Austin ISD Special Education

Professional Staff Communication Newsletter-April 2nd, 2021

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Welcome to Issue #18 of our Professional Special Education Staff newsletter! Please share this newsletter link and information with your General Education staff members or with any other Special Education team members as needed.

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UPDATE: STAAR Information

If a campus has opted to administer STAAR Online, but the IEP or 504 Plan does not specify STAAR Online, an ARD or 504 meeting is NOT required. However, if a change is needed to update STAAR accommodations, the IEP or 504 Plan must be revised.

As outlined in the 20-21 TEA Accessibility within the STAAR Program Educator Guide, the mode of testing should not be documented in the student’s IEP or 504 paperwork, and should be determined closer to testing once the student has been given the opportunity to practice online. A student may take STAAR on paper for one subject and online for another. Due consideration should be given to the mode in which various designated supports can be offered.

The IEP may be revised by an amendment event for any ARD meetings that took place after January 1, 2021. If a change is needed to an IEP developed prior to January 1, 2021, a formal revision ARD meeting must be held.

The Section 504 plan may be revised by an amendment event to correct clerical errors or to make minor adjustments. This event can only be held if a student has a current, non-expired plan. If the student’s plan is expired, a Section 504 Annual Meeting event must be completed.

For additional information on considering STAAR paper vs. online, available features and supports that increase accessibility, and updated accommodation policies, please refer to the 20-21 TEA Accessibility within the STAAR Program Educator Guide.
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What’s New in the SPED Resource Hub?

Are you struggling to complete progress reports in Frontline? Do you need training on Frontline Service Management and Progress Manager?

If so, AcceliPROGRESS Workshops are available in HCP course #SPE.45486 (or search “Accelify” in HCP). There are several date/time options for Elementary, Middle & High School case managers.

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Professional Learning Opportunities

Earn up to 12 CE credits by attending Spotlight on Dyslexia live on Friday, June 4, or anytime on demand through December 1, 2021. The event is perfect for any K-12 educator or administrator who wants to learn more about dyslexia, the science of reading and creating a culture of literacy. There is a $20 discount for Texas Educators to use towards purchasing a Premium Pass. The code is SPODTXP. Click HERE to register.

  • Learn strategies and skills that will inspire you to smash the literacy gap for every student

  • Gain tools to help you identify signs of struggling readers and improve your instructional practice with research- based strategies.

  • Understand how best practices for students with dyslexia can be applied broadly with all students to multiply growth and confidence.

  • Grow as a literacy leader and leave equipped with the tools and strategies to ensure all of your struggling students achieve their potential.

A Step Toward IEP Quality and Rigor for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

A Step Toward IEP Quality and Rigor for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

This self-paced online course covers the development process of Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP), Goals/Objectives, and Progress Monitoring Methods of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. These three core components greatly impact student involvement, access, and progress in the general education curriculum. Participants can earn 6 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours.

Online Course

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Goalbook Upcoming Live Webinars

Goalbook has a series of upcoming live webinars this month:

1. Goalbook Toolkit Overview- 45 minutes. On Tuesday, April 13th at 2:30 PM. Register by clicking here.

2. Using Goalbook Toolkit to Create Learning Goals and Progress Monitor- 30 minutes. On Thursday, April 15th at 2:00 PM. Register by clicking here.

3. Using Goalbook Toolkit to Support Students with Moderate and Severe Needs- 30 minutes. On Tuesday, April 20th at 1:00 PM. Register by clicking here.

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TEA Updates

UPDATED: Notice of Procedural Safeguards and Parent’s Guide to the ARD Process -In October of 2020, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) required TEA to make several edits to these documents. A summary of changes for each document, as well as the updated documents, can be found HERE.

UPDATED: Dispute Resolution Handbook - New version can be found HERE.

NEW: House Bill 548 - The purpose of this bill is to generate and monitor data on the language acquisition of students ages 0-8 who are deaf/hard of hearing and deafblind using Special Education Language Acquisition Core Collection (SELA). HB 548 FAQ

Assurances for distribution of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards and Parent's Guide to the ARD Process - Assurance needs to be provided by April 30, 2021 (shipments for hard copies should be completed by April 9, 2021).

TSLAT Summer Autism Circuit 2.0 Applications Open - Registration ends on May 1, 2021. Register HERE.

High Cost Fund Application Date Adjusted - Close date is May 15, 2021.

Self-Assessment Updated Submission Date - Deadline extended to June 1, 2021.

Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) - Application window closes on June 30, 2021. Apply HERE.

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Transition Corner

Here are some recent informational items in the world of Transition Services.

1. SPPI-13 (State Performance Plan Indicator 13 on Secondary Transition). For High School staff members working with students aged 16 and up, you may be receiving contact in the near future from District Sp. Ed. team members if one of the students you are working with as case manager was pulled as part of the 2020-21 school year SPPI-13 audit sample of students. Please work with your District Sp. Ed. audit team members towards the completion of any Laserfiche uploads, IEP Amendment, or Revision ARD meeting needed upon review of student records. This is a 100% compliance item per the regulations of the state. Below the Transition to Adulthood section as an attachment is the most recent version of the Texas Education Agency's Student Folder/IEP Data Collection Guidance document as a reference.

2. Destination...Life. Earlier this month, in collaboration with other Central Texas School Districts, Austin ISD participated in the Destination...Life Regional Transition Fair and Conference. Missed it? Don't worry. The collaborative group behind the Destination...Life Regional Transition Fair and Conference will be keeping the website up as an ongoing resource and reference for students, families, and other interested professionals year round!

On the homepage of the Destination...Life website, you will find a sessions guide with links to recordings of some of the live sessions that were taken on or presentation information, and please browse the Exhibitors section and share information with others as needed.

The Destination...Life website can be found at:

3. Get Ready for College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities. The VCU Center On Transition Innovations has a good series of free online lessons that focuses on different aspects in the college preparation, selection, and disability services process. These lessons could be used as part of an instructional opportunity for your staff on post-secondary education when working with students. Link to the series of free online lessons:

4. Summer 2021 Recreation and Camp Guide for Students and Adults with Special Needs

Need ideas to provide to families about some summer opportunities that can be enriching for students and allow them to continue to grow their social/recreation/leisure skills? A collaborative of numerous area School Districts has produced a Summer 2021 Recreation and Camp Guide for Students and Adults with Special Needs with a focus on the Central Texas area. Both an English and Spanish version of the Camp Guide can found as an attachment just below the Transition to Adulthood section.

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Resources for communication with the Special Education Department

  • Austin ISD Special Education Department Request for Support: This link can be used for AISD Special Education teachers to make support requests (if you have evaluation support/ARD support related questions, please review the links below instead). Please check in with your Department Chair and Administrator first to see if they can support you with your inquiry.
  • ARD Support Request Form: To request support for ARD meeting coverage for students receiving or being referred for special education services.
  • Interpreter Support Request Form: To request an interpreter for students receiving Special Education services. *NOTE- Please check with your principal/administrator before this request is submitted for Spanish Interpretation support.

For a list of Special Education 2020-21 Learning Network contacts and District personnel assignments, please see the Special Education 2020-21 Learning Network document.