Monday, September 30, 2013

Post-secondary Transition Links and Resources for Students with Disabilities in 13-14

2013 Wisconsin Technical College System Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Guidelines

Opening Doors to Employment: Planning for Life After High School

Opening Doors to Postsecondary Education and Training: Planning for Life After High School

Opening Doors to Self-Determination Skills: Planning for Life After High School

Opening Doors: A Guide to Adult Services

Seamless Collaboration With and For Students with Disabilities Transitioning to Employment and Adult Life

Transition Action Guide for Post-School Planning (DPI, Department of Workforce Development, Dept of Health Services)

University of Wisconsin (2 year and 4 year) Contacts for Students with Special Needs

2013-14 WTCS Key Contact Persons for Students with Disabilities

A Parent's Guide to the Postsecondary Transition Plan

2013-14 ACT Extended Time National Testing

2013-14 Request for ACT Special Testing

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Postsecondary Transition Plan Tips/Reminders for 13-14

Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP)
Tips/Reminders for Beginning the 13-14 School Year

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has a new discretionary grant called the Transition Improvement Grant (TIG) that is replacing WSTI. TIG Coordinators will be conducting monthly PTP review and follow-up with your district. For a list of TIG staff, please see:

PTP Director/Designee Role:

*      MOVE STUDENT:  from one school to another within your district:  Currently the PTP does not automatically transfer PTPs from one school to another. Remember as a new school year starts to use the “Move Student” tab within the PTP. For example, all students transitioning from the middle school to the high school will need to be moved.  Only a PTP user with the Director access role can complete this action.  To complete this process,
·         Click on the “Move Student” tab, enter the student’s information (minimal information to begin your search), identify the student you wish to move, then click on the blue “change school” prompt, select the school you wish to move them to, and the PTP application will confirm the move.
* This process will need to be completed individually for each student attending a new school.
If you have special education staff that have resigned from your district, you will need to revoke their access to the PTP.  Your PTP Application Administrator can follow the step-by-step directions on the Indicator 13 webpage: to complete this in ASM (Application Security Manager).
If you have new special education staff joining your district or switching schools, you will need to grant the new staff access to the PTP or change access to schools depending on the situation.   Your PTP Application Administrator can follow the step-by-step directions on granting PTP access: in ASM (Application Security Manager).
  DELETE a DUPLICATE PTP:  The ability to delete a PTP record is limited to PTP users with the Director/Designee access role.  Only PTP records that have not been locked or submitted can be deleted.  Only PTPs created in error or duplication should be deleted. A PTP can be deleted in two ways:  
·         Click on the “Finish PTP” tab, select the school in which the PTP was created, change the radio button to “Show all records for the school”, find the student PTP record that needs to be deleted, click on “Delete PTP”.  A popup message will ask “Are you sure you want to delete the PTP?”  Click “OK” to confirm deletion of the selected PTP student record.
·         From the PTP completion page, click on “Delete PTP”.  A pop up message will ask “Are you sure you want to delete the PTP?” Click “OK” to confirm deletion of the selected PTP student record.

All PTP Users:

*      Reminder: Student’s transferring from another school district:  The school district the student is transferring from (School District A), must release the student’s WSN number to the receiving ‘School District B’ through WSLS (WI Student Locator System).  The receiving ‘School District B’ will then need to use the “Create PTP” tab for that student as the PTP currently does not automatically transfer from one school district to another.

*      REVISE PTP:  Most of your students’ PTPs were created in the 2012-2013 school year depending on your district’s month of implementation.  Last year to begin this process, you clicked the “Create PTP” tab to create a new PTP for each student.  If a student’s PTP was created and submitted last year (2012-13 school year), there is no need to create a new one using the “Create PTP” tab.  Click on the “Revise PTP” to review and update the student’s PTP during the annual IEP meeting:
·         Click the “Revise PTP” tab, select the school where that student’s submitted PTP was created, enter the student’s information (enter limited information to initiate your search) or simply click “Search” and a list of students with submitted PTPs will be generated, identify the student you are searching for, click the blue “Annual IEP” link at the right side of the screen, then click “Continue” when prompted to do so and this will bring you to the student’s current PTP for you to update and edit.  It’s that easy!

*      Revising a PTP prior to the annual IEP:  There may be a time during the school year that you will need to review/ revise a student’s IEP.  If this revision does not include revision of the postsecondary transition plan, then the PTP does not need to be revised. 

