Improving Student Success in Math: FACTastic Video Series #1

Do your students struggle to learn math facts?

We know that by 6th grade (TEK 6.3D) students are expected to add, subtract, multiply, and divide integers fluently. Using the FACTastic Math Strategy System is a great way to meet this goal. The FACTastic Math Strategy System is a comprehensive program for teaching basic math facts through strategy-based instruction. In addition to building flexible thinking, teaching of strategies to recall basic facts improves math calculation skills which are necessary for success on STAAR.


Classroom Example

Using the FACTastic cards is a great way to increase student engagement and participation and to improve student academic success. In this video, the FACTastic cards are used to teach 9s facts for multiplication and division. Students are able to easily master multiplying and dividing 9 by thinking of nine differently. The flexible thinking students gain by using these strategies enables them to see a number in several forms and use the knowledge and skills they already possess to find a solution for an unknown fact.


Register Today!

To learn more about how to use the FACTastic Math Strategy System in your classroom, register today for To Drill or Not To Drill? Math Fact Strategy Instruction.

All attendees will receive a set of the FACTastic Math Strategy System. Day 1 attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction and Day 2 attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for multiplication/division. Check out this video to learn more about the FACTastic Math Strategy System.


Date: November 12 & 13, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price: $90.00/day

Go to Ecampus and search for the following course numbers.

  • Day 1, November 12, Addition and Subtraction, #FA1840432
  • Day 2, November 13, Multiplication and Division, #FA1840433


Stay tuned to the What’s So Special … blog for more videos

featuring classroom examples of FACTastic in action!


For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg,



STAAR Alternate 2 Updates for 2018-2019!

TEA has shared their Fall Updates for the 2018-2019 STAAR Alternate 2! 

New Information

  • There is no longer a verification window.
  • Students who transfer/move to a new district ON OR AFTER the first day of the STAAR Alternate 2 testing window do not have to be tested.
  • For the 2019 administration, student booklet images will be in full color except for historical photos and images where color is found to be distracting (e.g. multiple sets of geometric shapes).
  • Initial orders of student booklets will be shipped based on students registered during Student Data Submission window, not enrollment estimates as in previous years.
  • Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the general oath will no longer be found in the back of STAAR Alternate 2 Test Administrator Manual. The new online District and Campus Coordinator Resources (DCCR) includes the new interactive oath.
  • TEA will be requesting a waiver for the 2018-2019 school year in order to assess more than 1.0 percent of students, based on assessment data from 2017-18. This will be similar to the request made for the 2017-2018 school year.


  • STAAR Alternate 2 must be administered with the student booklet.
  • Use of the image cards is optional.
  • A test administrator may use image cards for multiple students if there is no evidence of reuse or that accommodations were applied (e.g. highlighting, coloring, cropping, etc.).
  • Examples of ways that “clean” image cards may be used for multiple students include pairing the cards with text and presenting answer choices one at a time.
  • New resources include the Science Vertical Alignment document and Science Curriculum Frameworks.
  • STAAR Alternate 2 is an untimed assessment, and the test does not have to be given in one session. See the full TETN presentation for timing options.
  • TEA has outlined best practices for utilizing the Preview Window. Any presentation of materials or introduction of concepts or topics prior to test administration is considered a serious irregularity.  See the full TETN presentation for more information.

Coming in October

  • Updated STAAR Alternate 2 Educator Guide
  • NEW revised Medical Exception Eligibility and No Authentic Academic Response requirements in both English and Spanish
  • Updated Instructional Terms Lists and Essence Statements
  • Revised STAAR Alternate 2 Test Administrator Manual (non-secure portion) (posted 10/01/2018)

Key Dates

  • Enrollment Window: October 22-November 9, 2018
  • Enrollment counts for large print should be submitted during the “district submits participation counts” window of October 22-November 9, 2018.
  • Preview Window: March 18-29, 2019
  • Assessment Window: April 1-23, 2019
  • Region 13 will be presenting two free workshops focusing on STAAR Alternate 2 administration

Click here to access TEA’s full TETN presentation on STAAR Alternate 2 Updates for 2018-19.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Russell at or 512-919-5206 or Darcy Schiller at 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.


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 or 512-919-5224.

