2018 News Archive

12/11/2018

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.

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 information@tnstep.org 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 bit.ly/DRTSTEP2019

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

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10/18/2018

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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10/10/2018

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 http://www.transitiontn.org/contact.



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 https://tinyurl.com/BristolConversation.  

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 https://tinyurl.com/GreeneConversation.

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10/2/2018

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: https://www.cadreworks.org/resources/idea-early-intervention-family-guides/

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10/2/2018

Check out the new look of the ADA.gov's TA Materials page

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has revamped its Technical Assistance Materials webpage on ADA.gov 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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9/28/2018

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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9/28/2018

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.

Link: http://sdrc.org/wordpress/wp-content/media/2013/06/ESSpecEdEng.pdf

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9/14/2018

Guide to Early Intervention Dispute Resolution Processes for Families of Infants & Toddlers (Ages 0-2)

Source: The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE).

CADRE recently published a quick guide (September 2018) that explains each of the different options under Part C of the IDEA for resolving a dispute concerning families of infants and toddlers in the special education system. A side-by-side look at the different dispute options: IFSP facilitation, mediation, written state complaints, due process complaint and hearing procedures, and the resolution meeting will assist families involved in or new to the process.

Link:  https://www.cadreworks.org/sites/default/files/resources/Part%20C%20DR%20Comparison%20Chart-FINAL%208-23-18.pdf

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9/14/2018

Intentional Partnerships Podcast - Series on Family Engagement

ABOUT THIS SHOW:  Each episode of the Intentional Partnerships Podcast offers an on-the-ground perspective from real people exploring their shared values around family engagement. Over the 11-episode season, you’ll hear from teachers, parents, district administrators, early childhood educators, family support professionals, and parent educators about their hard-earned successes and complex challenges. Most importantly, you’ll hear about their ongoing interactions as partners in this important work.

Check back every other week for a new episode. 

SEASON 1: Starting the Conversation (Newest episodes are listed first)

Link:  https://parentsasteachers.org/podcast-intentional-partnerships?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

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9/13/2018

How to Organize Your Child’s IEP Binder

Making an IEP binder is a great way to keep information organized and at the ready when you need it. An IEP binder can help you prepare for IEP meetings and stay up to date on your child’s progress. This powerful tool can also help you communicate and collaborate with teachers and your child’s IEP team. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A three-ring binder
  • Six tabbed section dividers
  • A three-hole punch

Our friends at Understood have created a pretty cool system and have made all of the parts easy to download.

You can read the entire article, watch a video about how it works and grab the pages here: https://u.org/2QqfCfD.

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9/13/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Update: Effective Date of the Amendment to Special Education Programs and Services-Parent Participation
  • Alternate Academic Diploma Facilitator Guide
  • Assistant General Counsel for Civil Rights and Special Populations
  • IDEAL Intern
  • Secondary Special Educators and Transition Teachers in Tennessee: Your Voice is Needed
  • 2018-19 IEA Program Enrollment Update
  • 2018-19 Results-based Monitoring Notifications
  • 2018-19 New Desktop Monitoring Process
  • 2018-19 Monitoring Update
  • 2019 PIE Conference Request for Proposals
  • WBL Certification/Recertification Networking Event
  • Funding Opportunity: School Based Behavioral Health Liaison Program
  • EasyIEP Summer Updates
  • Middle Tennessee State University Professional Development Opportunities
  • Tennessee Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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8/31/2018

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: OSEP's Next Virtual Symposium is Oct. 15
  • !Inside OSEP: Ruth's Report
  • Results Driven Accountability: What's Due and What's New
  • Dose of Data: New Resources for Meaningful Data
  • Early Childhood Check-in: Highlights From the Latest Child and Family Outcomes Data
  • Open Funding Opportunity From OSEP
  • Resources for You: New Letters, Literacy Tools, and State- and Parent-focused Webinars
  • Research News: Strengthening Reading Instruction
  • Collaboration Corner: Upcoming Collaborative Meetings on ESSA Implementation and More
  • Voices From the Field: Dan Gaffney on Oregon's Preschool Improvement and Expansion
  • Engage With Us! Social Media and More

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8/27/2018

Tennessee Special Education Framework Updated


Several years ago, the TN Department of Education (TDOE) developed the first Special Education Framework and has continuously garnered feedback from educators on how to improve the framework in order to be most useful to teachers as they support students with disabilities.
In August 2018, TDOE shared the revised Special Education Framework at the special education directors' conference. The purpose of the framework is to support educators in writing instructionally appropriate IEPs. The framework is organized into two sections:
- General information about special education
- Writing IEPs
The framework has been updated to include best practices and tips for writing instructionally appropriate IEPs, alongside IDEA requirements. Other improvements include a component on the development of writing short-term objectives, additional clarification around service delivery, best practices in transition planning, and links to eligibility resources for the IEP team.
You can download a PDF of the August 2018 version of the Tennessee Special Education Framework here.

STEP's series of "on demand" inclusion webinars -- which aligns nicely with the Tennessee Special Education Framework -- is available here.

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8/27/2018

Quality Inclusive Early Childhood Programs: 10 Things to Look For

In most families, the first day of school triggers excitement and anxiety. In families who choose an inclusive setting for their child with disabilities, there is concern about their child being accepted, the program seeing their child’s strengths as well as challenges, and the program’s readiness to welcome a child with special needs. Inclusive settings should be the first option to be considered for young children with disabilities. But what should parents look for as they seek quality inclusive early childhood programs for their child? Listed here are 10 questions to ask about a program and corresponding indicators of a quality inclusive program.

Link: https://www.dpcolo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Quality-Inclusive-Early-Childhood-Programs_10-Things-to-Look-For.pdf

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8/23/2018

The Law of the Land in the 6th Circuit Makes Education Better for All

On August 20, 2018, parents, who are COPAA members, received an overwhelming victory in a swiftly delivered opinion from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in L.H. v. Hamilton Cty. Dept. of Educ., regarding their child’s right to be educated in his least restrictive environment (LRE), a decision which the school district’s counsel referred to at oral argument as “arguably the most important special education case heard by the Sixth Circuit in the past thirty-five years.”

The Sixth Circuit’s opinion affirmed the district court decision finding that the school district violated IDEA when it demanded that a second-grade student with Down syndrome be removed from his general education classroom in his neighborhood school to a segregated special education classroom comprised solely of children with disabilities at another school.  Rejecting the school district’s argument that L.H. could receive a more “meaningful educational benefit” from placement in the special education classroom at the separate school, the Sixth Circuit reiterated that the LRE is a “separate and different” measure than that of “substantive educational benefits” and that, “in some cases, a placement which may be considered better for academic reasons may not be appropriate because of the failure to provide for mainstreaming.” 

The Sixth Circuit then cited the Supreme Court’s recent Endrew F. decision which measures for “appropriate progress based on the unique circumstances of the child for whom it was created” in affirming the district court’s holding that, “What the IDEA implies, the case law makes explicit: a child need not master the general-education curriculum for mainstreaming to remain a viable option.  Rather, the appropriate yardstick is whether the child, with appropriate supplemental aides and services, can make progress toward the IEP’s goals in the regular education setting.” 

