Update on the 86th Legislative Session

Special Guest Presenter: Steven Aleman, Disability Rights Texas

On July 17,  Steven Aleman of Disability Rights Texas provided an update on the 86th Legislative Session. Watch the recording of the webinar to learn which special education issues were considered during the legislative session and how this may affect your child’s education.

Resources from the Update on the 86th Legislative Session webinar:

Statewide Team

Kristina Henning
Director of Statewide Services

Rana Anderson
Curriculum Specialist

Marggiana Antunez
Translation Specialist

Brandye Brooks
Resource Specialist

Chuck Noe
Education Specialist

Meagan Sanders
Training & Evaluation Specialist

Zachary Hidalgo
Technology Specialist

Past Webinars – Recordings and Resources

2019 Statewide and Collaborative Webinar Series

Special Guest Presenter: Steven Aleman, Disability Rights Texas

The 86th Legislative Session begins in January, 2019 and runs until May, 2019. This year state lawmakers will consider several topics that are important to students with disabilities. This presentation outlines the special education issues likely to be considered, how those interested can track topics, and which Texas lawmakers will be in key leadership roles concerning public education

Part of the collaborative webinar series with the Texas Education Agency

Special Guest Presenter: Brandi Timmons, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Too often expectations for children with special needs are not set high enough. When a high level of expectations is set, kids tend to strive to meet those expectations. Our kids want to be successful. It’s up to us to provide the environment for them to succeed.

  • Recording of Create a Climate of High Expectations in Your Child’s Program
  • PowerPoint for Create a Climate of High Expectations in Your Child’s Program

Resources (PowerPoints, Q&A documents, and recordings) coming soon

Speak up and embrace a leadership role at your child’s next ARD meeting! Join us for our next statewide webinar as we discuss practical tips for effective communication, peaceful conflict resolution, and negotiation strategies that you can use to advocate for appropriate services for your child. We will also discuss options you can use to address disagreements and resolve conflict while protecting the parent-school relationship.

Part of our collaborative webinar series with the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Presenters for the Progress Monitoring webinar:

  • Cherry C. Lee, M.Ed., LDT, CALT, Educational Diagnostician, Program Specialist, Texas Education Agency Division of Special Education
  • Daniela Licona, Program Specialist, Texas Education Agency Division of Special Education

Resources:

On April 16, Colleen Elbe of Disability Rights Texas discussed options for dispute resolution including the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Special education dispute resolution options include mediation, facilitated ARD/IEP meetings, special education complaints, and due process.

Resources from the webinar:

  • Recording of the What’s Next? Legal Options for Parents When an ARD Meeting Wasn’t Enough webinar
  • PowerPoint

On 4/22, Dr. Jannette Reyes and her daughter, Michelle Coronado, shared the powerful story of their journey with autism, from advocating for services in school to transitioning into postsecondary education and employment. 

Resources from this webinar:

During this webinar, Colleen Elbe, Disability Rights Texas, provided parents with information on Guardianship in Texas, Alternatives to Guardianship, as well as Supported Decision Making Agreements. Colleen discussed the purpose, process, benefits and drawbacks of each option. Resources were provided to direct parents to sample forms and additional information.

Resources from this webinar:

Part of our collaborative webinar series with the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

ESY is an individualized instructional program for eligible students with disabilities that is provided beyond the regular school year. The need for ESY services must be determined on an individual basis by the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee. The individualized education program (IEP) developed for ESY must include goals and objectives.

Presenter for the Extended School Year (ESY) webinar:

  • Dawne Vanderhule, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Child Find, Evaluation and ARD Support Coordinator

Resources:

  • Coming soon

Special Guest Presenter: Aracely Olmeda MS, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

Life after high school can have a many uncertainties on what option is best. On May 14, Aracely Olmeda shared her transition story, from becoming empowered to lead her own ARDs to making person-centered decisions. Aracely also discussed various options and resources available for youth with disabilities who are transitioning from high school into adult life, including postsecondary options in Texas.

