What's New

NEWLY RELEASED: OSERS RETURN TO SCHOOL ROADMAP

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released a Q&A entitled the Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of Individualized Education Programs in the Least Restrictive Environment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: To view the document visit:

» OSERS Guidance

A Parent's Guide to Special Education in Connecticut has been updated!

A Parent's Guide to Special Education in Connecticut has been updated in English and Spanish! Click on the link below to access the guide.

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Special-Education/Parents_Guide_SE.pdf

¡Se ha actualizado la Guía para padres sobre educación especial en Connecticut en inglés y español! Haga clic en el enlace de abajo para acceder a la guía.

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Special-Education/parents_guide_SE_span.pdf

Backpack Training Webinar Series

Each training is on the second Wednesday of the month
12:30-1:30pm
Register for the series here: https://bit.ly/2Xnq4wW

10/13/21
Routines and Schedules: How to Help Your Child Transition Smoothly Between Places and Activities - How to Help Your Child Have a Successful Morning & Bedtime

11/10/21
Routines and Schedules:
How to Help Your Child Manage Time and Understand Expectations - How to Use Visual Schedules to Help Your Child Understand Expectations

12/8/21
Emotions: How to Understand the Meaning of Your Child’s Challenging Behavior

1/12/22
Routines and Schedules: How to Plan Activities to Reduce Challenging Behavior

2/9/22
Emotions: How to Help Your Child Recognize & Understand Anger and Frustration

3/9/22
Teachable Moments: How to Help Your Child Avoid Meltdowns

4/13/22
Social Skills: How to Help Your Child Learn to Share, Trade and Take Turns

For questions or more information please contact us at 860-739-3089or email us at [email protected]

Presented By: Bethanne Vergean, Research Assistant, UConn Center forExcellence in Developmental Disabilities and Connecticut's Act EarlyAmbassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

» Backpack Learning Series

CSDE Announces Approval of All Local Education Agency (LEA) ESSER II Plans

(Hartford) – The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced that all 199 of Connecticut’s local education agencies (LEAs) have had their plans for the investment of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II Funding allocations approved by the CSDE.

 

“CSDE is so proud of the thoughtful, innovative efforts districts are pursuing as they invest these funds,” said State Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker. “We will continue to ensure the proper supports and guidance are in place to aid districts in their work to accelerate learning, engage families and communities, ensure the well-being of students and school staff, and employ the strategic use of technology.”

 

Earlier this year, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) received an additional $492,426,458 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds. 90 percent of these funds, approximately $443 million, was allocated directly to LEAs. A sample of initiatives aligned with the state-level priorities outlined for ESSER II funding that are already underway in districts includes:


Academic Supports, Learning Loss, Learning Acceleration and Recovery

·  Providing university interns with stipends to serve as tutors (Bridgeport)

·  Coordinating with their Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) to establish priority standards and curricular goals in English and math and provide staff with professional learning (Union)

·  Providing flexible course offerings and additional academic support for middle school and high school (Hartford)

Family and Community Connections

·  Procuring a secure platform for two-way school-to-home communication (Danbury)

·  Instituting a Parent Academy that will focus on the role of parental involvement in education and how families can support their children’s academic success at home (Salem)

·  Hiring a Family Liaison who will support and coordinate increased parental engagement in individual schools and at the district-level (Area Cooperative Educational Services)

School Safety and Social-Emotional Well-being of the “Whole Student” and of our School Staff

·  Partnering with a local non-profit to provide all staff with Mental Health First Aid training (Wolcott)

·  Offering extended day opportunities for students to access mental health and social-emotional supports, digital or in-person (Ridgefield)

·  Partnering with their RESC’s Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services to develop a three-year roadmap focused on mitigating achievement and opportunity gaps and supporting student social-emotional learning and wellness (Griswold)

Remote Learning, Staff Development, and the Digital Divide

·  Installing and training staff on the use of interactive display panels to increase collaborative learning and student engagement (Region 16)

·  Purchasing laptops for students to facilitate learning (Litchfield)

·  Providing targeted professional development for staff on use of technology in the classroom (Kent)

Ensuring Accountability

The CSDE is committed to ensuring the federal relief funds are properly used to serve our school community and has set up a thorough accountability process. Every district has been assigned a CSDE program manager who is responsible for monitoring the grant and ensuring that expenditures align with the activities in their approved application. If an LEA wants to change their application, they must go through a formal revision process, and the change must be approved prior to their being given access to the funds for the new purpose. Currently, 56 districts are undergoing the revision process based on internal evaluation that concluded in changing needs.

The initiatives outlined above do not encompass all of the innovative work underway across Connecticut. Anyone can access individual LEA ESSER II applications and the amount each district was allocated by following the directions entitled “Instructions for Public Access to eGMS” on the CSDE Electronic Grants Management System (eGMS) homepage.  Questions about individual LEA plans should be directed to local district officials.