Be cautious when completing the invitation and cover letter for an IEP meeting.  If you check “Transition – the consideration of postsecondary goals and transition services (required for students beginning at age 14)”, you will need to review and revise the PTP during the IEP meeting. Remember to update the meeting date and proceed with the desired changes to the student’s PTP. You will do this by clicking on the “Revise PTP” tab, following the steps mentioned above but selecting the review/revise with a meeting.  If the review/revision to the IEP does not include transition, be sure NOT to check the transition box on the IEP invite. 

*      “WHAT’S NEW WITH THE PTP”:  For ongoing updates, and announcements, visit the “What’s New with the PTP”  webpage throughout the school year.

Wendi Dawson
Transition Consultant
Department of Public Instruction


Nancy Fuhrman
Data Applications
Department of Public Instruction

For more detailed information about the PTP, please visit the DPI Indicator 13 webpage at and view the Training and Technical Assistance section for PTP Users.  This section will provide you with the PTP manual, a PTP guide for parents and students, the PTP demonstration site, frequently asked questions and online training modules.

13-14 Postsecondary Transition Plans for Returning Students

FYI from Brenda Swoboda - PTP Coordinator  

Most of our student's Postsecondary Transition Plans were created in the 2012-13 school year. Last year to begin this process, you clicked the "Create PTP" tab to create a new PTP for each student. If a student's PTP was created and submitted last year (2012-13 school year), there is no need to create a new one using the "Create PTP" tab. Click on the "Revise PTP" to review the update the student's PTP during the annual IEP meeting. 

Click the "Revise PTP" tab, select the school where that student's submitted PTP was created, enter the student's information (enter limited information to initiate your search) or simply click "Search" and a list of students with submitted PTPs will be generated, identify the student you are searching for, click the blue "Annual IEP" link at the right side of the screen, then click "Continue" when prompted to do so and this will bring you to the student's current PTP for you to update and edit. 

Consider dos, don’ts of shortened school days for students with disabilities

Consider dos, don’ts of shortened school days for students with disabilities
A recent case serves as a reminder to school districts that shortening the school day for students with disabilities can lead to trouble. In Palm Springs (CA) Unified School District, 61 IDELR 174 (OCR 2013), a district discriminated against 18- to 22-year-old students in a transition program not only by shortening their school day without evaluating their individual needs, but also by discontinuing mainstreaming opportunities and eliminating their PE class without parent input. “Any time you shorten the school day for a group of students, that should raise a red flag,” said school attorney Dana Fattore Crumley. Decisions about whether to shorten a child’s school day should be made on an individual basis by the child’s IEP team or 504 team, she added. For example, a shortened school day should be considered upon the receipt of a doctor’s recommendation, but not simply to avoid an undesirable situation for the student such as a chaotic bus pick-up area. Log in to Special Ed Connection® for more dos and don’ts when considering shortened school days for students with disabilities. For a free five-day trial, call (800) 341-7874.

2013 Child Development Day for Medford Area Public School District

2013 Child Development Day

The Medford Area Public School District, Taylor County Health Department and Taylor County Human Services will be hosting the annual Child Development Day on Thursday, October 17.  This preschool screening is provided as a free community service to families with children ages 2 through 4 years. 

Parents may register their child by calling 715-748-4620 ext. 534 starting immediately.  Appointments are being scheduled for Thursday, October 17, from 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Once a child is registered, the parents will receive a brief questionnaire which they are asked to complete and bring along to their appointment.  This developmental information will be used in conjunction with observations and information collected during the play group to provide families with insights as to their child’s developmental skills.  While children are being observed in the play area, parents are encouraged to visit the booths which provide additional information about child development, safety, nutrition, parenting tips, as well as community events and activities.

The screening process takes approximately 35 minutes to complete, and involves observations of a child’s motor, thinking, communication, and social skills through play activities.  Some children may require more time due to shyness.

When the screening process is complete, the child and parent will receive a “learning kit.”  The kits contain a number of activities and materials for the child and are designed to span roughly one year of development.  Of course, there are always snacks available at the end.  Please join us for the annual Child Development Day on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at Medford Area Elementary School.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Special Education and Student Services Update for September 20

Special Education and Student Services Update: 

Many of you have new experiences this year whether you are teaching 1) new students, 2) got transfer student(s), 3) in a different grade level, 4) in a new building, 5) new position or 6) in a new program.  

