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    December Special Education Updates
    Posted on 12/16/2020

    Dear Families of Students Receiving Special Education Services,

    As we near winter break, we want to acknowledge the partnership that has been developed over the last few months: parents, guardians, caregivers, and educators all working together to support the needs of our students. We have learned so much about our world and ourselves this year. Many of us may be experiencing burnout and tiredness. It is crucial to recognize that these are common feelings right now and that this winter break is an opportunity to refresh and recharge.

    Recommended Re-Opening Plan For Spring 2021 For Board Consideration
    SPS leadership recently presented to the School Board their recommendations for increasing in-person instruction in March. They have recommended that:

    • PreK-1st grade students return to buildings
    • PreK-12 students receiving special education services in some service pathways return to buildings
    • The Board will also identify select additional students for whom in-person services would be necessary
    •  

    The target date to bring these groups of students back is March 1, pending union bargaining. More information to come shortly.

    Celebrating 45 Years of Special Education
    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation's federal special education law that ensures public schools and state agencies provide all children with disabilities the services they need to thrive in school and beyond. Enacted on Nov. 29, 1975, this hallmark legislation significantly changed the educational trajectory for all children with disabilities. IDEA ensures that all children – regardless of ability – have equitable opportunities to grow, play, and learn in inclusive settings.

    The four primary purposes of IDEA are to:

    • Ensure all children with disabilities have a free, appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs.
    • Ensure the rights of children with disabilities and their guardians are protected.
    • Assist states and localities to provide for the education of all children with disabilities.
    • Assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate all children with disabilities.

    Learn more about the history of IDEA from the U.S. Department of Education.

    Special Education Community Forums
    We invite families to join us to share their experiences during this pandemic period. Special Education department leadership and staff will be present to provide information, listen to feedback, and answer questions. All sessions will be facilitated, and language supports will be available. Additional sessions will be scheduled in Spring of 2021. Specific links to each session will be emailed directly to families and can be found below (click on the title of the event you wish to attend at the time the meeting is scheduled).

    • Black Family Community: Tuesday, January 12, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Somali & Oromo Bilingual Family Community: Friday, January 15, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    • BIPOC Family Community: Tuesday January 19, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Amharic & Tigrinya Bilingual Family Community: Friday, January 22, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    • All Special Education Families: Tuesday, January 26, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Please contact spedcommunications@seattleschools.org if you have questions or need information on how to join a meeting via phone.

    Amazon Meals Service Update
    Please note that there is no meal delivery the week of 12/21 and 12/28, but extra meals will be packed the week of 12/14. If you have questions, please reach out to transdept@seattleschools.org.

    Information About SPS Dyslexia Work Group
    Seattle Public Schools is developing systems and supports for a district-wide approach to serve students with reading difficulties, including dyslexia. As a result, SPS has been working collaboratively with internal work groups, committees, and community focus groups to ensure we effectively serve every student in need of additional supports to increase their foundational reading skills. Learn more on the district website.

    Special Education Contact Page
    If you have a question and you are not sure who can help you, please get in touch using our contact form, which can be translated into various languages. You are also welcome to contact our staff.

    Take good care. We appreciate you.

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