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Competitive Tuition Assistance Grants Available

The Exceptional Student Services, Professional Learning and Sustainability, Recruitment and Retention (ESS/PLS/R&R) Unit will soon release two tuition assistance grants for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

Paraprofessional Tuition Assistance (PTAG)

An Arizona school district or nonprofit charter school with a current or anticipated need for special education, early childhood special education, or related service staff may apply for an eligible paraprofessional with the desire and motivation to complete college coursework requirements for a(n):

  • Associate’s degree or the speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) technical coursework required for the SLPA license issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS); or
  • Bachelor’s degree in:
    • Early childhood special education;
    • Special education; or
    • An area of related service: speech-language (SL); occupational therapy (OT); or physical therapy (PT) sciences.

This competitive grant will pay for college tuition and textbooks for a special education paraprofessional or aide to a related services provider who works with your students with disabilities.

General Education to Special Education Tuition (GEtSEt)

An Arizona school district or nonprofit charter school with a current or anticipated special education teacher need may apply for an eligible general education teacher with the desire and motivation to complete certification requirements for the:

  • Cross-Categorical Special Education, K–12 Certificate for disabilities commonly known as high incidence disabilities (to become Mild to Moderate Professional Teaching Certificate on or about January 1, 2016);
  • Early Childhood Special Education, Birth–5 Years Certificate; or
  • Severely and Profoundly Disabled Special Education, K–12 Certificate for disabilities commonly known as low incidence disabilities (to become Severe and Profound Professional Teaching Certificate on or about January 1, 2016).

This competitive grant will pay for one-half of the college tuition required for an eligible general education teacher to pursue a career change to become a special education teacher.

If you have any questions about the grant please contact Celia Kujawski, IDEA Capacity Building Grant Coordinator, at 602-542-4610 or email Celia.Kujawski@azed.gov.

Public Notice Regarding Application for Federal Funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)

Public Notice Regarding Application for Federal Funds under the

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is applying for federal funding under IDEA ‘04 for the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  The eligibility document serves as the basis for the operation and administration of activities to carry out the requirements of Part B of the IDEA.  In accordance with 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.165 and 441 (b)(7), the federal regulations that implement the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) ((20 U.S.C. §1232d(b)(7)(B)), this application is posted for public participation and comment.

The Application document sets forth policies and procedures that Arizona will undertake:

1)      to ensure that all eligible children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that includes special education and related services to meet their unique needs;

2)      to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected;

3)      to assist public education agencies in providing for the education of all children with disabilities; and

4)      to assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate those children.

The Part B State Application and Interactive Spreadsheet are available to parents, educators, and members of the general public for review and comment at the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, 1535 West Jefferson Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, or on the ADE website at www.azed.gov/special-education.  Please note that the FFY 2014 allocations are not yet available through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).  Therefore, the numbers on the currently posted Part B Interactive Spreadsheet, located on the Web site, are in draft form.  The State will post the 2014 Interactive Spreadsheet as soon as it becomes available.

Statement of Assurances

Interactive Spreadsheet – Draft


Comments may be submitted in writing until April 30, 2014 to:

Angela M. Denning, M.Ed
Deputy Associate Superintendent
Exceptional Student Services
Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street, Bin #24
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Email: angela.denning@azed.gov

PD OPPORTUNITY: Professional Learning and Sustainability (PLS) Webinars

The Professional Learning and Sustainability (PLS) unit will host three webinars for special education teachers, general education teachers, and school administrators in February and March. Please visit the links below to register for these free trainings.

Effective Utilization of Paraeducators

Paraeducators are becoming increasingly more important in today’s school settings. In this webinar, presenters will clarify paraeducators’ roles and responsibilities and address the role of certified teachers in providing direction and supervision of paraeducators. Further discussion will focus on ways to more appropriately utilize paraeducators. Tips and techniques to provide constructive feedback and job-embedded training to increase the effectiveness of paraeducators also will be presented.

Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Time: 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. MST
Event: click here for the webinar link

The Nuts and Bolts of Co-Teaching

What is co-teaching? Attend this webinar to learn the main elements of co-teaching, including the delivery options for implementing co-teaching. Further discussion points include the importance of co-planning and compatibility; administrative support; and professional development.

Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Time: 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. MST

Event: click here for the webinar link

Mentoring New Special Education Teachers: Theory and Best Practices

During this webinar, participants will learn research and best practices for effective mentoring of special education teachers who are in their first or second year of practice. Local education agencies also will join this webinar to discuss their current mentoring programs.

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Time: 3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. MST
Event: click here for the webinar link

ASU Study of Students with Intellectual Disabilities-Invitation to Participate

Arizona State University is conducting a statewide study funded by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council that seeks to understand the aspirations of high school youth with intellectual disabilities after high school graduation, how they are preparing, and how they are being supported at home and in schools. The Division of Developmental Disabilities, the Arizona Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Raising Special Kids, and a few school districts are advising the study.

We are inviting your school district or charter school to participate. We will be surveying both high school youth with intellectual disabilities and their families. The study process will not take staff time; however, we will need assistance disseminating study information to specific students and families. We will be conducting the survey starting in March and will continue until our target sample size of guardians and students is met.

Also, we will be conducting focus groups in three selected public education agencies (PEAs) throughout Arizona to gather in-depth information on how guardians and students are involved in transition planning and what they are currently doing to prepare: an inclusion PEA, a PEA that uses the least restrictive environment approach, and a rural PEA. These groups will serve as case studies on how parents and students approach transition in different school settings. Staff from these PEAs will be interviewed to provide a balanced view.

After the research is complete, we will provide overall State outcomes and results obtained from your district or charter, upon request. The overall findings will be released in a final report and presented at a statewide conference.

If you have any questions or are interested in participating, you are welcome to contact Erica McFadden (erica.mcfadden@asu.edu), Sang-Eun Lee (slee128@asu.edu), or David Daugherty (David.B.Daugherty@asu.edu).

Contact information:

David B. Daugherty, PhD
Director of Research
(602) 496-0215 office
Arizona State University
Morrison Institute for Public Policy

NAU Classes Designed for Special Education Directors

If you would like to hone your skills as a director or know someone who is interested in becoming a special education director, these Northern Arizona University courses may be just what you need. These SELECT (Special Education Learning Experiences for Competency in Teaching) courses are designed for administrators, either for continuing education hours (free) or for credit (requires tuition). The courses, Administration and Supervision in Special Education (ESE 506), include introduction to administration, school finance, legal issues, and compliance.

Please click on the image below to see full course descriptions.

SAVE THE DATES – 2014 ADE/ESS Conferences

Please mark your calendars for upcoming ADE/ESS Conferences. The attached PDF has information and website links for the following ADE/ESS conferences.

  • Second Annual Teachers’ Institute
  • Arizona’s Fourteenth Annual Transition Conference
  • Twenty-fifth Annual Directors Institute

Registration information for each conference will be updated on the conference website. Please check back soon for more details!

Move On When Reading Monitoring Alert

There have been many questions pertaining to how the Move on When Reading statute affects students with disabilities. ADE has provided clarification in the Monitoring Alert.

Newly Redesigned Promising Practices Website



Whether you are an administrator looking for information about positive behavior supports, a teacher searching for tips on differentiated instruction, or a parent in need of a transition planning process, you will find the newly redesigned Promising Practices Website to be a comprehensive source for information. This online guide provides easy access to over 1,400 excellent resources for parents and professionals serving students with disabilities in Arizona.

The newly redesigned Promising Practices Website features:

  • An increase from 315 to over 1,400 resources
  • Categorized entries for easy access under the following titles:
    • Administrators
    • Paraprofessionals
    • Parents
    • Related Service Providers
    • Special Education Directors
    • Teachers
  • Resources that can be accessed to assist students at-risk and students with disabilities in both general and special education settings
  • Information that is consistent with Arizona guidelines

The Promising Practices Website will continue to evolve and provide additional resources and strategies to assist parents and Arizona school personnel in improving results for students with disabilities.  Because the Promising Practices Website will be continuously updated, make sure to check back often for new resources!

8/14/2013 – FFY 2011 PEA Data Profiles

FFY 2011 PEA Data Profiles


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 established a requirement that all States develop and submit to the US Department of Education (USDOE), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), a performance plan designed to advance the State from its current level of compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements of the law and to improve the educational and functional outcomes for children with disabilities. This plan is the State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR), which has 20 indicators.

The purpose of the PEA data profile is to provide a visual picture of your PEA’s Indicator data and compare how your PEA measures against the state targets for each Indicator. As was done last year, PEA data profiles will be accessible through a website where the FFY 2011 Report Card (using data from SY 2011-2012) and Report Card Snapshot will be available for viewing.

The URL for the data profile login site is:  http://ddesurvey.com/arizona.

To log-in, you will use your email address (the one where you received this email) and your password from last year.  If you don’t recall your password, click on the “forgot password” link and your password will be emailed to you.  If you did not have a password last year, one will be emailed to you at your log-in email address when you click on the “forgot password” link.

Please direct all inquiries related to data profile logins to Tara Bazata at Data Driven Enterprises:  tara@DataDrivenEnterprises.com  or 303-255-5607.

ESS Data Management

Information Regarding Replacement of “Mental Retardation” with “Intellectual Disability”

Please note the update taken from School Finance -  May 29, 2013. The original post for this topic can be found here.

On October 5, 2010, President Obama signed legislation requiring the federal government to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government. This measure, known as Rosa’s Law, strips the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal health, education, and labor policy. “Intellectual disability” or “individual with an intellectual disability” are being inserted in place of these outdated terms. The rights of individuals with disabilities remain the same.

ADE is in the conversion process required by this legislation. References to “mental retardation” are being changed to “intellectual disability” and the acronym “MR” is being replaced with the acronym “ID.” The current acronyms for the disability categories of MIMR, MOMR, and SMR are being changed to MIID, MOID, and SID within SAIS. Additionally, references to a “mentally retarded individual” are being changed to an “individual with an intellectual disability” in resource documents, memos, and other supporting documentation throughout ADE.

ADE’s conversion from “MR” to “ID” in SAIS will be introduced in July 2013. However, not all ADE data collection application and resource material conversions will occur immediately after June 30, 2013. The conversion process for other online applications and resource materials is expected to be finalized no later than December 2013.

SAIS business rules were created identifying the areas within SAIS to be modified to accommodate this change. The rules can be found here within the “Business Rules” section of the webpage under fiscal year “2014.”