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    Updates from Special Education Department + Disability History Awareness Month
    Posted on 10/08/2020
    Dear Families of Students Receiving Special Education Services,

    Happy October! We now have shared about one month of remote learning together. We recognize that families have all experienced a great deal of transition and that this year looks differently than expected. Thank you all for your ongoing flexibility and collaboration. We hope you and your family are able to prioritize your health and wellbeing.

    Remote learning: IEP meetings are in process and families and educators are working together to discuss services for students. Educators will participate in professional development focused on remote learning and literacy on Friday, October 9, 2020.

    In-person evaluations are being conducted. We are working with our school psychologists, the Transportation department, and the Health Services team to schedule in-person evaluations in alignment with health and safety guidelines.

    In-person services are expected to start this month. We are working on finalizing in-person protocols after we received updated Labor and Industries guidance for King County about personal protective equipment (PPE) last week.

    Please note that there is no required data collection timeline. IEP teams can make decisions around how much and what kinds of data are needed to determine if a student should receive in-person services.

    We also wanted to provide some clarity around what in-person services may look like for students and families. In-person services are intended and designed to focus on individual IEP goals that cannot be addressed in a remote setting. For many students, that might mean most of their IEP goals can be worked on remotely, but one or two goal areas might require in-person support. To reduce risk of exposure for students, families, and staff, we are offering limited in-person services to only address goals that cannot be successfully met in a remote environment. The schedule for services will be determined for each student, based on services outlined in their IEP.

    In-person services will look different, depending on student need and alignment with the school’s master schedule of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students may be served in-person for the minutes that the IEP team identifies.

    SPS Celebrates Disability History Month
    Disability History Awareness Month takes place during October to increase awareness, respect, and acceptance for people with disabilities and to bring a greater sense of pride to people with disabilities. During October, each school is required to engage in activities that provide instruction, awareness, and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. We have collected some resources and upcoming events to help you celebrate.

    One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project
    The Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) and Rooted in Rights have partnered to create student voice videos highlighting students with disabilities' experiences in Washington's public K-12 schools as part of the One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project, an educational resource for teachers and students. Join the discussion on disability awareness and inclusion on Twitter with #OneOutOfFiveDisabilityProject. We encourage you to share this resource with anyone who may be interested. Project overviews, lesson plans, and resources are located on the OEO Webpage. We encourage families to share these resources with their students and we have made them widely available to our staff.

    Supporting Students’ Executive Functions - Saturday, October 10, 4 - 5:30 pm, event co-sponsored by Special Education PTSA and SPS Special Education Department.

    Olivia Willingham and Josie Jarvis, both Occupational Therapists with varied experience in pediatrics, will guide you through what occupational therapy is and what we do for children, what executive functions are, how they impact learning and daily occupations, how to support yourself and your student during distance learning, and more. Our goal is to bridge the gap created by the rapid changes to our community's daily routines and roles due to the pandemic to empower parents to be confident in their newfound role as learning facilitator. Zoom Meeting ID: 841 7081 3250. Passcode: 777206. This event with have ASL, Spanish, and Somali interpreters.

    Intersectionality and Disability Justice: Bringing Our Full Selves to Schools and Communities - Monday, October 26, 7 - 8:30 pm, event co-sponsored by Special Education PTSA and SPS Special Education Department.

    We cannot create schools where every student belongs and thrives unless we address the intersection of racism and ableism, particularly low expectations of disabled students who are multiply marginalized and oppressed. Join this conversation to understand how to act in solidarity with disability justice movements, celebrate disability pride and identity, and ensure that there is “nothing about us, without us.” Presented by Carrie Basas, Director of the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds. Join Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 822 3650 6991. Passcode: 535364. This event with have ASL, Spanish, and Somali interpreters.

    Inclusion Bingo Game
    Our Special Education PTSA created a playful approach to increasing awareness and understanding of disabilities: an inclusion Bingo game with links to content and activities. You can play the game on the Special Education PTSA website.

    Intelligent Lives Film
    INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S. For more information on the film or to host a screening, visit the website.

    Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution – Netflix Documentary
    A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality. Currently available on Netflix. Please be aware this documentary is rated R and may not be suitable for all ages.

    Childcare Assistance Available
    King County has allocated $2.25 million of its federal CARES Act funding to support King County families with the cost of their childcare. Eligible families will receive a voucher to pay for their childcare at eligible providers for up to four months. Child Care Resources is administering the program in partnership with King County. Details in Spanish and English here.

    If you have questions, concerns, or require further information, please contact your student’s case manager or your student’s building principal. You may also check the Special Education Remote Learning FAQ for answers to common questions.

    Take good care,

    Trish Campbell, Executive Director of Special Education
    Tarra Mitchell, Director of Special Education
    Devin Gurley, Director of Special Education