2023-24 Communications

Communications for the 2023-2024 School Year

September 2023

1) August 23, 2023 New Teacher Training Slide Show (pdf)
2) 2023-2024 Back to School Special Education Training Slideshow (pdf)

November 2023
1) Child Count Memo from Special Education Director Jessa Cook (pdf)

11/14/23 Communication and Advisory Committee Meeting Slide Show (pdf)

1) CAC: What is CAC? The Communication and Advisory Council has a representative from every  building in our Coop.  This group meets twice a year- one in person, one virtual.  Please make a plan to share this information with building staff.

2) ASD & Behavior Consultants: Jill Pring- Barnum, Carlton, Hermantown, Moose Lake, NLA, Proctor and Willow River.  Mike Cohen- Cloquet, Cromwell, Esko, Lake Superior, McGregor and Wrenshall. Overview of Service Model.

3) Presence Learning Psychologists: Wrenshall (Naydne), Moose Lake (Jason), Proctor (Naydne), Lake Superior (Steven and Clare), Barnum (Rachel and Jason), Willow River (Amy), Carlton (Jason).  They can provide evaluation assessments, meet with the team for planning, or attend CST’s.

4) SpEd Forms History Folders: This is a new option to organize finalized documents into folders (by year). History files will remain indefinitely, even if organized into folders.  If the student transfers in or out of the Coop, the folders will disappear, but finalized documents remain. Short clip here (no audio).

5) SpEd Forms New ER Template: If the previous ER is finalized, pick a new local template.  NLSEC School Psychologists have created several templates. Short clip here (no audio).

6) NLSEC AT Lending Library: New way to view NLSEC lending library.  Contact a NLSEC AT Team member to check out an item for 6 weeks.

7) December 1 Child Count: Connect with your MARSS Coordinator to compare students’ IEP data with their system. Service start date is 14 days after the date on the PWN.  Students with expired IEPs or ER, or not receiving special education services on Dec 1 will not be counted.

8) The Golden Thread:  The golden thread is the progression through the cycle of the IEP connecting the data to tell the student’s story. Evaluations should be comprehensive and help identify strengths, weaknesses and unique learning needs. Includes consideration of DAPE and AT. Resources: Auditory Processing, Executive Functioning, Long Term Retrieval, Processing Speed, Working Memory, Fluid Reasoning

9) Waived Evaluations:  Working on updating language from “skipped” to “waived”. 

10) Corrective Actions File Review: For 2022-23 focus was secondary transition. Five districts with corrections, Jess Knutsen is working with districts this school year.  Focus for 23-24 is Progress Reporting.  Progress reporting should be completed at the same intervals for students on IEPs as general education peers. 

11) Release of Information: In SpEd Forms, there is a release of Information found under Other Forms and Logs.  Though local clinics require date ranges.  Essentia and St. Lukes have their own forms.

12) Legal Insights: Following the due process rights as explained in forms, notices, IEP’s is important.  Phrase to consider, “if not documented, it didn’t happen”.  Other key areas in IEP should be considered such as ESY, extra-curricular activities, field trips, AT, etc. Record retention reminders that only those that need to know or provide direct services should have access to students files. Record retention is to age 29.  Health records should be stored in the nurse's office.

13) Title 1 and special ed instruction: Title 1 is available to all learners with an identified need. Title 1 services cannot supplant SpEd, but it can supplement it.

14) ADSIS and special ed instruction: A student that receives special education instruction in math, cannot receive ADSIS math support.  But they could receive ADSIS reading support as long as it does not result in increased costs for the program.

15) CPI updates: Mike Cohen new CPI trainer! Refresher training is currently version 2.0, but will be transitioning to 3.0 next school year. NLSEC potential training dates are December 2023 and February 2024. MDE guidance is once you have been trained in CPI, you’ve been trained.  Refresher not required, but encouraged. In the future, the NLSEC will keep records for district certification cycles.

16) Restrictive Procedures:  Use of physical holding or seclusion is in an emergency situation. Our NLSEC Coop does not have a seclusion room. Jessa reports to state restrictive procedures.  If a hold happens, meet as a team to discuss questions, “Was hold a result of an emergency? Does the team notice a pattern of behavior? What is the plan to minimize the need for holds in the future?” Remember to fill out the Physical Hold form and Staff Debrief in SpEd Forms, save and finalize.

17) TSES: Total Special Education Systems Manual (TSES) include the Restrictive Procedures, located on NLSEC website.  District websites link back to these documents.  The TSES and Restrictive Procedures will be updated this school year once new oversight committee members have been identified.

18) Non-Exclusionary Discipline: Schools cannot dismiss any pupil without attempting to use non exclusionary disciplinary policies. No dismissal for students in K-3.

19) Disproportionality: MN districts identified with disproportionate data for suspension/expulsion for children with IEPs and disproportionate representation of racial or ethnic groups identified as needing special education services will need to complete a self-review of policies and procedures. 

