STAAR Alternate 2 Testing Window EXTENSION

Region 13’s ESC Testing Coordinator received this message today. Please share this news from TEA with all associated with the STAAR Alternate 2 administration.

To the District and ESC Testing Coordinator Addressed:

This communication is to inform you of the following update for the 2019 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) Alternate 2 administration.

Due to the concerns some districts have expressed about the new STAAR Alternate 2 registration and ordering process,  the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is extending the testing window to Friday, April 26, 2019. This extension should allow districts that received its materials orders late in the testing window to complete the STAAR Alternate 2 administration for all eligible students.

Districts that plan to use the testing window extension do not need to contact TEA or Pearson. If you have questions about this extension or STAAR Alternate 2, please call the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536. Thank you.

 

Texas Education Agency

Student Assessment Division

512-463-9536

*Your Region 13 contacts from the Special Education department for questions about the administration of the STAAR Alternate 2 are Jennifer Russell (jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net, 512-919-5206) and Darcy Schiller (darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net, 512-919-5224).

 

 

LSLS – Wear Orange TOMORROW, Oct 24th, to Support Bullying Prevention!

 

Together Against Bullying. UNITED for Kindness, Acceptance, and Inclusion.

Make it ORANGE and make it end! What are your true colors when it comes to showing that you believe that all youth should be safe from bullying? Come together in one giant ORANGE message of hope and support, WEAR AND SHARE ORANGE on Wednesday, October 24th, to color our nation, and even the world, visibly showing that our society believes that no child should ever experience bullying.

ORANGE provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity,” said Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of PACER Center. “Whether it’s hundreds of individuals at a school wearing ORANGE, store owners offering ORANGE products, or a community changing a landmark to ORANGE, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the supportive, universal message that bullying is never acceptable behavior.”

Read the history on Wikipedia, Unity Day sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center since 2011

Visit the Facebook album for highlights from Unity Day 2017

From PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center

Life Skills Educator? Join our Region 13 Google Community to connect with other Life Skills Educators across our Region and receive tips and resources from your Region 13 Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities Specialists!

Contact:  Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224.

 

LSLS – Bullying Prevention Part 3: Tips for Victims of Bullying

Excerpted and adapted from Dr. Lori Ernsperger’s book Recognize, Respond, Report: Preventing and Addressing Bullying of Students with Special Needs, the suggestions shared here will help teachers provide effective support for all kids, no matter which side of the bullying equation they’re on. This is a three-part blog. Part 1 included tips for students who are bystanders. Part 2 included tips for students exhibiting bullying behavior. Part 3 includes tips for students who are victims of bullying.

Part 3 is particularly useful for supporting students with disabilities, who are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their peers.)

Implement modifications and accommodations. These might include preferential seating on the bus, counseling services, increased supervision, speech and language therapy, and regular meetings with team members to ensure that protections from harassment and bullying are being used consistently and effectively.

Amend the IEP or 504 plan. Since so many students with disabilities are bullied, education teams should add the following to a student’s IEP or 504 plan: “If a student is vulnerable to bullying, the team will determine accommodations, services, and interventions that are needed to prevent bullying and obtain a FAPE.” Then, as a team, write measurable goals for teaching the student verbal and nonverbal social skills, self-management, emotion regulation, and self-advocacy skills.

Teach identifying/reporting skills. Ensure that students understand and master the skills for reporting bullying to an adult. Supervise and give feedback when you first teach new skills, and then fade your support over time. Try these structured, multimedia teaching methods:

  • Video modeling. Show students videos of appropriate verbal and nonverbal interactions and imitate the social-communication behavior of the model.
  • Role playing. Have students practice and dramatize social-communication skills in a controlled small group. (Videotape sessions to give students a chance to analyze the interactions and identify key skills.)
  • Scripting. Provide students with short, one- or two-sentence scripts that teach them what to say and do in social situations.
  • Social narratives. Give students clear descriptions of social situations, highlighted with visual icons and symbols to help guide appropriate behavior.
  • Self-monitoringTeach students to record their own behaviors and use a self-assessment to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors during a conflict

Build self-confidence. To empower students and reduce the long-term effects of bullying and harassment, focus on self-advocacy and self-determination. Help students recognize and build on their strengths, and work with them to set goals and pursue interests, hobbies, and activities. You might encourage students to participate in community-based activities (volunteering at a charity, tutoring younger children) to build their self-esteem while giving back to the community.

Check out this Stop Cyber Bullying Guide for tips on how to spot, report, and prevent cyberbullying.

From http://blog.brookespublishing.com/14-things-to-do-now-to-stop-bullying-in-its-tracks/

Life Skills Educator? Join our Region 13 Google Community to connect with other Life Skills Educators across our Region and receive tips and resources from your Region 13 Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities Specialists!

Contact:  Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224.

LSLS – Bullying Prevention Part 2: Tips for Students Exhibiting Bullying Behavior

Excerpted and adapted from Dr. Lori Ernsperger’s book Recognize, Respond, Report: Preventing and Addressing Bullying of Students with Special Needs, the suggestions shared here will help teachers provide effective support for all kids, no matter which side of the bullying equation they’re on. This is a three-part blog. Part 1 included tips for students who are bystanders. Part 2 includes tips for students exhibiting bullying behavior. Part 3 will include tips for students who are victims of bullying.