Additionally, in a stern condemnation of the school district’s actions in violating L.H.’s right to be educated his LRE, the Sixth Circuit stated that the school district’s approach “is the type of approach that the IDEA was designed to remedy, not encourage or protect.”  The Sixth Circuit further explained that “these actions at Normal Park [L.H.’s zoned school] do not demonstrate a failure of mainstreaming as a concept, but a failure of L.H.’s teachers and the other HCDE staff to properly engage in the process of mainstreaming L.H. rather than isolating and removing him when the situation became challenging.”

After affirming the district court’s decision with respect to L.H.’s LRE, the Sixth Circuit then addressed the parents’ right to reimbursement for his private education at the Montessori school where L.H. was educated alongside his typically developing same-age peers in the general education classroom for the past five years while litigation was pending.  Relying in large part on the contributions of the parents’ expert, and COPAA member, Dr. Kathleen Whitbread, the Sixth Circuit found that while the Montessori method is not as “structured” as public school, at the Montessori school L.H. was included in the general education classroom with his non-disabled peers, received personalized curriculum, and a paraprofessional dedicated to him, such that he was working well with instructional support and making academic progress.  Accordingly, the Sixth Circuit held that L.H.’s private school meet the standard for reimbursement under IDEA because even though it did not replicate all of the public school’s standards, it met Endrew F.’s requirement that it be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress in light of the child’s circumstances.”  Therefore, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision denying reimbursement to the parents and remanded the case back to the district court to determine the appropriate amount of reimbursement.

Yesterday's decision clearly supports the argument made in the amicus brief COPAA filed in January. This was a tremendous victory on behalf of children with disabilities who strive to be educated in their general education classroom, as well as for COPAA members Justin Gilbert and Jessica Salonus, who tried the case below, and whom COPAA supported by filing an amicus brief on behalf of the parents.  

Read the 6th Circuit decision in L.H., et al. v. Hamilton Cty. Dep’t of Educ

Information provided by Jessica Salonus - Consulting Attorney, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) 

Jessica has been an active member of COPAA for a number of years prior to recently joining COPAA as a contractual attorney.  She graduated with honors with a degree in Management from Louisiana State University and with honors from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law with her law degree, where she was also the Managing Editor of the Law Review. 

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8/13/2018

Just in time for BACK TO SCHOOL – Information Guides Parents Can Use!

Cupcake image

Parent involvement in education is like the frosting on a cupcake, it makes it complete and oh so sweet.      

To be involved, parents and family members need information. STEP, Inc. collaborated with the Tennessee Department of Education on new information guides that families can use to become informed, empowered, and engaged in their child’s education.

The Tennessee “Say Dyslexia” law requires school districts to screen all students for characteristics of dyslexia. The new Dyslexia Overview for Parents one-page guide includes information about the  law, school obligations, the screening process, tips for parents, and resources.  The “Say Dyslexia” Law Overview for School Districts provides requirements of the “Say Dyslexia” law, universal screening process summary, continuum of programming, and resources

   

Dyslexia Overview for Parents

   

"Say Dyslexia" Law - Overview for School Districts

This Quick Guide to Parent Rights and Responsibilities in Special Education is an overview of some of the provisions of special education. It is designed  to assist families in understanding their rights and responsibilities in the special education process. Parents of children who receive or may be eligible for special education services have rights under both the TN Rule 0520-01-09 and The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA 2014). An important part of these laws provides parents with the right to participate in their children’s education.

Quick Guide to Parents Rights and Responsibilities in Special Education

____________________________

What can you do with the information in these Information Guides?

Prepare questions you have for your next IEP team meeting. Ask your child’s teacher how your child is doing in reading compared to their peers. Share the guides with families, administrators, and educators

Please contact a member of the STEP Team if we can be of assistance in understanding your rights.

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8/9/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Welcome back from Assistant Commissioner Theresa Nicholls!
  • Reminder: Amendment to Special Education Programs and Services-Parent Participation
  • Defining Significant Disproportionality in Tennessee: Revisions to the Calculation
  • EasyIEP Summer Updates
  • Results-based Monitoring 2018-19
  • "Say Dyslexia" Law Overview Documents for Districts and Parents
  • Speech-Language Surveys
  • Technical Assistance for School Social Workers
  • 2018-19 High School RTI2 Communities of Practice
  • Supporting Individual Learning Plans for English Learners - School Administrator Edition
  • Special Education Professional Development Opportunities
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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8/6/2018

STEP lanza la Capacitación Virtual sobre Educación Especial en Español



Familias en Tennessee ya tenemos el taller de Derechos Básicos en Español disponible en DVD, si no puede asistir a un taller, contáctenos al 1-800-975-2919 y se lo enviaremos por correo!

As you may know, we offer the Basic Rights workshop in Spanish. What happens if you cannot attend a workshop? Contact us at 1-800-975-2919 and we will mail a DVD of the training to you!



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8/2/2018

eParent Special Needs Resource Directory

Don't forget to reference our Special Needs Resource Directory for any of your needs! The directory ranges from products and services to government programs and scholarships.

Link for TN Resources:  https://www.eparent.com/special-needs-resource-directory/wpbdp_category/products-services/wpbdm-region/tennessee/

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7/31/2018

Parenting Knowledge among First-time Parents of Young Children

Nevertheless, researchers have rarely examined what parents know, and want to know, about parenting and child development, how they prefer to receive such information, and how their knowledge and preferences may vary across different groups of parents. To address this gap, Child Trends conducted a study on parenting knowledge that included two components: (1) a comprehensive review of the literature on parenting knowledge; and (2) focus groups with parents from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. We focused especially on parents’ perceptions of their knowledge of children’s social-emotional and physical development, as early parent-child relationships form primarily through caregivers’ intensive efforts to meet the social-emotional and physical needs of their infants and toddlers.

This research-to-practice brief highlights findings from Child Trends’ study of first-time parents of young children (under age 3) and their knowledge about parenting and child development.

Click here to download publication.

Link: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ParentingKnowledge_ChildTrends_July2018.pdf

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7/31/2018

OSEP Update

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

In This Issue:

  • Inside OSEP: Ruth's Report
  • Results Driven Accountability: What's Due and What's New
  • Dose of Data: New Resources for Meaningful Data
  • Early Childhood Check-in: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Learners
  • Resources for You: Engaging and Empowering Families, and More
  • Funding Opportunities From OSEP
  • Research News: Special Education Research Grants!
  • Collaboration Corner: Resources for State Assessments
  • Voices From the Field: Impressive Stories From the OSERS Blog
  • Engage With Us! Social Media and More    

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7/30/2018

New Centerstone Regional Intervention Program Guide for Maury and Montgomery Counties

Serving children ages 1 to 5 and their families in Maury and Montgomery Counties.

Parenting preschoolers isn’t always easy. When behavioral issues become serious or prolonged, Centerstone Early Childhood Services can help. The Regional Intervention Program (RIP) is a parent-implemented, professionally-supported program for young children and their families who are experiencing challenging behaviors. Since 1969 this unique, internationally-recognized program has guided parents in learning the skills to work with their own children while they receive training and support from experienced RIP families.

