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June 2018

A Message from Paul Vine: Transitions

This is the time of the year we reflect and look back to see all we have accomplished, while also looking forward to the new school year with excitement and anticipation of new experiences and learning to come. I am so proud of the many great things we have accomplished over the last several years with our Program Review, 5-year Action Plan, and our partnership with the PTSA Special Needs Group council. With all your support, as a district we are really making positive changes with our work with Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Co-Teaching, Dyslexia Supports, new staffing ratios for our teachers and specialists, 18-21 Transition Services expansion, and we are about to launch Assistive Technology information for parents and families on our website. I have been truly blessed to be part of and help lead and support many of these important initiatives focused on increasing our outcomes for our students who qualify for Special Education and 504 Services. 

As a parent, my son is transitioning to high school next year and my daughter will be doing the same the following year. I made a promise to myself many years ago, that I would take a step professionally to be more present in their lives when they enter high school. That time came much quicker than I ever expected and as many of you are experiencing too, that time goes by so very quickly. So, in keeping to my commitment to my family, I have decided to step down as the Director of Special Services as of the 2018-19 school year. This is bittersweet, as there is so much more I would like to do as a Director and it has been very exciting 10 years in this role. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in this role and I am looking forward to supporting our new Director when he/she comes on board. Thank you for all your support and all the knowledge I have learned from you. I wish you all a very enjoyable summer with your family and friends.

All the best,
Paul Vine, Director, Special Services           

Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities           
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to look at the Special Needs Resource Flier, created by the Lake Washington PTSA (LWPTSA) Council Special Needs Group/Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Special Services Department, available here. You can also pick up a hard copy at your child’s school, and/or from your child’s 504 or Special Education Case Manager at your annual review meeting.           
Special Services Program Review - 5 Year Action Plan
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

This year an advisory team of teachers, parents/community members, counselors, specialists and administrators has been meeting to learn about academic, behavioral and social-emotional supports for all students in our district. The team is also learning about evidence-based practices to support all students. The purpose of the team is to make recommendations for:


  • Potential adjustments to how we use curriculum, instruction, interventions, and assessments to support all students academically, behaviorally, and socially.
  • Structures, resources, leadership, and training to support a “Multi-Tiered System of Supports.


A “Multi-Tiered System of Support” is a framework for providing high-quality, inclusive instruction for all students, and applying increasingly intensive levels or “tiers” of intervention and support when a student does not respond to instruction. In an MTSS framework the progress of students is monitored frequently, and results of this monitoring are used to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and educational decisions.


Next year, several schools in our district will pilot evidence-based MTSS practices. Each school will develop a building team that will oversee elements of a tiered support system.  Teams will be provided with training and support to:


  • Use data to identify student needs
  • Develop a plan to establish or refine a tiered, inclusive academic or behavioral support system in the school
  • Implement or refine elements of the tiered support system


Pilot schools provide feedback to the district MTSS advisory team about support and resources needed to carry out and sustain tiered systems of academic and behavioral supports in our schools. In addition, the MTSS leadership team will monitor student academic and behavioral outcomes at pilot schools. The team will use this information to make recommendations in the spring of 2019 for expanding and refining tiered supports to improve academic and behavioral outcomes in all our schools.

Co-teaching Strategic Work is progressing and we are in the process of selecting school teams to begin piloting co-teaching in the 2018-19 school year. We are looking for at least one secondary school from each learning community to participate. Each team will be provided professional learning sessions for teachers and principals over the summer and throughout the next school year. 

Dyslexia Strategic Work; our Special Education and Intervention Program Directors are co-leading a Dyslexia Advisory Team. The team includes Program Specialists, School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, parents, Safety Net and Special and General Education Teachers. The purpose of the team is to build a system of supports to ensure that students with reading difficulties, including dyslexia, are identified early, and provided with accelerated and explicit instruction in foundational reading skills to mitigate long-term reading difficulties and/or qualification for Special Education. 

