Keynote for Beat the Heat 2018: Ruby’s Rainbow

We are happy to welcome Liz Plachta and Mark Hublar from Ruby’s Rainbow! 

This year’s keynote will cover the spectrum from elementary to adulthood! Ruby’s Rainbow is a scholarship program for adults with Down Syndrome to attend post-secondary education programs. This means access to college and other opportunities for lifelong learning. The keynote presentation will cover what access and inclusion can look like from earliest childhood all the way into advanced adulthood. No matter who you teach, where you teach, or what you teach, this exciting session is a must-see!

Liz Plachta

Liz is the executive director and co-founder of Ruby’s Rainbow. She launched this program in an effort to raise the standards for people with Down Syndrome, knowing that one day her daughter Ruby will be graduating from high school and looking for opportunities to continue learning. She will share stories from her life and her work, along with success stories from schools and communities in Texas and beyond.

Mark Hublar

Mark was a Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship recipient and attended Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a public speaker for many years, sharing his story about growing up with an intellectual disability and his vision to “Aim High and Dream Big.”  His awards include “Citizen of the Year” award by Down Syndrome of Louisville, “Star Award” from Down syndrome Indiana, and “Local Hero Award” awarded by New Albany Parks Department. There’s a lot to say about Mark’s many accomplishments, but he says it best: “My goal is to become a successful spokesperson for individuals with disabilities, and help everyone to have a full time job and a full time life.”

We look forward to welcoming Liz and Mark to Beat the Heat!

2018 STAAR Online Testing Issues

 

The Commissioner has addressed the online testing issues experienced in April and again in May.

In April, the event impacted students taking the grades 5 and 8 mathematics, 4 and 7 writing and English I tests.  In May, the event primarily impacted students taking the grades 3-8 reading test.

During the April 2018 administration of STAAR, 41,702 students were testing online.  Of the 278,434 tested students served in special education, 14,673 were testing online and were impacted.

During the May 2018 administration of STAAR, approximately 29,307 students encountered a connectivity slowdown of approximately 90 minutes. Of the 278,434 tested students served in special education, 4,594 were testing online and were impacted.

Waiving SSI Requirements for Students Impacted by the Online Testing Issues

Students in grades 5 and 8 who were directly affected by either of the online testing issues above and who did not perform satisfactorily on the May 2018 assessment, will not be required to retest during the June 2018 SSI administration.

Districts should determine, on an individual student basis, whether accelerated instruction should be offered for students who did not pass the assessment in May. For the 2017–2018 school year, districts are not required to convene grade placement committees based on results from the affected subject test. Instead, districts should use local discretion and all relevant and available academic information (e.g., the recommendation of the teacher and the student’s grade in each subject) to make appropriate promotion/retention decisions for these students.

The complete press release can be found here: To The Administrator Addressed .

For additional information contact your campus or district testing coordinator.

 

 

 

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, No Problem!

Help get your General Education teachers and staff ready to work with students who have a hearing loss.

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, No Problem will address the needs of children in the general education setting who have a hearing loss and utilize hearing aids, cochlear implants, or bone anchored hearing systems.

The goal of this workshop is to prepare general education teachers and staff to understand the impact of hearing loss on the acquisition of language and learning. We will discuss effective classroom strategies, accommodations, assistive technology and interpreter use.

June 15, 2018 Workshop SU1839296 Register now!

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, No Problem!

Teacher Access to the STAAR Student Portal

Now teachers can access the STAAR Student Portal, which was launched last summer by TEA as a tool to provide parents quick access to their student’s STAAR results. In addition to test results the portal also provides parents information such as:

  • Year-over-year growth information
  • Individual student responses to actual test items
  • Student expectations covered by the items
  • Wrong answer rationales

TEA created sample logins so teachers can explore the portal for themselves. The logins can be found in the Student Portal Generic Credentials for STAAR Grades 5 and 8 document.

Teachers who want to use the tool for planning immediate remediation can work with district testing coordinators who are authorized to provide item responses for each student in the teacher’s classroom.

