CCSD Special Education

February 2015


It is hard to believe we are halfway through February. This month seems to launch let’s begin preparing for next year. Please watch emails/dates closely as we begin to gather information to help us appropriately staff resources to meet our students’ needs next year.

Secondary…Thanks for your flexibility on January 22. Dr. Nealy had a conflict that required her to leave early on our last professional learning day. She is going to touch base with team leaders and reschedule this event.

Due to a few schedule changes, I think it is appropriate to change the expectations for our 3rd Wednesday Professional Learning Sessions. Instead of attending 4 sessions this year I am requesting you attend 3. This should help you meet this requirement.

The Special Education Study is moving along this year. We had great participation … 95% of certified staff and 70% of classified staff. We were expecting preliminary recommendations in February but this timeline has changed to April. This is a three year plan so this first year will be primarily information gathering activities to help gauge further conversations.

Smartboard Info….As I am sure you are aware the District approved the continued use of Smartboard technology in our LID classrooms. The primary reason for this was because it was an integral part of students’ GAA process. There was concern that if this was removed in the middle of the year the assessments could not be completed.

Thinking about next year….Clarke Central is piloting a hybrid model for professional learning. They are hosting a few sessions at their school and participating in county led sessions to ensure they are able to meet school specific needs while still aligning their work to systemic goals. Be thinking about how you can organize this model in your school next year.

SSIP Update: I had the opportunity to attend a SSIP session in Macon last week. The day began with a reminder that closing the achievement gap begins with changing adult practices. Students do not magically change on their own. They change because they are exposed to effective adults utilizing effective practices. Last year over 6,000 7th and 8th graders dropped out of school. This data supports that our high school graduation rate is determined by practices in place long before students begin their high school career. Students’ access to the general curriculum, a positive school climate and specially designed instruction are barriers we need to address before we will be able to close the achievement gap we so often refer to. The Effective Teacher by Harry Wong is not a new read but one that we can all be reminded of. He writes there are three characteristics of an effective teacher.

1. Has positive expectations for student success

2. A good classroom manager

3. Designs lessons for student mastery.

I challenge you to reflect on these three areas and as you focus on building relationships with students. If these pieces are in place the research is clear, student dropout rate will decrease as we maintain their engagement with school.

I have had the pleasure of serving on walk through teams, giving me the opportunity to see great instruction with the students we serve. Hats off to you ….Your ability to integrate solid research based practices into your classroom every day have not gone unnoticed.

Thanks for your continued work serving our students with special needs.



Academic: Providing Meaningful Feedback

For many students, feedback is akin to criticism. Perhaps this is why so many essays end up in the garbage when students leave class. Feedback is seldom practiced with any enthusiasm. Yet feedback is not criticism; instead, it is a caring and supportive act. It’s a signal that a teacher is dedicated to providing a constructive way to help students reach a higher level. This video demonstrates an easy way to provide meaningful feedback in a quick, inexpensive manner to support your students.

Behavior: Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Children

We know mindfulness is good for us. Mindfulness allows us to be present in our parenting, choosing the skillful response instead of succumbing to our visceral reactions. Mindfulness is also good for our kids. There is an emerging body of research that indicates that mindfulness can help our children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset, and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus. Do I even need to ask if you want that for your kids? So where do we start? How can we teach these important skills to our children?

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: clarke###### (replace # with student id)

    password: lunch #


    username: ccsd login

    password: Clarke706


    Self-Determination Inventory Survey

    The University of Kansas is seeking students age 13-22 with and without disabilities to participate in a 15-20 minute survey as part of the development and validation of a new Self-Determination Inventory Survey. Participants are offered a $5 gift card per survey!

    “Everyone Can Work!” The 2016 Northeast Georgia disAbility Conference and Resource Expo

    Through attending this FREE conference, attendees will learn more about how people with disabilities can and do make important contributions to America’s businesses every day. This is a great opportunity for our students and families!

    Disability Expo Flyer

    “Everyone Can Work!” The 2016 Northeast Georgia disAbility Conference and Resource Expo

    Saturday, Feb. 20th, 9am-4pm

    Piedmont College’s Athens Campus 595 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA.


    National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities

    The ultimate goal of the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities is to provide high quality, evidence-based technical assistance to help states build and implement sustainable programs and best practices that will yield positive results in dropout prevention, reentry, and school completion for students with disabilities. NDPC-SD has the following four interrelated goals, which captures its overarching purpose and supports the Center's mandate:

    1: Increase the awareness of policymakers, administrators, and practitioners about dropout prevention, reentry, and school completion.

    2: Increase the number of states that set and meet reasonable and rigorous performance targets for State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicators 1 and 2.

    3: Help State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) develop and improve data systems to track students at risk of dropping out.

    4: Help SEAs and LEAs implement and evaluate effective, comprehensive school-completion models, practices, and systems for students with disabilities.

    Decreasing Dropout Rates for Minority Male Youth with Disabilities from Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Backgrounds

    In a time when graduation rates are showing notable improvement among students of color and students with disabilities, there are still great challenges that remain. The National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities has published a monograph that explores the problem of high school dropout rates among American Indian, African American, and Latino males with disabilities and provide an in-depth look into the specific obstacles that impede this young population from graduating, while offering direction and articulating crucial changes that must be made to better serve these students.


    Georgia Apex Project

    The first signs of mental or emotional distress often appear when a child is at school. The Georgia Apex Project, supported by the Office of Children, Young Adults and Families, aims to reduce the number of youth with unmet mental health needs which often contribute to poor academic performance. The project supports school-based mental health programs, including early detection of mental health needs, and establishes better coordination between school districts and the state’s community service boards. The Georgia Center of Excellence in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health will provide ongoing technical assistance and support to Georgia Apex Project grantees.

