Special Education Family Newsletter

The Special Education Family Newsletter serves to connect families with important information, deadlines, announcements, and current stories that illustrate the work of the Special Education department at Seattle Public Schools. If you have suggestions for how to improve these newsletters, please contact Emily Nitz-Ritter (Special Education Communications Specialist) at spedcommunications@seattleschools.org.  

Updates from the Directors
As we approach the end of 2019, your Special Education Directors wanted to share a few points of interest highlighting some of the work being done in the department currently:
  • Over the past six weeks, school leaders (principals and assistant principals) have participated in trainings on strengthening the partnerships between schools and families.
  • An interdepartmental Dyslexia Work Group is meeting monthly and is reviewing screeners and interventions.
  • Hannah Brown-Marzynski has come on board as a Family Experience Specialist. She is collaborating with department leadership to develop a multi-year plan to educate, engage, and support families at their students' schools.
  • The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Meeting has been rescheduled for February 10, 2020, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. The agenda includes introduction of the new Chief of Student Support Services and new staff who are supporting DHH services, an update on the development of a day school, and updates on supports for existing services for students.
  • Special Education Director Nicole Fitch collaborates monthly with the Special Education PTSA Executive Board to discuss strengths and needs for services in SPS.
  • Special Education staff are collaborating with the department of College and Career Readiness to understand how to best support students given the new OSPI Graduation Pathways offered by the state.
  • Central office leadership recently attended a workshop by Christopher Chatmon, one of the authors of "We Dare Say Love," the Founder and CEO of Kingmakers of Oakland, and the Deputy Chief of Equity at Oakland Unified School District.
Announcements + Updates
Winter Weather Transportation Information
Thanks to the advocacy of our community members, families of students receiving specialized transportation will no longer be asked to fill out an "opt-in" form to be assigned a snow route. Snow routes have been created for all SPS yellow bus student transportation, including general education and special education. All students who use district-provided yellow bus transportation will receive a route notification letter.  Read more about winter weather transportation

Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund (DDETF)
The DDETF is a supplemental special needs trust program established in 1999 by the Washington State Legislature. The program enables individuals with developmental disabilities, or their families and friends, to set aside funds for future use without affecting their eligibility for government services and benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
Funds may be used for many services not covered by other benefits, including recreation, therapy, clothing and transportation. The Department of Commerce administers the DDETF through a contract with The Arc of Washington State, who acts as the Trust Manager. For more information, visit http://ddetf.wa.gov/ or call 888-754-8798 ext. 1.

Washington State ABLE Savings Plan
Washington State's ABLE Savings Plan allows people with various types of disabilities and their families to save for future expenses without losing their state and federal benefits. The program launched in July 2018. Funds may be used for qualified expenses that improve health, independence, and/or quality of life for the beneficiary.
The Department of Commerce administers ABLE through a collaboration with The Oregon 529 Savings Network and BNY Mellon Sumday Administration. Visit https://www.washingtonstateable.com/ or contact the ABLE call center at 844-600-2253 for more information.

Got Good News?
Know of wonderful work happening in Special Education that needs to be celebrated? Share successes and stories with the Special Education Communications Specialist at  spedcommunications@seattleschools.org.
Upcoming Events
Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety Film Screening
January 9, 2020 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. 
Greenwood Elementary School,  144 NW 80th, Seattle, WA 98117
Join teachers, families, and experts for a screening of the documentary, " Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety " Seattle Public Schools and  IndiFlix will partner to raise awareness around anxiety. The 56-minute film, appropriate for ages 10 and up, will be followed by a panel discussion about school and local supports for students and families struggling with anxiety. 

Free tickets are available and space is limited! Reserve your tickets today

Special Education PTSA General Meeting
The next Special Education PTSA meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence auditorium. 

Special Education Resource Fairs Coming in Winter - Save the Date!
Learn  face-to-face from the people  who help coordinate services to support  your student. Special Education directors  and other staff will be present during this  open-house style event, so bring your questions Childcare will be provided.  For more details, or to request  interpretation services , contact  spedcommunications@seattleschools.org.

Please join us at one of the following Resource Fairs:
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. 
South Lake High School,  8601 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, 1330 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103   
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Meeting
Monday, February 10, 2020 from 5:30 - 7:30pm
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, room 2700
The agenda includes introduction of the new Chief of Student Support Services and new staff who are supporting DHH services, an update on the development of a day school, and updates on supports for existing services for students. Childcare will be provided!
Special Education Contacts
If you have questions, please visit our special education staff directory. Information has been updated for the 2019-2020 school year. 
Leadership Opportunities
We will be sharing information about leadership opportunities for the 2019-2020 school year over the next few weeks. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact Emily Nitz-Ritter at spedcommunications@seattleschools.org.
Access to Information for Families in Seattle Public Schools
To ensure information is accessible for all families in Seattle Public Schools, the district has methods for community members to request communications assistance for district sponsored programs, events, and activities. These services will be provided in an accessible format at no cost to the requester.

Seattle Public Schools Department of Special Education

2445 3rd Ave. S. Seattle 98134