the following web link: www.inclusiveschools.org.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance that applies only to single-sex classrooms and not to single-sex schools, which are covered under different guidance. The link to the press release: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-clarifies-requirements-offering-single-sex-classes. The link to the guidance document: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/faqs-title-ix-single-sex-201412.pdf.
To implement OSEP’s Results Driven Accountability (RDA) vision, ESS will offer a criteria-based RDA Implementation Grant to assist districts and charters in creating professional development plans that lead to increased academic achievement for students with disabilities. This grant will provide funds to implement items needed to sustain changes in teacher practices and student gains, including team time, materials, presenters, evaluation tools, and monitoring resources. Capacity coaches will be provided to all awardees to assist the district teams in the grant implementation.
Please click here to view the recorded webinar explaining the grant application process.
The Education Commission of the States published 50 Ways to Test: A look at state summative assessments in 2014-15, which provides an overview of the two testing consortia and federal testing requirements. The report also includes a comprehensive table with a breakdown of the state summative assessments being administered in grades 3–12 in all 50 states during 2014–15.
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 November 14, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the November 14 meeting.
To enable students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to participate fully in public schools, their communication needs must be addressed. In a joint letter to educators, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division emphasize the rights of public school students with communication needs. The two-page letter to educators (available in Spanish) explains the concerns related to IDEA, ADA (Title II), and Section 504 and contains a brief description of what each law requires in a Frequently Asked Questions document.
In some cases, in order to comply with Title II requirements (effective communication), a school may have to provide a student with auxiliary aids or services that are not required under IDEA. In other cases, the communication services provided under the IDEA will meet the requirements of both laws for an individual student. Public schools must apply both the IDEA analysis and the Title II effective communication analysis in determining how to meet the communication needs of an IDEA‐eligible student with a hearing, vision, or speech disability.