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Special Education News & Announcements

The Department of Special Education, News, and Announcements are highlighted on this page. Click on the titles below to learn more about events, awards, legal updates, and other related information for our families and students.

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PHASING PLAN

October 5, 2020: Update from D207 Special Education on Plans & Upcoming Dates

We thank you for your patience and understanding since starting the school year and know there have been challenges and changes in plans along the way and we appreciate your understanding as we navigate. Thank you to those of you who have students already attending in-person, your diligence with following proper protocol has allowed us to continue to offer in-person learning to students with complex needs and has allowed the district to plan for expanding to the Hybrid model.  

As indicated in Dr. Wallace’s message earlier today, District 207 is moving to the A/B Hybrid schedule beginning November 9th. Students who are currently receiving in-person instruction as part of the special education phase 1 & phase 2 groups will continue to receive the same amount of in-person days/times as they are currently (I.e. no change to the current delivery model). All other students receiving special education services will have the opportunity to choose the Hybrid model for in-person learning starting November 9th, with the plan to expand the second semester, as outlined by Dr. Wallace.  

In addition, special education will be moving to a more flexible service delivery model on Mondays for instructional classes starting the second quarter, October 19th. Teachers will communicate work/expectations with students in their classes and they will use this time to connect virtually with students on an individual and/or small group basis to offer more targeted support. Under the direction of the teacher, teaching assistants will also be connecting virtually with students individually and/or in small groups to help provide support. It is important to note that not all students will have an appointment with their teacher, teaching assistant, and/or case manager every class period each Monday; however, students are expected to be working on assignments for their assigned class period, as directed by their teacher. This time is being used to help support students in meeting their IEP goals and will allow case managers the opportunity to check-in with students on their caseload. 

Should you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress and need for support either in-person or virtually, please reach out to the assigned case manager and/or teacher. We are committed to working with you to meet your child’s individual needs! 

Please find outlined the important updates for our schedule for the next two weeks due to conferences, Indigenous Peoples Day, and SAT testing.  If your child receives special transportation, routes will be adjusted accordingly.

Thursday, October 8th – Early Release Day for Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences

  • East, South, & West classes will take place from 8:20 am-1:30 pm 
  • Frost and Transition Program will operate from 8:20 am-12:30 pm
  • *There will be office hours on Thursday from 1:40 pm-2:10 pm

Friday, October 9th – Early Release Day

  • East, South, & West classes will take place from 8:20 am-1:30 pm 
  • Frost and Transition Program will operate from 8:20 am-12:30 pm
  • *No office hours

Monday, October 12th – No school (Indigenous Peoples Day)

Tuesday, October 13th – All students and classes will meet virtually 

  • The District is running our Monday schedule and we will run all 8 class periods

Wednesday, October 14th – Fall SAT testing Day for Seniors 

  • Underclassmen and Transition have a non-attendance day

Friday, October 16th – End of the First Quarter 

  • Classes will run as typically scheduled (even block day)

Additional Important Dates:

  • Monday, October 19th – Special Education will start asynchronous on Monday’s where synchronous individual virtual support will be provided to students. 
  • The week of November 9th is the start of the A/B Hybrid for all students choosing to attend in-person. 


September 11, 2020:
District 207’s Department of Special Education has implemented in-school learning for students identified for our first phase and we are now in the process of planning and preparing for our second phase of in-school learning. We continue to prioritize those with the most services and/or difficulty with accessing learning remotely.
We have decided to push back our start date for our second phase of in-school learning to September 22nd, from the originally planned date of September 15th. Our number one goal is the health and safety of our students and staff and this provides us additional time to monitor positivity rates, in the case our communities experience an increase in positive cases like we did during the fourth of July holiday. It is important to note that anticipated start dates are subject to change if there are local factors and/or changes to the Restore Illinois Phasing.

We understand the many factors to consider for in-school instruction and want to assure you that regardless of your decision, students will still have the option for at-home learning instruction. If you choose at-school learning, your child will continue to participate in at-home learning on Mondays, and they will attend in-school Tuesday through Friday. Your child will continue to follow their current schedule. If you have questions regarding the plan or specific questions about your child and how the plan will impact him/her, please reach out to either your child’s case manager or building department chair. We are committed to working with you to meet your child’s individual needs!

 

August 12, 2020: As the 2020-2021 school year quickly approaches, Maine Township HSD 207’s Department of Special Education would like to communicate information regarding our phasing plan for students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) prioritized for in-person learning.  As previously shared at our Virtual Parent meeting held on August 5th, the Department of Special Education is working to ensure our continuum of services and support for both in-person and at-home instruction will be available to students with disabilities. 

