OSEP Webinar – Resources for Teachers and Parents to Enhance the Continuity of Learning During COVID-19 for Children with Disabilities

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is hosting a webinar on June 4, 2020:

Resources for Teachers and Parents to Enhance the Continuity of Learning During COVID-19 for Children with DisabilitiesAbout the Webinar

OSEP is hosting the first in a series of webinars focused on ready-to-use resources, tools, and practices from OSEP-funded grantees to support the educational, developmental, behavioral, and social/emotional needs of infants,  toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through remote and distance learning.

With the extended school closures occurring across the country, many states, districts, and schools are now delivering instruction remotely while parents, families, and students are having to learn in entirely new ways and facing challenges when it comes to learning during these unprecedented times. It is important to provide continuity of learning and growth for all children and youth, particularly those with disabilities.

This webinar offers an opportunity to highlight free resources, targeted at various stakeholders, aimed at exploring potential strategies and innovative approaches to address the critical needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 era.

This webinar will take place on:

June 4, 2020
2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT

Improving how we support schools, teachers, families, and students with disabilities is critical in ensuring that all students with disabilities, who have been disproportionality impacted by the shift to remote and distance learning, have access to a high-quality education and services that fit their individualized needs.

Please join us on June 4, 2020!  Register for the event here.

Additional information will be posted on the OSEP IDEAs that Work COVID-19 Resource Page.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact the Webinar Series planning team at osep-meeting@air.org.

Virtual Meetings: Strategies, Tips and Resources from CADRE

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) is dedicated to supporting the prevention and resolution of special education disputes through partnership and collaboration and offers a vast array of products and services that are high quality, relevant, and useful to the field of dispute resolution in special education and early intervention.

Circumstances may prohibit participants from attending special education meetings in person. In these situations, technology allows one or all of the individuals to participate through the Internet or telephone. Many types of meetings can occur virtually, including IEP meetings, mediations, resolution sessions, and due process hearings. While each of these types of meetings is unique, virtual meetings share common traits and considerations. Here we have collected resources, tips and strategies for meaningfully participating in a virtual meeting.

Visit the website for useful resources, including videos and handouts, for holding virtual meetings.

Secretary DeVos Reiterates Learning Must Continue for All Students, Declines to Seek Congressional Waivers to FAPE, LRE Requirements of IDEA

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today reaffirmed her long-held position that individualized education must take place for all students, including students with disabilities. As a result, the Secretary is not recommending Congress pass any additional waiver authority concerning the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), reiterating that learning must continue for all students during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Read more here.

Letter to WA-CASE Membership Regarding Governor’s Order to Close Washington Schools

Dear WA CASE members,

We have been fielding quite a few questions today after Governor Inslee’s comments during his press conference that has closed schools through the end of this school year. Specifically, these concerns have stemmed from a comment the Governor made regarding opening onsite instruction on a “case by case basis” for students with “severe disabilities”.

We have been in contact with Assistant Superintendent Gallo regarding clarification of these statements. She responded to an inquiry about this after the press conference with the information below. We are sharing her comments with WA CASE members today in advance of expected family, district leadership, and legal counsel inquires in the coming days.

We want to again encourage discussing this with your senior leadership team and your district legal counsel, but also encourage efforts to maintain as much consistency statewide in our response to requests for services for our students with IEPs as possible. We know that what one of us does impacts us all statewide. As noted in discussions today, the situation that might include onsite instruction for students with severe disabilities would be very rare, would require significant review of need, and is not consistent with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative which is our primary focus in our remote Continuous Learning plans for the rest of this academic year.

In the coming days, please collect the inquiries you receive about this from families, staff, senior leadership in your district, legal counsel and others. We wish to provide this feedback to OSPI and the Governor’s office to be sure we can request guidance and clarification as we all embark on new creative learning options for our students with disabilities across the continuum of all of our services.

Thank you for your support of each other during these challenging situations. My inspiration for our daily processes are how we have come together as a statewide special education administrative community and supported each other during these challenges.

Assistant Superintendent Gallo’s response to the inquiry is below.

Best regards,
Michaela

Dr. Michaela Clancy
WA CASE President
Director for Special Education
Clover Park School District

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Response from Assistant Superintendent Glenna Gallo

Q:  Is it true that the shut-down allows for school buildings to stay open to provide vital services to special education students?  

A:  The guidance from OSPI is consistent with the Governor’s “stay safe” orders, in that districts should identify ways to provide education services, including special education, safely for students, families, and educators.  This does not preclude districts from providing some in person services, provided that it can be accomplished safely; however, this should be in limited case-by-case circumstances, as it would be contrary to replace in person education in school buildings with in person special education services.  Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education specifies that special education services may need to be delivered in alternate manners.

Nominations Open for Washington CASE Awards

Nominations for 2020 WA-CASE awards are now open!  Please nominate a CASE member you know that deserves recognition for this year’s awards.  All nominees must be members of CASE to be eligible for an award.

Click here to nominate deserving CASE members for the following awards:

Early Career Administrator
Nominations for the Early Career Administrator award must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be serving in the role of administrator for no more than three years, and
  • Must be a CASE member

 

Outstanding Special Education Administrator
Nominations for the Outstanding Special Education Administrator award must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be serving in the role of administrator between 7 and 15 years,
  • Be be a recognized leader in their district,
  • Demonstrated mentoring role, and
  • Must be a CASE member

 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have over 15 years of administrative experience,
  • Be be a recognized leader in their district,
  • Demonstrated mentoring role,
  • Significant evidence with parent engagement,
  • Significant evidence of effective child advocacy, and
  • Must be a CASE member

Take Action Now!!

Join CEC and take action now on the follow issues affecting students needing special education services.

Reauthorize the Higher Education Act

Address the educator shortage crisis

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The U.S. Senate is currently negotiating a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). HEA governs federal policy on higher education. Major provisions of HEA include grant and loan programs such as Pell and TEACH Grants; grants to institutions for educator preparation programs; access and affordability of higher education, such as the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, and more. These programs influence the educator pipeline and directly impact schools and classrooms. HEA was last reauthorized in 2008 and is the top education priority for Congress this year.

FY 2021: Support Students with Exceptionalities; Oppose Cuts to Public Education.

Boost funding for special and gifted/talented education to make sure all students can thrive.

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On Monday, the Trump Administration released its proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 spending. Overall, the budget proposal cuts the Department of Education (ED) by $6.4 billion, or 8.4 percent. The budget also includes $5 billion for proposed Education Freedom Scholarships, or tax credits for vouchers that could be used toward private school tuition.

Special education funding was largely untouched in the ED budget. Aside from a $100 million increase (equal to less than one percent) to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all programs authorized under the IDEA were level funded. With diminishing spending power from year to year, level funding equates to a cut roughly equal in size to the inflation rate.

In the last three years, attempts by the Administration to make significant cuts to ED and to divert public funds to a private school voucher program have been unsuccessful. Rather, Congress, which has the ‘power of the purse,’ has sustained and/or incrementally grown critical programs at the Department. Much of the credit for Congress’s actions goes to grassroots advocacy. Voices like yours have made an important difference as appropriators make decisions about annual spending. Please join CEC in supporting public education through this letter-writing campaign.

 

For more information on how to take action and to sign up for CEC’s legislative alerts, visit CEC’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) website.