Read it Here! Science of Reading Professional Development Requirements Published

Read it Here! Science of Reading Professional Development Requirements Published



 In late March, the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce published guidance for districts on how to fulfill the staff training requirement for the new literacy improvement provision of HB 33.  The guidance may be accessed here. That provision mandates that teachers and administrators must complete professional development in the science of reading by June 30, 2025. This new guidance lays out how the training requirements can be met by staff through identifying the training topics, vendors, resources, and details for these select professional development opportunities. The training is available in online modules in the Department’s Learning Management System in addition to face-to face meetings with trained facilitators.

The guidance notes that teachers and administrators who completed similar training, notably the professional development that supports the requirements of Ohio’s Dyslexia Support laws, may also satisfy the HB 33 requirements. A training comparison chart is included in the guidance document.

Finally, the guidance provides some instruction concerning the stipend due to teachers for completing this professional development. Stipend amounts vary from $1,200 for all K-5 teachers, 6-12 English language arts teachers, and all intervention specialists, English learner teachers, reading specialists, or instructional coaches for grades K-12, to $400 for 6-12 teachers of subjects other than ELA.  Districts must first pay teachers the applicable stipend and then seek reimbursement from the Department.   HB 33 highlights that teachers shall complete the course “at a time that minimizes disruption to normal instructional hours. “

What this Means for Schools: Now that the guidance and course identification information is available, districts can commence planning to these required professional development opportunities.  Districts are cautioned to review their collective bargaining agreements and consult legal counsel to determine the appropriateness of using pre-arranged professional development days for this coursework in light of the stipend requirement.





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Special Education Update: Next at Bat: What’s Coming Up in 2024

Special Education Update: Next at Bat: What’s Coming Up in 2024

While most New Year’s resolutions are all but forgotten by now, several federal agencies have promised new rules or updates to rules to take effect sometime in 2024. Here’s a quick look at New Year’s resolutions – the federal addition, and their possible impact on special education.

Title IX – the long-awaited and much anticipated final Title IX rules are now scheduled to be published in 2024, giving the Administration ample time to review the over 240,000 comments on the proposed changes. Having had a sneak peek at the proposed rules, districts can expect that IEP and 504 teams will have a greater role in Title IX investigations and grievance resolution. The proposed rules specifically provide that a student with a disability involved in a Title IX proceeding will be best served by the Title IX Coordinator consulting with the student’s IEP team to 504 team throughout the implementation of the grievance procedures. This statement suggests that the role of the team will not be relegated to the beginning of the process or in developing supportive measures, but that the expectation is that the student’s IEP or 504 team will be involved and consulted throughout the entire process.

Section 504 – Proposed regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were promised in November 2023. While there have been no identifiable hints on what the new regulations will require, practitioners are hopeful for either clarification of procedural differences between the IDEA and Section 504 or clearer alignment between the two. The implications of these regulatory changes for special education are self-evident, as IDEA protections fall under the umbrella of Section 504. At this time, no new release dates have been offered.

FERPA – Likewise, the deadline for the proposed updates to FERPA’s implementing regulations has come and gone. Nonetheless, a new target is in sight, as the Department of Education identified a proposed release date of May, 2024. However, on January 12, 2024, the Department extended the time for comments to March 12, 2024. While this announcement did not include a new deadline for the release of the proposed regulations, this is a welcomed opportunity to raise questions and concerns about the practical side of implementing FERPA. Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments electronically on or before March 12, 2024, at

With so much at stake, districts must capitalize on every opportunity to become informed on the laws, rules, and decisions that shape our obligations toward students with disabilities. Ennis Britton is taking an active role in these discussions on a national level with three presentations at the upcoming LRP National Institute and School Attorney Conference in Savannah, Georgia this May. Please join Jeremy Neff for an in-depth look at “Successfully Mapping the Exit from IDEA Services” and reflections on “COVID Lessons Learned for Future Disruptions”, and Pamela Leist as she explains “Navigating Confidentiality Under IDEA,504 and FERPA”

Read it Here! Science of Reading Professional Development Requirements Published

Special Education Update: Sixth Circuit Confirms District Obligations for Dual Enrolled Students

In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not require school districts to provide special education services or accommodations in dual credit courses offered at postsecondary schools. The decision stems from an appeal filed on behalf of a Kentucky student with Tourette’s Syndrome, autism, and other physical and cognitive conditions. After three years of accelerated courses in high school and a dual credit course at a local university, the student’s IEP team determined to focus on his transition to postsecondary education – pinpointing a “residential college experience” as one possible option. When Parents enrolled the student in a dual credit, dual enrollment residential program outside of the district, their request for on campus IEP services was denied. The family then filed due process, seeking reimbursement for the support services financed by parents. The hearing officer and the appeals board sided with the district. The ensuing court appeal was dismissed by the trial court.

