Special Education Update

Information on the GPS Special Education outreach

Devising Seminar Interview Registration is now closed & Sign-up for IEP Facilitation Workshop closes today

Registration for one-on-one interviews for the Devising Seminars is now closed to allow Key2Ed to conduct all remaining interviews and finalize their analysis.


The Parent IEP Facilitation Workshop registration for the January 13, 2020 session closes today, (January 9th). Information about this session, including a link to register, is included below and was shared in the previous communication.

You're Invited: Key2Ed IEP Facilitation Workshops

On January 13, 2020, you are invited to attend an IEP Facilitation Workshop, led by Key2Ed. Please use this site to register to attend the evening workshop. The session will begin at 5:30pm at Cos Cob Elementary School and end at 8:00pm. Pizza and salad will be available at 5:00pm and childcare will be available for participants who pre-register their children. A Spanish translator will be available if needed. Please register by January 9th. See below for additional information about the session and Spanish translation:


As GPS continues to focus on collaboration and partnership with our Special Education families, there are techniques that we can utilize to enhance collaboration and strengthen our partnership in the PPT process. As such, the first initiative for our Special Education Review is a refresher on the IEP process. Key2Ed, Inc. has become the national authority on IEP meeting facilitation through a long history of working across multiple stakeholders to improve the process. When special education was developed and implemented in public schools, the process for these types of meetings was not yet designed or implemented. This often resulted in lack of communication, collaboration, and efficiency within IEP (PPT) teams with less-than optimal effect on students with special needs. In 1997, the founders of Key2Ed addressed this issue after spending their professional lives in special education and recognizing the need for a process.


The Key2Ed consultants have conducted workshops for thousands of educators and stakeholders/parents nationwide. They have contracted with individual school districts, regional cooperatives, and state departments of education to introduce this vital skill set. Clients report overwhelming satisfaction with the training, and report that implementation of the training yields improved relationships and collaborative meetings that focus on the needs of the student ultimately increasing positive student outcomes and reducing parent and staff stress.


This year the Greenwich Public Schools is working with Key2Ed to train a team from every school and GHS House on the techniques and skills needed to implement Facilitated IEP/PPT meetings. The consultants will also be offering an evening workshop for parents/families on the meeting process and how to be valuable participants in a facilitated IEP meeting. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of their role in the meeting as well as how to prepare for active participation, ensuring the meeting process stays focused on the needs of the student. Participants strengthen their understanding of the power of a collaborative, non-adversarial, and compliant IEP meeting process. Additionally, participants will build skills to increase more effective and efficient communication among all team members.


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La primera iniciativa de nuestra revisión de Educación Especial es un repaso del proceso de las reuniones IEP. Key2Ed, Inc. se ha convertido en la autoridad nacional para la facilitación de reuniones de IEP a través de su larga trayectoria de colaboración con múltiples partes interesadas en mejorar el proceso. Cuando se desarrolló e implementó la educación especial en las escuelas públicas, todavía no existía un proceso para este tipo de reuniones. Esta carencia a menudo resultaba en la falta de comunicación, colaboración y eficiencia dentro de los equipos de IEP (PPT), lo cual, finalmente, repercutía en los estudiantes con necesidades especiales. En 1997, después de haber dedicado su vida profesional a la educación especial y reconociendo la necesidad de un proceso, los fundadores de Key2Ed abordaron este problema.


Los consultores de Key2Ed han realizado talleres por todo el país para miles de educadores, padres y partes interesadas. Así mismo, distintos distritos escolares, cooperativas regionales y departamentos de educación estatales han contratado a Key2Ed para introducir esta planificación vital en su práctica. La gran mayoría de clientes de Key2Ed indican que están totalmente satisfechos con el entrenamiento que reciben y con los resultados obtenidos después de la implementación del entrenamiento; resultados que se reflejan en una mejora de las relaciones y en reuniones más colaborativas que se enfocan principalmente en las necesidades de los estudiantes, aumentando por tanto su rendimiento y disminuyendo el estrés de los padres y el personal escolar.


Este año, las Escuelas Públicas de Greenwich están trabajando con Key2Ed para entrenar a un equipo de cada escuela y claustro de GHS sobre las técnicas y habilidades necesarias para implementar reuniones de IEP / PPT. Los consultores también ofrecerán un taller nocturno para padres y familias sobre el proceso de la reunión y cómo ser participantes valiosos en una reunión de IEP. Los participantes sacarán de este taller una comprensión clara de su papel en las reuniones IEP y de cómo prepararse para una participación activa sin que el enfoque de la reunión se desvié de su propósito, es decir, las necesidades del estudiante. Los participantes de este taller reforzarán su entendimiento sobre el poder que tiene una reunión colaborativa y no contenciosa pero que a la vez transcurra conforme al proceso IEP.


