For roughly the last 17 years, the Texas Education Agency (TEA)  has funded a system of 16 networks to support LEAs in various areas across special education. These 16 networks were individually developed in response to an identified need. The TEA has recently taken the opportunity to step back and review the actual supports that were being provided to ensure that they were meeting the needs of families and LEAs and that these supports were aligned and easily accessible. The development of the Strategic Plan for Special Education in Texas gave TEA the opportunity they needed to perform a comprehensive review of the networks and engage with various stakeholders on their effectiveness.

Through a competitive grant process, TEA division of special education program identified statewide leads to coordinate, develop, and disseminate technical assistance across the state. The areas for statewide leadership were determined through a review of existing support structures and extensive stakeholder engagement. Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, these networks will create and disseminate a variety of guidance materials and resources for use by Education Service Centers (ESC) and Local Education Agencies (LEA) across the state.

The TEA recently anounced the following Statewide Leadership Networks:

Child Find, Evaluation, and ARD Supports
Statewide Lead: ESC 4

School, Family, and Community Engagement
Statewide Lead: ESC 10 and Partners Resource Network

Inclusive Services and Practices for Improved Student Outcomes
Statewide Lead: ESC 20 and ESC 4

Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training
Statewide Lead: ESC 13

Intervention Best Practices
Statewide Lead: University of Texas at Austin

Texas Complex Access Network
Statewide Lead: ESC 3

Texas Sensory Support Network
Statewide Lead: ESC 11

Supports for Students Served in Small and Rural LEAs
Statewide Lead: ESC 15

Student-Centered Transitions
Statewide Lead: Sam Houston State University

Multiple Exceptionalities and Multiple Needs
Statewide Lead: ESC 1

All these networks went into effect on July 1, 2019. The first major task for each network will be to create a website through which existing, and newly created resources will be made available. Look for these network websites to be linked from the TEA website in late September. In addition, we will make those links available in a later edition of this newsletter.

To learn more about the purpose, specific activities and information that will be provided through these networks, please register for the upcoming TEA webinar on August 22nd.