Click here for program information.

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7/26/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Amendment to Special Education Programs and Services-Parent Participation
  • Reminder: Prior Written Notice
  • Determining Basis for Extended School Year (ESY) Services
  • Speech-Language Surveys
  • RTI2 Next Steps for High School Implementation and Support
  • Reminder About Significant Disproportionality
  • Special Education Professional Development Opportunities
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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7/24/2018

Referrals to TN's Early Intervention System (TEIS) can now be made online

Early intervention is crucial for providing a good education to children with special needs. Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) helps families with children who have disabilities or developmental delays connect to the supports and services they need.   

Make a Referral to TEIS

Please provide the following information:

  • your name and contact information,
  • the child’s name, date of birth, county the child lives in,
  • parent information (if someone other than the parent calls), and
  • the reason for referral or developmental concern.

Eligibility

Information from the child’s doctor as well as the results of a developmental test will determine if a child meets the eligibility criteria in Tennessee. Read more about eligibility requirements.

How Much Does TEIS Cost?

Tennessee has a system of payment process in place to ensure that supports and services are provided in a way that will not create a financial hardship for families. Read more about the TEIS system of payment.

More Information for Parents

Learn more about TEIS services for families with children ages birth through two years of age with disabilities and developmental delays.

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7/19/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Share Input about our Communications
  • Disability Voter Registration Week
  • Council Members Work Together to Solve Accessibility Barrier
  • Council Presents to Govt. Professionals on Inclusive Public Meetings
  • News from Our Partners
  • Celebrate the ADA's Anniversary
  • Video about Employment and Day Services Changes under DIDD Waivers
  • Volunteer Advocacy Project - Family Training Program
  • August Enabling Technology Forums in Crossville, Franklin
  • Upcoming EventsOther recent news from the Council

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7/12/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Reminder About Significant Disproportionality
  • Speech-Language Resources: Assessments to Inform Eligibility and Present Levels
  • RTI2 Listening Tour Takeaways and Next Steps 
  • Resource: Warning Signs of Child Abuse
  • Summer Professional Development on Writing Effective Present Levels of Educational Performance
  • Summer Implementing the Alternate Academic Diploma Training
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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7/12/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Note from Executive Director Wanda Willis
  • New Council Member Alicia Hall
  • New Commission on Aging and Disability representative to the Council
  • Council Co-Hosts 2nd Youth Leadership Academy with Empower Tennessee
  • NPR features Council-led 'Partners in Policymaking' program; New TN 'Partners' Video
  • Council Trains Vocational Rehabilitation Staff, Families
  • Transition TN: Archived Webinar on Supported Decision Making
  • News from Our Partners
  • July 17 - Amerigroup Project SEARCH Information Night
  • July 18 - Inaugural Middle TN Assistive Technology Reutilization Open House
  • July 19 - Youth Advisory Council Open House
  • July 19 - STEP-TN Webinar on Alternate Academic Diploma
  • August Enabling Technology Forums in Crossville, Franklin
  • Upcoming Events Other recent news from the Council
  • Other recent news from the Council

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7/2/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Southwest Special Education Consultant
  • Provisional Endorsements for Special Education
  • High-Cost Reimbursement Requests
  • Summer Professional Development on Writing Effective Present Levels of Educational Performance
  • Summer Implementing the Alternate Academic Diploma Training
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request Special Populations Professional Development Request

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7/2/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Council Presents to The Arc of the Great Smokies Parent Support Group,Teens
  • Council Exhibits & Presents to Young Adult Deaf-Blind Transition Institute
  • Long Term Council Impact: Chattanooga’s Inclusive Sports Group Prepares for Triathlon
  • 2nd Annual Southeast Adult Autism Symposium - Early Bird Registration ends 6/30
  • News from Our Partners
  • STEP-TN Trainings, Webinar on Alternate Academic Diploma
  • TennesseeWorks Blog: TN Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Enabling Technology Forums, Summit
  • TN Statewide Plan for Independent Living Survey - Deadline 7/30
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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6/29/2018

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: June 18 Symposium Now Available!
  • Inside OSEP: Ruth's Report
  • Results Driven Accountability: What's Due and What's New
  • Dose of Data: New Resource for Meaningful Data
  • Early Childhood Check-in: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Learners
  • Resources for You: Personnel Preparation, Intensive Intervention, and Comprehensive Resource Portal
  • Research News: Condition of Education Report
  • Collaboration Corner: Upcoming State Convenings
  • Voices From the Field: Maryland Parent and Parent Educator Rene Averitt-Sanzone
  • Engage With Us!

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6/28/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • 6/25 Transition TN Supported Decision Making Webcast
  • Tennesseans Attend National Self Advocacy Conference, sponsored by the Council
  • Youth Leadership Forum Graduate earns Master's degree
  • Partners Graduate selected for 'Leadership Brentwood'
  • Archived STEP-TN Webinar about the Council
  • News from Our Partners
  • DIDD Family Support Program Accepting Applications for FY2019
  • TN's TBI program selected for a Mentor State Grant
  • Final Employment and Community First CHOICES Listening Sessions
  • Enabling Technology Forums, Summit
  • Giles County/South Central Disability Resource Fair - Sept. 8
  • Volunteer Advocacy Project Expansion
  • TN Statewide Plan for Independent Living Survey - Deadline 7/30
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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6/23/2018

Boletín Informativo de STEP

Primavera 2018

Desde el escritorio de la Directora Ejecutiva

¡Finalmente la primavera llegó! Hay tantas decisiones que tomar ahora que el clima está caliente. Usted puede estar pensando en qué flores plantar, a dónde ir de vacaciones, o un nuevo libro que desee leer mientras se relaja en la terraza bajo el sol de la tarde. Yo mismo, estoy tomando decisiones sobre mi primer viaje a Europa e ir de aventura por Roma en la parte trasera de una motoneta Vespa. Los mantendré informados sobre cómo resulta esto.

Como padres y cuidadores de niños y jóvenes con discapacidades, parece que el número de decisiones que se tomarán es interminable. En esta edición del boletín de STEP, vamos a enfocar nuestra información en tres áreas:

  • Planificación del Programa de Educación Individualizado (IEP, por sus siglas en inglés) para lograr que las metas y los objetivos tengan buenos resultados;
  • Opciones de graduación y decisiones sobre la universidad, la carrera profesional y la vida independiente después de la escuela secundaria; y
  • Como tomar decisiones más informadas

En realidad, estas áreas no están separadas sino totalmente vinculadas. Cada decisión tomada en una reunión del IEP impacta los resultados de la vida del estudiante con una discapacidad. A su vez, los resultados de la vida de cada niño y joven con discapacidad dependen de las elecciones y decisiones que se toman. Exploraremos la información actual y los recientes eventos relacionados con:

  • Cómo la decisión de la Corte Suprema del 2017 afecta el IEP
  • Una nueva opción de diploma en TN: Diploma Académico Alternativo
  • Legislación reciente en Tennessee con respecto a la Toma de Decisiones

Después de leer esta información, es posible que tenga que tomar algunas decisiones. ¿Cómo usarla? ¿Cómo podemos ayudarlo?