Además, los participantes desarrollarán habilidades para aumentar una comunicación más efectiva y eficiente entre todos los miembros del equipo.


Utilice el sitio Web a continuación para registrarse al taller nocturno. La sesión se llevará a cabo el 13 de enero y comenzará a las 5:30 pm en la escuela primaria Cos Cob y terminará a las 8:00 pm. A las 5:00 pm se empezará a servir pizza y ensalada y se dispondrá de cuidado de niños para los participantes que pre-inscriban a sus hijos. Un traductor de español estará disponible en caso de que exista la necesidad. Por favor regístrese antes del 9 de enero inclusive.


All emails previously shared about the Special Education review are below.

Update on Special Education Review Interviews (shared previously)


Please see below for an update from the Key2Ed team regarding interview sign-ups and process:

  1. All of the slots for on-site interviews were filled within the first hour.
  2. There were only a finite number of on-site interviews possible, but there is almost an infinite number of opportunities for phone or video conference or FaceTime interviews. People may set these up the same way, by emailing us at info@key2ed.com.
  3. If staff, teachers, and parents aren’t available during the day, we can set up phone, video, or FaceTime interviews in the early morning, or early evening, or even weekends. You can sign-up for these options using the same process, by emailing us at info@key2ed.com.
  4. Key2Ed is committed to speaking with everyone who wants to be interviewed, simply contact us at info@key2ed.com



Thanks for your interest and your patience.

Greenwich Special Education Review: Devising Seminar Interviews (shared previously)

As part of the review of Special Education supports and services, the Greenwich Public Schools is partnering with Key2Ed to pilot a process called “Devising Seminars.” This process intends to assist the district in identifying areas, programs, or services, where there appears to be a high degree of conflict and disputes, and then to work with representative stakeholders to identify possible solutions for the issues creating conflict. While this process has been used successfully in municipalities, Greenwich will be the first school district to use the strategies in education/special education. These meetings are inclusive of representatives from all the Stakeholder groups in the District with an interest and a stake in special education programs. The discussions will be facilitated by a neutral facilitator from Key 2Ed. Information from the Task Force will be shared across the District special education community.


The second component of the Devising Seminar process involves a series of anonymous, individual interviews with volunteer stakeholders regarding their impressions of the results and findings of the Task Force. Stakeholder interviews will be conducted to gather additional insights into the challenges in the District across the 3 areas that the Task Force identified:


  • Interventions (RTI/MTSS);
  • Evaluation/assessments and the PPT meeting process; and
  • IEP implementation.


Information from the interviews will be collated and shared with the interviewees to check for accuracy. Then the information from the interviews will be shared with the District administration. District administration, with the assistance of the Key2Ed facilitators, will identify no more than 2 or 3 challenges to target with ideas specifically designed to reduce disputes and conflict within the special education community and the District.


Interviews will be conducted at the Hyatt Hotel in Greenwich during the week of January 13-17. The current schedule should accommodate approximately 80-100 interviews. Telephone interviews and/or additional dates may be considered if interview requests exceed our current plan. Please follow the directions below to sign up for an interview opportunity.


Key2Ed Interview Instructions


  1. Go to the appointment link: https://www.picktime.com/key2ed
  2. Click "Book Appointment"
  3. Click "Greenwich Consultation"
  4. Click "Key2Ed Consultant"
  5. Pick a date/time and fill in the info
  6. Press “Book appointment”


Instructions with step-by-step screenshots can be found below.

Big picture
Big picture

Special Education: Outreach Process and Key Information (shared previously)

Parents,

As we discussed at previous Board of Education meetings, we have begun our District's Special Education outreach process. As you may remember, the district had intended on working with a professor from the University of Connecticut on a Special Education survey (school rubric and parent/teacher questionnaires); however due to unforeseen circumstances with scheduling with the UConn team, we have pivoted our approach. We think this approach will have an even better outcome given that the initial feedback on the draft questionnaire from our SES parent representatives (PTA Special Education Subcommittee) indicated that the parent questionnaire still had room for improvement.


As such, we're beginning our work with "Key2Ed," an organization that focuses solely on the Special Education process at schools to incorporate all aspects of the outreach process. They will be working with the district on two projects for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Facilitated IEP Meetings
The first initiative is a refresher for school-based teams on the use of Facilitated IEP Meeting strategies, to improve our procedures at the level of the individual PPT meetings. Each school will send a team of three people (administrator, special education teacher and general education teacher) to learn and practice the strategies of a facilitated meeting. The training is for 2.5 days in two groups (about 10 schools/houses in each group).


There will be an evening session for parents on January 13th to provide an overview of the Facilitated IEP meeting process as well as a half day overview session for building principals.

Devising Seminar
The second Key2Ed initiative is the pilot of a process called “Devising Seminars.” This process will assist the district in identifying areas, programs, or services, where there appears to be a high degree of conflict and disputes, and then to work with representative stakeholders to identify possible solutions for the issues creating conflict. While this process has been used successfully in municipalities, Greenwich will be the first school district to use the strategies in education/special education. These meetings are inclusive of representatives from stakeholder groups in the District with an interest and a stake in special education programs. The discussions will be facilitated by a neutral facilitator from Key2Ed who is specifically experienced and trained in Special Education and meeting facilitation (their biographies are below). Information from the Task Force will be shared across the District special education community.


The entire outreach process is a partnership between all of our stakeholders -- parents, administration, teachers, etc. -- and the benefits of our students remain the focal point behind all discussions and outcomes. As such, we've identified the Task Force Members for the smaller group discussions and we look forward to an inclusive dialogue for feedback and input. Key2Ed will do between 40-100 community interviews as part of this process.


Please see below for details about each of these steps in our project. We are committed to an inclusive and transparent process.


Task Force Meetings: November 18, January 15, February 19
These meetings are inclusive of representatives from the Stakeholder groups in the District with an interest and a stake in special education programs (for example: Special Education parents, teachers, etc.). The discussions will be facilitated by a neutral facilitator from Key 2Ed. Through this facilitation, District strengths and challenges will be identified in 3 stages:
  • interventions (Response to Intervention (RTI)),
  • evaluation/assessments and the PPT meeting process, and
  • IEP implementation.


Stakeholder follow-up interviews:
January 13 and 14; January 16 and 17; February 18
Subsequently, Stakeholders will be interviewed (anonymously in person at a non-school location or by telephone) to gather additional insights into the challenges in the District across the 3 areas that the Task Force discussed. Stakeholders will be invited to sign up for interviews or phone calls through public notices. Information from the interviews will be collated and shared with the interviewees to check for accuracy, and will then be shared with District administration. Based on the information obtained through the interviews, Stakeholder groups may be surveyed regarding their impressions of the results and findings from the interviews.

Devising Seminar: March 25
A Devising Seminar is a facilitated session with representatives from the stakeholder groups brought together to identify solutions to the problem(s) identified, and create a workable action plan. The discussions will be facilitated by Key2Ed neutral facilitators. The advantage of this process is that everyone has had a say, and has a stake and a share in defining strategies that will improve collaboration and reduce conflict, enabling everyone to focus on the needs of the students.

Biographies for Key2Ed Personnel

The leadership team at Key2Ed's biographies are located on their website, and we've included a brief version of these biographies for you below.


Douglas Little

Douglas Little brings a professional lifetime of experience in special education to Key2Ed, Inc. After beginning his career as a teacher and principal in Tennessee, he has since served at the local, state, federal and higher education levels of public education. His experience in federal, state and local educational administration is as extensive as his experience in the interpretation and application of federal and state statutes, rules and regulations. Read more about Douglas Little in his full biography.


Dr. Joyce Little

Dr. Joyce Little began her special education career as a speech/language pathologist teaching students with language disabilities. For over seven years, she also worked as a diagnostic expert, identifying students' disabilities and defining the programs necessary to serve their individual needs. The scope of Dr. Little's twenty-five years experience in education is extensive and includes administering local special education programs in Northern and Southern California school districts. For over ten years, she applied her analytical talents and facilitation skills to promote organizational change within these districts. The results of her work positively affected special education programs through dramatically improved communication and coordinated decision-making at the program director and coordinating agency levels. Read more about Dr. Joyce Little in her full biography.


Robin O'Shea

Robin O'Shea, M.A.T. is co-owner and senior trainer for Key2Ed, LLC. As an IEP meeting facilitator and certified mediator, Robin brings real life experiences and scenarios to her training participants. Robin has worn many hats in special education. With over 20 years of experience, she has worked as a special educator and behavior specialist, curriculum specialist and administrator. As a special education administrator, she provided educational leadership to staff and the community by focusing on parent and school team relationships, collaborating with school teams, and improving student outcomes. Read more about Robin O' Shea in her full biography.


Cassie Velasquez

Cassie Velasquez, M.Ed., is co-owner and senior trainer for Key2Ed. She delivers professional development workshops and expertise to educators nationwide. These workshops are focused on tools, strategies, and techniques that allow teams to identify, acknowledge, and mitigate conflict in the IEP meeting process. In addition to delivering these workshops to thousands of educators, Cassie also acts as a resource and coach, providing focused one-on-one instruction and mentorship. Read more about Cassie Velasquez in her full biography.