Having a new student can bring up excitement, but also some anxiety due to not knowing the student's strengths or needs. Others will come to you for all the answers and you are still learning them yourselves. Each day you learn something new about the student.  There is also much extra preparation time in getting schedules set up, forming relationships with the students, understanding/implementing their IEP, and meeting their health/academic/behavioral/bathrooming needs.

Teaching in a new grade level, building, or program is also a change which can be exciting and frustrating as you begin the school year.  There seems to be more questions than answers. More things to do than having enough time to finish it. 

I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU for all your extra and hard work.  Our students with disabilities are fortunate to have you looking out for their best interests in your new roles.  

Here are some notes: 
Special Education Family Day
Saturday September 28 at 10:00 am. Any student with an IEP receives a free ticket. 50% off soda and popcorn.  The movie is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  Staff and their families are invited to attend. A flyer has been sent home to students. A sample is attached to this email.  

Occupational Therapy
We have been unable to fill our vacant Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant position with either a part time OT or full time COTA.  We will be contracting with Presence Learning through CESA 9 to deliver online OT services on Tuesday/Wednesday for select students at MAES and SES.  Caroline will oversee the online OT services and Janel Waldhart will be the paraprofessional.  Megan Courtney is working for 1 1/2 days per week. She will be doing her COTA student teaching during 3rd quarter. We will have another student teacher during 4th quarter. 

AIMS Web Benchmark Testing Window
Fall Benchmark: September 1 to October 15
Winter Benchmark: January 1 to February 1
Spring Benchmark: May 1 to June 1

AIMS Web overviews were held twice this week.  AIMS Web 2.0 version will be occurring soon. If you need further help in administering the probes or setting up students, then please let me know. 

AIMS Web Benchmark and Administration Scoring Guides were emailed out to staff over the past week.  If you did not receive them, then let me know. 

We will no longer be running a dual alternative high school and HSED program options for our students.  We will be discussing offering the GED Option #2 program during the school day in addition to our Medford Adult Diploma Academy.  This will allow all of our students to complete a high school diploma. 

NTC would like to continue the discussion on how we can offer HSED in Taylor County for Medford and other school districts. 

This was discussed at an Alternative High School Advisory Council meeting earlier this week. 

IEP I-4 and ER-2 Forms
DPI has updated the I-4 form and created new ER-2A, ER-2B, and ER-2C forms to replace the ER-2 form. These changes were necessary due to changes in Wisconsin's assessment system and the SLD law changes. We will be working with Skyward to make the changes and add the new forms. 

Case Manager
Special Education case managers are encouraged to contact the parents of students on your caseloads so they can know you. This can be done through phone call, letter, or via email. 

Special Education Staff working with Non-Disabled Students
Here is some guidance from OSEP regarding Wisconsin DPI questions on special education staff working with non-disabled students in general education and pullout settings.  There is also info on attendance at SOS team meetings.  OSEP provides the guidance on when this is allowed and gives good examples of when it is acceptable:

PALS Testing (PK-1) Allowable Practices, Modifications, and Where to Include on the IEP

18-21 Year Old Program
We have a new 18-21 year old program which was started this year.  We have 6 students in the program. They attend classes at the NTC Campus in the mornings where they work on independence and functional skills. Students attend mentorship or worksites in the afternoons including Memorial Health Center, Black River Industries, and MAES. 

I have heard compliments from parents, Aging and Disability Resource Center, and community providers on our programming.  Thank you to Nikki Gripentrog and Janet Jurgens for their work on this program. 

Speech Language SLOs
Here is an example of how to write Speech Language SLO's:

Special Education and Student Services Facebook page
Parents were mailed a letter informing them of our school district and individual teacher facebook/blogs/websites related to special education and our classrooms.  Parents were to return the form if they do not want their child's photo on these type of pages.  Please send to me if you receive one from a student. 

Child Development Days
Thursday October 17 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at MAES. 

Transition Night
Transition Night for students and families to learn about post-secondary options will be held on Monday November 4 from 6-8:00 pm.  HS and upper MS sped staff are encouraged to attend. We had approximately 150 people in attendance last year.  CESA 8, 9 and 12 have contacted us about our Transition Night due to the positive feedback they have heard on our night last year. 

Common Core Essential Elements for Reading and Math
We have more binders of the Common Core Essential Elements for English Language Arts and Math. If you need one, then please let me know. 