The team is ensuring that recommendations for our system of supports meet the requirements of recently passed, E2SSB 6162 Dyslexia, which takes effect in the 2021 school year. E2SSB 6162 requires that school districts must:
Use multi-tiered systems of support to provide evidence-based, multisensory, structured, literacy intervention to students in grades K-2 who display indications or areas of weakness associated with dyslexia
   - These interventions must be provided by an educator trained in instructional methods that target students’ areas of weakness
Use screening tools and resources that exemplify best practices
Begin providing supports in the General Education classroom wherever possible
Notify student's family when students show indications or areas of weakness associated with dyslexia 
   - Notification must include the plan for support and information relating to dyslexia resources
Recommend to the student's family that the student be evaluated for dyslexia or a specific learning disability if, after receiving interventions, further screening tools and resources indicate that a student continues to have indications of, or areas of weakness associated with, dyslexia

Our Dyslexia Advisory Team is currently identifying assessments for screening and progress monitoring to begin using in 2018-19. Our current screening and progress-monitoring tool, DIBELS Next, has been compared with essential components for identification of students with dyslexia. DIBELS Next contains the necessary components except for two areas: alliteration and rapid naming. The team will ensure the curriculum-based diagnostic and progressing monitoring tools include alliteration and rapid naming assessments.  

The team has identified evidence-based dyslexia best-practices and curriculum components to use when determining specific curriculum to pilot in schools, starting in the spring. The team reviewed curriculum and selected three evidence-based programs for further review. The team participated in vendor presentations for these programs. Special Education, General Education and Safety Net Teachers will pilot each curriculum in the months of April and May. The team will come together in May to share pilot experiences, decide on a curriculum and make a final recommendation to use with students at-risk for dyslexia. The recommendation is scheduled to be forwarded to our Instructional Materials Committee in May, and to the Board in June.

Professional development on dyslexia will begin in the spring of 2018. This will include an overview of dyslexia and new dyslexia legislation. The team will also collaborate with the selected curriculum vendor to provide professional development for Special Education Teachers, Safety Net Teachers, Administrators and Program Specialists. A dyslexia overview will be delivered to K-2 General Education Teachers, beginning in the fall of 2018.  Safety Net and Special Education Teachers will participate in ongoing support and professional development throughout the 2018-19 school year.

OSPI's Washington’s Integrated System of Monitoring Onsite Visit Summary Report

As shared in the May Special Services Department Newsletter for Parent and Families, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) conducts annual reviews of selected school districts in the state using Washington’s Integrated System of Monitoring (WISM). This year, we were selected for monitoring, which included an onsite review by OSPI monitors. This onsite portion of the monitoring process was conducted on March 28 and March 29. The onsite visit included meetings with members of our Central Leadership Team, focus groups that included district parents and staff, classroom observations, and interviews of teachers and special education specialists.


Last week, we received the WISM final report. As we shared with you from OSPI’s summary report there were no major arears of concern and this is also consistent with the final report. More information about the WISM report can be found on our website:  

Please Note: WISM Parent Survey Update
OSPI is still working with the survey contractor to complete some extra security assessment measures related to the parent survey contract and data sharing. OSPI is still planning on sending out email notification to our district regarding the launch date and timeline for the survey once they are known. OSPI is predicting that the survey will go out during the summer, they are planning on allowing for an extended response timeline. OSPI is hoping to have parent survey results back to districts in September.
Summer Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities
Seattle Children’s Center for Children with Special Needs

2018 Summer Camp Directory for children with special health care needs, now available!

- List of over 80 summer camps and programs for children, youth, and young adults with behavioral conditions, learning and developmental disabilities, medical conditions, and physical disabilities across Washington
- Now includes camps in northern Oregon and western Idaho to help serve families in southern and eastern Washington
- Search the online directory by camp type, specific condition, region, and more!
- Single print copies available by mail*

Resource Guide 

- Directory of statewide resources for advocacy, child care, dental, diagnosis, financial help, insurance, mental and behavioral health and more
- Tips and information on care for children with special health care needs
- Available in English and Spanish*
County Resource Lists 
- County-specific resources for families of children with special needs
- Download and print to use with families

County Resource Lists 

- County-specific resources for families of children with special needs
- Download and print to use with families

New Camps Added!

Since the Summer Camp Directory’s release on March 1, they have continued to add new summer camps. The directory now lists more than 95 camps for children, youth and young adults with behavioral conditions, learning and developmental disabilities, medical conditions and physical disabilities. Camps are located throughout Washington, north Oregon and west Idaho. Search for camps by camp type, diagnosis, location and more. To order a single copy of the print directory, contact Hanna Abrahamson (Project Coordinator | Center for Children with Special Needs Seattle Children's Hospital). 

2017-2018 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:
- No meeting in June