To begin exploring the portal go to TexasAssessment.com. If you have questions or need more information please call TEA’s Student Assessment Division at (512) 463-9536.

Note: Since the portal includes real test content that has not been released yet, educators should not duplicate or disseminate any test items until they are formally released by TEA in August.

 

Announcing the Region 13 Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Professional Learning Community (PLC)!

 

Are you looking for a way to transform your teaching and your students’ learning?

Submit your application to join the Region 13 Universal Design for Learning Professional Learning Community!  This PLC is designed to provide cohort members with an understanding of the UDL framework, knowledge and resources to support UDL implementation, and individualized learning opportunities to address campus needs.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for creating an approach to your instruction based on principles that allow all students to have access to the general education curriculum. Using a proactive approach to remove learning barriers by considering the natural variability of how students learn, UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials and assessments to help optimize learning.

In addition, knowledge and implementation of UDL supports ESSA’s endorsement of UDL, enhances our connections to the student-centered focus of our appraisal systems, and provides a way to plan for social and emotional variability.

The UDL PLC application process is simple!  Just complete pages 3 and 4 of the application and submit it electronically by 5:00 PM on June 15, 2018.  To submit the application or for more information contact Kim West at kim.west@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5314.

Toward Dignity and Opportunity: Dr. Michael Wehmeyer at Beat the Heat

Photo of Dr. Michael Wehmeyer

Region 13 is thrilled to announce that Dr. Michael Wehmeyer will be presenting at this year’s Beat the Heat conference in June! Why are we thrilled? Well . . .

He’s kind of a big deal . . .

Dr. Wehmeyer is a Distinguished Professor in Special Education with the Beach Center on Disability at University of Kansas, and has been a leader in the field of special education for over 30 years. His work includes a focus on transition planning for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He has written or contributed to countless books, articles, and other resources to promote understanding and application of self-determination skills to increase independence, communication, and connection for students with disabilities.

It’s kind of a big topic . . .

Self-determination has been a focus of special education for decades, as it has been shown to increase positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. In June 2017, Senate Bill 748 was signed into law requiring schools to provide supplementary aids, services, curricula, and other opportunities to assist the student in developing decision-making skills… and supports and services to foster the student’s independence and self-determination” beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Schools must provide these resources “as appropriate” for each student, individualizing according to each student’s needs and strengths, regardless of their support needs.

On June 21st, Dr. Wehmeyer will be hosting a full day presentation on Self-Determination for Individuals with Significant Disabilities. This is a great chance to receive resources for teaching self-determination skills in your classroom straight from the source: the distinguished speaker who *literally* wrote the book on it.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the leaders in the field of transition planning for students with disabilities!  Register for the 2018 Beat the Heat conference now!

BTH 2018 WEBSITE
http://bit.ly/BTH18

Maker Faire @ Beat the Heat 2018

beat the heat, every child matters logo

When we say “maker,” you say “faire!” Why do our teachers and paraeducators love the maker faire at Beat the Heat? So many reasons; here’s a few:

  • Items are tied to content from sessions participants have just attended
  • Activities address functional and academic areas/skills
  • Items are designed to be engaging and span grade bands
  • Instruction templates include why the activity is beneficial to students, how to make it, instructions for use, application to adulthood, making it meaningful extensions, and additional resources
  • Serves as a networking, problem solving, and interactive brain break station

Here are ideas of what’s to come…

  • make a repetitive line nursery rhyme book with an unexpected twist adding environmental print
  • self-determination folder “games”
  • ten frame math puzzle activity
  • “active learning” interactive wrist bands
  • portable behavioral supports as pictured below
  • and MORE

We hope to see you there! For details and registration information please visit the BTH 2018 WEBSITE http://bit.ly/BTH18.

 

Calling All LID Literacy Leaders! Submit Your Applications Today for Region 13’s 2018-19 Literacy Leaders Professional Learning Community (PLC)!

