From the Director

January 2020

Special Education Heroes

Congratulations to the following individuals who have been named our January Special Education Superheroes!


Jenny Bledsoe

Jenny was nominated by Kristen Murphy-Helen who is Griffith Elementary School’s Data Coach. Kristen shared the following about Jenny..."Jenny is always going above and beyond for her students. Jenny is a teacher that works well beyond her contracted hours ensuring that her students have success when entering the school building. Jenny is in charge of planning for classroom assistants that assist inside her classroom and also assist students in their general education classrooms. She collaborates with other teachers in our building and is willing to offer advice and experience with her previous students. Jenny deserves to be recognized for work she has done the past 21 years and the current work she is doing."



Barb Kelp

Barb was nominated by Christy Wrightsman (ROI Director). Christy shared the following about Barb..."Barb has been advocating and serving students with special needs her entire career. She serves to help others understand the capabilities of our special education students by connecting students and families to our broader community. She arranges partnerships locally for students to obtain work experience and jobs with employers who will value their capabilities, not their disabilities. In every aspect of school you’ll find Ms. Barb Kelp asking, “How can my students participate and be of value?” She works for her students and families to see beyond their disabilities and realize the capabilities within themselves and their community."



Summer Rice

Summer was nominated by David Jenson who is Attica Jr.-Sr. High School’s Principal. David wants others to know Summer is a Special Education Super Hero because she goes above and beyond to help her special education students. She is a model teacher and wears many hats that benefit students. Mrs. Rice works tirelessly to ensure her students are meeting deadlines and successfully preparing for upcoming tests. She is not only the High School Special Education teacher, but also serves students at the junior high as well. Mrs. Rice is a true educator that puts her students first and wants nothing more than for them to have success.


Julie Whitney

Julie was nominated by Roy Hufford who is the Southridge Elementary School’s Principal. Roy said Julie is a Special Education Super Hero because she has been a lifelong amazing educator. She currently has a self-contained classroom K-5 for students on the Autism Spectrum. She goes above and beyond to provide the best education for these students. She makes sure the students are receiving services in the inclusion setting. She became a Project Lead the Way teacher so her students could “rescue tigers,” and runs small groups throughout the day to ensure students are continually learning. In addition, she coaches Girls on the Run to support young ladies, coaches swimming for the district, and even personally completes marathons. She is a great mentor for new special education staff and takes personally their progress as educators. She is a bright spot in the building thanks to her bright smile, trove of great stories, and positive attitude. The parents love her too!


Do you know a Special Education staff member who should be recognized as a Special Education Hero? Nominate them here.

Results Driven Accountability (RDA) Planning Tools Released

As Indiana enters the second year of RDA, the Indiana Department of Education's Office of Special Education (OSE) has begun using a new tool in order to assist local education agencies (LEAs) with findings of noncompliance and to address systematic change in order to improve results for students. In order to prepare LEAs to complete the tool, OSE has created this short overview of the tool (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sq4fhkIrwY&feature=youtu.be).

RDA Planning Tools are due no later than Friday, February 21.

RDA Roadshow 2020 Information

The Office of Special Education (OSE) will be on the road this February to give updated information on RDA.


The schedule is:


Wednesday, February 5: Lebanon (9a.m. -1p.m.EST)

Friday, February 7: MSD Lawrence Township (9a.m. -1p.m.EST)

Thursday, February 20: Vincennes (9a.m. -1p.m.EST)

Friday, February 21: New Albany-Floyd (9a.m. -1p.m.EST)

Tuesday, February 25: Ft. Wayne (9a.m. -1p.m.EST)

Thursday, February 27: Crown Point (9a.m. -1p.m.CST)


There will not be a break for lunch, but we encourage to you to bring snacks!


To register please go to the RDA Roadshow website by clicking here.

2020 Special Education Fiscal Road Show Save the Date!

This spring the Office of Special Education Fiscal Road Show is coming to a school district near you! Mark your calendars now and watch for OSE Moodle community announcements with full details and registration information. Please plan to bring your local special ed fiscal team – Special Ed Director, Assistant Director(s), Business Officer or Treasurer, Part B Grant Coordinator, Medicaid and/or Special Education Excess Cost (SEEC) Coordinator(s) – to one of these targeted professional development opportunities regarding special education fiscal requirements, recent program changes, updates, and technical assistance. These full-day trainings will include sessions on:

→ Part B Grants, including 611 and 619 grant application completion, submission, approval, and audit documentation; calculating local and state Maintenance of Effort (“MOE”); budgeting allowable expenditures per scope for Non-Public Proportionate Share, Special Education, and Voluntary “CEIS”/Coordinated Early Intervening Services;

→ School Medicaid Claiming, including Medicaid Administrative Claiming (“Indiana MAC”) sign up and quarterly claiming requirements, as well as Medicaid provider enrollment and fee-for-service billing for direct medical services (STAY TUNED… by spring 2020, medical claiming may expand to include more than IEP-required services!); and

→ Special Education Excess Cost (SEEC) Fund, including SEEC application and reimbursement processes and timelines.

