SPED Council Updates

The following updates are from the fall meeting of the Virginia Department of Education’s Special Education Council meeting.

Web Accessibility Standards & Tools – Marie Ireland

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) – VDOE demonstrated some tools that are being used to comply with this higher accessibility standard. The new standard takes effect January 2018. Refer to VDOE’s web page footer under Site Resources, Accessibility for tools and resources. VDOE will be removing items that are not accessible to this standard or remediating items.

Updates for Sensory Disability Services/Programs (HI/VI/DB) – Wanda Council

A Virginia Network of Consultants (VNOC) consultation can be arranged not only for specific student needs, such as assessment, but staff trainings are also possible. “See the Sound Visual Phonics” is an easy to learn and use literacy tool for early sound-letter skill development. It is used by teachers of the deaf, speech pathologists and other special education teachers.  Contact Ann Hughes, Educational Specialist, at awhughes@vcu.edu for additional information.

The VSDB Outreach Services continue to provide free webinars and live learning programs and activities for professionals, students and families of children with sensory disabilities across Virginia. Contact Debbie Pfeiffer, Director for Outreach Services, at Debbie.Pfeiffer@vsdb.k12.va.us

Supporting Provisional Exceptional Educators’ Development (SPEED)

Offered by the JMU Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities Department (EFEX), Project SPEED provides online, graduate-level courses at a reduced tuition rate for special education teachers holding a valid conditional or provisional license in Virginia. These courses prepare participants for a five-year renewable license with an endorsement in special education -general education. Applications are currently being accepted – to apply, please visit jmu.edu/outreach. For more information about Project SPEED, go to jmu.edu/coe/efex/projectspeed or contact Dr. Dani Allen Bronaugh at bronauda@jmu.edu or (540) 568-4952

Download a flyer HERE.

Chronic Absenteeism

Special education directors were asked to monitor chronic absenteeism, including students with disabilities, since that subgroup has higher absentee numbers than students without disabilities. There are resources on VDOE’s web site with training modules to address attendance and absenteeism:



Old Dominion University Special Education Grant/Reduced Tuition Programs

Sheila Carr serves on the advisory board for CSEEP, along with other local special education directors. An Old Dominion University consortium offers coursework for some special education endorsements: General Curriculum, Adapted Curriculum, Visual Impairment. Teachers with valid provisional licenses are eligible and other school personnel with bachelor’s degrees may be eligible. Tuition assistance is available for provisionally licensed teachers; others receive course discounts. Request that special education directors share with teachers. Contact: cseep@odu.edu

Download a flyer HERE.