This is an unprecedented time and we are committed to working with you to ensure that your child’s needs are met and a high level of safety precautions are maintained. In order to increase safety for both students and staff, we are slowly phasing students into the building based on their level of need and ability to access remote learning. Our plan is to first provide in-person learning to those students who require extensive special education instruction and related services. We will then continue to strategically phase students into the building, placing priority on those individuals with the greatest need and/or difficulty with accessing learning remotely. All students will continue to have the option to participate in at-home learning. 

Parents can expect to receive notification this week with information regarding their child’s projected start date for in-person learning. Those students included in our first group of phasing have been notified about their projected start date of August 20th. Students included in our second, third, and fourth phases will receive further information in the next couple of days regarding their child’s projected start date for in-person learning. Students included in our second phase are projected to start in-person learning September 15th and those in our third and fourth phases are projected to start and/or be reassessed by October 15th, when D207 will make further decisions regarding the schedule for in-person learning for all students. 

As always, we will collaborate with families and take into consideration if a student needs to be prioritized for in-person learning sooner than their projected start date. Should you have specific concerns regarding your child’s ability to access education remotely, please contact the building special education department chair and/or a member of your child’s IEP team. It is important to note that anticipated start dates are subject to change if there are local factors and/or changes to the Restore Illinois phasing.

Finally, as we navigate the guidance provided by the ISBE and our new e-Learning plan, please know that we are all working together as a school community to support your student’s learning needs. As always, if you have a question or concern about a specific class, please email the teacher and feel free to copy other members of your student’s IEP team so that we can problem-solve and collaborate. We are here to assist you in whatever way we can during this difficult time. District 207, along with our students and families, are strong and we will get through this together!

IN-PERSON & REMOTE SCHEDULES

Parents can expect to receive notification this week with information regarding their child’s projected start date for in-person learning. Those students included in our first group of phasing have been notified about their projected start date of August 20th. Students included in our second, third, and fourth phases will receive further information in the next couple of days regarding their child’s projected start date for in-person learning. Students included in our second phase are projected to start in-person learning September 15th and those in our third and fourth phases are projected to start and/or be reassessed by October 15th, when D207 will make further decisions regarding the schedule for in-person learning for all students. 

2020-2021 Schedule

As always, we will collaborate with families and take into consideration if a student needs to be prioritized for in-person learning sooner than their projected start date. Should you have specific concerns regarding your child’s ability to access education remotely, please contact the building special education department chair and/or a member of your child’s IEP team. It is important to note that anticipated start dates are subject to change if there are local factors and/or changes to the Restore Illinois phasing.

 

PARENT FORUM – AUGUST 5, 2020

Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Kathleen Di Sanza hosted a YouTube live session on August 5, 2020, at 6 p.m. The best way to watch is to click this link www.youtube.com/district207 to watch on the District’s YouTube page. 

If you click the screen below, you will then need to click the button that says: “Watch this video on YouTube”

Please review the District’s Roadmap to Reopening for more information.

A Series of Transition Resource Presentations for Families 2020-2021 School Year

Transition Resources Parent/Guardian Presentations (PRINT VIEW)

The Maine and Niles Special Education teams will host informational sessions to take place once a month beginning in October 2020.  Example topics include financial planning, living arrangement possibilities, employment opportunities and supports, community resources, etc. The information provided would be helpful for families of students with a disability of all ages as they plan for the future.  Parents/Guardians, students, and staff are encouraged to attend.  Below is a calendar of events.

These events will be presented virtually until further notice.  Links to participate in the presentation will be shared with those that RSVP’d ahead of the event.  Resources shared at the presentations will be linked online for future reference. 

Join the mailing list: If you would like to receive emails about these sessions including announcements about the topics covered, any changes to meeting dates, reminders for meetings, etc. please sign up here: https://bit.ly/35nTUTx

Calendar of Events: Please note that these dates are subject to change as needed.  Additional information may be provided as each event date approaches on the topic covered at the monthly session.  Sign up for the mailing list to receive any updates.Transition Resources Parent/Guardian Presentations (PRINT VIEW)

Note about Presentations Materials: Please note that the views and opinions expressed by the presenter are their own and do not necessarily reflect that of District 207 or District 219.

Important Note about Recording of Presentations: All presentations will be recorded and, when possible, will be shared after for families to access in the future.  Please note that, if you choose to attend the live virtual event, you are consenting to be part of this recording. 