Resources from the webinar:

Links shared during the webinar:

JAN – Job Accommodation Network
https://askjan.org/

Searching careers on https://www.onetonline.org/

Career Interest Inventory
https://www.mynextmove.org/

Research apprenticeships and job trends in your area
https://www.thecareerindex.com/

Skills worksheets from TWC 
https://lmci.state.tx.us/explore/TSC/k12.asp

WRP Workforce Recruitment Program
https://wrp.gov/AboutPre.do#Students

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability 
http://www.ncwd-youth.info/

Think College
https://thinkcollege.net/

Post Secondary Access and Training in Human Services (PATHS)
http://paths.tamu.edu/

lifePATH® at LSC-Tomball
http://www.lonestar.edu/lifePATH.htm

Vast Academy Houston Community College
https://www.hccs.edu/continuing-education/departments/hcc-vast-academy/

Project Case Texas Tech 
https://www.depts.ttu.edu/burkhartcenter/case/

2018 Statewide Webinar Series

During this webinar, we discussed the importance of the annual ARD meeting,  documentation (the ARD notice, 5 day waiver, requesting draft IEP goals), parent tips for successful IEP meetings, ESY (the rules and requirements), and transition tips.

Resources shared during the Q&A session

Behavior Contracts to Promote Independence, presented by Allison Sheats and Ashley Richardson of Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, Texas Tech University.  Allison and Ashley discuss how to utilize behavior contracts to provide specific expectations and bring more positive reinforcement into your child’s life.

Steven Aleman discusses the recent federal investigation of special education in Texas and violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Texas Education Agency is now responding and writing a new statewide plan for students with disabilities. You will get the latest updates on your chance to comment and speak at public forums. Also hear analysis of proposed corrective actions and how students, parents, and educators will be affected.

TEA Corrective Action Plan Webinar #1

TEA Corrective Action Plan Webinar #2

TEA Corrective Action Plan Webinar #3

TEA Corrective Action Plan Webinar #4

Other Resources Shared During the Webinars:

A special double webinar event in collaboration with the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (Ohio PTI). 

This webinar featured two guest presentations:

Negotiation Skills for Parents: How to Get the Special Education Services Your Child with Disabilities Needs  Kristin Hildebrant, Senior Attorney at Disability Rights Ohio, shares strategies to help you learn how to negotiate for appropriate services for your child with disabilities so that you can become a more successful and effective member of your child’s IEP team.

Back-to-School Without Tears! Does just thinking about sending your child back to school cause you anxiety? Brandi Timmons, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, of Social Motion Skills, will share with you strategies and tips for a smoother, low-stress transition–for both you and your child! 

Special guest presenters: Steven Aleman and Carrie Griffith, Disability Rights Texas.

Guest presenter Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S

Healthy Relationships is a training geared toward teens and their care givers to help them navigate the perils of dating and intimate relationships. Teens who have a history of trauma can often time struggle with many aspects of intimacy in the dating world. The goal of this training is to help care givers know what to say and how to say it in order to help their young adults manage the wide range of thoughts, emotions and challenges that are often encountered in the realm of dating. 

  • PowerPoint for Healthy Relationships for Transitioning Youth – Boundaries and Principles of Dating
  • Recording of Healthy Relationships for Transitioning Youth – Boundaries and Principles of Dating

Virtual symposium in collaboration with the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (Ohio PTI).  The full recording of the Bullying Basics: From Prevention to Promoting Mental Health virtual symposium is now available.

SPEAKER INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Bullying Involving Students with Disabilities presented by Colleen Elbe, Disability Rights Texas

Colleen Elbe is a Senior Attorney and Regional Manager with Disability Rights Texas in Lubbock, Texas. Colleen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University. Prior to law school, she worked for a state family preservation contractor providing therapy to families at risk of losing their children to the foster care system. Colleen is a graduate of Texas Tech School of Law where she was a Board of Barristers member and graduated with a Health Law Certificate. After graduation from law school, Colleen received a fellowship from Equal Justice Works to represent students with disabilities facing illegal suspension or expulsion.

  • PowerPoint for Bullying Involving Students with Disabilities presented by Colleen Elbe, Disability Rights Texas
  • Recording of the Bullying Involving Students with Disabilities presented by Colleen Elbe, Disability Rights Texas
  • Colleen Elbe’s Facebook Live recording on state and federal laws on bullying and harassment

Resources shared during presentation:

Mental Health 101 presented by Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S, Superior Health Plan

Rich Capodagli is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 20 years’ experience working directly with families and children. Even prior to earning his Master’s Degree in Education (Counseling) at Texas Tech University, Rich cut his teeth working through the foster care system as a direct care staff in shelter, residential group care and residential treatment settings. Following becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas, Rich worked in assessment and crisis stabilization within the community mental health system. He also has extensive administrative experience in the foster care system including as a supervisor over residential and group care programs as well as Clinical Director of an agency with a Residential Group Care Organization, Assessment Center, and CPA programs. Further, Rich has maintained a private practice working with adults, couples, families and children presenting with a variety of mental health, behavioral and relational concerns including trauma, depression, anxiety, and issues with anger, relationships, and behavioral concerns. Rich has most recently worked with Cenpatico as a Clinical Supervisor and currently as a Senior Foster Care Trainer. Rich has also trained/interfaced with numerous community entities including Independent School Districts, university systema, medical and legal Professionals, Children’s Protective Services, the Police and Sheriffs’ departments, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and other counselors and social workers with in the community.