Procedural Compliance
The Medford Area Public School District participated in the Self-Assessment Procedural Compliance in 12-13.  DPI has notified us that we are in full compliance. Thank you to all the staff for your work in this area.  DPI has provided us some best practice tips: 

IEP- 4 The IEP contains a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.
For the most part, the files reviewed provided a clear picture of both present levels of academic achievement AND functional performance, however there were a few files in which functional performance was not explicitly addressed.
IEP- 5 The IEP includes how the student’s disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum or for an early childhood (3-5) student in age-appropriate activities.
Please provide explicitly statements describing HOW the disability affects student involvement and progress in the general curriculum. 
IEP- 6 The IEP teams must, in the case of a student whose behavior impeded his or her learning, or that of others, consider the use of positive behavior interventions and supports and other strategies to address that behavior.     
ISS (In-school suspension) is not a positive behavioral intervention and should be avoided in this section of the IEP.  The standards and directions state: An IEP that includes only negative measures, such as seclusion or restraint, suspension, or dentition does not meet the standard. Describe what POSITIVE strategies are in place to address student behavior.
IEP- 13  Following the development or revision of the individualized revision of the IEP and prior to its implementation, the student’s parent(s) were provided a notice of placement.
Parents must receive written notice, including a copy of their students IEP, in a reasonable time prior to its implementation.  Reasonable time will depend on how notice is being delivered, but we recommend at least 3 days if sent by mail.
A side note:
Students with disabilities should have access to the general curriculum and federal non-regulatory guidance states that alternate assessments should be clearly related to grade-level content, although it may be restricted in scope or complexity or take the form of introductory or prerequisite skills (U.S. Department of Education, 2005, p. 26).  If we are assessing students using grade-level content, then instruction should also be grade-level.  We understand that for some students the content will need to be scaffolded, modified, adapted and accommodations will need to be provided- however, students should still have access to grade-level content. 

PALS Accommodations

PALS: Accommodations

PALS and Students with Disabilities

Is PALS considered a statewide assessment?
Yes, PALS is considered a statewide assessment. However, PALS is unique in that it is a state mandated universal screener, not a high-stakes summative assessment such as the WKCE or WAA-SwD. In April 2012, Wisconsin Act 166 was signed into law. The legislation requires the administration of an early literacy screener to all 5K students enrolled in Wisconsin district or charter schools; thus, there is no opt-out provision in the statute. Schools and districts should make every effort to screen all students, including students with disabilities. PALS was selected by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction not only because it met the legislative standards established by Act 166, but for its ability to provide educators with helpful information to guide instruction.

How does the administration of PALS address the need to individualize the assessment for young children?
PALS was designed to be flexible, responsive, and accessible to meet the wide range of needs inherently found in young children. PALS includes allowable practices for administration that are built into the assessment. Teachers can use these allowable practices with any student during a PALS administration. There are no time limits for any of the PALS tasks. Students with disabilities will access PALS through these allowable practices similar to their non-disabled peers. The use of these allowable practices does not require an IEP team meeting or IEP documentation.

What is the difference between "allowable practices" as used by PALS and "accommodations" and "modifications" for students with disabilities?
Allowable practices are support options that are already built into the design of PALS, which enable optimal access for all students including students with disabilities. The use of these practices does not change the construct being measured and does not require documentation in the IEP. Educators should always consider the use of allowable practices prior to considering the need for accommodations or modifications for students with disabilities. PALS allowable practices that are available to ALL students, including students with disabilities, include:
  • Multiple testing sessions
  • Breaks between tasks
  • Scheduling assessment for optimal times
  • One-on-one administration
  • Small-group administration
  • Assessing in an alternative location (e.g. special education room, library, etc.)
  • Repeating directions, repeating practice items
  • Students repeat directions, checking for understanding
Accommodations also do not change the construct being measured, but rather allow some students with disabilities equitable access to the material being presented. Accommodations should be consistent with day-to-day instructional methods. Accommodations will be documented in the student’s IEP. Below are examples of accommodations that may be used for students with disabilities without risk of invalidating PALS scores:
  • Visual aid (e.g., ruler, magnifier)
  • Auditory aid (e.g., FM system, sound field system)
The use of modifications should only be addressed by a student’s IEP team after careful consideration of both allowable practices and accommodations. Modifications change what is being assessed and result in a non-standardized administration. Modifications should be consistent with day-to-day instructional methods and should not be first introduced during screening. It is likely that the use of modifications will significantly limit information obtained during screening to guide instructional planning. Modifications must be documented in the student’s IEP. Below are examples of modifications that may be used for students with disabilities, as determined by the individual student’s IEP team.
  • Assistive technology for non-verbal students
  • Braille text and altered instructions
  • American Sign Language and altered instructions
  • Use of a scribe
  • Allowing non-verbal students to identify letters of the alphabet by pointing rather than vocalizing
Where can I receive information on how to administer PALS to students with vision and/or hearing impairments?
To request Braille or Deaf/Hard of Hearing PALS materials, contact Duane Dorn at DPI at 608-267-1069
How does an IEP team determine that there is a need for accommodations or modifications for a student with a disability who will be screened with PALS?
If a student only requires allowable practices, there is no need for an IEP meeting and no IEP documentation is required. IEP teams should always consider allowable practices that are available to all students, including students with disabilities, before consideration of accommodations or modifications. Because PALS is a tool to guide instruction, accommodations and modifications are considered supplementary aids, services, and supports provided to or on behalf of the student. Any accommodations and modifications used during a PALS administration should be consistent with those that are provided during a student’s daily instruction and generally should not be introduced for the first time for the sake of screening.

