CCSD Special Education

November 2015


As I continue to watch and learn more everyday about the work you do to support students with disabilities, I realize that until I have a chance to interact and get to know all of you on a more personal level, I will never be able to truly understand the challenges, needs and celebrations occurring in our schools. To help move in this direction I will be working with team leaders to join the next school level special ed team meeting. On this day, either before or after, I plan on visiting all of the special ed classrooms at each school. I hope to have this completed by the end of February.

Tomorrow, invitations will be sent to people chosen to be part of focus groups for our special education study. These focus groups will contain 6 people and will last approximately 45 minutes. The team will be visiting next Tuesday through Wednesday. They will be returning in December for a follow up visit where the results of this study will be shared with us. We will work to organize a session to share these results with anyone who chooses to hear them first hand.

The team will be visiting a handful of schools on Tuesday and Wednesday. If your school has been chosen, your Principal and Team Leader will be notified.

As you know our site visit for the special education study is scheduled to occur at the same time as our monthly professional learning session. As a result, we will not be holding the professional learning next week. We will either adjust the expectation to attend four sessions or we will reschedule. For those teachers scheduled to work on the Analytic Geometry sessions, please plan on being part of that work. There will not be a team leader meeting next week either as it falls during the site visit.

We have had a few situations where teachers have asked me for permission to attend a conference or participate in some sort of activity. While I realize this is often because you are requesting funding for this activity, it is important you discuss these situations with your Principal first. I want to be sure all activities you participate in align with your school’s improvement plan. I also want to be sure all Principals are part of any decision made that impacts their staff, thus impacting their school.

At a monthly RTI Coordinator’s meeting questions were raised regarding students eligible for speech services and how additional areas of eligibility should be addressed. It became clear from this conversation different schools were handling this situation differently. After many conversations with local teams and with staff at the State Level, the following procedure should be followed in these situations.

  • RTI Process for Students Currently Eligible for Special Education Services: Students currently eligible for any special education program are considered on Tier 4 of the RTI Pyramid of Interventions. If additional concerns are identified, the school should follow the RTI process as if there is no current eligibility on file. Monitoring of these plans will be the same as well. It is possible for a child to be eligible and receiving services (Tier 4) as well as Tier 2 or 3 interventions for other academic/behavior/speech concerns unrelated to his/her current eligibility. This information should be documented in the RTI module, and not within his/her IEP.

    More specifically, for students currently receiving Speech-Language Impairment (SI) or other special education services, referrals for new academic or behavior problems should be addressed in the minutes of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), but interventions should take place and be regularly documented at either the Tier 2 or Tier 3 level of the RTI process. It should be clearly noted in the IEP minutes that the RTI process has been initiated for the additional targeted areas of concern. RTI/SST modules should be utilized in order to document that interventions have been developed and implemented appropriately. After interventions have been implemented and reviewed for effectiveness, and the problem-solving process for Tiers 2 and 3 has been exhausted, the IEP team may consider further evaluation to address eligibility and programming needs through a special education reevaluation/redetermination meeting. The team members for such meetings should include the RTI coordinator, LEA (if not the RTI coordinator), referring teacher, special education teacher/speech-language pathologist, parent, school psychologist, and other necessary personnel. Consent to Evaluate for special education services should be signed by the parent/guardian if deemed appropriate.

This procedure will ensure the heart of RTI will be honored any time a new academic or behavior concern is addressed. It also is intended to ensure the current IEP focuses on the “whole child” and incorporates all components into one plan. By referencing the RTI process in the minutes this should connect the current IEP/Eligibility with the RTI process. It has been and continues to be “best practice” to explore all areas of concern and assess these areas at the time initial eligibility is established. If this is done, the process mentioned above will not have to be utilized as often if ever.

I realize that when asked what you are thankful for many of you might say that Thanksgiving Break is almost here. You have earned it. I hope you enjoy your week off and find time to make special memories with friends and family.

Thanks for your continued work supporting students in Clarke County.



Academic: Using knowledge of student cognition to differentiate instruction

This is a great article that looks at working memory, working memory in the classroom, and the role of attention. Then students are categorized by;

  1. students with learning difficulties only,
  2. students with producing difficulties, and

  3. students with learning and producing difficulties.

A rubric is given to demonstrate concepts of each kind of learner. Several strategies are given at the end of the article.

Visit the Office of Special Education Google site for more instructional strategies related to cognitive processes.

Open Apps-- Click Sites-- Search Office of Special Education

Student Learning Profiles (Left navigation toolbar)

Student Learning Profile Resources

Behavior: What Are Stress Triggers?

Triggers are thoughts, feelings, or events that cause a person to feel stress. Everyone has stress triggers. It is important to identify the triggers that might affect a student’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral status at school. What makes your students feel stressed or anxious?

Identify Your School Triggers Assessment

This assessment allows students to read each item and then rate each potential trigger on a scale of 1 – 5.

*If the student is not able to self-assess, then ask a parent (or someone who knows the student very well) to complete the form.

Volcano Scale – My School Triggers

You will need to have your Identify Your School Stress Triggers assessment with you.

Organize your 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s onto this scale. You do not have to write down all of the items listed on the Identify Your School Triggers assessment. Just write down the items you think are most important to you.

Use the Volcano Scale in the following ways:

  • To help students assess and label their own anxiety and frustration levels.

  • To help students accurately identify the events that might correspond with each level on the scale.

  • To promote group discussions / activities.

