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The Department of 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.

Information on E-LearningA Series of Transition EventsSpecial Olympics AwardLegal Update

This is a difficult time for everyone, especially for our students who require specialized instruction and individualized supports. This time of uncertainty creates obstacles for families to navigate and causes a change for our students in their regular structures and routines. During this unprecedented time in our country, District 207 is committed to addressing all of our student’s needs in pragmatic and creative ways in order to help them remain engaged. Please be mindful that we will need flexibility and patience from all stakeholders as we embark on this journey.

As you are aware, the district is implementing e-Learning as an alternative way to support the continuity of educational opportunities, including social, emotional, and behavioral learning. Parents/guardians can expect that special education teachers will communicate with their students regularly and work collaboratively with them on how to best meet their student’s IEP needs during this time. Our staff is working to provide remediation and enrichment through relevant, meaningful, and manageable assignments that take into consideration student needs. Activities will be varied and teachers and teaching assistants will work with students to modify and/or accommodate lessons and assessments. To ensure continuity of related services, our school providers will be offering a variety of alternative methods of service delivery, to the greatest extent possible, and based on the individual needs of the student. These include, but are not limited to, consultation services, home-based activities/lessons, video-conferencing, and phone-conferencing. 

Although school is closed, federal guidelines and guidance from ISBE outline the expectation that we will continue to complete evaluations, to the greatest extent possible, and hold IEP meetings as scheduled. If your student is in the process of having an evaluation completed, someone from their team will contact you to discuss the planned evaluation and if any changes may be needed. If face to face assessments are needed that cannot be done via video-conferencing, the evaluation may need to be postponed until school resumes, which may result in it being out of timeline compliance.

During this time we will hold IEP meetings via video conferencing, with your consent. We will be holding meetings using the video conference platform Google Hangout Meets. Parents have the right to decline to hold the meeting virtually with the understanding that the meeting will be rescheduled when an in-person meeting can resume; therefore, it may result in being out of timeline compliance.

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!

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS 

  • Parent Letter SpEd COVID-19 [English & Spanish]
  • IEP Meetings-Parent Information During E-Learning COVID-19 A ‘how-to’ document to assist parents in joining an IEP and/or Eligibility meeting using remote communication via Google Meet
  • Counseling Virtual e-Learning Consent [English & Spanish] Notice of consent that was sent to all parents of children with IEPs.
  • Individual E-Learning Plans (IELP) IEP teams are making good faith efforts to provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in light of these exceptional circumstances of mandatory school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Services to students during this time will be different and parents must be informed of changes to services and offered the opportunity to provide input/feedback into the plan for supporting their students during e-Learning Days. To comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the IELP is designed to inform parents of changes conveyed to parents in the format of providing Prior Written Notice (PWR). 

Transition Resources Parent/Guardian Presentations – English

Transition Resources Parent/Guardian Presentations – Spanish

The Maine and Niles Special Education teams will host informational sessions to take place once a month beginning in October 2019.  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. Parents/Guardians, students, and staff are encouraged to attend.  Below is a calendar of events.

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/2KQ5v1C

Location and Time: Sessions will take place at the Morton Grove Public Library Located at 6140 Lincoln Ave, Morton Grove, IL 60053 unless otherwise indicated.  Light refreshments and time for families to mingle will begin at 6:00 pm.  Sessions will begin at 6:30 and will last between approximately 1 and 2 hours.

Calendar of Events: All of our events scheduled for 2nd semester have been canceled due to the school closure.  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.

Session 1
Progress Center | Local Center for Independent Living 

Tuesday, October 9, 2019

LOCATION: Morton Grove Public Library 6140 Lincoln Avenue Morton Grove, IL 60053-2989, 847-965-4220

TIME: 6:30 pm

PRESENTER: Courtney Harfmann, Youth Transition Advocate with the Progress Center for Independent Living 

DESCRIPTION: Progress Center is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources for people with disabilities.  The goal of Progress Center is to support people with disabilities so that they can live independently and navigate barriers to independence.  Presentation will focus on the services that can be offered to individuals now while in school and in the future. 

Progress Center is one of 22 Independent Living Centers in Illinois.  Each center has a similar mission and offers the same core services:

  • Information and Referral
  • Independent Living Services
  • Advocacy
  • Peer Support
  • Transition Services
  • Progress Center serves suburban Cook County

Additional Information: www.progresscil.org

 

Session 2
Choices Fair – Choices is a Post-secondary Planning Night for Students with Learning Differences who are College Bound
Wednesday, October 22, 2019  

LOCATION: Note that this event will take place at New Trier High School – NORTHFIELD CAMPUS, 7 Happ Road, Northfield, IL  60093

TIME: 6:00-8:30pm 

PRESENTER(S): Many!

DESCRIPTION:  Break Out Sessions between 6:00-7:40 “Successfully and Sanely Navigating College Admission Tests.”  College Fair from 7:00-8:30

Additional Information: Fair Schedule- https://postsecondarychoices.org/choices-fair-2019

Session 3
BEST Transition Fair
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

LOCATION: Note that this event will take place at Niles North High School (Enter through Door #2) 

TIME: 6:30-9:00 pm 

PRESENTER(S): Many!

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: http://www.besttransition.org/best-fair-2019.html

 

Session 4
Know Your Options: Living and Service Options through the Medicaid Waiver for Adults with Intellectual and other Developmental Disabilities
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

LOCATION: Morton Grove Public Library 6140 Lincoln Avenue Morton Grove, IL 60053-2989, 847-965-4220

TIME: 6:30 pm

PRESENTER: Mary Dixon, Ligas Family Advocate Program, The Arc of Illinois

DESCRIPTION: Attendees will learn about: 

How self-direction of waiver funding works through the Home and Community Based Services Program

The 4 types of community-integrated living arrangements (CILA)

Creative ways to use waiver funding

Comparison of DRS vs. DDD waiver

Additional Information: www.thearcofil.org

In accordance with House Bill 3586 and Public Act 101-0515, which was recently signed by the Governor on Friday, August 23rd, Maine Township HSD 207 is providing 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.

Click links below to view notification sent out to parent(s)/guardians on Monday, September 9, 2019:

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)

Documentation of Evaluation Results – ISBE FORM 34-54A

Documentation of Intervention/ Evaluation Results (SLD) – ISBE FORM 34-54C *only if SLD is being considered

Functional Behavioral Assessment – ISBE FORM 34-54J *only if evaluation data was collected

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.