If an IEP team determines there is a need for accommodations or modifications beyond the use of allowable practices, where is this documented in the IEP?
As explained above, allowable practices do not need to be documented in the IEP. Accommodations and modifications beyond allowable practices should be documented on I-9, IEP Summary, Supplementary Aids and Services. Supplementary aids and services must include frequency and amount and be stated so that the level of the LEA’s commitment of resources is clear to parents and other IEP team members. The statement must be appropriate to the specific service and stated in a manner that can be understood by all involved in developing and implementing the IEP.
Because PALS is a tool for instructional purposes, it is not necessary to include documentation specific to PALS on I-7, IEP Participation in Statewide Assessments.

Who administers PALS to a student with disabilities?
PALS is a tool to be used for planning a student’s reading and literacy instruction. Most kindergarten students with disabilities who are placed in the least restrictive environment with access to general education curriculum and standards will receive their reading and literacy instruction in the regular education setting. Classroom teachers who are primarily responsible for literacy instruction should administer PALS to all of their students, including students with disabilities. In some unique situations, such as when a child is only in a special education setting for instruction, it may be reasonable for a special education teacher to either administer PALS alone or collaboratively with the classroom teacher, in accordance with accommodations and modifications specified in the IEP. PALS administration by other school staff who are not primarily responsible for a student’s literacy instruction (e.g. paraprofessional, school psychologist, social worker) should be discouraged.

What if a student is unable to complete the PALS screener?
DPI recognizes that for a very small percentage of students, not all PALS tasks will be accessible or appropriate due to the given nature of that individual student’s disability. In these situations, teachers should administer the assessment but use their professional judgment about whether it is appropriate to continue screening if the student does not respond. If a teacher elects to discontinue screening, the student score for the section should reflect the actual number of points the student earned when the screener was being administered.
It is important to remember that the purpose of PALS is to provide information to be used to guide instructional planning and practice. Administrators and educators should use multiple measures when making instructional planning decisions. Using results from PALS along with other formal and informal assessments of student performance will allow educators to make sound decisions about instructional needs and supports for a given student.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Addressing the Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Schools under 2011 Wisconsin Act 125

This is the annual notification on Addressing the Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Schools under the 2011 Wisconsin Act 125 Requirements. 

Here are links to two documents:
1) Wisconsin Act 125 Requirements which details: 
  • Definitions of "physical restraint" and "seclusion"
  • Examples of when seclusion is allowed in select situations
  • What is not considered seclusion
  • Examples of when physical restraint is allowed in select situations
  • What is not considered physical restraint
  • IEP requirements
  • Notification and reporting requirements for building administration and staff to parents
  • Annual reports to Board of Education
  • Training requirements
  • Unforeseen Emergency Exceptions
2) Frequently Asked Questions about 2011 Wisconsin Act 125 - Addressing the Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools (updated)

Take time to review this documents so we maintain the safety of our students, other staff, and yourselves and are in compliance with these regulations. 

Contact me with any questions or need for more information. 


Joseph A. Greget
Director of Student Services/Special Education

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium: Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium: Usability, Accessibility, and
Accommodations Guidelines

Prepared with the assistance of National Center on Educational Outcomes

September 11, 2013