Exceptional Education Newsletter

RPS Office of Exceptional Education June 2021

In this Issue

  • Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2021
  • Virginia Union University invests in the future of RPS students

  • Compliance Corner
  • SEAC
  • HLPs: High Leverage Practices in Special Education
  • ESY
  • Mary Baldwin University Special Education Cohort Program
  • Welcome new staff members!
  • Summer Professional Learning Opportunities
  • Spotlight
  • One Final Note...
  • Previous Issues

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2021!

We are thrilled to start off the June edition of the Exceptional Education Newsletter with a huge congratulations to our 2021 graduating class. All school year long, our students with disabilities have shown so much heart and perseverance in reaching their goals despite adversity. We would like to extend a special thank you to all of the building leaders, teachers, and support staff that have helped to guide our students across the finish line. This work could not be done without your grace and expertise. Kudos for a job well done.

Virginia Union University invests in the future of RPS students

Creating positive outcomes for ALL students starts by providing positive opportunities. That's exactly what Virginia Union University did on Wednesday when they awarded five 5th graders from Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary full scholarships to attend VUU. To see the full story, click here.


Action Items

  • June updates to the December 1 Child Count, Indicators 9, 10, 11, and the Out of Compliance Spreadsheet are due on June 17, 2021.
  • The Quarterly Behavior Aide Evaluation Submission is due June 11, 2021. If you have any questions regarding this report reach out to Mr. Alonzo Ford.
  • Instructional and Compliance Coordinators (ICC's) should indicate "none" followed by the month of submission when there is no new information to report.
  • Revisions to the Out of Compliance Report should be captured each month under ICC Comments.
  • As schools hold IEP meetings for English Learners, Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP), teachers should be invited to participate as team members.
  • The Exceptional Education School Closing Certification Checklist 2020-2021 is due to the Coordinator of Systems and Processes on June 18, 2021.
  • Please plan to attend the June 22nd and 24th monthly meeting regarding Private Day School students. These meetings will be held from 9:00am -11:00am.

Professional Development:

Mark your calendars for the ICC Summer Academy (August 18th & 19th)


The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), a partnership between the RPS school district, parents/guardians of students with disabilities, and vital community stakeholders,

will hold its next meeting on June 16th @ 6:30. Look for the link on the SEAC website as we get closer to the date.

SEAC website

Any questions regarding SEAC please email seac@rvaschools.net

HLPs: High Leverage Practices in Special Education

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) were one focal point of the professional development opportunities offered this Spring by the Office of Exceptional Education. HLPs are “a set of practices that are fundamental to support...student learning, and that can be taught, learned, and implemented by those entering the profession” (Windschitl, Thompson, Braaten & Stroupe, 2012, p.880). Over the course of two sessions, attendees were able identify the most commonly used HLPs in the classroom. In addition, attendees are looking forward to applying even more HLPs in the 2021-2022 school year.

Want more information on HLPs? Click here.

ESY & Summer School Interest

ESY & Summer School Interest

Greetings, Teachers and Staff! As a reminder, if you are interested in teaching ESY or Summer School, please be sure to complete the interest survey that was sent out by the Talent Office. Interested individuals will still be required to complete an application (when available) and go through the hiring process. Please contact Dr. Rossi Volley at rvolley2@rvaschools.net if you have any questions or concerns.

Mary Baldwin University Special Education Cohort Program

In an effort to help address the shortage of qualified special education teachers throughout the Commonwealth, Mary Baldwin University is pleased to continue to offer a graduate cohort targeted to current teachers (endorsed in areas other than special education) who wish to add a Special Education endorsement to their current license. As you know, teachers now have five options in Special Education: General Curriculum—

  • Add-On Special Ed: General Curriculum for Elementary Ed (for those holding an active VA PK-6 Elementary Ed endorsement);
  • Add-On Special Ed: General Curriculum for Middle Ed (for those holding an active VA Middle Ed core content endorsement);
  • Add-On Special Ed: General Curriculum for Secondary Ed (for those holding an active VA Secondary Ed core content endorsement); or
  • K-12 General Curriculum (for those seeking the “full” Special Ed endorsement to add to an active VA teaching license, except CTE).
  • Master of Education Non-Licensure Special Education –30 semester hours with two electives (for those who already hold a Special Education license or do not want licensure, just the degree)

Mary Baldwin University is offering an online cohort program this fall with a deeply discounted tuition rate of $325 per credit hour. They had a successful recruitment effort for the other cohorts and are delighted to be able to offer the cohort option again. The cohort covers any of the above options.