Model caring and respectful language. Don’t label students as “bullies.” When you model respect for all students, you discourage rejection of students who may exhibit aggressive behaviors.

Investigate the causes. There are many factors that can contribute to students exhibiting bullying behaviors. They may lack understanding of acceptable, age-appropriate social behaviors because of an intellectual disability or impairment of social-communication skills. They may have learned negative attention-seeking behaviors from their peers, or violent and aggressive behaviors from poor role models in their home life. A negative and unsupportive school climate may also be a contributing factor to bullying behaviors. Investigating and understanding the root causes of the bullying will help you choose appropriate solutions, from adjustments to the student’s IEP to a concerted effort to improve the school climate.

Use graduated consequences. In this model, students who exhibit bullying and harassment behaviors are held accountable for their actions, but harsh, zero-tolerance punishments aren’t doled out at the first offense (research shows they increase dropout rates and negatively impact the overall school climate). Rather, the consequences grow increasingly serious with repeated and egregious offenses. Dr. Ernsperger provides this example of what graduated consequences might look like:

  • Verbal reprimand or warning
  • Contract with the student to “cease and desist” and have no contact with the victim
  • Parent phone call to alert them of the incident
  • Conference with parent and teacher
  • Additional counseling or meetings with the administrator or school counselor
  • Alternative lunch detention or in-school lunch suspension
  • Student restitution/compensation for damaged items
  • Community service
  • Loss of extracurricular privileges
  • Before-or after-school detention
  • Referral to the school resource officer

Consider a referral for specialized services. Students who persist with bullying behaviors and don’t respond to traditional measures may have more severe psychological problems that require the expertise of a mental health professional. Cognitive behavior therapy, stress management interventions, and counseling to manage anger and aggression and can increase students’ coping skills and help them amend their thoughts and behavior.

From http://blog.brookespublishing.com/14-things-to-do-now-to-stop-bullying-in-its-tracks/

Life Skills Educator? Join our Region 13 Google Community to connect with other Life Skills Educators across our Region and receive tips and resources from your Region 13 Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities Specialists!

Contact:  Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224.

LSLS – October is National Bullying Prevention Month: Part 1 – Tips for Students Who are Bystanders

Excerpted and adapted from Dr. Lori Ernsperger’s book Recognize, Respond, Report: Preventing and Addressing Bullying of Students with Special Needs, the suggestions shared here will help teachers provide effective support for all kids, no matter which side of the bullying equation they’re on. This will be a three-part blog. Part 1 will include tips for students who are bystanders. Part 2 will include tips for students exhibiting bullying behavior. Part 3 will include tips for students who are victims of bullying.

For Bystanders:
Invest in or develop a bystander education program. Formal training will teach students how to intervene safely and appropriately when a peer is being bullied. Whether you buy a prepackaged program or develop a unique bystander education program, your most important goal is to ensure student safety and deter students from aggressive confrontation. A bystander protocol with simple, concrete steps (similar to the “stop, drop, and roll” fire safety) will help encourage safe student interventions on behalf of peers who are bullied.

Raise awareness of bullying. How does bullying start? How can you tell when a bullying incident is beginning? What are the verbal and nonverbal signs of aggression, power, and domination? Teach students to look out for and recognize words and actions that indicate a peer is being bullied. Identify helpful actions bystanders can take. Your bystander education program should teach students to recognize whether they can safely intervene or should immediately contact an adult or the authorities. If a student determines it’s safe to intervene, then identify age-appropriate skills through guided group discussion. Some helpful peer actions—suggested in a survey of students who were bullying victims—include spending time with students experiencing bullying, encouraging them at school, helping them get away from the bullying situation, and helping them tell an adult.

Foster empathy for bullying victims. Some students may find it difficult to empathize with victims of bullying who exhibit challenging behaviors or diverse characteristics that are outside the other students’ realm of experience. Teaching your students about diversity and acceptance can help dismantle this mindset. For example, you might discuss the general characteristics of various disabilities and try simulation activities that foster a better understanding of differences.

Teach the difference between “tattling” and “upstanding.” Many bystanders are reluctant to intervene in a bullying situation because they fear they’ll be labeled a “tattletale.” That’s why it’s important to explicitly teach them the difference:

Tattletale—Someone who wants to get someone else in trouble. (Example: “Kayla cut in line in the cafeteria!”)

Upstander—Someone who wants to get a peer out of trouble or be a friend. (Example: “Someone threw Jason’s backpack in the toilet.”)

It’s tough to erase the stigma associated with tattling, but it’s important work. Start by teaching and reinforcing the language regarding tattletales vs. upstanders, provide plenty of examples your students can relate to, and hang visual reminders in the classroom (a poster, maybe) to keep the message fresh in your students’ minds.