Everything You Need to Know about the STAAR Interim Assessments – Video

In this video you will learn:

  • Details about the Interim Assessments
  • Steps to prepare your district/campus technology for testing
  • How to register students for testing
  • How to administer the test
  • Information about the customizable score reports
  • Where to go for more resources and training

Other important links from video:

Link to Presentation PowerPoint

For technology:

For training on registration and other general interim testing resources:

Link to submit request for paper test (PDF):


Universal Design for Learning Workshop


When We Plan for variability, everyone benefits.

Join us for this one day workshop as we explore how the Universal Design for Learning Principles can guide teachers as they create a learning environment focused on student strengths and the learning process.
Participants will examine how the UDL Principles guide educators in designing instruction that removes learning barriers and addresses student variability while providing options that allow students to choose how they will receive information and demonstrate understanding.

Who should attend this workshop?

All educators will benefit! The great thing about UDL, it’s not a SPED thing or GenEd thing, it’s for everyone.  UDL is all about variability and works at all levels of education, and in all education settings.

Participants will explore the following UDL Topics
  • UDL Overview
  • UDL Guidelines
  • UDL & Teacher Appraisal
  • UDL Implementation in the Classroom
  • UDL vs. DI and Traditional Instruction

When?  Monday, October 8th, 2018

Register Now

Mark your calendars! Watch the September 19 TETN to receive the latest updates and training on STAAR accessibility.

Gather your team and watch together! Testing coordinators, special education teachers, assistive technology specialists, instructional technology specialists, ELL representatives, 504 coordinators, and others will learn about the latest updates and training on STAAR accessibility.

This TETN is open to districts as well as Education Service Centers. It may be viewed at Region 13 or from districts that are members of the Distance Learning Network by contacting Distance Learning at or 512.919.5444.

For more information, contact Robert Garcia, District Assessment,


Date: September 19, 2018

Title: 2018-2019 Accessibility Updates
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Audience: ESC and district personnel
Event#: 597
Summary: This presentation will provide updates to districts and Education Service Centers about the 2018-2019 Accessibility Policies.

Title: 2018 TELPAS/Alternate Assessments Fall Update
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Audience: ESC and district personnel
Event#: 598
Summary: This presentation includes the 2018 TELPAS/Alternate Assessments Fall Update and the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) Decision-Making Policies from the TEA Student Assessment Division for districts and ESCs.


In addition to the TETN, extended learning can be found on the Region 13 Accommodation Central website. Please join us for live, online discussions about both TETN events. To be notified of the date and time for these discussions, join the Accommodation Central Community.


For additional information, contact:

Student Assessment Division

1701 North Congress Avenue

Room 3-122A

Austin, Texas 78701

(512) 463-9536 

Register today for Power of Inclusion!

Including students with disabilities in the general education classroom is both a challenge and an opportunity. Educators need to collaborate to successfully meet the needs of diverse learners.

Power of Inclusion is a one-day workshop that offers general educators, special educators, and paraprofessionals an opportunity to develop relationships and expand their understanding of how to provide access to the general education curriculum for all students.

Topics covered include co-teaching approaches, paraprofessional support, specially designed instruction, Universal Design for Learning, roles and responsibilities, collaboration, and planning.

Date: October 23, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price: $45.00

Register for Power of Inclusion in Ecampus by using course number FA1839170.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg,

Are you a special education instructional leader?

Join us for the Special Education Instructional Network – SPIN – to connect and learn with other special educators in Region 13.

SPIN meets four times during each school year. Our first 2018-2019 meeting is on Wednesday, September 12, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

SPIN meetings are designed for special education instructional leaders to receive updates and resources and to share ideas, district news, and questions with each other.  This year, our meetings will include a book study, UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms, by Dr. Katie Novak.  In addition, Region 13 Specialists will join us to provide behavior guidance and assistive technology information.

You can register for SPIN meetings for FREE in Ecampus by using course number FA1839043.

For more information, contact Kim West,

TED Tips: Revised Texas Transition and Employment Guide

The Texas Transition and Employment Guide is an online resource. Legislative changes, as well as input from parents, students, and stakeholders will be added as they become available. This online guide will continually be updated. The July 2018 version is now available on the Transition in Texas website:

This would be an excellent time for districts and charter schools to check their information on the Legal Framework website:

  • Is the correct person listed as the TED (Transition and Employment Services Designee)? If not, who should be listed?
  • Is there a link to the district/charter website where the link to the Texas Transition and Employment Guide page is posted?
  • Do you need to delete any links to previous versions of the Guide (PDFs)?

For questions about transition planning requirements, including TED information on the Legal Framework website, contact