Next STEPS Parent Leadership Training ONLINE, Fall 2021

Next STEPS will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning October 12th, through November 30th, 2021. Each session begins promptly at 6:00 pm.
For more information or questions about the application process, please call the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center at (860) 739-3089 or email Lisa at [email protected]

» Next STEPS Fall 2021

New Guidance Reaffirms Importance of Full Implementation of IDEA Amidst COVID-1

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) sent a letter to its state and local partners reiterating its commitment to ensuring children with disabilities and their families have successful early intervention and educational experiences in the 2021–2022 school year.

This letter outlines a series of question and answers (Q&As) as children and students return to in-person learning. The Q&As focus on topics to help ensure that — regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic or the mode of instruction — children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and that infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services.  

The Q&As document on Child Find Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is the first Q&A in the series and reaffirms the importance of appropriate implementation of IDEA’s child find obligations, which requires the identification, location and evaluation, of all children with disabilities in the states. An effective child find system is an ongoing part of each state’s responsibility to ensure that FAPE is made available to all eligible children with disabilities.

Read the Press Release 

Read the Letter to OSERS State and Local Partners

Read the Q&A on Child Find Under Part B of IDEA

Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
July 26, 2021
Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA:
A Resource to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families
Introduction
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for schools in meeting the needs of all children and students in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. These challenges will continue as schools and public agencies1 seek to ensure support and equity for children and students experiencing the long-term adverse health effects of COVID-19, commonly referred to as long COVID.

» OCR Factsheet Long Covid

A Message from the ARC of Connecticut:

Good Morning:

In order to expand access to the Covid-19 vaccine, special clinics, home visits, and other accommodations for individuals with behavioral, sensory or psychiatric conditions have been made available in Connecticut.

Anyone who needs an accommodation for a behavioral, sensory, or psychiatric condition may contact Walter Glomb, Director, Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities via email at [email protected] or via telephone (860) 418 – 6157.

Individuals may also use the State’s Homebound Intake Form (https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/homebound) to request an accommodation. These forms are forwarded by the State to local health departments. The CT Council on Developmental Disabilities has notified local health departments that individuals with developmental disabilities may use the form to request an accommodation.

We hope you find this information helpful. Thank you.

NEWLY RELEASED: CONNECTICUT STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION UPDATES: ACCELERATECT

The Connecticut State Department of Education has released two new documents: AccelerateCT: Connecticut's Framework for Accelerating Educational Opportunity and Access and Guidance Regarding Special Education Recovery for Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. See both documents below:
» AccelerateCT Framework
» Guidance for Students with IEPs

CONNECTICUT IS WORKING TO STRENGTHEN STUDENT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS

As part of the process of strengthening student social and emotional skills, the CT State Department of Education has obtained a nationally recognized Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) assessment system called the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). The DESSA is a strengths-based social and emotional screening and assessment tool. For more information see the information document below and visit the Aperture-Connecticut Webpage here.
» DESSA

EARLY INTERVENTION OVER THREE

A new executive order allows parents of young children who turn 3 on or after May 21st to choose to have their child continue to receive early intervention services through Birth to Three until the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. For more information see the document below, visit the Birth to Three website here, and watch this informational video.
» EIS Over 3

CT STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (CSDE) RELEASES IMMUNIZATION GUIDANCE

The CSDE released guidance regarding Public Act 21-6, "An Act Concerning Immunizations". Please see below for more information.
» Guidance Immunizations

CT STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR REMOTE LEARNING

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released Interim Guidance for Remote Learning, 2021-2022 School YearThe guidance stresses the importance of in-person education and removes the requirement for school districts to provide all students access to remote learning at the request of the student/family. 

It is important to note that legal obligations to provide accommodations on an individualized basis are not changed by this guidance as reflected by the following notation at the end of the document: “Our school communities are reminded that any standards, and this guidance, do not change any of the school district’ existing legal obligations to provide accommodations on an individualized basis, which may include the use of remote education options. This also has no impact on requirements to provide homebound and hospitalized instruction to special education students who are unable to attend school due to a verified medical reason. Homebound and hospitalized instruction, pursuant to state law, should not be confused with instruction in the home, which is an articulated placement on the continuum of educational placements outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Such placement would occur as the result of a PPT [Planning and Placement Team] recommendation that instruction in the home provides the student with FAPE [Free Appropriate Public Education] in the least restrictive environment and would be reflected in the student’s IEP.”



DRCT Shares Updated Fact Sheet on Expanded Eligibility to Age 22

On July 10, 2020, the Court, in the class action lawsuit A.R. v. Connecticut State Board of Education, decided that the State of Connecticut must continue special education eligibility to students with disabilities until their 22nd birthday. 

If you are or your child is receiving special education services and the school district is exiting you or your child from special education before your 22nd birthday, please read this fact sheet from Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) below and/or reach out for more information. Contact DRCT at (860) 297-4300 or CPAC at (860) 739-3089.

» DRCT Fact Sheet
» DRCT Fact Sheet - Español

JUST RELEASED: REVISED PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE!

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE), has revised the Procedural Safeguards Notice (March 2021 Edition) and made it available on the CSDE website in English and Spanish. Districts have been asked to begin using this updated version beginning March 31, 2021. 

The documents can also be found on the state's website on their Special Education Legal and Due Process Resources Page

IDEA Part B Grant Annual State Application

The Connecticut Department of Education has posted the Annual State Application Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004 for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY 21) available for public inspection through May 2, 2021.  