Create a peer mentoring program. Studies have shown that peer mentoring can significantly reduce bullying victimization and students’ feelings of anxiety, depression, and social isolation. You can implement a more structured program like the We Will Generation of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which provides activities, resources, and videos that educate and inspire peer mentors. Or try organizing informal peer social groups around the central goal of be a buddy, not a bully. Designate cafeteria tables, courtyard benches, or “friendship zones” on the playground where students who may struggle with social and communication skills can have a safe place to eat and play with others. Whether your efforts are structured or unstructured, the goal of peer mentoring can be a great way to foster friendships, support differences, and advance opportunities for inclusion.

I’d like to highlight Hutto ISD’s middle school peer buddy program where they model be a buddy, not a bully. The teachers who developed and implement that program presented at Region 13’s Beat the Heat conference in 2017.

From http://blog.brookespublishing.com/14-things-to-do-now-to-stop-bullying-in-its-tracks/

Life Skills Educator? Join our Region 13 Google Community to connect with other Life Skills Educators across our Region and receive tips and resources from your Region 13 Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities Specialists!

Contact:  Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224.

New Texas TBI Website

www.txtbi.net

Check out this new website developed by the Texas Low Incidence Statewide Network regarding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Educators can find important, valuable information including the educational implications for a student who has suffered a TBI. The Statewide TBI Webinar is 1 hour and 19 minutes; the list of resources is extensive… and there is more! Please share this resource with your circles and help spread the word!

For more information contact Darcy Schiller (darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net) or Jennifer Russell (jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net).

Parent Stipends for the 2017 Texas Autism Conference

This year’s Texas State Autism Conference will be held on August 3rd and 4th in San Antonio. Information about the conference can be found here: http://txautism.esc2.net/

 Application: https://goo.gl/forms/9s5Erq3fYntGO5Sb2

For the past 15+ years, ESC Region 13 has been able to offer stipends to supplement some of the cost of the conference for parents. We are fortunate to be able to offer a limited number of parent stipends again this year. The stipend covers the cost of parent registration ($125); participants will be responsible for their own travel, hotel, and food costs. One stipend per family will be considered. Stipend information will be provided to the recipients prior to registration. Please do not register before you receive information on how to register with a stipend. A family must have a child with ASD between the ages of 3 and 21. Priority will be given in the following order:

  1. To families with a newly diagnosed child
  2. To families who have never attended the Texas Autism Conference
  3. To families who have attended the conference in the past, but have never received funding from ESC Region 13
  4. To families who represent a geographic diversity in ESC Region 13
  5. To families who have the earliest application

SUBMISSION DEADLINE for all applications is May 24, 2017.  Award recipients will be notified by May 31, 2017.

IMPORTANT!  Directions for registering will be provided after stipends are awarded. Parents/families are responsible for making the arrangements for all costs including registration (with or without the stipend), transportation, and lodging for the conference. ESC Region 13 will not make any of these reservations.

Please note these stipends are only available to families in ESC Region 13’s Central Texas service delivery area.

Application: https://goo.gl/forms/9s5Erq3fYntGO5Sb2

For questions or more information, contact:

Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224 or

Jennifer Russell at Jennifer.Russell@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5206

New Autism Resources on txautism.net

Region 13’s Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training (TSLAT) website is continually adding free resources for teachers, administrators, parents, and others who are impacted by autism. For this population, www.txautism.net would be well worth memorizing!

For those already familiar with txautism.net, here are some resources we recently added.

Learning Library – Online Courses – Additional Learning Opportunities (these are all webinars)

Sexuality for Individuals with IDD is LIVE

Understanding the Autism Supplement is LIVE

Learning Library – Video Gallery – Expert Interviews

We added 22 new videos to this section!

Learning Library – Video Gallery – Parent Interviews

This is a new section in our Video Gallery – check it out!

 

Questions? Contact Cyndi O’Toole at Cyndi.OToole@esc13.txed.net

 

2017 Recreation & Camp Resource Guide

2017 Recreation and Camp Resource Guide

Austin ISD in collaboration with Easterseals of Central Texas has published the resource guide for recreation and camp opportunities available in 2017 for people with special needs. This lengthy document (24 pgs) includes information on day programs and activities in Central Texas as well as overnight programs across the state of Texas. For each of the approximately 90 programs listed, the guide includes a brief description of the program, what ages the program is for, the location, fee, contact information, and website. Not all programs have a fee; there are many that are offered for free. The guide is available in English and Spanish.

2017 Recreation and Camp Resource Guide-English

2017 Recreation and Camp Resource Guide-Spanish

Questions? Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net

Autism at Work Virtual Career Fair

Autism at Work Virtual Career Fair

Thursday, April 13th, 2017 3:00-5:00 CST

Microsoft is hosting a virtual career fair titled Autism at Work with some of the top US employers – all of which have autism hiring programs or inclusive hiring programs. Employers participating in the career fair include AT&T, Ford, Hewlett Packard, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and more. Persons seeking employment can discuss their career goals, showcase their skills, and ask any questions. LinkedIn will be hosting two 30 minute sessions between 3:00 and 4:00 CST in the virtual theater on how to utilize LinkedIn, build a profile, and get noticed during their job search. Get more information and register for free today at the link below.

REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION

Questions? Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net