It’s that time again! We are now accepting applications for the 2018-19 LID Literacy Leaders Professional Learning Community (PLC)!  This is a great opportunity for special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, and relevant related service providers to learn more about teaching literacy to students with significant and/or multiple disabilities.

This past year, we had 14 amazing teams from  six districts across Region 13 come together for six face-to-face workshops, where they received literacy instruction based on the Four Blocks Literacy Model.  Participants learned how to implement Shared Predictable Chart Writing, Shared and Guided Reading, Word Work, Self-Selected Reading, and Writing using the First Author Writing Curriculum, which all teams received at no cost.  Teachers also learned about the importance of giving students access to appropriate Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) supports and the role AAC plays in success in literacy for students with significant cognitive and/or multiple disabilities. After implementing strategies learned in the PLC, teams reported greater student engagement and confidence during literacy activities.  Teachers stated that students who once resisted writing became self-identified authors who were eager to share their work in the “Author’s chair!”

Example of an “Author’s Chair”;  Allesandra Ciarlo from Round Rock ISD proudly displays one of her class-created books based on their Shared Predictable Chart Writing lessons. 

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday May 16th, 2018.  To access and complete the application and for more information, including PLC description, requirements and cost, please follow the link below.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 Literacy Leaders Professional Learning Community (PLC) 2018-19

“No child is too anything to be able to read and write.” David Yoder (2000)

For more information, please contact Region 13 Education Specialist, Jennifer Russell, at jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net.

Active Learning Expert Patricia Obrzut @ Beat the Heat 2018!

On June 21st, the first day of Beat the Heat 2018Patricia Obrzut, MS, OTR/L will present a full day session: Active Learning: Given the Opportunity, Any Child Can Learn! Active learning, an innovative approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, emphasizes that all individuals learn best by active participation.  For students with multiple disabilities, active participation is achieved by creating an enriched environment that fosters independent and appropriate developmental learning.

Join Patty as she discusses the principles of the Active Learning approach, and how to increase students’ functional independence and developmental skills while reducing stereotypical, self-injurious or aggressive behaviors.

On Day 2 (June 22nd), she will provide 2 breakout sessions. The first, Promoting Comprehending Hands through Active Learning will focus on detailed Active Learning strategies emphasizing those fine motor skills typically achieved from birth to two years.  The second, Early Learning & Movement: An Active Learning Perspective will focus on how individuals with multiple special needs progress from reflexive and unintentional movements to intentional movements.

Patty is the Assistant Director at the Perickton Center for Blind Children, a private non-profit organization serving blind, special needs children ages 1-12 years.  Mr. Obrzut has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. She has been implementing programming for special need children since 1992.  In 2002 she received the permission of Dr. Lilli Nielsen to provide Active Learning educational trainings.  She is considered an expert in the use of Active Learning strategies, equipment, techniques, assessment tools, and curriculum.  We are excited to have her at this conference!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from an expert in Active Learning for students with multiple special needs!  Register for Workshop #SU1836780.  Patty’s full day session is not included in the BTH virtual conference

""Beat the Heat 2018
June 21-22, 2018
ESC Region 13
5701 Springdale Rd.
Austin, TX 78723

For more information and to see the complete conference schedule, visit our Beat the Heat Conference website.

Alright, Alright, ALL Write! Janet Sturm @ BEAT the HEAT!


Region 13 is thrilled to announce that First Author Writing Curriculum creator, Janet Sturm, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, will be presenting at this year’s Beat the Heat conference in June!

Dr. Sturm is a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Central Michigan University, and she has been working in general and special education classrooms for over 30 years. Her research and development work focuses on writing instruction for students with disabilities, computer-supported literacy, formative and summative assessments of beginning writers, classroom communication and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

On June 21st, Dr. Sturm will be doing a full day presentation (also being livestreamed) on teaching writing to students with significant intellectual and multiple disabilities.  She will also present a 90 minute breakout session on June 22nd.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the best writing instructors of students with disabilities in the nation!  Register for the 2018 Beat the Heat conference now!

BTH 2018 WEBSITE
http://bit.ly/BTH18