Assistive Technology: Start-to-Finish Online Accessible Library

  • Icon on student start page
  • The Start-to-Finish Online Accessible Library offers struggling readers in upper elementary, middle, and high school, with reading abilities as low as first grade to fifth grade, opportunities to have successful reading experiences.

    At the end of each chapter, Start-to-Finish can present one or more quizzes or practice activities, depending on the Start-to-Finish level you are using (Gold or Blue) and the reading purpose you selected for each reader. Quizzes can be taken online or printed out for completion on paper.


    • grade 2-3 readable text (with supports for lower abilities to read along)
    • syntax and grammar of conversational speech
    • High-frequency and topic specific vocabulary
    • Limited number of ideas per sentence
    • Word-by-word highlighting
    • Auditory support for individual words


    • Grade 4-5 readable text (with supports for lower abilities to read along)
    • Syntax and vocabulary of more formal, literacy English
    • More abstract vocabulary
    • More ideas introduces in longer sentences
    • Varied sentence structures
    • Auditory support for individual words
    • Sentence-by-sentence highlighting


    username: ccsd###### (replace # with student id)

    password: lunch #


    username: ccsd login

    password: Clarke706



    College for Individuals with Learning Disabilities

    Did you know there is a college that is devoted entirely to students with learning disabilities? It’s true! That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is located in Vermont. It is called Landmark College. Check it out!


    Unique LID Curriculum (NOVEMBER)

    Below are the October lessons for Unique across all bands. This is just one portion of the Unique curriculum available. There are lots of resources available when you login to the website. Unique provides thematic monthly plans for Reading, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and basic Math.

    Each band (level) has the following included in each folder:

    1) Lessons & Activities (Includes all lessons and materials for the month)

    2) Suggested Monthly Plan- overview of week for all subject areas for the month

    3) Printing Guide- This gives you tips of what to print based on lessons


    Elementary (K-2)

    Intermediate (3-5)

    Middle (6-8)

    High (9-12)


    Support Manual: Unique page 13-21

    NEW SymbolStix ONLINE

    SymbolStix ONLINE is the online symbol set provided complimentary with any Unique Learning System or News-2-You subscription. The symbol set contains over 26,000+ ready-to-use symbols that can be downloaded and used in the creation of supporting materials in the classroom. The online symbol set also contains a variety of templates, in which teachers can create activities, games and communication boards directly within the web-based subscription. Symbols are available for download in three formats and the dynamic set is added to and updated weekly.

    NEW SymbolStix ONLINE features offers users:

    Improved Search Features

    Activity and Device Templates (AutoGrid)

    SymbolStix Collection Tools

    Board Wizard

    Store Projects

    n2y Product Folders


    2016 Chick-Fil-A Calendar for SALE $8 LAST CALL

    $8 each: ALL proceeds go to Clarke County Schools Special Olympics

    Contact Julie Evans or your friendly LID teacher know how many you want and I will get them to you!!!

    Contact Julie Evans:

    706-546-7721, ext 18342

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    SOAR-Special Olympics Annual Run

    Saturday, Nov. 14th, 8:30am

    870 Gaines School Road

    Athens, GA

    Come join us for the 5K Special Olympics Annual Run in Athens, GA. SOAR is sponsored by many reputable businesses and all proceeds will go to the Clarke County Schools Chapter of Special Olympics. The race is open to runners, joggers, walkers and wheelchair participants of all ages.



    GOIEP Enhancements

    1. Middle & High - Transition Plan will now automatically populate as a purpose for any IEP meeting with a student whose age or grade require that.

    2. High - If a math rubric has been started, and the teacher decides she does not want to complete it, there is now a blue DISCARD button at the bottom of the math rubric.

    IEP Progress Reports Due

    Quarter 2 Grading Period Ends: Friday, December 18, 2015 (Grades K-12)

    1. PROGRESS REPORTS - New report on your dashboard for Progress Reports. This report will show in RED all OVERDUE PROGRESS REPORTS for your school, or your caseload. It will show in YELLOW all PROGRESS REPORTS for your school, or your caseload which are due in 1 week.

    2. PROGRESS REPORTS - This has been a report system admins have needed in order to monitor the completion of progress reports in a timely manner. This report will export to excel like all other reports in GO. Please begin working with your staff to bring this # down. We will begin monitoring the system wide report and sending friendly reminders for out of date progress reports.


    3rd Wednesday SPED Professional Learning- NOVEMBER CANCELED

    November session is canceled due to the Special Education Study. More details will come about when data collection will be offered in the year.


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    Thursday, Dec. 17th, 12am

    Early Leaning Center 440-2 Dearing Ext, Athens, GA 30606

    Office of Special Education

    • Heidi Hill: Special Education Director
    • Amelia Butler: Special Education Coordinator serving Barrow, Cleveland Road, Gaines, JJ Harris, Stroud, Timothy, Whit Davis, Winterville
    • Pam Garcia: Special Education Coordinator serving Barnett Shoals, Chase, Fowler, Oglethorpe Ave, Preschool SPED, Rutland, Whitehead, and Assistive Technology
    • Sue Rickman: Special Education Coordinator serving Alps LID, BHL, Coile, Clarke Middle, Hilsman, Cedar Shoals, Clarke Central, Classic City, Ombudsman, and Low Incidence
    • Sara Perpall: Special Education Behavior Specialist
    • Lynn Andrews: EXC Information Specialist
    • Michelle Stephens: Special Education Administrative Assistant