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Statewide system promises easy access to special education data

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A new online system for holding special education data, including individualized education plans for students, is scheduled to begin with the start of school this fall, providing greater access for parents and school staff and greater consistency across the district. It promises to improve performance.

The State Department’s Office of Special Education has partnered with Massachusetts-based Public Consulting Group to implement a new individualized education program known as CT-SEDS for 2022-23. SEDS stands for Special Education Data System.

The state project began about two years ago with a “goal to develop a comprehensive Statewide Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS) to be available to all local school district partners in 2022. and vision”. educational website.

The new program includes a parent portal so families can access information such as a student’s individualized education plan and IEP. There is also a language translation feature so family members can access this information in their native language. CT-SEDS also assists the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) in navigating the special education process, leading to the development of his IEPs of high quality for Connecticut students, according to the website.

“In addition to developing a universal system, the IEP has been revised with some important changes,” said Amy Turner, Associate Superintendent of Special Education at Wallingford Public Schools. “The IEP components are federally mandated, so the content remains the same, but the IEP itself is easier to read and more parent-friendly.”

Documents in the system will be in a different format than they are today, said Rebecca Cavallaro, director of student services at Southington Public Schools. Southington schools previously used a system from a third party vendor, but the program is statewide.

“This greatly improves consistency across states and districts,” says Cavallaro. “So when a student moves from Southington to Waterbury, that information carries over and everyone is on the same system, which is great.”

In addition to being a statewide program, Robin Ann Carey, director of student personnel services at Cheshire Public Schools, believes the new format is “more parent-friendly.”

“Previous forms contained a lot of information in very small print,” says Carey.

Staff training, glitches

Depending on the size of the district, the Public Consulting Group could provide each district with a certain number of staff members and train them to become trainers of the program. The Wallingford and Cheshire school district was able to train 15 his members of staff this summer. Southington has his 25 staff members who are trainers. The rest of the staff will be trained towards the beginning of the school year.

“Over the summer, the state conducted multiple trainings. They are virtual,” says Carey. “Staff who were identified as trainers were able to register and access the training. They were trained and then as a district, we created a training package, like a training presentation, and distributed it to all trainers. We will then train small groups within each building.”

Carey said he had noticed some glitches in the program, but said the state was “trying to respond in a timely manner.”

“Like any new program, there have been many changes as it has been developed and implemented,” said Turner. “This will be a learning curve for all staff.”

parent training

The Wallingford and Cheshire school districts will be conducting parent training at the start of the new school year.

“We will be conducting parent training in September and introducing a new online portal that parents can use to access their child’s documents,” said Turner. “More than just training parents on the new format of the document.”

Carey said Cheshire will conduct parent training online.

“We’ve found that it’s easier for parents to participate than face-to-face, as they often struggle to find childcare that can attend evening meetings,” says Carey. “So virtual meetings are much more successful, so we will also be working on reviewing her new IEP and supporting her participation in PPT meetings.”

For staff, Cavallaro said having student information at hand through CT-SEDS helps.

“So there are no service gaps and no downtime,” says Cavallaro. “I think it will be more efficient and have a greater impact on students.”

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2279Twitter: @jessica_simms99