 

Session 1
Transition – Getting Started | How to Navigate The Illinois Disability System
Wednesday, October 14th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Robert H. Farley, Attorney at Law
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/2A1ZmhG
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event)
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: https://www.farley1.com/The_Book_Robert_H_Farley_Esq.pdf
DESCRIPTION: Attorney Robert H. Farley, Jr., will speak on “How To Navigate the Illinois Disability System” and obtain all the benefits which your disabled child is entitled under the law. Learn what you must do, to be successful. Topics to be covered include PUNS (State of Illinois Waiting List); How To Obtain Funding from the State of Illinois if you cannot wait for your child’s name to be pulled from the Waiting List; SSI; Special Needs Trusts; and Guardianship. Mr. Farley is one of the leading attorneys in the United States as he has successfully filed 7 Federal Class Action Lawsuits in the last decade to secure funding for services and protect the legal rights for persons with disabilities.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Website- https://www.farley1.com/

 

Session 2
Choices Fair – Choices is a Post-secondary Planning Night for Students with Learning Differences who are College Bound
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 – Session will be held Virtually this year!  

Choices Fair Flyer

LOCATION: Zoom Webinar presentation about the factors to consider in the college process after opening remarks presented by Julie Smith of Glenbrook South High School and Gretchen Stauder of New Trier High School.
TIME: 7:00 pm 
PRESENTER(S): Many!
INFORMATION: Fair Schedule- https://postsecondarychoices.org/choices-fair-2020
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS: The Choices Consortium has also partnered with IACAC in hosting panel sessions focusing on services and supports in college for students with learning differences as part of the Virtual College Exploration Event. See this link for more information and to register for sessions: https://www.iacac.org/virtual-college-exploration/students/

  • September 15, at 2:30 PM – Preparing for the High School to College Transition for Students Seeking Accommodations Edgewood College, Madison College, Mansfield Hall, and University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • September 16, 2020, at 4:30 PM – Thoughts on Accessing Accommodations and Supports in College University of Arizona (SALT-DRC), University of Cincinnati, and Landmark College
  • September 16, 2020, at 7:30 PM – More Thoughts on Accessing Accommodations and Supports in College University of Iowa, Landmark College, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • October 15, 2020, at 3:30 PM – Plan to use mental health services, academic, or living accommodations while in college? Join us in this panel to hear from three different universities on resources and opportunities for students with any ability as they transition to a four-year institution Loras College, Michigan State University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Session 3
Transition Focused Resource Fair | BEST Transition VIRTUAL Fair
Wednesday, November 4th, 6:30 pm

TIME: 6:30-9:00 pm 
PRESENTER(S): Many!
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: http://www.besttransition.org/home.html
DESCRIPTION: Guest Speaker will present on a topic (TBD) at 6:30.  Directly after, professionals representing the following areas will be present for you to speak with: Apprenticeship and Trade Programs, Education Opportunities, Employment Services, Government Programs, Health Services, Legal Resources, Recreational Opportunities, Referral Resources and Information, Residential Options, Transportation Information, Vocational Programs
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: BEST Website: http://www.besttransition.org/home.html

 

Session 4
Behavior
Wednesday, December 9th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Amy Robinson, D207 Behavior Specialist & Melissa Elias, D219 Social Worker
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/3iJGSDH
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event).
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: (posted soon)
DESCRIPTION: One of the biggest challenges parents face is managing difficult or challenging behavior.  Challenging behavior can also pose a barrier to accessing adult services.  Understanding the basics or ABCs of behavior can help to identify when and why a behavior is occurring.  Melissa Elias, LCSW, social worker for district 219 and Amy Robinson, M.Ed., BCBA, behavior specialist for district 207, will review how to identify the antecedents and consequences associated with behavior and determine the function so that we can more effectively develop a plan for managing challenging behaviors.  They will also review the principle of reinforcement and some basic strategies that can be implemented at home.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: https://sites.google.com/maine207.org/behavior-strategies-and-suppor/home

 

 

