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,

Workshop for General Education Staff working with a Student with Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, No Problem!

September 5, 2018

9 am – 4pm

Location: ESC Region 13, 5701 Springdale Rd, Austin, TX 78723 (or via ZOOM distance meeting platform)


Register on ecampus workshop FA1839721

Contact Elaine Young with questions

Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, No Problem!

TEA announces the 2018-2019 STAAR Interim Assessment Tool

On August 6, 2018 the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced the availability of the STAAR Interim Assessments.

What are the STAAR Interim Assessments?

These are free, optional, online interim assessments that align to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The interim assessments provide actionable data to help educators improve instruction as well as help predict student performance on the STAAR.

When will the STAAR Interim Assessments be available?

TEA is launching the full interim assessment tool during the 2018–2019 school year. The assessment tool will be available from the beginning of the school year through the spring.

How do I access the STAAR Interim Assessments?

No application or TEA confirmation is required to use the assessment tool; districts and charter schools just need to register students in the STAAR Assessment Management System. Registration opens August 13, 2018.

What are some key features of the STAAR Interim Assessments?

  • Two different assessment administration opportunities are available, and districts can choose when to schedule these administrations. The first assessment opportunity will be available August 31, 2018.
  • Interim assessments are available through the STAAR Online Testing Platform for:
    • grades 3–8 mathematics
    • grades 3–8 reading
    • Algebra I, English I, English II
    • Spanish grades 3–5 mathematics
    • Spanish grades 3–5 reading
  • Embedded supports have been expanded to include content and language supports, as well as text-to-speech.
  • Results from the interim assessments will be reported in the STAAR Assessment Management System and have been enhanced to include a new online reporting suite. The reporting suite contains district-level, campus-level, and student-level reports. Reports at the student level will include:
    • the student’s response to each test question
    • the TEKS student expectation for each test question
    • a pop-up window that shows the test question
    • data files and percentages representing the statistical probability of achieving “Approaches”, “Meets” and “Masters” grade level expectations on STAAR

Is there a particular value for special education teachers?

Yes! Not only do the interim assessments provide valuable data, they also help teachers determine what designated supports might be beneficial to students so they can integrate the supports into their classroom instruction. In addition, the interim assessments provide a meaningful way for students to practice with the STAAR Online features. Success on the interim assessments can help teachers and administrators make appropriate testing decisions for students.

How can I learn more about the STAAR Interim Assessments?

Over the next few weeks, ETS will be hosting a series of webinar training opportunities for the interim assessments. Recorded versions of the webinars will be posted for educators who are not able to participate. More information about the upcoming webinars and the STAAR Interim Assessments can be found on TEA’s website at Interim Assessments.

For answers to more questions read the Interim Assessment FAQ.

If you have questions about the interim assessments, contact the TEA Student Assessment Division at (512) 463-9536 or

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

TED Tips: New Online Courses at Transition in Texas

New online courses are available on the Transition in Texas website. These courses are available to the public at no cost.

Course titles:

  • Texas Transition Online (3 hours CPE)
  • Texas Special Education Graduation Options Online (2 hours CPE)
  • Texas Transition and Employment Guide Online (1 hour CPE)

Please note that taking these courses will meet the “minimum training guidelines” for TEDs (Transition & Employment Services Designees). At this point TEA has not clarified expectations, such as timeline or documentation of course completion, beyond what is required by TEC §29.011 (b):

(b) The commissioner shall require each school district or shared services arrangement to designate at least one employee to serve as the district’s or shared services arrangement’s designee on transition and employment services for students enrolled in special education programs under this subchapter. The commissioner shall develop minimum training guidelines for a district’s or shared services arrangement’s designee…..

Course registration is simple, but will require accessing the ESC Region 11 course catalog and Canvas portal. See below for options.

 Option 1

Go to

Click the course announcement image (Learn More)


Option 2

Go to

Click Professional Learning

Click Browse Catalog

Click Online and Webinar

Courses are listed alphabetically


Once you have completed and passed the courses, you will receive a link in 7 to 10 days to complete a brief survey in order to access your certificate of completion.


