Graduation for Students with Disabilities: Guidance Documents for PEAs and Parents

On behalf of the Arizona Graduation Workgroup, ADE/ESS is pleased to present two guidance documents related to graduation for students with disabilities: Graduation and Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Public Education Agencies and Graduation and Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Parents. These documents are attached to this email, but are also available on a newly developed ADE/ESS graduation website:


In order to better understand the perspectives of students, families, schools, and agencies involved in graduation planning, the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS), solicited volunteers from the field to compose a graduation workgroup. This workgroup includes representatives from all relevant stakeholder groups, and its purpose is a continuing one—to discuss and develop guidance to assist public education agencies (PEAs) and individualized education program (IEP) teams in making informed decisions about graduation for students with disabilities.


These documents are intended to clarify Arizona’s graduation requirements, their interplay with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and how graduation requirements impact students with disabilities. They represent the first communication from the graduation workgroup and are not intended to be “one size fits all” guides for all graduation issues nor will they address all questions related to graduation. ADE/ESS, through the advisement of the graduation workgroup, ADE/Legal Department, and other ADE program areas, will continue to generate helpful documents, resources, and web links and to disseminate them to the field on a regular basis. Additional related topics will be addressed in future communications and presentations related to this guidance will be provided at the Directors Institute (August 2013) and Arizona’s Thirteenth Annual Transition Conference (September/October 2013).



4/17/2013 – Change in Due Dates for October 1 Special Education Census

We are pleased to announce a change in the due dates for the October 1 Special Education Census. This alert is the result of an announcement from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to change the annual federal due date for child count and environment data submission from the first Wednesday in February to the first Wednesday in April.


Beginning with the October 1, 2013 special education census in FY 2014 (SY 2013—2014), the due dates for the verification, reconciliation, and non-reconciliation phases will be extended later in the reporting year than has been scheduled previously.

 What does this mean for public education agencies (PEAs)?

This means that PEAs will have more time to submit accurate special education (SPED) participation data to SAIS and work on resolving applicable integrity errors, thereby resulting in cleaner, more accurate data for the purposes of the October 1 SPED census. The census reconciliation due date will no longer be scheduled early in January, which for most (if not all) PEAs, was immediately following winter break.

Anticipated Outcome

ADE/ESS has been aware of the challenges the early SPED census reporting has presented with regard to the submission/correction of SPED participation data and anticipate that this change will improve the quality of Arizona’s special education census data. The anticipated outcome is that improved data accuracy will result in a successful census reconciliation for more PEAs.

FY 2014 SPED Census Due Dates

The due dates for FY 2014 have not yet been established. ADE/ESS will announce the new due dates at the 2013 Directors Institute as well as the as the fall workshops/webinar series presented by ESS Data Management.

Please contact us at with any questions.

RECRUITMENT INFORMATION: Arizona Education Employment Board

Link to AEEB

The Arizona Education Employment Board (AEEB) is a free employment board, designed exclusively for the education recruitment needs of Arizona Schools.  In 2011-2012, 3077 education jobs were filled by districts and schools using the employment board.  The AEEB averages 8,000 hits per day, with a high of 13,000 hits per day during busy recruitment months (April, May, and June).  The AEEB is one of the most frequently visited education employment websites in the United States.

We hope that you will take advantage of this free service in the coming months.

Contact Information:

Tracy Faulkner
Recruitment and Retention Specialist
Telephone: 602-364-2195

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Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards and IEPs

Roll out of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (ACCRS) has begun and educators across the country are being challenged to realign curriculum and address shifts in instructional priorities as they prepare for implementation. Special educators must be proactive and engage in this same work. Instructional resources will be identified that can assist special educators to develop IEPs that are instructionally relevant and designed to increase access to the general education curriculum.

  • October 29th, 2013 from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Transitioning to Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards for Students with Disabilities Webinar. This webinar, presented by WestEd, is designed to provide teachers with information on how to provide access to the Arizona Standards through grade-level standards-aligned Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), resources, and evidence-based instructional strategies.

View the archived webinar here.

View questions asked during the webinar here.


  • February 21, 2013 from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. IEPs and the Common Core State Standards Webinar. This webinar, presented by Carol Kosnitsky, will provide a brief introduction to the process of aligning IEPs to the Common Core State Standards. Further information will be provided in a full-day conference on March 27 or 28, 2013 – A Common Sense Approach to Writing IEPs Aligned to the Common Core Standards.

Download the presentation handout.

View the archived webinar here.

View questions asked during the webinar here.


To be added to a list of interested participants for our next round of training, please provide your contact information here.

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