Recent News


Spring 2019 IEA Parent Information Session Registration

TDOE IEA Spring 2019 Parent Info Session Registration Deadline is January 4 2019

Parent Information Sessions

In January and February, the department will provide information sessions for parents on the IEA (Individualized Education Account) Program. Parent information sessions are designed to help parents who are interested in enrolling their student in the IEA Program learn more about what the IEA Program is, including student eligibility, amount of funding, approved expenses, and parent responsibilities. Parents will also learn how to complete the application process to enroll their child in the IEA Program. These sessions are not for parents of students already enrolled in the IEA Program.

During registration, parents will be asked to choose only one session to attend. All sessions are from 6 - 8 p.m. local time unless otherwise noted. These sessions are only open to parents of eligible students. The addresses for each information session will be emailed to registered parents.

Jan. 22, 2019 – Nashville
Jan. 28, 2019 – Knoxville
Feb. 5, 2019 – Memphis

To register, click here. Space is limited, and parents must pre-register to attend the in-person information sessions. Registration closes Jan. 4, 2019.

Please note: Childcare will not be provided at the information sessions. Children may attend the information sessions but must be under parent/guardian supervision at all times.

If you are unable to attend an in-person session, there will be a live webinar for parents on Feb. 13 from 6-8 p.m. CT. Instructions for how to access the webinar are available here. Pre-registration is not required for the webinar.

The session PowerPoint and a recording of the session webinar will also be posted on the department's IEA web page (here).


Private School Information Sessions

The department will conduct a live information session webinar on the IEA Program for private school principals interested in applying to participate in the IEA Program for the 2019-20 school year. Private school information sessions are designed to help private school principals learn more about what the IEA Program is, including school eligibility, school responsibilities, and approved expenses. Private school principals will also learn how to complete the application process to become a participating school in the IEA Program.

The webinar will be held on Feb. 15 from 9-11 a.m. CT. Instructions for how to access the webinar are available here. School principals do not need to pre-register for the webinar.

The recording of the live webinar will be posted on the department's IEA web page (here)

Schools principals can also submit a request for the IEA team to come and speak to their school by emailing

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Try CDC's FREE Milestone Tracer app today (Pruebe hoy la app GRATIS de los CDC Sigamos el Desarrollo)

Milestones matter! Track your child’s milestones from age 2 months to 5 years with CDC’s easy-to-use illustrated checklists; get tips from CDC for encouraging your child’s development; and find out what to do if you are ever concerned about how your child is developing.

From birth to age 5, your child should reach milestones in how he or she plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves. Photos and videos in this app illustrate each milestone and make tracking them for your child easy and fun!

Desde el nacimiento hasta los 5 años, su hijo debería alcanzar indicadores en la manera en que juega, aprende, habla, actúa y se mueve. Hágale seguimiento a los indicadores del desarrollo de su hijo desde los 2 meses hasta los 5 años de edad; obtenga consejos para promover el desarrollo de su hijo; y averigüe lo que puede hacer si alguna vez le preocupa cómo va el desarrollo de su hijo. En esta aplicación se ilustra cada indicador del desarrollo con fotos y videos, lo que hace que para usted sea fácil y divertido hacerles el seguimiento en su hijo!

Download it free today on iOS and Android devices in English and Spanish.

Disponible en español y en inglés. Descárguela gratis hoy en los dispositivos iOS y Android.

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'Virtual Story Time’ Offers a New Way to Experience Books

Image Description: Screenshot from a YouTube video about one family's experience with the TN Library for Accessible Books and Media's Virtual Story Time.

The Tennessee Library for Accessible Books and Media (formerly the Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) has developed a new story time program for children. This program is the first in the nation to provide an innovative monthly children’s story time by phone for kids who are blind or have vision disabilities.

A librarian reads the kid’s story on a conference line and they have mailed out interactive packets of fun sensory materials that go along with the story ahead of time to all the kids so they can touch and play with things that correspond to the story. This allows them to reach kids all over the state! 

The Tennessee program has no age limits and there’s no cost to participate – the library provides participants with a toll-free number so they don’t incur any long distance charges. Maria Sochor, the TLABM Director said “children and the young at heart” are welcome to join the calls each month.

(Please note that some of the materials in the following links were developed before the name of the library changed. The following information is all about the same library and program.)

Click here to watch a 3-minute video on the Virtual Story Time program.

Click here to read more about the Virtual Story Time program.

Click here to learn more about Tennessee Library for Accessible Books and Media.

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We want to hear from you!

We want to hear from you! Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and Support & Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP) are hosting Information Exchange events in Hamilton, Montgomery, and Tipton counties.