On further appeal, the Sixth Circuit’s review highlighted several relevant points, beginning with the clear fact that the Act applies to “secondary,” not postsecondary education. Since the program at issue delivered college-level courses on a college campus, it was not covered under the IDEA. Following the guidance of the U.S. and Kentucky Departments of Education, the Court found that the mandate for a free appropriate public education did not include postsecondary education.

The Court also considered that the dual enrollment was in fact exclusively exercised in a college setting located some 130 miles from the student’s high school. As the district had no control over what classes the student took, what times services might be warranted, or where the services would be provided, the Court agreed that the Act did not obligation school districts to provide services at universities as opposed to the student’s high school.

Finally, the Court distinguished between the obligation to provide special education services for Advance Placement courses and doing so for the dual enrolled student. AP courses are available to high school students based on district-determined offerings and do not require enrollment in a postsecondary institution. However, the residential postsecondary program here caters to high school students but does not offer a secondary school education. Therefore, the dual enrollment precludes eligibility under the IDEA.

What this means for school districts: The facts in this case clearly establish that off- campus college credit programs do not oblige school districts to provide special education services. Accordingly, schools should carefully consider program location and the level of program control when suggesting postsecondary transitional services for high school students.


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Virtual Meetings and Hearings Get Another Consideration

Virtual Meetings and Hearings Get Another Consideration

Over the summer, members of the Ohio House introduced HB 257 to make permanent the ability for school board members and other public officials to attend meetings of the public body and to hold administrative hearings by virtual means. The bill, which was referred to the Committee on Government Oversight in September, would revive COVID-era authority to meet and conduct official government business by virtual means, with the added bonus of conducting administrative hearings virtually as well. Compliance, notice, and accessibility to the stream are part of the proposed legislation, along with a requirement for express adoption of a board policy to permit remote action. Additionally, the legislation as proposed may require up to one-third of the board members to attend in person at an agreed-upon physical location and those attending remotely would be required to provide timely notice of that intention. The bill is still in its infancy but is one to watch in the future.

What this means for schools – If enacted, this bill will expand options for boards of education in their conduct of official business.






























































































































































































































































































































































































































































Read it Here! Science of Reading Professional Development Requirements Published

Special Education Update: HB 33 Impacts Options & Obligations for Special Needs Students

The Ohio Budget Bill was signed by Governor DeWine on July 2, 2023. While the spending provisions were effective immediately, substantive changes to the law become effective October 3, 2023. Within these new and amended laws are several provisions that not only impact students with disabilities but will likely expand school district’s obligations to this student population.

Jon Peterson Scholarship applicants can expect more money in the coming years. Most categories of disabilities will see increases the subsidy provided over the next two years.

The Autism Scholarship saw more significant changes from permissible providers to access to scholarship dollars.

  • In the area of behavioral services, families availing themselves of the Autism Scholarship can now access BCBA and behavioral technician services, even when the providers do not possess permits to provide such services in a facility or a home.
  • Additionally, students accessing the scholarship will no longer need a school identification of autism. Students will be eligible if a medical professional diagnoses the student with autism, or if the student has an IEP that calls for services “related to autism.” In the event the student is medically diagnosed but does not have an IEP, the responsible school district must develop an education plan for that student to address the diagnosis.

“Catastrophic” costs are no longer reflected in the special education budget. Schools can continue to seek additional costs of services that exceed the category’s funding threshold, but they will no longer be identified as “catastrophic” costs. It is anticipated that this change is more in the name than in the actual amount of funding received.

Seizure action plans are another new requirement. Designated school employees must develop a seizure action plan for affected students and provide training on the plan to relevant staff. Likewise, Districts must ensure that at least one staff person in each building is trained in such plans every two years. Additionally, district administrators, school counselors, teachers and bus drivers must complete training in the bill’s new requirements. 

Public schools are now required to provide transportation as a related service to any resident student with a disability attending a nonpublic school. This particular requirement is vaguely drafted and the Ohio Department of Education has not yet issued any clarification, nor are there any applicable regulations. It is best to consult with legal counsel to develop an appropriate response to any new requests for transportation related to this change.

Finally, the Ohio Department of Children and Youth Services will assume most of the oversight of preschool education. A full transfer is duties is expected by January 1, 2025.

 What this means for schools – As with all other education related budget considerations, these changes in laws will require careful oversight and timely consideration. Stay tuned for further updates on the implementation of many of these new and revised requirements.