    The Georgia APEX Project serves our middle and high schools in CCSD. For additional information please call 706-369-6363 X 3100



    A free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app available for download in the iTunes store. SoundingBoard transforms your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into the latest in communication technology. In just minutes, you can create custom boards with up to 20 message locations using AbleNet symbols or your own photos.

    • Create boards with up to 20 message locations
    • Virtually unlimited capacity; create boards for any situation
    • Use the built-in AbleNet symbol library for instant access to hundreds of symbols
    • Record messages of virtually any length for each symbol
    • Use your own photo library for even greater flexibility and options
    • Take your own photos using your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch and use them in a board immediately*
    • Increase the physical size of the boards by using the iPad
    • Available in French, German, and Spanish!

    *Function not available on previous generation iPod touch or iPad 1.

    All new SoundingBoard 4.11 provides these great features!

    • Graphical Interface: The graphical interface of SoundingBoard has been updated with a new look. You will find the same great features of SoundingBoard 3.0 in the new version, but most features are now accessed through home screen of the app.
    • Multi-Device Support: SoundingBoard has been optimized to work on multiple versions of the iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, and iPod touch without the need to use the “2X” mode.
    • Screen Rotation: SoundingBoard now works in portrait and landscape viewing modes.
    • Dynamic Communication Board Creation: Instead of picking a pre-determined communication board layout, you can now dynamically create communication boards by simply adding message locations until you’ve reached your desired amount of messages. Once you’ve finished, SoundingBoard automatically determines the communication board layout for you. Once the communication board is created you have the ability to re-arrange, delete, or add messages as needed.
    • Larger Message Boards: SoundingBoard now supports communication boards with 1 to 20 messages.
    • Export and Import Communication Boards: SoundingBoard now provides a way to export and import communication boards. (Note: Only boards created in version 4.0 can be exported)
    • Linked Boards: Linked boards will now play the full audio message before advancing to the next message board.
    • Change the background color of a communication board to be white, black, or yellow. This new feature is found under the Settings menu of the app.

    SoundingBoard is ONLY available for download in the iTunes store.


    Unique LID Curriculum (FEBRARY)

    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


    GOIEP Notes

    The question has popped up several times over the last couple of weeks regarding initial IEPs after the eligibility and the 30 day rule. Below is the state rule:

    INITIAL IEP’S PROVISION OF SERVICES. Each LEA must ensure that –

    (a) A meeting to develop an IEP for a child is conducted within 30 days of a determination that the child needs special education and related services; and

    (b) As soon as possible following development of the IEP, special education and related

    services are made available to the child in accordance with the child’s IEP. [34 C.F.R. §

    300.323(c)(1) – (2)]

    Note that the special provisions that are in place for the eligibility timeline when school is not in session do not apply to the requirement to complete an IEP within 30 days of completing an eligibility. Once the eligibility has been completed, the IEP must be completed within 30 days.

    Example -

    Suppose an initial consent to eval is received on 4/20. The initial elig is completed on 6/1.

    Team waits until 8/1 to do the IEP…..

    This is not compliant…The team met the timeline requirement of having the eligibility within 60 days. But, based on the state rule they should have the IEP within 30 days of the eligibility meeting, so this is out of compliance.

    IEP Progress Reports

    Currently, we have 696 overdue progress reports for the district. We need to work on getting this number down ASAP.

    Duplicate Progress Reports for a time period

    When an amendment is created, the mtg notice and the IEP itself from the “parent” IEP are copied and can be edited as needed. The date of the mtg notice should be changed to reflect the actual date of the amendment.

    For an initial IEP or Annual Review, the frequency period for the first PR will start on the date the services start…..So, for example, if an IEP were to be completed on 12/18/14 with a start date in the IEP of 1/7 – then the PR would not start and would not appear on the PR Dashboard until 1/7.

    Then, on 10/9/15, the teacher finalized an amendment of that IEP but did not change the date of the amendment. This is an incorrect process because the amendment date should always accurately reflect the date of the amendment regardless of the IEP software program you are using.

    Prior to finalizing this amendment, GO would ensure the completion of all PRs associated with the parent IEP which were already due at that time.

    For an amendment, we would not want the PRs to start on the date the IEP services began, because most people do not revise the start dates of the services to go along with the amendment & that is fine.

    Instead, for an amendment, we start the PRs based on the meeting date of the amendment.

    So – if this teacher did not change the meeting date of the amendment, PRs will appear on her dashboard with a start date of 12/1/14 – one for every frequency period. This results in the teacher having to re-do the PRs for the period of time between the documented amendment date and the actual amendment date. We cannot ask our IT to inactivate those PRs. Please remember the importance of using a correct amendment date. We can no longer ask the state department to inactivate progress reports because an amendment was done and the date was not changed.

    Progress Reports not showing on Teacher Dashboard

    Another common issue is a teacher reporting that they do not see a PR on their dashboard for a student, please check the PROGRESS REPORTED tab for that student to see if the PR for the current date has already been completed. If so, a new PR will not appear on the dashboard until after the end date of that PR.


    3rd Wednesday SPED Professional Learning

    I have had the opportunity to spend more time in classrooms over the last month. I see an area for potential growth to be related to data collection. In an attempt to support this as we begin to measure our student's growth for this school year we have moved November's PL (that was canceled) to January & February. Teachers should attend 3 sessions by the end of the school year.

    October 21------- Behavior Management

    No December Professional Learning (includes SLP's)

    January 20-------- Data Collection (changed from Differentiation)

    February 17------ Data Collection part 2 (changed from Facilitate Difficult IEP Meetings)

    March 16---------- Community School Supports

    April 20------------ Strategies for Supporting Students with Autism

    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