TEA Guidance on Inviting Agency Representatives to an ARD/IEP Meeting

The following information is excerpted from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) webpage Guidance for Inviting Agency Representatives to Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee Meeting:

Current federal regulations govern the provision of services for sixteen-year-old students with disabilities or for younger students if determined appropriate by the admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee. These provisions require that a student’s individualized education program (IEP) include measurable postsecondary goals as well as the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals (34 CFR §300.320(b)). Further, provisions at 34 CFR §300.321(b)(3) require a local educational agency (LEA) to invite a representative of any agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services to the transition meeting.

LEAs must also comply with 34 CFR §300.622(b)(2), which protects a student’s confidential information from unauthorized disclosure to agencies that participate in the ARD committee meeting. Specifically, this section requires the LEA to obtain parental consent, or the consent of an eligible student who has reached the age of majority (adult student), for the release of personally identifiable information to officials of participating agencies that will provide or pay for transition services. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) further specifies the requirements for the protection of privacy of parents and students under Section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act as amended.

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2017 Texas Bills Regarding Education

Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist, shares his insights on newly signed Texas legislation. Please keep in mind that even though a bill is effective immediately, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) must go through the process of developing and posting rules before schools can begin implementing some of the laws.


HB 1866

“Sec. 8.061.  DYSLEXIA SPECIALIST. Each regional education service center shall employ as a dyslexia specialist a person licensed as a dyslexia therapist under Chapter 403, Occupations Code, to provide school districts served by the center with support and resources that are necessary to assist students with dyslexia and the families of students with dyslexia.”

Currently, students in kindergarten thru second grade must be tested for dyslexia and related disorders.  Now students in kindergarten and first grade must also be screened at the end of the school year.  The question becomes, will the Texas Education Agency (TEA) feel that schools must do much if anything different than what they are currently doing.

TEA must annually develop a list of training opportunities regarding dyslexia.  At least one of these must be available online.  These opportunities must comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international dyslexia organization, enable an educator to understand and recognize dyslexia as well as implement instruction that is systemic, explicit, and evidence-based to meet the educational needs of a student with dyslexia.

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Tips for Surviving Your Freshman Year of College

One of the first things I figured out after I graduated from high school and went to college was that college has a lot more responsibilities and work than high school.  In high school, you may have had a whole posse (group of people to support you) behind you, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, etc.  In college, you are on your own to find the help you need, even if you do not know what that need is yet.  The following is a tip sheet to assist you in your quest for higher education.

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Advocating for Yourself in Middle School and High School: How To Get What You Need

You should always be able to have the accommodations you need in school for your disability or health care needs. Sometimes it just takes some extra effort to get what you need. Just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you can’t do as well as the other kids in school, you have the same rights to succeed. By law every school has a process [a set way] for you to talk to teachers and others about what you need. Sometimes this plan or process is called an Individual Education Plan [IEP], a 504 plan, or sometimes something else.

Step 1: Evaluate what you need

Sit down with your parents and decide what accommodations you need based on your disability. For example, extra time on tests, a note taker, or two sets of books. Only pick accommodations that are necessary for your disability. For example, I knew I didn’t need a program on my computer that read my book to me, so I didn’t ask for it. People with different disabilities need different things.

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Texas Legislative Update for June 2017

Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist,  shares his insights on newly signed Texas legislation.  Please keep in mind that even though a bill is effective immediately, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) must go through the process of developing and posting rules before schools can begin implementing some of the laws.

HB 657 

An ARD committee (IEP team) may promote a student to the next grade level if the committee concludes that the student has made sufficient progress in the measurable academic goals contained in the student’s IEP despite not passing the STAAR.  At the beginning of each school year, a district must inform parents of the options of the ARD committee if the student does not perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument.  Effective immediately

HB 1645 

If a district allows a student to participate in a Special Olympics event, they must allow the student to earn a district letter.  This seems to be addressing a “fairness” or discrimination issue.  Effective immediately

SB 160

TEA may not adopt or implement a performance indicator in any agency monitoring system, including the performance-based monitoring analysis system, that solely measures a school district’s or open-enrollment charter school’s aggregated number or percentage of enrolled students who receive special education services.  TEA may still collect and examine data to determine whether significant disproportionality based on race or ethnicity is occurring in the state and in the school districts and open-enrollment charter schools.  Effective 5/22/2017

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Texas Success Initiative and Postsecondary Education

Traditionally students with disabilities could enroll in any educational institution (community college, junior college, four year college/university), trade school or technical institute that would accept them. Recently, Texas passed legislation (Texas Success Initiative – TSI) designed to help postsecondary institutions determine, if a student is ready for college level coursework.

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Transitioning Between Schools

When we have children with disabilities, we hear the word “transition” a lot. And most of the time, we are talking about our children’s transition into adulthood.

But even though that is an important transition, it isn’t the first one your child will face. There are transitions between home and preschool, preschool and elementary school, middle and high school – and maybe even between school districts, if your family moves. A child with a disability may be in school past the age of 18 and have even more transitions.

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IEPs and School Transfers

IDEA provides guidelines for a child with a disability transferring to another school in or out of district within the same state or out of state. The guidelines are specific as to the child’s right to have a free appropriate public education with services that are comparable to those in the previous IEP. It is important that the parents get copies of school records for their files, check with the new and existing schools to be sure the transfer request is made, make sure all records related to special or related services are included, and follow up with both schools if the transfer is not completed in a timely manner.

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Need for Functional Skill Training

Functional Skills are defined as life skills that people use every day, in different environments. Functional skills focus on different areas such as home, family, self help skills, social skills, independent living skills.  Also, skills needed for employment and job retention, recreation, community living, as well as functional academics that can be used every day.

While academic skills are important for all children with disabilities, many parents and advocates seem to overlook, the importance of functional skill training and instruction. These skills need to be addressed during a child’s school career, but absolutely during the child’s transition from high school to adulthood.

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Awkward! The Tough Transition to Middle School

Article by Kelly Wallace, CNN 

There is a reason why when people post pictures of themselves during their middle school years on Facebook for “Throw Back Thursday,” we all stop and take notice.

We recognize the fear or uncertainty or absolute angst in their eyes.

Raging hormones. Changing bodies. Awkward social interactions. No longer a child but not yet an adult. Those are just a few of the zillion reasons why most of us would never want to go back to that time, and why some parents of beginning middle schoolers are freaking out as school starts.

After all, studies have shown that the jump from elementary to middle school can be a painful transition for adolescents, whose worries grow to include greater academic responsibility, burgeoning sexuality and complex social structures.

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