  • PowerPoint for Mental Health 101 presented by Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S, Superior Health Plan
  • Recording of Mental Health 101 presented by Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S

Cyberbullying presented by Taiya Jones-Castillo, LBSW, CHWI, Texas Department of State Health Services

Trained and licensed as a Social Worker, Community Health Worker Instructor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, and Suicide Prevention Instructor. Ms. Jones-Castillo is passionate about helping families, improving community health, and educating families & individuals. Experience as a Case Manager and Outreach Liaison for a FQHC mobile health unit, has worked with families, children, migrant and seasonal farm workers, Mennonite families, rural schools, clinics, rural families and professional stakeholders. In her current position, Program Specialist, Texas Department of State Health Services, Maternal & Child Health Program, Region 1, she supports & participates with local community groups regarding injury prevention for vulnerable populations, provides resources for groups seeking assistance in promoting safer communities, creates & distributes health education materials, presentations, and assists in health professional development, including continuing education.

  • PowerPoint for Cyberbullying presented by Taiya Jones-Castillo, LBSW, CHWI, Texas Department of State Health Services

Presentation Handouts:

Resources shared during presentation:

Perpetrators of Bullying and Disability: Strategies for Parents presented by Charles Hallmark, PhD, Grace Psychological Services

Dr. Charles Hallmark is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP). He received his Doctorate in Combined Counseling/School Psychology from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His research has focused on the measurement of parental responsiveness for parents of children with ADHD and disruptive behavioral disorders. Current areas of expertise include treating children and adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders, grief and loss, and depression. He also specializes in parent training programs and bilingual school psychology, including diversity and multiculturalism. Dr. Hallmark is currently on staff at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where he co-implements an evidence-based manualized parent training intervention for families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and speech-language delays. At Grace Psychological Services, PLLC, Dr. Hallmark conducts psychoeducational and psychological evaluations and provides counseling. He utilizes primarily a cognitive-behavioral approach and incorporates family systems theory and solution-focused approaches in his therapy with children and adolescents. He also provides family and individual child-focused psychotherapy for children and adolescents with a history of trauma, mood disorders, and autism.

  • PowerPoint for Perpetrators of Bullying and Disability: Strategies for Parents presented by Charles Hallmark, PhD, Grace Psychological Services

Suicide Prevention presented by Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S, Superior Health Plan

Rich Capodagli is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 20 years’ experience working directly with families and children. Even prior to earning his Master’s Degree in Education (Counseling) at Texas Tech University, Rich cut his teeth working through the foster care system as a direct care staff in shelter, residential group care and residential treatment settings. Following becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas, Rich worked in assessment and crisis stabilization within the community mental health system. He also has extensive administrative experience in the foster care system including as a supervisor over residential and group care programs as well as Clinical Director of an agency with a Residential Group Care Organization, Assessment Center, and CPA programs. Further, Rich has maintained a private practice working with adults, couples, families and children presenting with a variety of mental health, behavioral and relational concerns including trauma, depression, anxiety, and issues with anger, relationships, and behavioral concerns. Rich has most recently worked with Cenpatico as a Clinical Supervisor and currently as a Senior Foster Care Trainer. Rich has also trained/interfaced with numerous community entities including Independent School Districts, university systema, medical and legal Professionals, Children’s Protective Services, the Police and Sheriffs’ departments, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and other counselors and social workers with in the community.