Please save the date for one of these Special Education Fiscal RoadShow locations near you!

Thursday, 4/9/20 – MSD Lawrence Township, Indianapolis

Friday, 4/17/20 – New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools, New Albany

Wednesday, 4/22/20 – Whitko Community School Corporation, Larwill

Tuesday, 4/28/20 – Lebanon Community School Corporation, Lebanon

New Disproportionality Data Website

The Office of Special Education (OSE) contracts with the Indiana Disproportionality Resource Center at Indiana University to calculate the relative risk ratios associated with disproportionality (Indicators 4, 9, 10, and Significant Disproportionality). Recently, they’ve updated their data website, and the website address for LEA-specific data has changed. The new website (https://eiidata.sitehost.iu.edu/ )can be accessed with the same LEA specific password as was previously used. Please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer at ksievers@doe.in.gov if you need your LEA password or have questions.

Important Alternate Assessment Information - Feedback Needed

Indiana’s Alternate Assessment Stakeholder Feedback Survey

Indiana is considering making alterations to the alternate assessment beginning with the 2021-2022 school year for students with significant intellectual disabilities in order to better meet the needs of this population of students. Potential considerations would be to include a small number of observation ratings (e.g., 3-5 per quarter) and allow for educators to submit other evidence to support the mastery of skills. Indiana would like to elicit stakeholder feedback as we consider this new design. Please complete this survey no later than January 17 to submit feedback.

1% Cap on Alternate Assessment Participation Justification Survey

Pursuant to ESSA section 1111 (b)(2)(D)(i)(I), states are limited to the total number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed statewide with an alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards to 1.0% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed in that subject. Indiana assessed 1.14% of students using Indiana’s Alternate Measure (I AM) during the 2018-19 school year. While 1.14% is still above the 1.0% cap, it should be noted that Indiana assessed 0.07% fewer students than during the 2017-18 school year using Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR).


Indiana requested a waiver extension to this 1.0% cap on participation. This waiver included a plan and timeline. Part of the plan requires corporations that assess more than 1.0 % of the tested population on I AM in any subject area to submit information to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) justifying the need to exceed the 1.0% threshold for the 2019-20 school year.


Superintendents, Special Education Directors, and Corporation Test Coordinators (CTCs) from those corporations over the one percent threshold will be contacted on Monday, January 13 via email with directions for completing the required submission. Questions should be communicated to Stephanie Thompson and Sarah Mohr.

Updates from the Office of Assessment

WIDA:

WIDA ACCESS Test Window

The WIDA ACCESS test window is open January 13 to February 28. Per ESSA, all identified English learners are required to participate in the annual English language proficiency assessment.

WIDA Accommodations Training

Test Administrators administering WIDA assessments to students with accommodations are required to view this recorded training prior to the opening of the test window.

ILEARN:

Submit Spring 2020 ILEARN Initial Order Deadline Approaching!

Corporations and schools must report any paper accommodations via the DOE-TA, Indiana IEP (IIEP), and/or Indiana ILP by January 30 to generate an initial order shipment of paper materials ahead of the Spring 2020 ILEARN 3-8 and ECA test windows. Corporations and schools requesting paper tests for students with accommodations after this date must do so during the additional orders window for the appropriate assessment. Contact the Indiana Assessment Help Desk with any questions (airindianahelpdesk@air.org or 866-298-4256).

Winter and Spring 2020 ILEARN Rescore Request Process

Please check with your corporation or school test coordinator for details about the 2019-2020 ILEARN Rescore Request Process, including how it will be managed at your school.

I AM:

Indiana’s Alternate Assessment Stakeholder Feedback Survey

Indiana is considering making alterations to the alternate assessment beginning with the 2021-2022 school year for students with significant intellectual disabilities in order to better meet the needs of this population of students. Potential considerations would be to include a small number of observation ratings (e.g., 3-5 per quarter) and allow for educators to submit other evidence to support the mastery of skills. Indiana would like to elicit stakeholder feedback as we consider this new design. Please complete this survey no later than January 17 to submit feedback.

1% Cap on Alternate Assessment Participation Justification Survey

Pursuant to ESSA section 1111 (b)(2)(D)(i)(I), states are limited to the total number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed statewide with an alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards to 1.0% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed in that subject. Indiana assessed 1.14% of students using Indiana’s Alternate Measure (I AM) during the 2018-19 school year. While 1.14% is still above the 1.0% cap, it should be noted that Indiana assessed 0.07% fewer students than during the 2017-18 school year using Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR).


Indiana requested a waiver extension to this 1.0% cap on participation. This waiver included a plan and timeline. Part of the plan requires corporations that assess more than 1.0 % of the tested population on I AM in any subject area to submit information to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) justifying the need to exceed the 1.0% threshold for the 2019-2020 school year.


