Apr 30, 2024

Texas Education Agency

April 2024

Special Education Newsletter

Oak Woods Elementary Solar Eclipse
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Dyslexia Handbook Final Draft Approved

On April 12, 2024, the State Board of Education (SBOE) approved the second reading and final adoption changes to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 74.28 which includes The Dyslexia Handbook. The final rule and accompanying figure will be filed with the Texas Register in accordance with the typical rulemaking calendar. The agency is posting the handbook that was adopted so that the community can begin to review it. Note that this is NOT to be considered the official handbook until it is posted in the Texas Register, which will be communicated to stakeholders. View the unofficial handbook HERE.

Transition and Employment Designees (TEDs)

Resources related to requirements for TEDs were published to Texas SPED Support. The TED Guidelines were updated and the online course to meet training requirements is now available for registration. The TED for each local education agency (LEA) must complete the required training by August 31, 2024. TEDs who completed the training during school year 2021-22 or 2022-23 are not required to retake this course and may submit an assurance of prior training completion.

Statewide SPED Capacity Contracted Services Grant Opportunity

The SPED Capacity Contracted Services Grant allows for LEAs to apply for one-time funding in accordance with allowable expenditures associated with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for securing contracted special education staff.

The application is open to all Texas LEAs that had expenses for securing contracted special education staff. You can find additional information, including an overview, the application and timeline for applying, and informational video hereFor grant application questions email contractedsvsgrant@region10.org.

American Sign Language Versions Now Available

SPEDTex now offers American Sign Language (ASL) translations (in video format) for two important special education documents:


Upcoming Dates

  • March 1 – May 1: The high cost funds (HCF) application period for 2023-2024. Please refer to the HCF webpage for additional information and resources. REMINDER: If you submitted a Non-Public Day or Non-Public Residential application for a student and would also like to submit a High Cost Fund application for that student, their Non-Public Day or Non-Public Residential application must be in FINALIZED status prior to the High Cost Fund application submission.
  • June 3: Last amendment due date for both the 2023-2024 Special Education Consolidated Grant Application (Federal) and the 2023-2024 Special Education Consolidated Grant Application (State).
  • June 12: General registration deadline for the Texas Autism Conference
  • June 20 – 22Texas Autism Conference in Austin, Texas (virtual options available). Family day is June 22 and is FREE of charge.
  • July 29-30ALIGNED! 2024: From Child Find to IEP Implementation (virtual conference). FREE of charge. Up to 12 CPE credit hours will be available for all attendees who participate in the live, synchronous sessions. Recorded, asynchronous sessions will be available for 30 calendar days following the conference. CPE credit hours are not available for recorded, asynchronous sessions.
  • August 31: Due date for the TED required training
  • December 6: SSES+ Medically Fragile Program ends.

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Did you know… 

April is Autism Acceptance Month? 

This is a month devoted to raising awareness to promote autism acceptance, celebrating neurodiversity and individual differences, and continuing to advance inclusivity and connectedness throughout the community. It’s also a time to renew our commitment to honor the unique lived experiences of people with autism. Find out about events and news promoting this special month HERE.

Nathan Pullen

This month’s staff highlight is Nathan Pullen, State Autism Coordinator. Nathan has worked at TEA for the past 3 years as an education specialist. Prior to that, he worked in public schools as a teacher and district specialist, as well as in clinical settings as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Nathan was born and raised in Texas, growing up in the Rio Grande Valley near the Texas-Mexico border. Nathan lives just outside of Austin, Texas with his wife, daughter, dogs, cats, ducks, and pigeons.

Nathan especially identifies with TEA’s core value – Servant Leaders – and continuously strives to improve outcomes for students, as well as support their families and educators who serve them.

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In This Issue

Texas SPED Support

Monthly Spotlight:

Texas SPED Support is getting some new enhancements based on survey feedback. Watch this short video to learn how to navigate the website and sign up for an account. You can also sign up for SPED updates now and receive timely information about newly posted resources and events for the topic(s) you are most interested in.

Follow on Facebook, Instagram, & Threads: @TexasSPEDSupport
Follow on Twitter: @TXSPEDSupport


UPDATED! Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED) and Reevaluation: Question and Answer Document

As part of the reevaluation, the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee and other qualified personnel, as appropriate, must complete a REED to help determine what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the student continues to require special education and related services and whether changes are needed to the services being provided. This updated question-and-answer document is intended to provide guidance and best practices to LEAs regarding the REED and reevaluation processes.

Go to Q&A Now

Building a TED Community

The TED Community of Practice (CoP) allows educators in the TED role to explore and implement best practices for transition planning. The TED CoP has met three times during this school year and will meet again in May. The CoP is available for educators serving in this important role to access quarterly meetings with leaders in the field, explore online resources, and connect with other TEDs across the state.

What can you expect when joining the TED CoP? The past three months included the following opportunities:

  • Structured exploration of the TED role with discussion by CoP members about opportunities, barriers, and effective practices
  • Direct connection with statewide representatives from Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), and TEA coordinators for foster care, McKinney-Vento, and secondary transition
  • In-depth review of specific resources for transition, with a focus on their application to the TED role and discussion about how these resources are being used to support students, families, or staff

There are approximately 900 TEDs in Texas. If you are serving in this role and would like to join over 100 TEDs who are already CoP members, submit your application today!

Apply Today

Guidelines for Multihazard Emergency Operations for Individuals with Disabilities or Impairments

To the Administrator Addressed (TAA) correspondence posted on April 18, 2024, regarding Texas Education Code, Section §37.1086 which requires the agency to establish guidelines for the provisions of an LEA’s multihazard emergency operations plan to better ensure the safety and security of students and staff with disabilities or impairments. Working collaboratively with educators, education service centers, and advocacy groups, TEA’s Office of Special Populations and Student Supports, Office of School Safety and Security, and the Texas School Safety Center developed Guidelines for Multihazard Emergency Operations which LEAs must follow when adopting/ implementing their emergency operations plan.

View Guidelines Now

Foundational Reading Lesson Set

The Foundational Reading Lesson Set provides Texas teachers with a set of instructional materials that can be used to create phonics lessons across the entire year. It includes routines for all components of phonics lessons as well as an entire year’s worth of materials. The materials are designed for students in first grade who are learning to read and students in first, second, and third grade who need additional instructional support. The language and words can be used with students across many levels. The clue cards are designed for primary grades and need to be replaced for some older students who are sensitive to the perception of doing activities designed for younger children.

This lesson set includes:

  • the top 500 sight words
  • approximately 4,000 decodable words
  • more than 200 image cards for phonological awareness
  • more than 80 sound-spellings ordered by frequency
  • more than 40 sound-spelling cards for the most common phonograms
Review Resource Now

Literacy and Math for All Training Opportunties

Literacy For All is a free, two-day training worth 12 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. The course is offered as a hybrid session so participants around the state can participate virtually or in person. This session was developed in collaboration with the Reading Academies and serves as supplemental training to deepen participant’s understanding of the importance of teaching students who struggle to read on grade level in grades 4-12 foundational reading skills. Participants will learn more about the science of teaching reading, including an overview of what skills need to be mastered to become a proficient reader, how the brain learns to read, the characteristics of dyslexia and dysgraphia, how a student’s learning abilities associated with reading can impact their ability to learn how to read, and what instruction and accommodations can remove barriers to learning.

Math For All is a free, one-and-a-half day training worth 9 CPE credits. It is designed to help educators build capacity in understanding how specific disabilities impact students’ learning of mathematics. The course is offered as a hybrid session so participants around the state can participate virtually or in person. The session focuses on whole number addition and subtraction for students in Kindergarten-Grade 3.

Literacy for All Flier
Math for All Flier

Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

As the warmth of summer approaches, it’s crucial to keep our students engaged and empowered through continuous learning. Research consistently highlights the importance of summer reading for academic growth, especially for students with special needs. Consistent reading over the summer months helps prevent the “summer slide” and ensures that students return to school in the fall ready to tackle new challenges.

Learning Ally is a groundbreaking audiobook solution designed to support students with learning differences. By providing access to a vast library of audiobooks, Learning Ally enables students to access grade-level content and develop essential literacy skills, regardless of reading level or disability.

Getting started with Learning Ally is simple:

  • Sign Up: Visit our Enrollment Page to get an account at no cost!
  • Training: Take advantage of Learning Ally’s Educator Coaching Sessions to learn how to use the product with your students. Register on the Texas Landing Page.
  • Promote: Encourage your students and their families to explore Learning Ally’s extensive library and incorporate audiobooks into their summer reading routines.

Engagement Opportunities

We are always looking for ways to connect with our partners in the field!

From site visits, to review opportunities, to focus groups, there are numerous ways to connect with TEA and support the field of education. If you are interested in participating in an engagement opportunities, sign up by clicking the button below.

Sign Up Here

State Assessment Educator Item Review Committees

Each year the TEA invites groups of Texas educators to provide feedback on the development of state assessments (STAAR, STAAR Alternate 2, and TELPAS) through educator committees across all assessed grades and content areas. Developing high-quality, aligned questions relies on the expertise and experience of Texas educators. Participants collaborate with other educators from across the state to review and approve each potential question for state assessments. TEA is currently accepting applications from all districts to participate in item review committees all subjects and grade levels.

If you know of any educators (including yourself!) who might be interested in participating in these review meetings, please encourage them to apply using the link below. Meetings are typically held during the spring and summer. If selected, an invite will be sent with all the logistical information.

The commitment is generally two to three days in Austin with all travel, accommodations, and substitute coverage paid for by TEA. All participants