  • PowerPoint for Suicide Prevention presented by Richard Capodagli M.Ed., LPC-S, Superior Health Plan
  • Recording for the Endrew F. – What Parents Need to Know webinar is available here >>
  •  1. Supreme Court Decision March 22. 2017 https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-827_0pm1.pdf
    These 16 pages are loaded with powerful words that when used can change the lives of children. In my opinion it takes the discussion and programming for a student with disabilities to a next level. It returns individual/child focused back to its rightful position in every IEP meeting. Read it, and Read It Again, and Finally Read It with a highlighter in hand
  • The United States Supreme Court ruled on the Endrew F. matter in March 2017 and remanded the case to the 10th Circuit. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-827_0pm1.pdf
  • 2.  Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law http://www.bazelon.org/endrew-f-v-douglas-county-school-district/
  • Endrew F., “Decision Creates Important New Opportunities for Students with Disabilities” (6-page paper) http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.copaa.org/resource/resmgr/docs/accessible_2017/Endrew_paper_LH__9-8-17-1.pdf
  • 3. United States Department of Education Endrew F. Guidance Q and A December 7, 2017 https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-endrewcase-12-07-2017.pdf
  • OSEP Letter on FAPE 11-17-15 https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf
  • High Expectations and Appropriate Supports The Importance of IEP’s IDEA the Works Webinar on April 9, 2018 (you can access the transcript, recording and powerpoint) https://osepideasthatwork.org/osep-meeting/high-expectations-and-appropriate-supports-importance-ieps
  • 4. Colorado Decision February 2018 http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.copaa.org/resource/resmgr/docs/2018_Documents/Endrew2018.02.12.Opinion_and.pdf
  • Colorado District Rules in Endrew F. Case On February 12, 2018, the Honorable Lewis T. Babcock, U.S.D.J. issued a decision in the matter of Endrew F., v. Douglas County. Sch. Dist. RE 1. The 10th Circuit remanded the cases to the United District Court for the District of Colorado for further proceedings, and Judge Babcock issued a decision in favor of the Petitioners. Judge Babcock’s decision can be found here: https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.copaa.org/resource/resmgr/docs/2018_Documents/Endrew2018.02.12.Opinion_and.pdf Judge Babcock ruled as follows: The minimal progress revealed in Petitioner’s educational plan is insufficient, however, to show that the April 2010 IEP proffered by the District created an educational plan that was reasonably calculated to enable him to make progress. While Petitioner’s educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances, the Supreme Court was clear that every child, including Petitioner, should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. In this case, Petitioner’s past educational and functional progress – as evidenced by the changes to his yearly IEPs after second grade – was minimal at best. Those changes consisted of only updates and minor or slight increases in the objectives or carrying over the same goals from year to year, or abandonment if they could not be meet. The April 2010 IEP was clearly just a continuation of the District’s educational plan that had previously only resulted in minimal academic and functional progress. Judge Babcock awarded tuition reimbursement 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) and 34 C.F.R. §300.148(c), as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation costs pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(B) Appeal filed by School System- March/April 2018 School district appeals reimbursement order in Endrew F. case The Douglas County (Colo.) School District has filed a notice of appeal to a District Court judge’s order that it pay damages to the family of the student at the center of the pivotal case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE 1, 71 IDELR 144 (D. Colo. 2018). The attorney representing the student and his family has filed a motion to dismiss that appeal. Both filings were made March 15th, according to the 10th Circuit Clerk of Courts Betsy Shumaker.
  • 5. Understood https://www.understood.org/
  • Endrew F. Advocacy Toolkit https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/download-endrew-f-advocacy-toolkit
  • Endrew F Talking points (4 pages) https://www.understood.org/~/media/b2f709aa0310480cb3b2014d056ed4eb.pdf
  • Endrew F. Worksheet (4 pages) https://www.understood.org/~/media/5412f1b3935247deaf6212e13a8944a4.pdf
  • 6. Perry Zirkel (View from around the IEP Table) https://perryzirkel.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/zirkel-legal-alert-january-2018.pdf
  • 7. In Your States – Letters, Memos, Trainings on Endrew F Massachusetts Advisory on Endrew F, v. Douglas County School District RE-1, 2017 U.S. Supreme Court Decision of Special Education (June 16, 2017) http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/advisory/2017-0616ieps.html
  • 8. Articles of Interest: Atlantic Magazine How a New Supreme Court Ruling Could Affect Special Education https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/03/how-a-new-supreme- court-ruling-could-affect-special-education/520662/
  • Exceptional Parent Magazine article March 2018 Education Next Summer 2017 Education Week
  • 9. Check Professional Organizations National Association of School Psychologist http://www.nasponline.org/publications/periodicals/communique/issues/volume-46-issue-5/did-endrew-f-change-the-a-in-fape-questions-and-implications-for-school-psychologists