For more information about training related to transition planning, please contact


UDL Blog Series: Creating Expert Learners

When you think of the word expert you probably think of your college professor, a nationally renowned speaker, or an accomplished doctor. All of these are examples of people who have a high level of skill and significant content knowledge. In these examples expertise seems fixed and unchanging. In the book Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice, the authors say that “developing expertise in anything is always a process of continuous learning – practice, adjustment, and refinement.”

When considering expertise through the lens of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), we understand that becoming an expert is about becoming great at the process of learning. Becoming an expert has ups and downs, which means that an expert learner will experience difficulty and even failure. Cultivating our students to become expert learners means helping them develop resilience so they can see difficulty and failure as a natural part of the learning process. The UDL Guidelines are a wonderful tool to help develop this resilience and to provide opportunities for students to connect at a deeper level with what they are learning.

Let’s start by examining how UDL helps foster a learning environment that cultivates expert learners.

Next, let’s examine the characteristics of expert learners and how understanding these characteristics can help create an environment that facilitates the growth of all students.

Finally, let’s examine how to foster expert learners in the classroom. How would you respond to these questions?


Don’t miss out!

Katie Novak will be at Region 13 on July 27th!

Register TODAY for UDL Now! with author Katie Novak.

For face-to-face registration click here

To attend workshop online click here

Attention Science Teachers!





The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the revised test blueprints and assessed curriculum documents for science on May 22, 2018. They are posted to the TEA STAAR Science Resources webpage and include documents for Grade 5 science, Grade 5 Spanish science, Grade 8 science, and Biology.

STAAR Science Resources Webpage:

How can I use these documents?

Together the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents provide invaluable information for science teachers. Knowing the number of total test items, reporting category totals, and the percentage of readiness standard questions versus supporting standard questions can help focus planning so you make the most of your instructional time. The documents inform science teachers not only in the testing grades, but can guide vertical alignment planning efforts across grade levels.







The blueprints contain information about the STAAR tests including:

  • Total number of questions on the test
  • Number of questions from each reporting category
  • Breakdown for each category of readiness and supporting standards
  • A reminder that at least 40% of the test questions are dual coded. A dual coded question incorporates scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards along with content standards. These scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards are the process standards that focus on conducting investigations, safe lab practices, critical thinking, and using scientific tools. An example of a scientific investigation and reasoning skills standard from biology is B.3 – the student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom.


The assessed curriculum documents list all tested TEKS eligible for testing. For the 5th and 8th grade tests the assessed curriculum documents also indicate which lower grade supporting standards are associated with the grade level standards. For example, in 5th grade Reporting Category 3 (Earth and Space) contains TEKS 5.7 and 5.8 as well as 4.7, 4.8, 3.7, and 3.8. The assessed curriculum documents also identify which of the TEKS are readiness standards and which are supporting standards.

What’s the difference between readiness and supporting standards?

Readiness Standards

(60-65% of questions)

Supporting Standards

(35-40% of questions)

• emphasize the integration and application of major scientific concepts

are essential for success in the current grade or course

• are important for preparedness for the next grade or course

• support college and career readiness

• necessitate in-depth instruction

• address significant content and concepts

• focus on content that supports fundamental scientific principles

• introduced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a subsequent year

• reinforced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a previous year

• play a role in preparing students for the next grade or course but not a central role

• address more narrowly defined content and concepts


Is there a particular value for special education teachers?

Yes! Not only can these resources guide planning for teaching and student support in any classroom setting, but they can also inform ARD committee members writing science goals. When analyzing the needs of the individual student in science, consider content standards AND process standards and remember the balance of readiness and supporting standards.

What should I do with this information now?

In addition to helping you plan for the 18-19 school year, these documents can help determine your summer professional development. Is there a specific reporting category you want to focus on? Do you need more training regarding the scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards?

For more information about Region 13 science resources and workshops, contact Amanda Betz, 512-919-5373,

If you have questions about the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents, contact the TEA Science Team, Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division, (512) 463-9581.

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!

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