TEA Special Education Improvement Plan Takeaways!

In case you missed our last webinar on TEA Special Education Improvement Plan or, like us, would like to have one source for the major TAKEAWAYS then consider reading/printing Chuck’s TEA-IP major points. These are:

1. A high goal is being set. “For the majority of students served by special education, performing on level academically with their non-disabled peers is an attainable and reasonable goal.” Pg. 7. Focus should go beyond access to supports, “but also on improved outcomes from those supports.” This plan “is organized around a few primary focus areas:

  • Monitoring
  • Identification, Evaluation, and the offer of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  • Training, Support, and Development
  • Student, Family, and Community Engagement
  • Technical Assistance Networks.” Pg. 8

2. The review and support team “will have three primary responsibilities: (1) to monitor LEAs related to IDEA and federal and state statutes using a risk assessment index and holistic student-centered practices; (2) to provide targeted technical assistance and support for LEAs related to special education; and (3) to escalate support for LEAs experiencing significant challenges as well as to highlight those LEAs that demonstrate clear success. The Review and Support team should not adopt a narrow focus on process and legal requirements, but rather be guided by an effort to support the most effective practices that lead to improved outcomes for students.” Pg. 9

3. The purpose of the escalation unit “is focused less on documenting a running list of problems and more about supporting the identification and implementation of solutions. The escalation unit may remain on-site for longer periods of time and provide more intensive support.” Pg. 10

4. “Complaints: TEA will ensure that the special education state Complaints team is sufficiently staffed to resolve in a timely manner all special education complaints that the agency receives. The Complaints team will also expand its support functionality to provide and facilitate stronger student-focused collaborative partnerships between LEAs and families, when disputes arise.”

5. “TEA will provide clarification on the requirements of Rtl (Response to Intervention), Section 504, and dyslexia related topics to support individual decisions for students, and to reiterate that each decision will be unique to that specific child.” Pg. 17

6. “TEA will help ensure the availability of effective models of educator support and training that include face-to-face interactions with expert trainers but more importantly, allow for adequate space for coaching and professionally reflective practices.

7. TEA will address appropriate dyslexia identification and placement of students, and other best practices. Pg. 19

8. “TEA will improve services for students with dyslexia by providing LEAs with improved training regarding the interplay between the state’s dyslexia program, services provided under Section 504, and services provided by special education, as well as how students with dyslexia should be effectively served in these programs commensurate with individual students’ needs. When provided with high expectations and appropriately designed instruction, students with dyslexia can achieve academically at, or above, the level of their peers who are not identified with dyslexia. It is incumbent upon the state to ensure that LEAs are effectively supported in implementing services for these vulnerable students”. Pg. 20

9. Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Partnership – “TEA will continue its collaboration with TWC to determine partnerships related to workforce preparation and readiness. These training resources may also include access to basic education skills, as well as basic job preparation skills training.” Pg. 21

10. “TEA will expand upon systems that facilitate effective stakeholder engagement at the state level. TEA will leverage the experiences and expertise of these stakeholders to ensure that programs and services developed for students with disabilities appropriately meet the needs of the individual student and lead to improved student outcomes.” Pg. 22

11. “Networks are major, thematic topics that are identified as critical for the state. Resources from these networks are available to any LEA in the state and are intended to leverage best practices” Child Find, Evaluation, ARD Supports, School, Family, and Community Engagement, Inclusive Services and Practices for Improved Student Outcomes, Autism, Intervention Best Practices, Students with Intensive Needs, Students with Sensory Impairments, Students in Small and Rural LEAs, Student-centered Transitions, Multiple Exceptionalities and Multiple Needs. Pg. 23

The Special Education Strategic Plan is available for download on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website at https://tea.texas.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=51539621194

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