El equipo de STEP está disponible para proporcionar capacitación, información y asistencia para educación especial!

¡Feliz primavera!

Karen Harrison

Haga clic aquí para continuar leyendo en Español

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6/21/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Council presents at Camp Empower, MePower
  • New 'Partners in Policymaking' Video -- Jen Vogus, 2007 Grad
  • Council Policy Director on 6/25 Transition TN Webcast on Supported Decision Making
  • News from Our Partners
  • 6/18 Public Comment Deadline on Changes to DIDD Waivers
  • Employment and Community First CHOICES Listening Sessions
  • Weigh in on TN Disability Pathfinder website
  • Upcoming Enabling Technology Forums, Summit
  • Volunteer Advocacy Project Expansion
  • TN Statewide Plan for Independent Living Survey - Deadline 7/30
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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6/14/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • East Tennessee Special Education Consultant
  • Did you know? Timelines for Children Transitioning from Part C to Part B
  • Tennessee Mental Health Collaborative
  • 2018-19 IEA Program Applications Update
  • Special Education Preschool Classrooms: VPK Instructional Materials Alignment
  • High-Cost Reimbursement Requests
  • Summer Professional Development on Writing Effective Present Levels of Educational Performance
  • Summer Implementing the Alternate Academic Diploma Training
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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6/7/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this isue:

  • 55 Years of the Developmental Disabilities Act
  • Career Connections - A Partnership between Breakthrough
  • Corporation and Knoxville's American Job Center
  • Camp EmPower, MePower: An adult learning experience - a camp for adults with disabilities coordinated by the Down Sydrome Association of West TN in Jackson
  • Enabling Technology: Modernizing supports for people with disabilities
  • Enabling Technology: A parent’s perspective
  • Partners 2017-18 Class Graduates
  • What Independent Living Is (and is not) - by Empower Tennessee Program Director Paul Choquette
  • Partners 2018 Annual Reunion Conference
  • Martin McGrath: An independent living story
  • Remembering Council Member and Partners Graduate Douglass Hall
  • New Council Member Craig W. Lemak

Anyone can sign up to receive a print copy by mail or a PDF version by email by sending their home or email address to mildred.sparkman@tn.gov or by calling the Council offices at 615-532-6615.

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6/6/2018

TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Education Association.

In this issue:

  • Early Intervention Resource Agency Spotlight; Grundy County
  • Welcome Aboard
  • Building Strong Brains video Series, Episode 3
  • "Wondering" with Parents from the Early Intervention strategies for Success
  • 2018 Building Best Practice Conference
  • New Reports Available on TEIS Website
  • Early childhood Outcomes Data Walkthrough
  • Fiscal Services Highlights

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6/4/2018

TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Education Association.

In this issue:

  • Building Strong Brains Video Series, Episode 4
  • 11 Things a Millennial Parent Wished a Generation-X Early Interventionist Provider Knew
  • New Help and Support Available for Applicants for Infant Mental health Endorsement
  • The Struggle is Real...Important
  • Welcome Aboard!
  • TEIS Fiscal Services Team Highlights
  • Upcoming Dates of Interest

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6/4/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Note from Executive Director Wanda Willis: Council Trainings, Scholarship Fund
  • Scholarship Fund Provides Help for Attending Disability Conferences
  • New Training Request Form on our Website
  • Training DCS, self-advocates & families about Supported Decision Making
  • Partners in Policymaking Video: 2018 Graduate Angelica Allsup
  • June 7 STEP-TN Webinar on the Council
  • News from Our Partners
  • TN Statewide Plan for Independent Living Survey
  • June Listening Sessions for Employment & Community First (ECF) Members, Families
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

https://mailchi.mp/85f2ce257524/5-23-2018?

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6/4/2018

STEP's On Demand Video Training Series

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6/4/2018

Nuevo Taller en Español Disponible (STEP's Basic Rights On Demand Video Training)

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6/4/2018

New Webinar on Preschool Inclusion and Kindergarten Readiness

The TNSPDG initiative is committed to providing quality, inclusive early childhood programs to help children be successful in general education environments. To do this, professional development is provided through SPDG initiatives to support the work of districts toward increasing inclusive practices for 3-5-year-old children with disabilities and by addressing needs around improving and sustaining high-quality early childhood classrooms.

TN STEP’s newest Lunchtime Leaders webinar "Preschool Inclusion and Kindergarten Readiness" explores educational placement options for preschoolers, best practices in quality preschool classrooms and strategies families can use to be prepared participants in planning educational services for their children with special needs.

Click here for the archived webinar

Presented by:  Colleen Van Dyke, IDEA 619 Consultant, East Tennessee TN Dept. of Education, Division of Special Populations and Student Support 

Karen Harrison, Executive Director, Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP, Inc.).

This webinar is a collaborative project of the Tennessee Department of Education State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) and STEP, Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents), Tennessee's Parent & Youth Training and Information Center.

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5/29/2018

STEP Ahead Newsletter Spring Edition

Spring Edition 2018

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Spring is in the air--finally! There are so many decisions to be made now that the weather is warming up. You may be thinking about what flowers to plant, where to head on vacation, or a new book you want to read as you relax on the deck in the afternoon sunshine. I am making decisions about my first ever trip to Europe and the wisdom of touring Rome on the back of a Vespa! I will keep you posted on how that turns out.

As parents and caregivers of children and youth with disabilities, it seems that the number of decisions to be made are endless. In this edition of the STEP Ahead newsletter, we are going to focus our information on three areas where parents and young people have lots of decisions to make.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) planning for goals and objective to lead to good outcomes;
  • Graduation options and decisions about college, career, and independent living after high school; and
  • Making informed choices

In reality, these areas are not separate but linked. Each decision made at an IEP meeting impacts the life outcomes of the student with a disability. In turn, the life outcomes of each child and young person with a disability is shaped by the choices and decisions that are made. We will explore current information and recent developments related to:

  • How the 2017 Supreme Court decision impacts IEP’s
  • A new diploma option in TN: The Alternate Academic Diploma
  • Recent legislation in Tennessee regarding Supported Decision Making

After reading this information you may have some decisions to make. How will you use it? How can we help? The STEP team is available to provide training, information, and special education assistance!

Happy Spring!