  • 10. From the Courts: 2017 Cases after Endrew F Decision Case name: Fourth Circuit: ML by Lieman v Montgomery County Board of Education 117 LRP 33077 (4th Cir 8/14/17) The Fourth Circuit ruled that a school district did not deny FAPE where a student’s IEP did not include instruction in the customs and practices of Orthodox Judaism. The Fourth Circuit notes that the FAPE standard that it had been applying prior to Endrew F was quite similar to the “merely more than de minimis” standard applied by the Tenth Circuit and rejected by the Supreme Court. The Fourth Circuit did not reach the question of the FAPE standard, however, because the court found that IDEA does not provide the relief sought by the parents under any standard. The Court ruled that IDEA does not require schools to provide religious instruction and citing the language from Endrew F concerning “progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,” the court found that the circumstances that are relevant involve the student’s disability and not his faith or culture. Because IDEA does not guarantee any particular outcome, the Fourth Circuit held that FAPE had been offered and affirmed the denial of reimbursement. Case name: Eighth Circuit: IZM v Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schs, Independent School District No 1 70 IDELR 86 (8th Cir 7/14/17) Eighth Circuit ruled that a state statute regarding Braille instruction did not raise the bar for FAPE. The Court noted that IDEA does not guarantee that a child makes any progress. The court acknowledged the “progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,” language from Endrew F, and noted that the new standard by the Supreme Court was consistent with its ruling that the school district had provided FAPE even though not all the student’s instructional materials were provided in Braille despite reasonable efforts to do so. District Court must reconsider whether teen’s IEP goals addressed all areas of need Case name: M.C. v. Antelope Valley Union High Sch. Dist., 69 IDELR 203 (9th Cir. 2017). Ruling: The parent of a blind high school student will get a second chance to show that a California district denied her son FAPE by failing to develop measurable annual goals addressing life skills, residential travel, and business travel. Noting that an IEP must be reasonably calculated to allow a student to make progress appropriate in light of his circumstances, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s ruling in the district’s favor and remanded the case for a determination of whether the IEP satisfied the standard of FAPE set forth in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, 69 IDELR 174 (U.S. 2017). IEP doesn’t need to include separate goal relating to attentional difficulties Case name: K.M. v. Tehachapi Unified Sch. Dist., 117 LRP 13249 (E.D. Cal. 04/05/17). 9th Circuit Ruling: Although the IEP goals developed for an elementary school student with autism did not specifically target her attentional difficulties, they sufficiently addressed the child’s need for assistance with staying on task. The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California held that the IEP goals complied with Endrew F. Kindergartner’s progress in reading, math satisfies Endrew F. standard Case name: E.D. v. Colonial Sch. Dist., 117 LRP 12348 (E.D. Pa. 03/31/17). 3rd Circuit Ruling: The fact that a 5-year-old girl with a speech and language impairment had not met grade-level curriculum standards by the end of her kindergarten year did not prove that a Pennsylvania district denied the child FAPE. The District Court upheld an IHO’s decision at 109 LRP 56323 that the child’s progress was appropriate in light of her age and the district’s ongoing assessment of her disability-related needs. Student’s advancement shows IEPs allowed for ‘appropriate progress’ Case name: A.G. and J.G. v. Board of Educ. of the Arlington Cent. Sch. Dist., 69 IDELR 210 (S.D.N.Y. 2017). 2nd Circuit Ruling: Despite arguing that the resource room and integrated co-teaching classes at their son’s school were physical placements rather than IDEA services, the parents of an elementary school student with dyslexia and ADHD could not show that a district denied the student FAPE. The U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York held that the student’s progress in decoding and encoding skills showed that he received an educational benefit as contemplated by Endrew F. IHO’s review of child’s progress, circumstances shows IEP was appropriate Case name: Brandywine Heights Area Sch. Dist. v. B.M., 69 IDELR 212 (E.D. Pa. 2017). 3rd Circuit Ruling: Because an IHO considered whether a child with autism had made progress “that was meaningful in view of [his] profound combination of cognitive disabilities,” the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania upheld his decision at 12 ECLPR 77 that an IEP developed in February of the child’s kindergarten year was appropriate. However, the court ruled that the child was entitled to compensatory education for a previous denial of FAPE. Endrew F. ruling requires IHO to revisit appropriateness of student’s IEP Case name: C.D. v. Natick Pub. Sch. Dist., 69 IDELR 213 (D. Mass. 2017). 1st Circuit Ruling: An IHO’s application of the “some educational benefit” standard in determining that a Massachusetts district offered FAPE to a student with a disability complicated the District Court’s review of the case. Observing that it was unclear whether the IHO’s July 2015 decision comported with the U.S. Supreme Court’s more recent ruling in Endrew F., the District Court remanded the case for further proceedings.

Special guest presenter: Jeff Miller, Disability Rights Texas

During the 84th Texas Legislative Session in 2015, legislators passed new laws that make Texas the first state to have laws recognizing supported decision-making agreements as an alternative to guardianship. Supported decision-making allows individuals to make their own decisions and stay in charge of their lives, while receiving the help and assistance they need to do so. 

2017 Statewide Webinar Series

Additional Resources: