Two Ways to Beat the Heat: In Person & Online! Register Now…

Beat the Heat 2019 is just around the corner!  This summer conference is dedicated to providing professional development to educators, parents, and others who work with children ages 3-21 with significant intellectual and low incidence disabilities.  Can’t attend in person? Want to attend in your pajamas? Wish you could see more than one session in the same time slot? Well, you can…

ATTEND 2 DAYS IN PERSON

Attend any session in person for credit. Also, view any/all of the recorded sessions for a limited time after the event (no credit, for content only).

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ATTEND 2 DAYS ONLINE VIA LIVESTREAM

Choose and watch a variety of livestreamed sessions for credit. After the event, view the other recorded sessions for a limited time  (no credit, for content only).

WHEN: June 19-20, 2019

WHERE: Education Service Center Region 13 & Online
5701 Springdale Road
Austin, TX  78723

Stay tuned for our exciting presenter line up…

STAARtling Teacher Hacks in Preparation for STAAR Online

Here are four cool things teachers and administrators have been doing to help students feel better prepared for STAAR Online:

  1. Print a poster-size picture from the Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program (like the image below) to make explicit connections to what the tool will look like and where to find it on the screen even when using paper-based instruction.  It might sound like this:”Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that are you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

“Students, right now we’re using our red pens to cross out options we know are not correct. During STAAR Online, you will find the eliminator tool at the top (teacher points to the X icon),”

or “Class, I want you to take your highlighters out and mark the key words. During STAAR Online, you will do the same thing by selecting the word with your mouse to make the highlight option show up.”

or “Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

2. Place a page protector or clear contact paper over students’ monitors, turning the screen and cover into scratch paper. Students use the same math strategies as they do on paper but can generalize this skill into an online environment. Love it!

3. Eanes ISD and Desmos collaborated to develop a “test mode” for the popular iOS and Chrome app providing a secure, allowable graphing calculator to use on STAAR paper or online.

4. Campuses and districts have decided to replace one of their district benchmark tests with the STAAR Interim Assessment. Students get to practice using the same supports they’ll see on STAAR and districts get to plan from the data they receive.

If you know of a different STAAR prep “hack,” please share! Contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net

Preparing Your Students for STAAR Online During Classroom Instruction: Easy Peasy!


You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.

Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?

First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?

Regarding practice opportunities for Content and Language Supports provided primarily through rollovers and pop-ups, really it’s as easy as the ideas demonstrated in this table.
Content & Language Supports… …with Technology
provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map

provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations

isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices

reword complex question or answer choices to condense text

define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language

reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.

 

bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice

use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words

explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord,  a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”

use websites such as Newsela or CommonLit which automatically levels text, and has text-to-speech and other STAAR-like features.

Regarding practice for oral administration via text-to-speech (TTS), really it’s about providing lots of opportunities for students to experience text-to-speech and any form of TTS practice is useful!

 

Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:

  • online textbooks
  • TextQuest’s database
  • subscription-based ebooks such as Learning A-Z’s ebooks
  • Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
  • the built-in “speak selected text” in iPad, Chromebook, and MSWord
  • or perhaps your district has a text-to-speech plugin for web browsers

Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).

Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.

Using these tools routinely will help build stamina, familiarity, and good habits with online content and supports. In the same way,  the more you can embed digital formative or summative assessment using online tools such as Google Forms and even Kahoot, the more prepared your students will be. 
For questions, contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net.

Benefits of STAAR Online Versus Paper


If your instruction looks like this (and we know for many students it does)

…then your student(s) should be taking STAAR online!

Why? Because these supports are only available in the STAAR Online Content and Language Supports.

Sure, you might be thinking about the potential for technology glitches. Online testing might feel risky, but the benefits outweigh the risks. When students receive the same supports on STAAR that they need and routinely use in the classroom their outcomes will benefit.

For another perspective, please click to see this side-by-side document: STAAR Online Benefits.  Then, get with your team to consider classroom instruction, student data from STAAR Online released tests, interim assessments, and other online assignments to make the best decision for each student.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance. Contact Kim.West@esc13.txed.net

 

Are Your Students Taking STAAR Online?

If so, it’s important that they familiarize themselves with the online testing environment and embedded tools. One great way to do this is to use the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist while completing the STAAR online tutorials and practice tests.

STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist

It’s important to explicitly teach students how to use the features and supports available as part of the STAAR online assessment. This checklist breaks down the general navigation tools, accessibility features, and designated supports so you can target your students’ practice time and track their progress toward proficiency. The checklist can also be used to keep track of student preferences, such as the speed of the text-to-speech and color background. In addition to helping students, the checklist is a great tool for parents to learn about the STAAR online assessment. Parents can download the STAAR Online Testing Platform to their home computer and practice with their child.

STAAR Online Tutorials

The tutorials are the first step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The tutorials show students how to navigate through the test, respond to the different question types, and access the available tools. In addition, short videos illustrate how to use the various features and tools. Tutorials are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

STAAR Online Practice Tests

The practice tests are the second step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The practice tests are released STAAR test forms that have been previously administered. These tests provide students with an opportunity to interact with the test interface, respond to questions, and locate and use available tools. Practice tests are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

Resources

The STAAR Online Testing Platform operates through a secure browser that must be installed on a desktop or tablet in order to access the tutorials and practice tests. Links to the secure browsers are available at https://www.texasassessment.com/technology/.

The Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program provides information about the features and supports that make the STAAR accessible to all students. The guide also includes specific examples of the online features and supports offered on STAAR online.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

Beat the Heat 2019 Call for Presentations: Teachers Teaching Teachers

 

Beat the Heat 2019 is coming soon!  This summer conference is dedicated to providing professional development to educators, parents, and others who work with children ages 3-21 with significant intellectual and low incidence disabilities. We are seeking teachers, para-educators, and support staff (SLP, OT, PT, AT, VI, COMS, APE, RN, etc) who are interested in teaching others about the terrific strategies, tools, and plans they use in their classroom!

Submit your proposal to become a Beat the Heat local presenter and, if selected, earn free registration to the conference! This is a terrific opportunity to share your hard-earned professional expertise with your colleagues while developing new professional skills. Presenters of accepted proposals will have the option to complete a self-paced, online course specifically designed to support local Region 13 presenters in developing and delivering professional trainings. Those who complete this course will receive a certificate of endorsement as a presenter from ESC 13. Develop yourself by developing others and build out your résumé with this great opportunity!

We are seeking engaging sessions in the following areas of special education:

  • Behavior
  • Collaboration & Leadership
  • Communication
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Early Childhood/PPCD
  • Inclusion
  • Sensorimotor
  • Transition

Your work matters! Please consider providing a breakout presentation for this year’s Beat the Heat conference. Even better, grab a co-worker and both of you submit a proposal!

Deadline for submissions: Monday, March 25, 2019

Questions or just want some help brainstorming ideas?  Contact me!

Nichole Kertis Barton – nichole.kertis@esc13.txed.net

STAARtlingly Helpful January PD!

It’s almost here…!! Wishing you a warm, wonderful, and peaceful holiday season!

Understanding that when the break is over, educators and students will be that much closer to high stakes testing days, we want to highlight an upcoming workshop designed to bring clarity around the most current STAAR accessibility resources.

When focused on teaching, preparing for and deciding between paper and online STAAR accessibility options can feel overwhelming.

In this interactive workshop you will become familiar with the updated STAAR accessibility policies. You will learn about expanded student eligibility criteria, expanded allowability of technology tools, and how to meet the technology guidelines. Most important, you will learn how to integrate technology into your content area/s that simulates the online accessibility resources, enhances your teaching, and addresses students’ need to routinely and effectively use their supports during instruction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the STAAR Accessibility updates
  • Explore STAAR Online Practice Tests and the embedded supports
  • Discover tech tools that simulate STAAR embedded supports and choose the tech tools that are applicable to your content area and your students
  • Practice using instructional/assistive technology tools
  • Discuss classroom implementation strategies to ensure students have opportunities to use supports routinely, effectively and independently
  • Understand the parameters of the 2018-19 Technology Guidelines and test security processes
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources of Accommodation Central

Note: There will be a focus on the following Designated Supports as well as the Calculator and Dictionary Policies:

  • Basic Transcribing
  • Oral Administration
  • Spelling Assistance
  • Content and Language Supports
  • Calculation Aids

Whether you’re a special or general educator, administrator, or related service provider we hope to see you at one of these dates:

  • Jan 22, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 23, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 29, 2019 registration details here

Please contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5246 for any questions.

 

Winter Workshops for Educators of Students with Significant Disabilities!

You won’t want to miss these winter learning opportunities in 2019!

1/8/19:  Evidence-Based Practices: Research Based Teaching Strategies for Teachers of Students with Disabilities (SP1939799) $45

In this workshop, participants will learn the definition of evidence-based practices (EBPs), why these high yield strategies are important, and where to find resources on EBPs that can enhance instructional practices. By the end of the workshop, participants will have the knowledge and tools needed to implement the EBPs of prompting, modeling, reinforcement, differential reinforcement, task analysis, visual supports, and social narratives.

1/28/19 and 1/29/19:  Road to Recovery: Supporting Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Trauma (SP1939395) $90

Participants will learn basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences and how to use this knowledge to support children’s safety, well-being, happiness, and recovery through trauma-informed practice. Training activities, including small group exercises, analysis of case vignettes, and discussion, will also encourage exploration of assumptions and attitudes that providers may bring to these cases that may help or hinder their ability to do the work needed. The setting will allow providers to immediately apply ideas, practice problem-solving skills, and learn from each other.

2/6/19:  STAAR Alternate 2 Overview (SP1939620) Free

This training is designed for first-time STAAR Alternate 2 test administrators.   In this optional training we will discuss the updated participation requirements, key dates, allowable accommodations for STAAR Alternate 2, planning for instruction using the essence statements,  TEKS Curriculum Framework, and TEKS vertical alignment. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice administering the test using released STAAR Alternate 2 sample test questions.

2/15/19:  Introduction to the Active Learning Approach: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities (SP1939624) $45

In this introductory workshop, participants* will explore the fundamentals of the Active Learning approach, including the Dynamic Learning Circle, Active Learning equipment, the 5 Phases of Educational Treatment, and additional training resources.  There will also be a make and take!

*This workshop is appropriate for Life Skills teachers, PPCD teachers, teachers of students with Visual Impairments,  Occupational Therapists, and Assistive Technology Specialists.

2/25/19: Creating Successful Teams for Teachers and Paraeducators (SP1940744) $45

Are you part of a team of educators working closely together in a special education setting? Then this is the workshop for you!

In this workshop, special education teachers and paraeducators will examine strategies and skills for promoting effective communication, collaboration, and team building.  Workshop topics will include ways to improve teamwork, working relationships, communication, leadership, and role clarification.  Participants will also learn strategies to support effective problem solving and decision making.  Teachers and paraeducators are encouraged, but not required, to attend as a team.

For more information, contact jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net or darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net

Region 13’s Communication / AAC Pathways!

ESC Region 13’s Communication/AAC Pathways:
Take your skills to the next level!

ESC Region 13 is thrilled to present two, tailored pathways to your Communication and AAC learning – PPCD Pathway and Life Skills Pathway! All of the workshops below are open to everyone, but be sure to look closely at the pathway and target audience to make sure you find just what you need.

Region 13 has options that are *just* right for you and your team!


Partner-Augmented Input:

Modeling AAC in the Classroom

Dr. Jill Senner, CCC/SLP & Matthew Baud, CCC/SLP

LEVEL: Intermediate

PATHWAY: PPCD and Life Skills

AUDIENCE: SLPs, Teachers, and any/all other team members who serve students with complex communication needs

DATE: November 30, 2018 (offered one time only)

DESCRIPTION: We’ve been told that we need to model AAC – come to learn how to model AAC! This program will take staff through portions of steps one through five of an evidence-­‐based, 8-­‐step instructional model for teaching partner-­‐augmented input. Staff will complete commitment to the instructional program, strategy description, videotaped strategy demonstration, verbal practice of the strategy steps, and controlled practice. Staff should have a communication board, app, device, or emulation software available for participation in the interactive portions of the program.

