Medicare and Medicaid Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Clarified

A new information bulletin is available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning services that are available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Read this bulletin to learn of the preventative services, therapy services, and other licensed practitioner services authorized by the various sections of the Social Security Act. Access this bulletin at

New Resources on Head Injury Available from National Association

Two new resources are available from the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators. Because traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not one of the 14 IDEA eligibility categories, each State has defined how traumatic brain injuries should be considered in terms of IDEA eligibility. The first resource includes a summary of state definitions for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and some overall guidance for educating children: Special Education and TBI: A Summary of  State Definitions and Guidance for Educating Students with TBI-related Disabilities. The second resource shows how states use various funding resources to deliver rehabilitation and community services: State Services for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Their Families.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Announces Title VI Civil Rights Guidance

To ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources and safe school facilities and to create equal opportunities for all students’ success in schools, careers, and life, the Office for Civil Rights has issued a Dear Colleague letter providing guidance to schools on the legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Secretary Duncan’s words, “That means that all students regardless of their race, zip code, or family income should have equal access to educational resources—whether it’s effective teaching, challenging coursework, facilities with modern technology, or a safe school environment.”

The 25-page letter (which also contains endnotes) provides guidance on avoiding discrimination in all areas of school equity—curriculum, teaching, facilities, and technology—and discusses self-assessment and methods to ensure Title VI compliance. To view OCR’s Fact Sheet on Resource Equity in English, click here, and to view it in Spanish, click here. Also available from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights are additional resources at

Guidance Package Makes Recommendations for Correctional Education

To enforce the rights of incarcerated youth to a quality education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder have announced a new guidance package. This guidance builds on the recommendations of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report released in May. The package includes a set of guiding principles, a Dear Colleague letter from the Office of Special Education Programs on IDEA obligations, a Dear Colleague letter from the Office for Civil Rights, and a Dear Colleague letter on access to federal Pell grants. For more information or to obtain copies of any of these documents, please go to

PD OPPORTUNITY: ADE/ESS Recruitment and Retention Offers Three Webinars

The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services is pleased to announce two upcoming webinars. We hope that you can join us for these learning opportunities.

ADE Special Education Certification Changes
This webinar will explain changes to special education certification that will be effective January 1, 2016. Reciprocity and proficiency exams will also be discussed.
Date: Friday, February 13, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Space is limited.
Reserve your webinar seat now at

Recruitment and Retention Strategies
During this webinar, strategies to recruit and retain special education teachers and personnel will be discussed. After discussing what the Arizona Department of Education is doing in this area, dialogue will then be opened to the field to discuss recruitment and retention strategies used in Local Education Agencies (LEAs) throughout Arizona.
Date: Monday, March 2, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Space is limited.
Reserve your webinar seat now at

Arizona Awarded New Preschool Development Grant

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

Special Education Rule Committee 12/2/14 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 December 2, 2014, Rule Making Communique for more information about the Committee, the Core Team membership, and the December 2 meeting.

National Inclusive Schools Week

Save the Date Inclusive Schools

Letter from Angela Denning
Submit your school’s inclusive activities
National Inclusion Week Flyer

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?

  1. Celebrate the progress schools have made in serving a diverse student population.
  2. Acknowledge the commitment to schools, families, and communities in creating inclusive opportunities.
  3. Encourage reflection on how culture, policies, and practices in schools can promote inclusive education.
  4. 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:

OCR Issues Guidance on Same-Sex Classes

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: The link to the guidance document:

State Summative Assessments

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.