Karen Harrison

View Newsletter Button

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5/28/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • A Message from Assistant Commissioner Nicholls
  • Special Education Preschool Classrooms: VPK Instructional Materials Alignment
  • Math Resources: Assessments to Inform Present Levels
  • Student-centered Funding Pilot
  • Endrew F. One Year Later
  • IEP Self-monitoring Vendor Selected
  • 2017-18 IDEA Discretionary Grant Monitoring 
  • Free Technical Assistance for Districts
  • TRIAD School Age Services
  • Registration Open: Path of Choice Mini-Conference
  • Cortical Visual Impairment Training
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Borderless Arts Tennessee Upcoming Opportunities
  • Friends on the Block Workshop
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request

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5/24/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Friday Last Chance to Apply for Middle TN Youth Leadership Academy
  • TN Council’s role in shaping services featured in national report
  • Sharing Our Resources at Knoxville Transition Fair
  • Join us next week at TN Disability MegaConference, May 24-25!
  • Register for June 7 STEP-TN Webinar Featuring the Council
  • News from Our Partners
  • May 23 TN Lifespan Respite Summit
  • TN Statewide Plan for Independent Living: Survey, Community Conversations
  • Enrolled in Employment and Community First CHOICES?
  • Share Your Experiences
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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5/21/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Youth Leadership Academy Application Deadline 5/18
  • Council on Developmental Disabilities Membership Met
  • Training Support Coordinators on Supported Decision Making
  • June 7 STEP-TN Webinar to Learn More about the Council
  • TN Disability MegaConference, May 24-25
  • News from Our Partners
  • Service Dog Photography Show by Partners graduate Jen Vogus
  • Blue Cross: 'Employment and Community First CHOICES' Success Story
  • Statewide Independent Living Plan: Weigh In via Survey, Community Conversations
  • Listening Sessions for Employment and Community First CHOICES
  • Project SEARCH at Amerigroup Nashville Information Night
  • Transition Tennessee Offering Free Technical Assistance to School Districts
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council  

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5/14/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Associate General Counsel for Special Education
  • State Systemic Improvement Plan Biannual Update
  • Prevalence of Autism Continues to Rise
  • School-based Medicaid Billing Companies
  • Teacher Leaders: Taking Action to Ensure All Means All
  • Free Technical Assistance for Districts
  • Defining Significant Disproportionality in Tennessee: Revisions to the Calculation
  • High School RTI2 Communities of Practice
  • Dyslexia Reporting Requirements
  • Special Education Supervisors Conference Update
  • Borderless Arts Tennessee Upcoming Opportunities
  • Friends on the Block Workshop
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

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5/10/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Check out our new TN Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute Video
  • Apply by May 18 for our June Youth Leadership Academy hosted with Empower TN!
  • Council Member Organizes Workshop on Supported Decision Making in Greeneville
  • Mark Your Calendars: 6/7/18 STEP-TN Webinar about the Council
  • TN Disability MegaConference, May 24-25
  • Call for Success Stories: "Exploration" & "Discovery" Employment Services
  • News from Our Partners
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council   

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5/10/2018

Youth Leadership Academy Accepting Applicants


A Note from The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities' Executive Director Wanda Willis about the Youth Leadership Academy

Dear readers,

Helping Tennesseans with disabilities, family members and those who serve people with disabilities become strong community leaders and advocates is one of our core goals here at the Council. This week, I want to highlight an upcoming opportunity for youth leadership training.

This year's Youth Leadership Academy, our second annual one, will focus on helping participants develop their own disability identity, sharpen their advocacy skills, learn about self-determination, and discuss strategies for making informed choices.

It will be in Nashville on June 27-28 for young adults with disabilities ages 14-24. We are partnering with one of the state's Centers for Independent Living, Empower Tennessee in Middle TN, for this year's Academy.

Download the Youth Leadership Academy flier

Download the Youth Leadership Academy Introduction Letter

Download the Youth Leadership Academy Application or Click here to apply online

Questions? Please contact Council Partners in Policymaking Director Ned Andrew Solomon at ned.solomon@tn.gov or 615-532-6556.

Many thanks,

Wanda Willis
Executive Director of the TN Council on Developmental Disabilties

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MAY 18, 2018

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5/9/2018

Shop for Mom at AmazonSmile.com and Amazon Donates to STEP, Inc.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and Amazon is excited to celebrate the most important women in everyone’s lives!  If you are looking for Mother’s Day gift ideas, be sure to check out their large selection of gifts for mom! 

This Mother's Day, shop for Mom at smile.amazon.com/ch/62-1739593 and Amazon will donate to Support and Training for Exceptional Parents Inc.

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5/9/2018

TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Education Association.

In this issue:

  • Building Strong Brains Video Series Episode 2
  • Applied Behavior analysis, What is it?
  • Autism Awareness: Why Early Detection Matters
  • Federal Report Submissions- Agencies Seeking Developmental Evaluators
  • Welcome Aboard
  • TEIS Fiscal Services Team Highlights
  • Upcoming Dates of Interest

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5/3/2018

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:

  • 2018–19 Student & Private School Applications for the IEA Program
  • Additional Resources for Parents
  • Resources

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4/30/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Monday is the deadline to apply for 2018-19 Partners in Policymaking
  • Registration Open: Youth Leadership Academy hosted by the Council, Empower TN - June 27-28 in Nashville
  • Council Member helps launch 'Take Me Home' disability safety program in Chattanooga
  • Council Member Organizes Workshop on Supported Decision Making, Legal Issues for Greeneville-Area Families
  • 2018 Partners Graduate Appointed to ADA Committee at UT in Memphis
  • Webinars Featuring the Council
  • Register today for TN Disability MegaConference in May
  • Have you or your family member used "Exploration" or "Discovery" to Find Employment?
  • News from Our Partners
  • TN Housing Development Agency - Survey on Fair Housing
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council   

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4/30/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Defining Significant Disproportionality in Tennessee: Revisions to the Calculation
  • Gifted Micro-Credential
  • High School RTI2 Communities of Practice
  • Dyslexia Reporting Requirements
  • Transition TN Webcast: It's about to be summer. Now what? 
  • Friends on the Block Workshop
  • Spring Fiscal Workshops
  • Special Education Supervisors Conference
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

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4/26/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.In this issue:
  • Congratulations, 2017-18 Partners in Policymaking Graduates!
  • One More Week to Apply for 2018-19 Partners in Policymaking
  • Council sponsors TN Fair Housing Conference
  • Register today for TN Disability MegaConference in May
  • Have you or your family member used "Exploration" or "Discovery" to Find Employment?
  • News from our Partners
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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4/17/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • April 30 Deadline to Apply for Partners in Policymaking
  • Supported Decision Making
  • Coordinated School Health Conference
  • Call for Success Stories - Journey to Employment using Exploration, Discovery
  • TN Disability MegaConference
  • News from our Partners
  • Upcoming Events -- Including the STEP-TN: Parent Advocacy Training for Legislative Change
  • Other recent news from the Council

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4/16/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Now Open: Applications for 2018-19 Work-Based Learning (WBL) Leadership Council
  • Alternate Academic Diploma Webinars
  • New Tennessee School for the Deaf Opening in Nashville
  • Required IDEA Timelines
  • Dyslexia Reporting Requirements
  • Coordinated Spending Guide Updated to Reflect Funding Options for Early Childhood Preschool Programs
  • Reminder: High School Math Course of Study for Students with Disabilities 
  • 2017-18 IDEA Discretionary Grant Monitoring
  • 2017-18 IEP Monitoring Update
  • 2017-18 IEP Monitoring Survey
  • IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds: Notice of Public Comment
  • Preliminary Estimated 2018-19 ESSA/IDEA Allocations
  • FUTURE Program
  • Spring Fiscal Workshops
  • Special Education Supervisors Conference
  • WIDA Training: Introduction to the ELD Standards Framework
  • Special Populations Professional Development Request
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

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4/16/2018

Reminder: Set Your Bookmarks to the New and Improved IDEA Website!

Reminder: Set your bookmarks to the new IDEA site

In two weeks, the outdated Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 (Legacy) website will automatically redirect users to the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act website (new IDEA website).

So, set those bookmarks to https://sites.ed.gov/idea/ today!

While the Legacy site will redirect users to the new IDEA website on April 30, content from the Legacy site is available for reference on the new IDEA website’s "Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004" historical reference page.





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4/2/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • Partners in Policymaking Reunion
  • Training State Leaders, Social Workers on Supported Decision Making
  • Council Member Karen West Leading Charge for Inclusive Park in Her Community
  • TN Disability MegaConference Registration, Last chance to submit artwork
  • New Inclusive Higher Education Report from TN Disability Networks
  • News from our Partners
  • Upcoming Events
  • Other recent news from the Council

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4/2/2018

TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Education Association.

In this issue:

  • State Spotlight: TEIS featured in national Technical Assistance Resource
  • Early Intervention strategies for Success Blog
  • Staff Transitions
  • Building Strong Brains Video Series
  • Early intervention Resource Agency Highlights
  • Autism Navigator
  • Vendors Needed
  • Fiscal Team Highlights
  • Upcoming Dates of Interest

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3/29/2018

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:

  • Launch of 2018–19 Student & Private School Applications for the IEA Program
  • Expense Report Summary
  • Additional Resources for Parents
  • Resources

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3/26/2018

TN Special Education Directors Update

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

In this issue:

  • Speech-language and Related Services Coordinator
  • Special Education Consultant Reorganization
  • IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds: Notice of Public Comment
  • District Selections Made for SPDG 2.0: ACCESS to Instruction and Intervention
  • High-Cost Reimbursement Requests
  • Supplemental IDEA Funds Available
  • Special Education Supervisors Conference
  • Department Website Accessibility
  • April State Board Meeting
  • 2017-18 Results-based Self-assessment
  • 2018-19 IEP Monitoring Pilot Survey
  • Coordinated Spending Guide in ePlan
  • New English Learner Resources
  • 2018 LEAD Conference Call for Proposals
  • The TNth Period: A New Education Podcast
  • FUTURE Program
  • Announcing the 2019 WIDA English Language Development
  • Standards Draft Framework
  • Southwest Region RTI2 Town Hall Rescheduled
  • Spring Fiscal Workshops
  • WIDA Training: Introduction to the ELD Standards Framework
  • Southwest Region RTI2 Town Hall Rescheduled
  • Annual RISE Conference
  • Professional Development for Special Populations
  • TRIAD Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

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3/26/2018

Public Comment Period is Open for TN’s Application for IDEA Special Education Funding

The Tennessee IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds (fiscal year July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019) will be posted for 60 days, March 16 - May 16.

Public comments will be accepted during the first 30 days, March 16 - April 16.

The application includes, but is not limited to, information regarding the use of IDEA funds and state-imposed requirements not required by IDEA or federal regulations.

You will find a PDF of the application at this link: https://www.tn.gov/…/legal/IDEAPartBApplication_03152018.pdf.

Comments may be submitted to Allison Davey via email, fax, or posted mail at:

Tennessee Department of Education

Division of Special Populations

Attn: Allison Davey

Andrew Johnson Tower, 11th Floor

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243

Email: Allison.Davey@tn.gov

Fax: (615) 532-9412

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3/21/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • STEP's 'Life After High School Secondary Transition' Survey
  • Council News
  • TN Disability MegaConference Registration, Art Contest Open
  • Applications for Individualized Education Account Program
  • Vanderbilt Family Residential and Respite Care Services Survey
  • Upcoming Disability Events & Webinars

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3/19/2018

Exceptional Parent Magazine MARCH 2018 Issue of EP-Magazine

The MARCH 2018 Issue of EP-Magazine is now available.

This SCHOOLS and CAMPS features:

Exceptional Parent Magazine provides practical advice, emotional support and the most up-to-date educational information for families of children and adults with disabilities and special healthcare needs.

Just click the link Read.ep-magazine.com.   Please pass this onto others who might be interested. Plus, all 34 previous months issues are available at this same link;  all available to read online, or to print.

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3/16/2018

TN IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds: Notice of Public Comment

The Tennessee IDEA Part B Application for Federal Funds (fiscal year July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019) will be posted for 60 days, March 16 - May 16.



Public comments will be accepted during the first 30 days, March 16 - April 16.



The application includes, but is not limited to, information regarding the use of IDEA funds and state-imposed requirements not required by IDEA or federal regulations.



You will find a PDF of the application here.



Comments may be submitted to Allison Davey via email, fax, or posted mail at:



Tennessee Department of Education

Division of Special Populations

Attn: Allison Davey

Andrew Johnson Tower, 11th Floor

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243



Email: Allison.Davey@tn.gov



Fax: (615) 532-9412

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3/15/2018

Parent Advocacy Training for Legislative Change

Click here to download and share flyer

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3/15/2018

Entrenamiento De Abogacía Para Padres Para el Cambio Legislativo

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3/14/2018

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month - Five New Research Findings to Benefit People with CP

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Here at Enabling Devices, we're celebrating with a blog that  highlights some of the life-changing research being done to improve the lives of people with Cerebral Palsy.  

According to United Cerebral Palsy, CP is characterized by "a number of disorders affecting body movement, posture and muscle coordination Caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, CP usually occurs during fetal development; before, during or shortly after birth; during infancy; or during early childhood."  

READ MORE

Blog article from Enabling Devices

  

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3/14/2018

7 Tips for Getting in Shape if You’re Visually Impaired

It’s January and the gyms are full. After all, there’s no more popular New Year’s resolution than getting in shape. Exercise is just as important for people with disabilities as it is for their non-disabled peers. Yet, creating an exercise routine when one has a disability can be complicated.

For example, people with blindness or visual impairment have unique challenges when it comes to maintaining their physical fitness.

Perhaps that’s why a new study by Dr. Keziah Latham, from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK found that visually impaired individuals are twice as likely to be inactive as sighted individuals. But that’s not the whole story.

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes estimates that it has helped more than 100,000 men and women with vision loss become top athletes in the last 30 years. This figure is just for elite athletes. Millions more individuals with vision loss lead health-conscious, active lives, and they are participating in exercise programs, fitness groups, and activity clubs on a regular basis.”

With the right tools, and techniques, plus a healthy dose of motivation, the benefits of exercise are well within reach for most people with visual impairment and blindness. Here are some tips to help yourself or your loved one get into shape:

1. Discuss exercise options with your doctor

Prior to beginning an exercise routine, be sure to speak with your doctor. This is especially important for people with low vision says Vision Aware.org “since some medical and eye conditions can be affected by bending, lifting, straining, or rapid movement.”

2. Consider logistical issues 

Transportation challenges, inaccessible fitness centers, safety concerns and financial constraints are among the obstacles people with visual impairment and blindness face when designing exercise regimens. Researching transportation options, accessible fitness centers, home-exercise programs and apps will help you determine what makes the most sense for you.