20) ECSE MARSS Changes: No more HK, membership and attendance records are no longer needed for all students in Kindergarten.

21) Child Outcome Summaries (COS): ECSE Teams are in process of submitting data for the COS for students at key points in the ECSE process

22) Secondary Transition Reminders: Starting in 9th grade, secondary transition needs to be addressed. Two transition assessments are required (informal ok). Resource Tool. Remember to invite outside agencies to IEP Meetings. Students should be invited as well (required). Flyers: WBL, Options for WBL, VRS, Bridge to Success

23) MN Inclusive Higher Education Consortium & Lake Superior College: Lake Superior College is in the process of setting up a fully inclusive initiative for students with intellectual disabilities. Access to academic coursework.

24) Mentoring Day:  March 11, 2024 at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

25) Woodcock Johnson training: December 1st 9am-1pm at St. Lukes Sports and Event Center.

26) Literacy for Low Incidence Populations:  Quote: “No one is too anything to learn to read and write - not too intellectually, emotionally, neurologically, or physically challenged to learn to read and write; to become literate” (Yoder, 2001).  Emergent or Conventional reader? Conventional: look to the science of reading; Emergent: look at early childhood literacy. Resources: Comprehensive Literacy for All, Science of Reading Defining Guide 

27) Next CAC meeting will be Feb 27, 2024 Virtually

February 2024

2/27/24 Communication and Advisory Committee Slideshow

1) Paraprofessional Training: Keynote panel a big hit! 18 sessions, 94 Paraprofessionals attended

2) Northern Lights Academy Update: Facilities bill in legislation - if funding comes through looking at options for sites, CPI Training is primary and 2 days of training, Ukera is a non-crisis intervention program. If staff renewed this year (23-24), will the 2 days be required in the fall?  Answer No.

3) READ Act for SpEd Teachers: This initiative came about because kids are not proficient in reading. This act focuses on training teachers in the science of reading and focuses on students reading at or above grade level every year. Training option determined by district, options: LETRS, CAREI or CORE .

4) Vision/Hearing Screening Prior to Evaluation: Screening should be conducted prior to beginning an evaluation.  Doesn’t have to be reviewed if they have a documented hearing loss (already seeing D/HH).

5) Related Services: Goals and Service Models: A related service is not a primary special education service.  Students must demonstrate a need for spec ed instruction -and- demonstrate a need for supplementary support services. Therapist is responsible for working with the team to identify goals for the student.

6) MCA/MTAS: For students with the most significant needs. Resources: Eligibility Requirements for MTAS, MDE - MTAS Participation, MCA Parent Fact Sheet, MTAS Parent Fact Sheet

7) WBL on IEP’s: Please document on IEP - could be on PLAAFP, Course of Study, Transition Services and/or Goals/objectives, Services page or Transportation.  Also, invite WBL Coordinators and VRS Counselors to the IEP meeting.

8) ESY Reminders:  ESY decided annually at IEP using data.  Use the flowchart to help determine eligibility.  Parents can choose whether to send their student to ESY.  ESY is not summer school.

9) Considering Assistive Technology:  Please remember to consider AT at every IEP.  This could be a short discussion or more depending on the student.  Resources: NLSEC SETT document, NLSEC AT Website, AT Select Website

10) Gen Ed Teachers at IEP MeetingsCompanion Guide Agenda, Gen Ed teachers are a critical role as an IEP Team member. Discuss with them ahead of time items want to cover at IEP meetings. Share insights and recommendations regarding what is and is not effective for the student to make progress.

11) Non Public School Students/Homeschool: Students attending non-public schools may receive special education services through “shared time” arrangements with public schools. Districts are required to provide FAPE if eligible (making progress towards IEP goals), responsible for comprehensive evaluation, districts can make a determination of what services will be offered and location of services.

12) NED and Restrictive Procedures: MN Statute 121A.425 Disciplinary dismissals prohibited.  Nonexclusionary discipline must include one of the following: collaborating with family or other community based support person, creating a written plan with the parent or guardian, providing a referral for needed support services. 

13) Dispute Resolution Process: If there is disagreement after an IEP meeting, discuss with the Coordinator and narrow down the area of concern. MN Dispute Resolution Options.

14) Q&A
-Why don’t NLSEC Case manage? Organizational chart 
-SpEd Forms code for DNQ (K-12)? In setup - Uncheck Active, Status 1 and Status Exit Code 99
-When changing from a DD category to a categorized disability - Initial Eval or Re-eval?  Reeval with initial criteria
-MA Billing Training:  Stay tuned.  MA logs can be scanned and emailed to Tamie
-BIP or PBSP? Team decision, requirement is that a plan is needed
-How many observations are required for different categories in an initial eval? Refer to the criteria checklist.  If looking at multiple categories (i.e. OHD and SLD) will one observation suffice?  It will depend on the situation. Can the data collected in one sitting provide all data? Having two settings is encouraged.
-Can Paras do observations for evaluation? No!
-Can districts request a facilitated meeting? Technically yes - but mostly we try to problem solve even before facilitation, even before conciliation.