REGISTER TODAY! Course #FA1840279


Teaching Students Who Can’t Talk:

Supporting Significant Communication

Impairments in the Classroom

Katie Adams, CCC/SLP

LEVEL: Beginner

PATHWAY: PPCD and Life Skills

AUDIENCE: Teachers and ParaEducators

DATE: January 31, 2019 (offered multiple times per year)

DESCRIPTION: As educators, we strive to connect with our students. But, what do we do if our students are not able to speak? How do we connect with them and provide instruction that can help them understand and express themselves? This beginner level course for educators will cover the foundational elements needed to guide you in assessing the communication skills of your students and implementing class wide strategies to help complex communication needs.

REGISTRATION COMING SOON!


AAC Foundations Team Training

Nichole Kertis, OT & Lisa Rukovena, CCC/SLP

LEVEL: Intermediate

PATHWAY: PPCD and Life Skills

AUDIENCE: SLPs, Teachers, and any/all other team members who serve students with complex communication needs

DATE: Feb 20 & 21, 2019 (offered multiple times per year)

DESCRIPTION: This workshop series is designed for professionals (especially TEAMS!) working with students with complex communication needs (CCN) who need Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems.  We will demystify AAC and empower communication partners with a foundation so that no matter which specific app, device, training or technique presents itself, teams feel prepared. Teams will receive poster- and student-sized core communication boards for the classroom!

REGISTRATION COMING SOON!


TELL ME: AAC in the PreSchool Classroom

Dr. Carole Zangari, CCC/SLP & Lori Wise

LEVEL: Intermediate

PATHWAY: PPCD 

AUDIENCE: SLPs and Teachers

DATE: March 7 & 8, 2019 (offered one time only)

DESCRIPTION: This workshop provides an overview of an early childhood classroom designed to empower teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists, and families to support the use core vocabulary in AAC systems. Participants will learn about the key elements of the TELL ME program (Zangari & Wise, 2017) and see how core language is addressed in shared reading and writing lessons, classroom routines, and typical play/learning activities.

REGISTRATION COMING SOON!


Literacy for Students with

Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Jennifer Russel & Nichole Kertis, OT

LEVEL: Intermediate

PATHWAY: Life Skills 

AUDIENCE: SLPs and Teachers

DATE: TBD 2019 (offered multiple times per year)

DESCRIPTION: Learn how to support interaction and teach communication as students engage in academic instruction across the school day. Teams will receive materials and poster-sized core communication boards.

REGISTRATION COMING SOON!


Bonus!

Participants who have attended “AAC Foundations Team Training” in the past are eligible to attend AAC Pathway workshops at a reduced rate! Reach out to each workshop’s contact listed in E-Campus for more information!

 

 

Updates for 2018-2019 Accessibility Features

Where can you find the updated Accessibility Features for the upcoming STAAR?

To get the most up to date information concerning STAAR testing and the Accessibility features, visit the new District and Campus Coordinator Resource online at http://txetests.com/dccr.

What is accessibility?

Ensuring that each student can interact appropriately with the content, presentation, and response mode of the test.

Assessments should allow all test takers to demonstrate their knowledge of the content being tested without the format of the assessment, non-tested language, or the type of response needed to answer the questions being barriers.

In order to meet this goal, various features and supports are made available on paper and online tests to students who use the same or similar supports during classroom instruction.

Accessibility Features

The Accessibility features can be found in the District and Campus Coordinator Resources website.

  • Available to any student who regularly benefits from the use of these procedures or materials during instruction
  • No need to document use of Accessibility Features in student paperwork, the answer document, or in the Texas Assessment Management System.
  • A student may need to complete the test in a separate setting in order to eliminate distractions to other students and to ensure that the security and confidentiality of the test is maintained.
  • A student cannot be required to use them during testing.
  • Coordinators are responsible for ensuring that test administrators understand the proper implementation of these procedures and use of these materials.

Typing a student’s response to the writing prompt into the online test for any grade 4 student who is taking STAAR writing online and cannot type proficiently has been added as an Accessibility Feature.

Eligibility for Basic Transcribing does NOT need to be determined for 4th grade students taking the STAAR writing online test and using this feature; however, the procedures for Basic Transcribing MUST be adhered to.

Stay tuned to What’s So Special… for the following blog posts:

  • Updates for 2018-2019 Designated Supports
  • New Online Features for 2019 STAAR

Have a question? Contact the Special Education Instructional Support Team at hello@acentral.education.