3. Consider personal preferences

Not everyone enjoys the same types of exercise. Investigate fitness options to find the activities you will enjoy. When fitness is fun, you are more apt to continue exercising.

4. Find a partner or coach

“When first learning fitness techniques, work with a trainer,” Vision Aware recommends. “Do not exercise alone, especially when beginning a program, using new equipment, learning new movements, or an unfamiliar environment. A sighted fitness professional or exercise partner ensures safety while providing motivation and boosting confidence.” Though trainers with expertise in training people with disabilities aren’t easy to find, it’s worth checking out the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) database of personal trainers who have such expertise. Perhaps there’s someone who works in your area.

5. Find fitness programs especially created for blind and visually impaired

Programs like Blind Alive, offer cardio exercise, weight lifting, body sculpting, yoga, pilates, and more. “BlindAlive also offers an Entry Level Bundle for those who have little to no experience with exercise, or want to finally get back into the flow.” Each activity is presented with multiple challenge levels. Other programs such as Eyes Free Yoga and the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ video onadapting judo for the blindalso enable people with visual impairment to exercise independently in their own homes.

6. Investigate the availability of accessible equipment

Scifit creates fitness equipment for people with disabilities. Those with vision impairment or blindness will benefit from Scifit’s consoles which feature “high-contrast, non-reflective display that’s easy to read, tactile markings and tactile buttons and audible beeps to confirm selections.” If equipment at your fitness center isn’t accessible, you consider asking center employees to attach braille labels.

7. Set goals

Setting attainable, realistic goals is helpful to anyone seeking to become physically fit. Consult with a trainer or with online or print literature to create appropriate goals and objectives.

Article by Betty Bell from Enabling Devices  January 24, 2018

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3/14/2018

Evolving Attitudes about Disability

Gerber has been making baby food since 1927. A year after its founding, the company launched a contest to find an image of “the perfect baby” to represent its advertising campaign. The winning entry was a charcoal sketch of an adorable infant drawn by artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Forty years later, the identity of the Gerber Baby, was finally revealed. The baby was Ann Turner Cook, a neighbor of the artist, who later became an English teacher and mystery novelist. Her image has remained the company’s trademark for more than 90 years.

In 2010, Gerber originated another contest — the Gerber Baby Photo Search. Earlier this month, the company made history when it chose 18-month-old Lucas Warren, a baby with Down’s syndrome from Dalton, Georgia as its 2018 Gerber “Spokesbaby.” The choice of Lucas speaks volumes about the country’s evolving attitudes toward people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Down syndrome was formally recognized by British physician John Langdon Down in 1866. According to the National Association of Down Syndrome, little was understood about the syndrome until 1959, “when French Pediatrician/Geneticist Professor Jerome Lejeune discovered that individuals with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome—just one year before NADS was founded. Shortly thereafter, chromosome studies were developed to confirm the diagnosis of Down syndrome.” Prior to that, most babies born with Down syndrome, then referred to by the derogatory and obsolete term, mongoloid, were institutionalized.

By the 1970s, some parents were being advised to raise their babies with Down syndrome at home. NADS helped parents to do so through their services for families and children with down syndrome. Yet, several decades would pass before people outside the Down syndrome community would gain awareness of the abilities and talents of individuals with Down syndrome.

In recent years, the world has come to recognize that having Down syndrome need not be a barrier to accomplishing just about anything. Today, people with Down syndrome are well-known actors, musicians, athletes, fashion designers and politicians — and yes — Gerber babies!

In a Feb. 7, 2018 press release, Gerber President and CEO Bill Partyka said: “Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby… Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby, and this year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”

Upon learning that her son was grand prize winner, Lucas’ mother Cortney Warren said: ““This is such a proud moment for us as parents knowing that Lucas has a platform to spread joy, not only to those he interacts with every day, but to people all over the country…We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world – just like our Lucas!”

Congratulations Lucas!

Article by Betty Bell for Enabling Devices

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3/14/2018

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

The latest Update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • March 2018 is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • Gov. Haslam Interviewed on Disability Employment in TN
  • The Council is #ServingTN - "Real TN Stories" Campaign Across State Govt.
  • March Council on Developmental Disabilities Meeting
  • Disability & Dental Care Barriers
  • "TASH Connections" Supported Decision Making issue features TN, article from Council
  • TN Disability MegaConference Registration, Art Contest Open
  • Upcoming Tennessee Events
  • Upcoming National / Out of State Disability Events & Webinars
  • Other recent news from the Council

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3/12/2018

Special Education Director Update

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

In this issue:

  • Supplemental IDEA Funds Available
  • Resources and Guidance to Support Students During Traumatic Events
  • 2018-19 Correlation of Course Codes
  • 2018 LEAD Conference Call for Proposals
  • RTI2 Regional Town Halls
  • Special Education Regional Mini-conferences
  • Notice of Rulemaking Hearing: Special Education Programs and Services
  • FUTURE Program
  • Annual RISE Conference
  • Professional Development for Special Populations
  • Professional Development and Training Opportunities
  • Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

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3/7/2018

The Tennessee Treasury Department recently announced changes made to the ABLE TN Savings Program

The Tennessee Treasury Department recently announced changes made to the ABLE TN Savings Program.

Achieving a Better Life Experience Tennessee (ABLE TN) is a savings program designed to help Tennessee residents with disabilities put aside money to pay for qualified expenses. These accounts provide the opportunity to save and invest with tax-free earnings to help participants maintain independence and quality of life.

Updates Include: 

  • Maximum annual contribution increased from $14,000 to $15,000
  • Account holders may now contribute income earned from employment in excess of annual contribution limit of $15,000 but the account holder cannot also participate in an employer retirement plan; and contributions cannot exceed the Federal Poverty limit (approx. $12,000). 
  • 529 Account (College Savings) may be rolled over into ABLE account 
  • ABLE TN accounts are now closed to out-of-state residents

For more information about the ABLE TN Savings Program, please visit their website here: http://www.abletn.gov/

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3/6/2018

The IEP Process and Assistive Technology: The Key to Finding What Works

IEP teams must consider assistive technology (AT) as part of developing a plan to meet your child's unique needs. But, as one mom learned, there may be members of the IEP team who really don't understand how AT works. Read more about how she discovered that some people see it as an unfair advantage. Then find out what the law says about who pays for AT—and learn where you can try out AT to see what works for your child.


This information was provided by www.understood.org

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3/5/2018

TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Department of Education.

In this issue:

  • Early Intervention Resource Agency Highlights 
  • Autism Navigator
  • Early Intervention Strategies for Success Blog
  • TEIS Vendor Services Needed
  • Welcome Aboard New Staff
  • Fiscal Team Highlights
  • Upcoming Dates of Interest

https://mailchi.mp/tn/teis-update-c9yt8y9jy2-655609  

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2/23/2018

TN Alternate Academic Diploma Update

On Jan. 26, 2018, the State Board of Education approved the addition of the alternate academic diploma within High School Policy 2.103

This new diploma will count toward the district graduation rate and will be implemented beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Parents and school leaders, including superintendents, high school principals, special education directors, and special education teachers who primarily teach students who are assessed on the alternate assessment are encouraged to listen to the overview webinar

Additionally, an FAQ is available here, and the course requirements for the 16 academic courses are now posted here

The Department of Education will also host a series of webinars this spring to support districts as they begin working to implement this diploma option. Information regarding these opportunities will be provided at a later date. 