Session 5
Housing and Residential Options
Wednesday, January 13th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Michelle Schwartz, Transition Outreach Specialist, Clearbrook
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/2F8foZZ
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event).
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: Clearbrook Transition
DESCRIPTION: Part of Transition Planning includes thinking about and preparing for future housing/residential options, appropriate to meet your son or daughter’s needs.  In order to plan for the future, it’s helpful to know what options currently exist, and how to best position yourself regarding the resources and supports your son or daughter will need to be successful.  This presentation is an overview of the types of housing options available through the state of IL Medicaid Waiver, and other resources, and how to access them.  Michelle Schwartz,  Clearbrook Transition Outreach Specialist, has 10+ years providing individuals and their families with information, linkage, and successful navigation of service options.  Her knowledge of services, resources, and support for individuals with I/DD in IL spans 30 years.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: www.clearbrook.com


Session 6
Guardianship
Thursday, February 11th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Cheryl Lipton – Center for Disability & Elder Law
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/2F8xjQd
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event).
DESCRIPTION: Informational session about guardianship to families with young adults with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood. This is appropriate for anyone that would like more general information about guardianship. If you already have guardianship, this session would most likely not be beneficial for you to attend.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: https://www.cdelaw.org/


Session 7
Employment –
Can my Child Really Work? YES!
Thursday, March 11th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Emily Raming, Executive Director, TotalLink 2 Community
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/2NsH2Bu
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event).
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: Forthcoming
DESCRIPTION: Can my child really work? Yes! Learn about customized and supported employment best practice approaches resulting in successful community based work experiences for people living with ID/DD. TotalLink2 Community will share their job development strategies to have a 90% placement success rate for people with complex support needs and why they strongly believe that giving individuals an opportunity to work provides a critical foundation for building a meaningful life.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: https://www.totallink2.org/

 

Session 8
Government Benefits
SSI, SSDI, HFS: Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Government Benefits
Thursday, April 8th, 6:30 pm

LOCATION: Online
TIME: 6:30 pm
PRESENTER: Sherri Schneider, President of Family Benefits Solutions, Inc. 
PLEASE RSVP HERE: https://bit.ly/2B5bcYF
(Note that the link to participate will be sent to those that RSVP’d ahead of the event).
PRESENTATION HANDOUTS: Forthcoming
DESCRIPTION: This interactive informative presentation will cover the who, what, where and when of government benefits, Medicaid waiver programs, how benefits change over a lifetime and how to plan for your adult child’s future. Ending in a game of Benefit BINGO, you will not believe all that you have learned.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: http://www.familybenefitsolutions.com/

In accordance with House Bill 3586 and Public Act 101-0515, Maine Township HSD 207 provides annual notice to parents/guardians regarding their rights in relation to the provision of related services to students who are eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

House Bill 3586 Update (October 2019)

Maine Township HSD 207 will be providing parent(s)/guardian(s) with ‘draft’ paperwork in advance of Eligibility and/or Annual Review IEP meetings via Email using School Messenger in order to secure the confidential documents being sent electronically. 

Why are we using School Messenger vs. traditional E-mail (Gmail) to send ‘Draft’ documents? 

When an email is sent through Gmail it is not guaranteed to be encrypted through the entirety of the process.  When you send through school messenger it is encrypted through the entire process.

Is there anything the parent needs to do in order to view and/or download the draft documents?

No, the email that will be sent will come from school messenger in a traditional email [[email protected]] with a subject titled either: Draft IEP ‘secure attachment’ or Draft Eligibility ‘secure attachment’.  The attachment will be contained in the body of the email with a link to either view, download, and/or print the draft documents prepared in advance of the meeting.

How does this amendment to the school code positively impact the IEP team?

We have seen first hand by sending out the draft paperwork with an agenda in advance has allowed the IEP meeting to run more efficiently with respect to staying on schedule and allowing for more meaningful conversation in the development of the student’s IEP.  We believe this will only improve the parent partnership and collaboration during IEP meetings.  

What email address will be used to send ‘draft’ documents?

The District will utilize the associated parents/guardian Email address on file with the school, which was provided through the registration process.  If a change needs to be made to the Email address on file with your child’s resident school, please contact the office of student services at your respective building in order to change and/or update.

What forms will be included in the ‘draft’ paperwork?
In addition to the ‘draft’ paperwork, the Eligibility Meeting Agenda and IEP Meeting Agenda will be linked to preview in advance of the upcoming meeting.

For Annual Review IEP Meetings

For Initials or Reevaluations

  • Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance
  • Secondary Transition Plan
  • Behavior Intervention Plan (if applicable)
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Educational Accommodations and Supports
  • Assessment
  • Autism Considerations (if applicable)

*A blank copy of all eligibility criteria forms that may be considered in the team’s determination will be included in the email.  Note, only the appropriate eligibility criteria forms will be reviewed at the meeting.