Recent News

6/13/2019

TN Special Education Directors Update

The latest Special Education Directors Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

In this issue:

  • Did you Know: RTI2 Pitfalls
  • Speech-Language Communities of Practice
  • High Cost Reimbursement Requests
  • End of Year Report Packet
  • IDEA IEP Self-Monitoring for School Year 2019-20

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6/13/2019

Did you Know? RTI2 and Special Education: Potential Pitfalls

In Tennessee, RTI (Response to Intervention) is a program for ALL students in the areas of reading and math. Throughout the school year, teachers use RTI assessments to find out how students are doing and to check on student progress. If a student is performing behind their peers in reading, math or both subjects, the student will participate in intervention programs to work to improve their performance.

Parents should feel free to talk with the teacher about your child’s progress and ask what can be done at home to help your child. If you think your child is not making progress using RTI interventions, you may request, in writing, an evaluation for special education, and the school must respond to your request.

Tennessee’s special education category of Specific Learning Disability uses RTI assessment/progress data to determine special education eligibility.

Special education law provides what is called “Procedural Safeguards” to protect parent and student rights, including the area of special education eligibility. 

The Tennessee Department of Education has created a one-page document and PowerPoint that outlines five tips for school districts to review and follow to avoid violating student and parent safeguards in the area of RTI services.

For more information about RTI, please refer to STEP’s RTI one page guide and Tennessee Department of Education RTI manual.


The new one-page document about RTI from the TN Department of Education reads:

Five Tips for Avoiding Procedural Violations within RTI 2 

RTI2 Pitfalls 

1. Focus on the Data 

  • Focus on the progress; do not get caught up in the process.
  • Language matters. Talk about the student and his/her learning, not about the RTI2 process.
  • Data points are not the point; progress is. Data points help us understand trends in progress and inform instructional decisions.

2. Respond to the Data 

  • If it is not working, change it! 
  • Do not collect data for the sake of collecting data. 
  • Use your data to drive instructional decisions.  
3. Respond Appropriately to Requests for Evaluation 
  • RTI2 cannot be used to deny/delay a request for evaluation [OSEP Memo 07-11]. 
  • Common language pitfalls: “He/She has to go through RTI2 first,” or “We don’t have enough data points.” These statements are focused on the process, not the student. 
4. Avoid Predetermination 
  • All decisions regarding eligibility and placement must be made by the IEP team. 
  • Common language pitfall: “He/She has not been in RTI2 long enough. If we test him/her now, he/she won’t be eligible.” This statement predetermines eligibility before an evaluation has been completed. 
5. Refer Anytime a Disability is Suspected 
  • Ensure you have a clearly communicated process for referrals from parents and teachers (i.e., clear child find procedures) for all disabilities, including specific learning disability. 
  • School teams must consider all data, including medical diagnoses and/or outside evaluations. 



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6/12/2019

Evaluating the Implementation of Evidence-based Practices—Tip Sheet Series



This series of short tip sheets were developed jointly by ECTA (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center) and Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy), to provide concise guidance for collecting and analyzing high-quality data on the implementation of evidence-based practices. The tip sheets address four key topics: What to Measure, Characteristics of a High-Quality Measurement Tool, Establishing a Fidelity Threshold, and Summarizing Data for Decision-making.

Read more: https://dasycenter.org/evaluating-the-implementation-of-evidence-based-practices-tip-sheet-series

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6/11/2019

Parent Like a Pro: Slowing the Summer Slide

Learning doesn’t have to fall by the wayside just because school is out. Use these five parent pro tips to keep your child learning and having fun over the summer months.

Click here to read more

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6/10/2019

Pathways Internship Positions

Pathways Internships Pathways Internships provide students with paid work opportunities in agencies to explore Federal careers over the summer. Read for more information. To apply for positions at the U.S. Department of Education, click here

APPLICATION LIMIT: This vacancy announcement is limited to the first 100 applications received and will close at 11:59PM Eastern Time on the day that we receive the 100th application. 

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6/10/2019

ADHD and Anxiety: What's the Connection?

ADHD and Anxiety: What You Need to Know

At a Glance

  • Some of the challenges that come along with ADHD can make kids anxious.
  • Many kids with ADHD may have trouble managing emotions or using coping skills.
  • Some kids may have an anxiety disorder as well as ADHD.
  • Read more

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My Anxiety and ADHD: Hiding Behind a Perfect Veneer

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 30. I know that for some people—especially women, whose ADHD symptoms are often overlooked—an ADHD diagnosis can clear things up. When diagnosed as adults, they may look back on school with relief and think, “That’s why I was struggling.”

But for me, the ADHD diagnosis felt confusing at first. I was a straight-A student and star athlete. I’ve been successful in my professional life, too. How could I have ADHD?

Over time, though, the ADHD diagnosis has brought certain pieces of my life into perspective. I discovered something behind the perfect grades and awards—something painful. And I’d already gotten one diagnosis that was hard for me to swallow.

Click here to read more

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ADHD in Girls: What You Need to Know

At a Glance

  • Girls often experience ADHD in different ways than boys.
  • Girls are less likely to struggle with hyperactivity, so their symptoms may go unnoticed.
  • ADHD is equally common in girls and boys, but girls are underdiagnosed.
  • Read more


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6/10/2019

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder Experience Survey

Please take a moment to complete the Tennessee Disability Pathfinder experience survey

We are reaching out to families, individuals with disabilities, disability service providers, educators, and community organizations across the state to understand how we can best provide the information, services, and resources you need. Share your experiences accessing both our website or statewide help line. We can't wait to hear from you!

Questions? Please reach out to Jennifer Bumble at Jennifer.bumble@vanderbilt.edu

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6/6/2019

IEA (Individual Education Account) Program Update

The latest IEA (Individual Education Account) Program Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

In this issue:

  • 2019-20 IEA Applications Update
  •  2019–20 IEA Parent & Private School Handbooks
  •  Additional Resources for Parents
  • Resources

If you have questions, please contact IEA.Questions@tn.gov

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5/30/2019

IEA (Individual Education Account) Program Update

The latest IEA (Individual Education Account) Program Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

In this issue:

  • 2019-20 New Student Applications Now Closed
  • Expense Report Summary 
  • Family Engagement Community Conversations
  • Save the Date: Family Learning Weekends for Families who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Additional Resources for Parents
  • Resource

If you have questions, please contact IEA.Questions@tn.gov

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5/28/2019

What Does STEP’s 30th Anniversary Mean to You!

 

           





           

Click here to read more stories.

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