This application contains assurances that Connecticut is in compliance with the IDEA Reauthorization of 2004, thus making Connecticut eligible for federal financial assistance.  The application also contains a description of the use of federal funds that the state receives from the IDEA Part B grant for administrative and other state activities. Visit the CT State Department of Education website for more information.

Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) - How to File a Complaint

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a technical assistance videoHow to File a Complaint, to help parents, families, students, and stakeholders better understand how they can file a complaint with OCR. This resource provides clear and concise direction on how an individual may bring incidents of potential discrimination to the attention of OCR and includes information on deadlines, ways to provide the required information to OCR, and potential outcomes of complaint investigations.

UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities needs to hear from families of young children (aged Birth to 5) so they can understand their needs during the COVID -19 pandemic and what they might need when this is all over as we all recover from these challenges. Connecticut is the recipient of a grant that will focus on the resiliency of very young children and their families. Your help in filling out this survey will help CT providers have better tools, materials and programs to help meet the needs identified in this survey of CT families. We hope you will take the two minutes it will take to fill out the survey to help serve families in CT. Thank you for your time and help.
» Provide Feedback

Updated Guidance Regarding A.R. v. CT State Board of Education

A recent memorandum from the Connecticut State Board of Education contains important information related to school districts’ responsibilities related to the June 10, 2020 United States District Court ruling that extended student’s IDEA eligibility, who have not received a regular high school diploma, until their 22nd birthday.
» Download Guidance Update

Return to Learning Playlist to Communicate for Students and Families

This playlist can prepare students and families for the return to learning by engaging in flexible, online and offline resources provided by three CSDE partners; CT Public Television, Wide Open School and Yale University Department.
» Download Flyer

Frequently Asked Questions re Covid-19

For Families: Frequently Asked Questions About Special Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
CPAC compiled this document with the most frequently asked questions from families at this time. The document will be updated as new information becomes available.
» Download Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Informational update for week three of school closure

As we begin the third week of statewide school classroom closure, here is some updated information:

Continued Educational Opportunities and Special Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bryan Klimkiewicz, Special Education Division Director for the CT Department of Education has released new guidance to school districts related to the provision of special education during this health emergency. Please note that it is a working document and will be updated regularly as things change. CPAC will be discussing this guidance with Bryan online on Friday. Check in to our facebook page for updates on timing. In the meantime, please feel free to send any questions you may have to [email protected] and we will do our best to get you answers. Our parent consultants are also available at (860) 739-3089. Be well.
» Guidance Presentation re Covid-19

COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Update

COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel. Please visit the U.S. Department of Education website for the latest updates and resources: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus.

For the latest from the Connecticut check https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus for important and up-to-date information on Connecticut's response efforts in regard to COVID-19.

CPAC is Requesting Your Feedback

Have your voice heard!
As Connecticut’s Parent Training and Information (PTI) Center we are here to serve families with children with disabilities, youth with disabilities, and professionals in the field by offering a variety of services. We regularly ask for feedback regarding the services we provide so we are sure that we are meeting the needs of families, youth, and professionals in Connecticut. Please complete the following four question survey and have your voice heard at the CPAC planning table. Results are anonymous. We thank you for your support!
» Take the survey in English
» Take the survey in Spanish

Bristol, Spring 2020

THE NEXT STEPS TRAINING WILL BE HELD ONLINE ON TUESDAY EVENINGS BEGINNING MARCH 17TH, THROUGH MAY 12TH, 2020. EACH SESSION BEGINS PROMPTLY AT 6:00 P.M. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION IS MARCH 15. APPLICATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL AND PARTICIPATION AT ALL EIGHT SESSIONS IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS, PLEASE CALL THE CONNECTICUT PARENT ADVOCACY CENTER AT (860) 739-3089 OR EMAIL LISA AT [email protected].
Download the flyer for this series

Stress: Family Caregivers of Children with Disabilities by Bureau Bulletin

Family caregivers play an essential role within the national health care system. Read this important brief from the Collaboratory on School and Child Health regarding stress and family caregivers.
Read the brief

Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP)

The goal of the Connecticut Family School Partnerships (CFSP) is to improve student social, emotional and academic outcomes through strong family, school, and community partnerships.
CPAC has partnered with the African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP), Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and State Education Resource Center (SERC) to form this Statewide Family Engagement Center.
Visit the ct-fsp.org website

New Guidance on Timelines for Evaluations

The Bureau of Special Education is issuing updated guidance on the timeline for initial special education evaluations in the state of Connecticut. The December 21, 2018 guidance memorandum titled Timelines for Initial Evaluation is rescinded and effective immediately is being replaced with the following: This guidance is being issued to clarify the requirements for the initial evaluation timeline. Conducting timely evaluations is an integral part of our commitment to each student’s right to a free and appropriate public education.
Download the updated guidance

Education Committee Roundtable on Equity in Special Education

The Education Committee held a roundtable to discuss equity in special education. CPAC was invited to be part of this important conversation.
Watch the discussion here.
Watch the discussion here

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