15) Student Attendance Scenarios: 
-Day Treatment (i.e. Merritt, Chester Creek): usually in Duluth area, district in which program is located provides spec ed services
-Autism Center (i.e. MAC, Northway): no education component in these programs, students may attend half day at center/half home, or full day at center and un-enroll at home district
-Online K-12 Public School: student un-enrolls at home district and online school provides all spec ed services
-Homeschool: procedures are same for all non-public schools; district in which the non-public or homeschool is located provides all spec ed services
-Home-based: student placed by IEP for various reasons, not intended to be long term
-Homebound: Provision of spec ed services in the home due to confinement per doctor orders, written document from doctor required and obtained annually

16) SpEd Forms updates:  Consider using the Communication log in SpEd Forms. Updates: Spell Check is back, Top of IEP has better navigation (breadcrumbs), IEP Services -frequency added “every other day”, Progress Report and ESY Progress Report in 2.0.

17) SpEd Forms Evaluation Templates: Local eval templates were developed by the School Psychologists. These can be updated, but not customized for each district.

18) ECSE Update: The Department of Child Families and Youth (DCYF) will be designated as a lead agency for ensuring requirements of Part C are met MDE Memo 2/1/24

19) Caseload Analysis Process: District/building administrator can request a workload/caseload analysis from NLSEC team, information is compiled and given to administrators, NLSEC not a part of staffing decisions

20) Special Ed Caseload vs Workload: Caseload numbers are not reflective of the total workload of a special education teacher. Student needs and teacher workload tasks should be considered when determining appropriate staffing levels.

21) Mentoring Day Website: March 11, 2024 at FDLTCC 8:45-1:45 with 4 breakout sessions plus a career fair. Teacher/para registration

22) Upcoming Secondary Transition Events: March 12th Construct Tomorrow at DECC; April 5th College for a day at Lake Superior College registration, In the works: Northwoods Technical College and Tour of Ironworkers, Carpentry Union and Pipefitters.

23) Summary of Performance/Graduation: Due Process Requirements, 18-22 Protocol, Summary of Performance

24) Monitoring Compliance Update 2024-25: IDC (Indicator Data Collection) record review randomly selects a district. The TRR (Topical Record Review) for NLSEC is in the Fall of 2024, focus on periodic review and progress reporting

25) MDE Progress ReportingHow to Write Progress Reports, Compliance Check Part B, Compliance Check Part C

26) NLSEC Request for Training: submitted by an Administrator

CAC Participant Question Responses
Participant Questions From CAC meeting on 2/27/24 with responses

1) Will we hear back about a referral to NLA and is there communication about the waitlist?
-Work to submit information with your coordinator to make sure that NLA referral documents get submitted. There are no notifications sent out about waitlists - but you can work with coordinators to find out this information. At times NLA staff ability to communicate back directly with the school district is extremely limited - it is important to have communication go directly through coordinators.

2) Will I need to recertify for CPI in the fall with the new version if I have already completed training?
-If you have current CPI certification - you are not required to update in the fall.

3) Is there a plan for Early Childhood Setting IV?
-Early Childhood Setting IV continues to be a conversation at the administrative level. There is not an update to provide at this time.

4) Is there an option for partial day enrollment at NLA?
-NLA provides setting IV support for students as a part of the continuum of service. Enrollment to NLA is an IEP team placement decision - there is not a partial day enrollment at NLA.

5) Can NLA staff come to meet with families before a referral is made?
-NLA staff do not have the capacity for pre-meetings. The intake meeting prior to a student starting at NLA is a team decision and a place where parents can ask questions and find out more about the programming at NLA. Parents can also tour NLA prior to a student starting there. The special education coordinator should be involved leading up to and prior to a referral to NLA. During this time period, parents should be included in discussions about NLA and what it entails.

6) Must the communication notes be printed and put in the cumulative folder?
-It is recommended and best practice to keep a log of communication with parents, but whether you keep them all in sped forms or print them and put them in the cumulative folder, is at the discretion of the district. If you are keeping your logs in digital format, be prepared to print them if needed so make sure these notes are objective and informative.
-It’s ok to keep your own notes separately for personal use, but if you keep them longer than a school year--or if you share with staff--it becomes property of the district and permanent record of the student. If that is not your intention, shred any notes at the end of the school year.

7) Can there be a creation of a dual disability template? Such as EBD/SLD?
-Dual disability templates are not recommended. It is best practice to complete a comprehensive evaluation addressing all areas of student need. In addition, the combination of possible dual or triple disability templates would be extensive.