If you have questions about the Alternate Academic Diploma, please contact Alison Gauld at Alison.Gauld@tn.gov.


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2/19/2018

IDEA Legacy Content Will Move to New and Improved IDEA Website

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) will automatically redirect users from the Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 website to the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website starting April 30, 2018.

OSERS launched the new IDEA website in June 2017 in order to provide updated department information regarding IDEA to the public including students, parents/families, educators, service providers, grantees, researchers and advocates. While the Legacy site will redirect users to the new IDEA site, content from the Legacy site is available for reference on the new IDEA website on the "Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004" historical reference page

IDEA website users are encouraged to bookmark the new IDEA website:

https://sites.ed.gov/idea

OSERS has made updates to the site based on the feedback it received from stakeholders since the initial launch of the new IDEA website last year. We will continue to gather feedback about the new website in order to enhance and add content,and to ensure the new site remains current.

Stay tuned for video tutorials highlighting features of the new site in the coming months. In the meantime, visit the OSERS Blog if you have feedback regarding the new IDEA website and leave a comment.

View new IDEA site  

Submit comments at the OSERS Blog

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2/12/2018

Submit Your Nomination for STEP's Advocate of the Year Awards

STEP, Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents) is accepting nominations for the 2018 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award.  This award is given each year to a person who has exemplified using information to assist their own child or someone else’s child with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education.

STEP seeks recipients who demonstrate teamwork and collaboration and the zeal to share the information they have learned with others. Nominees may be a parent of a child with a disability, an advocate that works with families, a teacher who has been exemplary in the life of a student with a disability, or a service provider who has bridged the gap for a student or their family to assist in receiving a free appropriate public education.

Click here for nomination form.

STEP is also seeking nominations for the Wesley Rice Youth Advocate of the Year Award.  This award is given to a youth with a disability between the ages of 15 and 26 who is a strong self-advocate at school, home or in the community.  Nominee demonstrates leadership by speaking up for themselves and others and is positive role model for young people with disabilities. 

Click here for the youth nomination form.

Please submit your nominations via email to:  Information@tnstep.org

Include in the subject line:  Nominee for Advocate of the Year Award
  • Nomination form
  • Photo of nominee (jpg format)
All nominees will be considered and the recipient chosen to receive the award will be contacted for further information.

Deadline for nominations is April 30, 2018.  
Winner of the award will be honored at the 2018 TN Disability MegaConference Annual Awards Banquet on May 23th in Nashville.

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1/20/2018

Family Engagement in Every School

Over the past several decades, educational research has confirmed the connection between family engagement and student success. In A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp found that students with engaged families are more likely to succeed. This is true no matter how you measure success. Students get better grades. They behave better. They have a more positive attitude. They are more likely to graduate. They are more likely to go to college. Schools also do better when they engage families and communities as partners. An influential study of Chicago schools identified strong “parent and community ties” as one of five “essential supports” for successful school reform. Without this critical pillar of support, the most well executed improvement efforts to turnaround schools are likely to fail.

Of course, all schools interact with families. Every school sends report cards home, holds open houses, and solicits volunteers. So what, exactly, do we mean by “family engagement?” A recent paper from the Harvard Family Research Project, Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement as an Integral Part of Education Reform, offers this description: 

“Effective family engagement is a shared responsibility of families, schools, and communities for student learning and achievement; it is continuous from birth to young adulthood; and, it occurs across multiple settings where children learn.” 

Sharing responsibility for learning and achievement 

First and foremost, sharing responsibility means working together and not pointing fingers. With this in mind, there are many ways schools can get started. A good first step is to make information about curriculum, instruction, assessments, and policies easily accessible. Schools should also be welcoming. They should encourage families to learn about the school and to participate in learning activities. Once schools share information and establish rapport, family and community leaders should be empowered to participate in meaningful decisions about school policy. Their insight can inform decisions ranging from broad educational goals to specific disciplinary policies or budget priorities. Educators must also reach out to families where they live and work in order to build trust, improve communication, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges different families face. In everything they do, schools and families must stay focused on improving student outcomes. 

Continuous family engagement from birth to young adulthood 

We now know that a child’s first few years have a powerful effect on his or her future. Even after those crucial years are past, children must overcome a variety of social, emotional, and academic challenges to reach adulthood prepared for a successful life. When the strands of family, school, and community are woven together with caring and frequent communication, they form a safety net to catch struggling children and offer support before it’s too late. Families, teachers, peers, guidance counselors, and countless other people affect a child’s life. To do their jobs well, these people must learn from a child’s past and be invested in the child’s future. Family, school, and community partnerships that support children from birth to young adulthood can help make that possible. 

Family engagement across multiple settings

Research has shown that children who engage in learning activities outside the classroom often make gains, and children who don’t, usually fall behind. One of the best ways schools can reduce achievement gaps is to fill every child’s life with rich learning opportunities in school and out. There are many ways schools can facilitate learning outside the classroom. They can work with parents to align out-of-school-time learning with class work. They can provide families and students with expanded access to libraries and computers. They can offer supports like after-school homework help. They can also be a crucial link between families and community resources like public libraries, museums, and community centers.

By taking advantage of every learning opportunity and working together, families and schools can help all children succeed. 

STEP, Inc. offers high quality in-service and professional development to school districts on family engagement, increasing inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, and other topics through our work as the family partner on the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG). 

STEP, Inc. also houses Tennessee’s Parent Training and Information Center and offers workshops, resources, and information to parents and families across Tennessee. Contact us at information@tnstep.org to discuss your training needs or visit www.tnstep.org to learn more about our services. 

This article was written for FACET at the Federation for Children with Special Needs serving families in Massachusetts. We appreciate their permission to reprint this information. 

For more information on FACET offerings, visit: fcsn.org/facet/engaging-families

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1/18/2018

Arc Tennessee offering Free Public Adovacy Webinar Series

The Arc Tennessee is offering a Free Public Policy Advocacy Webinar Series

January 18th from 11am-12pm – Introduction to the TN General Assembly legislative process

February 1 – 11am-12pm – Navigating the TN General Assembly website/Disability Day on the Hill Update

February 22 – 12-1pm – Developing relationships with your elected officials

March 8 11am-12pm- Federal policy and its relationship to state funding and policy

March 29 11am-12pm – The Tennessee Gubernatorial and congressional races – what’s at stake

April 12 11am-12pm – TBA

All times listed are central time.

Click this link to register: http://j.mp/2CGO1Qh.

There is no cost to participate in the webinar. You will receive the webinar link and the call-in information prior to the webinar start time. All webinars will be recorded. If you cannot attend the live session, the recorded link will be sent to you after the session has concluded.

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