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Helpful Resources for Parents with Children in Special Education


Click on the link above or visit www.DRTx.org and click on Resources then Education to find a variety of helpful documents and links including:
1) DRTx IDEA Manual for Students and Parents on Special Ed; 2) Requesting Initial Evaluation for Special Ed; 3) Requesting Independent Evaluations for Special Ed 4) Filing a TEA Complaint; AND MORE!
When Your School Says No to Testing
At the referral process, and at other significant decision-making times after the referral, the district must provide you with written information (called "notice"), telling you about the actions the school wants to take, or is refusing to take, regarding your child's education and your rights.


If the school does not think your child needs to be evaluated for special education, officials must send you written notice that tells you why they made that decision and what you can do if you disagree. If the school does want to evaluate your child, officials must give you written notice of your rights (procedural safeguards notice) and get your written consent.


(excerpt from Page 18 of the DRTx IDEA Manual for Students and Parents on Special Education)

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school supplies, testing and diploma photos courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net by photomyheart, artur84, and scottchan
The Rights Times
Back to School Special Edition - August 2014

Change at Texas Schools:

What All Parents Need to Know


A Look at the STAARs

Several changes in the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) this year include the new STAAR Accommodated (STARR -A). This version is for students with learning and other disabilities who require the test to be administered in a different format in order to demonstrate knowledge of the grade-level or course curriculum. What was formerly known as the STAAR Modified (STAAR-M) will no longer be given.


Students who in the past were assessed with the STAAR-M will now likely take either the regular STAAR or the new STAAR-A. The student's ARD (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) Committee - comprised of the student's parent(s), teachers, counselors, etc. - will discuss and decide which version will be used.


Also on hand to roll out in this year's round of testing is the redesigned STAAR Alternative (STAAR-Alt) for students with significant cognitive disabilities as determined by an ARD. The revised version will be in a more standardized format than in the past and aligned to the basic core skills that are at the foundation of the grade-level curriculum.


Click here for more information from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on these changes to the STAAR tests.

From Three Diplomas to One

Until this year, students had three high school diploma choices. Under House Bill 5 passed by the Texas Legislature last year, the 2014-15 freshman class and those students who follow will be eligible to earn only one - the Foundation Diploma.


Additionally, incoming freshmen this year will start working with school counselors to create a personal graduation plan and select an area of focus, called an endorsement - something similar to selecting a college major. Students may change the selection at a later time or drop it if they choose. However if they maintain an endorsement focus, they graduate with 4 additional course credits which is highly beneficial to college-bound students.


To ease the transition to the new Foundation Diploma, students who entered high school last year or earlier will continue to pursue the prior diploma options.


Click here to learn about the High School Graduation Toolkit developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that provides essential information for students, parents and counselors. At the end of the page you will find a link to the Toolkit. The TEA is also working on a Spanish version.


Disability Rights Texas is working closely with the TEA and other special education advocacy groups to ensure that appropriate accommodations are implemented for students in special education regarding this new requirement as is their right under federal law.


The TEA is expected to issue regulations about these new diploma requirements for students in special education by December 2014.

New Guide to Life After School

For students in special education, a requirement of state and federal law is that they receive services that include individualized planning for their successful transition from school to post-school activities including higher education, vocational training, continuing education, integrated employment, adult services, independent living, or community participation.


Last year the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring the TEA to work with other state agencies to create a comprehensive transition and employment guide that provides information and resources to students and parents to use at a student gets closer to leaving school. The target completion date for this guide is by December 2014. Staff from the Disability Rights Texas Education team are part of the workgroup that is creating the manual.


Once available, every school district and charter school will be required to post the guide on their websites to make it easily accessible to students and parents. A Spanish version will also be available.

DRTx Keeps Student with Autism from Being Singled Out

APhoto of young boyaron, a 6-year-old boy with autism, was struggling with behavioral problems and completing assignments in his kindergarten class. School administrators suggested that Aaron be put in a special classroom for children with autism.


Aaron's mom was committed to keeping him in a regular classroom with his peers and sought the assistance of Disability Rights Texas. The advocate assigned to Aaron's case attended meetings with school administrators and persuaded them to bring in one of the school district's autism specialists to work with Aaron's teacher.


Aaron will get to remain in the general classroom setting, with a check-in in the near future to determine if the new supports are improving his performance. He is also receiving in-home services to address socialization and behavioral needs.

Disability Rights Texas (formerly named Advocacy, Inc.) is a nonprofit organization that protects and advances the legal, human and service rights of Texans with a broad range of disabilities. We are designated as the protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for the state of Texas and rely in part on your generous donations to continue our work.