Superintendents, Special Education Directors, and Corporation Test Coordinators (CTCs) from those corporations over the one percent threshold will be contacted on Monday, January 13 via email with directions for completing the required submission. Questions should be communicated to Stephanie Thompson and Sarah Mohr.

Braille Accommodations Must be Noted in Indiana IEP (IIEP) by January 30

All I AM braille accommodations must be noted in IIEP no later than January 30 in order for students to receive braille forms for the 2020 administration of I AM. IDOE will be unable to fulfill requests for braille after January 30 as these accommodated forms are only created on an as needed basis. Questions about braille accommodations can be communicated to Stephanie Thompson at sthompson2@doe.in.gov or 317-234-5601.

Information from Project Success

1) Project SUCCESS is preparing for the last webinar in 2019-2020 series. The content of this webinar will be determined by you, the educator, to make sure we address the topics that are most important to you! Click here to take a survey on what information you’d like to learn more about.

2) Administrator Webinar 102 – The Follow-Up Session

Wednesday, January 22

3:00-4:00pm ET (2:00-3:00pm Central)

Join Project SUCCESS for a live, hour-long webinar to learn more about information covered in the summer 2019 regional trainings for administrators of students with significant disabilities. We will briefly review information shared in the summer trainings and also expand on topics that participants requested to learn more about, including: inclusive practices; unpacking and curriculum mapping for access to content; and utilizing Project SUCCESS resources for continued professional development.

3) NEW Online Courses for Paraprofessionals

During the past year, more than 1,000 individuals have accessed the free courses for paraprofessionals developed by Project SUCCESS in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). The first three courses, available on the PEPPER™ learning platform, provide an introduction to supporting students with the most significant disabilities (including INPARA101: Overview of Special Education; INPARA102: Instruction and Standards; and INPARA103: Formative Assessment). This winter, Project SUCCESS is pleased to add to the suite of professional development courses with three new modules:

INPARA104 Culturally Responsive Strategies - designed to help paraprofessionals understand the role of culture and bias in the classroom and to provide insight into best practices for including culture as a tool for promoting student success.

INPARA105 Effective Communication - aims to improve paraprofessionals' use of communication strategies with students and teachers in the classroom.

INPARA106 Assistive Technology and Accessible Materials - provides insight into how technology and making instructional materials and tools accessible for students with significant cognitive disabilities expands pathways for learning and growth.

To access the courses or learn more, please visit our website here.

Update from the Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project

The Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project successfully finished year one of the new grant and are off to a great start on year two. One of the first tasks in the new grant was to begin a new round of visits to ICASE round tables to share information about the project and services, including our annual child count. As required by United States Department of Education- Office of Special Education Programs (USDOE-OSEP), the Deaf-Blind Project conduct an annual identification and reporting of students with combined vision and hearing loss. In Indiana, those students are reported by every district by the end of March. As the Deaf-Blind Project has already shared during visits to ICASE round tables, your continued efforts have helped to identify more students and at younger ages. The Deaf-Blind Project looks forward to continued improvement in the number of students with vision and hearing loss who are reported to our project.

Why is it so important for you to identify students with hearing and vision losses for the Deaf-Blind Project? While these students may comprise the smallest of all disability areas, their educational needs are some of the most diverse. Over 90 percent of these students also have additional disabilities that combined with their vision and hearing losses pose significant learning challenges. We know children learn by watching and listening. For students with sensory challenges, specialized strategies and expertise is needed to help each of them learn how to communicate, understand concepts and develop relationships that can be missed or misunderstood in the distortion or absence of vision and hearing.

There are many faces of deaf-blindness and accurate reporting of these students is an ongoing challenge. Less than six percent of the population of students with vision and hearing losses are like Helen Keller (a woman without any additional disabilities). Many students who are identified have multiple disabilities listed on their IEP as their disability category. This is not a problem and you should still be reporting them to the Deaf-Blind Project. The USDOE-OSEP and the Deaf-Blind Project are most interested in identifying all children who have vision and hearing losses, regardless of their disability category. The Deaf-Blind Project just wants to help! The Indiana Deaf-Blind Project has the needed expertise to help your teachers and other team members develop and implement program ideas and strategies that will help these students.

All local education agencies will be receiving information in late January/early February about the annual registry and the reporting requirements. Please feel free to contact Lisa.Poff@indstate.edu regarding questions you may have about reporting students and to discuss available technical assistance and training to help those identified students in your districts. Thank you for your help and support.

Reminder: Save the Date Midwest Leadership Conference (MELC) 2020

MELC 2020 will be June 23 -25. For more information see the PDF file.

Upcoming Events with the Office of Special Education and the Indiana Resource Networks (IRNs)

Each week the IRNs host free and/or low cost professional development opportunities across the state (or virtually). Please take a minute to view the various sessions and locations.