Feb. 12 - Hamilton County

Feb. 19 - Montgomery County
Lettie P. Kendall Outreach Center
203 Plum Street
Clarksville, TN 37042

Feb. 21 - Tipton County
Brighton County Community Center
66 School Street
Brighton, TN 38011

We will begin each session with dinner at 5:30 pm and a listening session for families of children and youth with disabilities and students with disabilities will conclude at 8:30 pm. Come and talk to us about what is happening in your schools related to special education services and supports. Our purpose is to identify what is going well in these counties and what are areas to focus on for improvement.    

Participants will receive information that will help build skills to effectively participate in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. We will conclude the evening with cookies, coffee, and Round Table discussions with an opportunity for families and students to discuss specific topics with individuals from DRT and STEP who have the expertise to address your questions.  

Save the Date for the event nearest you and RSVP to so that we can include you in emails with specific location and time details for these exciting Family Information Exchange events.

For the latest information about these events please visit

A collaborative project of Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP, Inc).

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How can I help my child prepare for Kindergarten?

Kindergarten is such a memorable experience for children and their family members, and it is the beginning of a child's formal educational career. Kindergarten provides opportunities for children to grow and develop physically, emotionally, socially and academically, and for many families, it is an exciting and sometimes challenging time. Kindergarten is a big step in any child’s life. It is a new experience for both the child and the parents, and change can be somewhat challenging at first. This is especially important for families of children with special needs. Effective transition planning requires teamwork among parents, educators, and others. By planning ahead and thinking about the ways you can support your child in this new adventure, you can make the transition to Kindergarten a smooth one for your child and your family. Click here for resources to help in your transition planning.

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Transition Tennessee seeking parent participants for needs assessment survey

Transition Tennessee invites parents and caregivers across Tennessee to participate in a short survey on the needs of their child(ren) with disabilities (ages 14-22) preparing for future jobs, training, or college after high school.  

Transition Tennessee is a collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Education, Vanderbilt University’s Department of Special Education, and TennesseeWorks. Coordinators will randomly select 50 parents or caregivers who complete the survey to receive a $20 gift card. The survey takes less than 20 minutes and Transition Tennessee will share new resources with participants on how to support their child’s transition to college or the workplace.  

A full description of the study and the survey can be found here.

For more information, contact the Transition Tennessee team at

Join in the "Community Conversations" in Bristol and Greeneville

10/15/2018 from 9:30 – 11:00 Bristol Tennessee City Schools is hosting a community conversation at the Tennessee High School Cafeteria for all interested persons in the area.  This conversation will focus on factors that need to be in place to ensure that all students with and without disabilities in Bristol are well prepared for their future careers.  Breakfast pastries and coffee will be served.  To register, please sign up at  

10/15/2018 from 5:00- 6:30 PM Greene County is hosting a community conversation at the Greene Tech Center for all interested persons in the area.  This conversation will focus on factors that need to be in place to ensure that students with disabilities in Greene are well prepared for their future careers. Snacks and beverages will be served. To register, please sign up at

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Check out the new look of the's TA Materials page

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has revamped its Technical Assistance Materials webpage on to make it more organized and user friendly. Materials are now arranged by the relevant Title of the ADA as well as by subject matter covered in the documents. Check out the new look of the page here.

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IDEA Early Intervention Family Guides

These four family guides are designed to explain the dispute resolution options under Part C of the IDEA: mediation, written state complaints and the due process complaint and hearing procedures specific to families with infants or toddlers with disabilities (Birth through Age 2). The companion resource, "Quick Guide to Early Intervention Dispute Resolution Processes for Infants & Toddlers (Birth through Age 2)" offers a side-by-side look at dispute resolution options under Part C of the IDEA.    

CADRE developed the four Family Guides and the Quick Comparison Chart with the support of OSEP and Parent Leaders from across the country.   

Get the guides here:

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Special Education for Preschoolers: A Guide For Parents

As parents of children with special needs, it may be known that special education services are available as their children enter presechool and elementary school. This document helps to inform parents of exactly how to obtain and navigate through these services during these formative years, how to make it a positive experience for their child, as well as their rights as a parent.


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OSEP Update

The latest OSEP Update is out from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

In This Issue:

  • Top News: Rethinking Special Education
  • Inside OSEP: Ruth's Report
  • Results Driven Accountability: What's Due and What's New
  • Dose of Data: State Data Displays Now Available!
  • Early Childhood Check-in: New Webinar! Creating a Culture of Data Use
  • Update From ED! Comments Requested on Comprehensive Centers Program Priorities
  • Open Funding Opportunity for Building Strong Birth-to-Five Mixed Delivery Systems
  • Resources for You: IEP Implementation and Intensive Interventions
  • Research News: Listening Fatigue for Students With Hearing Loss
  • Collaboration Corner: Assessments and Meetings
  • Voices From the Field: Tennessee Early Educator
  • Engage With Us! Social Media and More

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