The program is available to any fully licensed teacher in Virginia (with a collegiate or post-graduate professional license, but not a CTE or provisional license), and is designed to be completed in about three semesters.

The link will provide additional details, including how to apply.


The Office of Exceptional Education welcomes in ten new members to the team!

The Office of Exceptional education is delighted to announce the addition of ten new staff members to the team. An official welcome is in order for Tarenne Roberson who has already started her journey with RPS this past month. We are also pleased to announce four additional school psychologists who will begin with us on August 1st: Aliyah James; Tanee Mason; Alyssa Pence; and, Akiyah Brown! Next, we would like to welcome our two new educational diagnosticians to the department: Taylor Nesbitt and Rosemary Hardwich - they, too, will begin on August 1st! Finally, we would like to announce that three additional transition mentors will be joining in the very near future. Welcome one and all!:)

Professional Learning Opportunities

Big picture

The Office of Exceptional Education: Summer Learning Series

The OOEE will be hosting a a series of professional learning opportunities this summer. Look for session offerings to be posted soon.

Augmenting Mathematics and Special Educator Teams for Middle School and Algebra I in the General Education Classrooms:

The VDOE Office of Special Education Instructional Services, in consultation with the Office of STEM and Innovation, and in partnership with the James Madison University Content Teaching Academy, is sponsoring the Augmenting Mathematics and Special Educator Teams (AMSET) Academy. The Academy is designed for mathematics and special educator school teams working together to enhance student outcomes, especially for students with disabilities, by focusing on improving content understanding, pedagogical strategies, co-teaching strategies, and specially designed instruction in mathematics. This four-day virtual Academy will be held June 21, 2021, from 12:15 to 4 p.m. and June 22-24, 2021, from 12:30-4 p.m.

Special Education Teacher Support Academy (SETSA)

The goal of SETSA is to build the capacity and efficacy of early-career special education teachers by improving teacher effectiveness and reducing teacher attrition in K-12 classrooms. The Academy is designed for early-career (beginning year through year 2) special education teachers and experienced special educators interested in being trained as instructional coaches. It will enhance your knowledge and ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities successfully.

Dates: June 21- 24, 2021
Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Format: Virtual

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Co-Teaching Webinar Series

SESSION 1: June 15, 2021 9-10:30 a.m. Session Length: 90 minutes Title: Specially Designed Instruction (SDI): Are We on the Same Page? This session will review the core elements of specially designed instruction as it applies to co-teachers and their students. In addition, it will outline the process that special educators should use to analyze student needs and then select, implement with a teaching partner, and evaluate SDI in a co-taught environment.

SESSION 2: June 23, 2021 9-10:30 a.m. Session Length: 90 minutes Title: Macro-Specially Designed Instruction (SDI): Strategies and Techniques to Use Across Grade Levels and Subject Areas Some SDI is widely applicable and referred to as macro-SDI. Included in this category is direct explicit instruction, self-regulated strategy development (SRSD), and techniques to foster maintenance and generalization of student knowledge/skills. This session will overview these critical special education instructional methodologies and strategies, including examples of how they can realistically be incorporated into co-taught classes

SESSION 3: June 29, 2021 9-10:30 a.m. Session Length: 90 minutes Title: Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) for Reading, Writing, Math and Behavior Some SDI relates primarily to particular subject areas. This session will include examples of SDI across core academic areas and also address SDI for student behavior. Time will be reserved to address questions that have arisen from throughout the professional development series. All webinars will be held 9-10:30 a.m. on the scheduled dates. Once you have registered, an acknowledgement of the registration and a link to access the webinar will be sent to your email. Registration has been limited to 250 participants and a certificate of attendance will be provided.

Big picture

One Final Note...

Please join the Office of Exceptional Education in welcoming baby Rosalie into the RPS family. Congratulations to Elementary Instructional Specialist April Burwell and her family! May we all find the time to rest just like little Rosie.

Previous Issues