U.S. Department of Education

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Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health

This release from the U.S. Department of Education joins the many recent products from ED to support how schools and communities support and see to the well-being of children. “Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health” provides information and resources to enhance the promotion of mental health and the social and emotional well-being among children and students. This resource highlights 7 key challenges to providing school- or program-based mental health support across early childhood, K–12 schools, and higher education settings, and presents 7 corresponding recommendations. This resource includes many real-world examples of how the recommendations are being put into action by schools, communities, and states across the country.

Read more about the challenges discussed and the recommendations explored, and access the publication here.

Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of IEPs in the Least Restrictive Environment

Adding to its Return to School Roadmap series, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education issues this Q&A document, which highlights certain IDEA requirements related to the development and implementation of IEPs and other information that states, school systems, regular and special education teachers, related services providers, and parents should consider as students with disabilities return to school in Fall 2021.

The 41-page document is the Department’s response to the requests it received from a diverse group of stakeholders, asking that the Department issue new guidance interpreting requirements of the IDEA in light of the many challenges of the COVID‑19 pandemic and as more schools and programs are returning to in-person services. Read more about the Q&A, see its Table of Contents, and access it (and other documents in the Roadmap series) in our abstract of this Featured Resource.

How to Prioritize the Health and Safety of Students, School Personnel, and Families

How to Prioritize the Health and Safety of Students, School Personnel, and Families is one of the first pages to be launched in the “Return to School Roadmap” series being produced by the U.S. Department of Education. The series itself is a work in progress, beginning with three landmark principles focused on tools and strategies that schools, districts, and communities can use to ensure that all students are set up for success in the 2021-2022 school year. The Department anticipates steadily releasing additional resources as part of the series in the coming weeks and months.

Immediately available are: (1) a fact sheet that lays out the three principles and provides examples of schools and communities that are addressing each in effective ways; (2) a guide for schools and districts outlining what schools can do to protect the health and safety of students; (3) a checklist that parents can use to prepare themselves and their children for a safe return to in-person learning this fall. Learn more about the Return to School Roadmap and connect with all currently available resources right here.

Roadmap to Safely Reopening Institutions of Higher Education

The Department of Education adds Volume 3 to its ED COVID Handbook series, this time focusing on Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff.

The 54-page volume highlights key areas of concern and discuss strategies for addressing those areas, such as safe practices for in-person learning, broadband and device access, basic needs supports for students, and available federal funding and flexibilities.

Read more about and access Volume 3 here, as well as connect with Volumes 1 and 2 and CPIR’s short summary briefs of those volumes.

Vaccinations, Return to In-Person Learning, and What All Parents Need to Know

In this webinar for parents, Parent Centers, and community members, key representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discuss safely reopening schools in the fall for in-person learning. Speakers share the process needed to get our children with and without disabilities back in the classroom, including testing and vaccine safety. The webinar is designed to give families an opportunity to express concerns, ask questions, and discuss how to sustain safe operations in schools. CDC spotlights the amazing array of resources it makes available in multiple languages about COVID-19 and vaccinations (including for adolescents), as well materials and toolkits tailored for specific audiences, such as families, community-based organizations, schools, and camp programs.

Roadmaps to Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools

The U.S. Department of Education has released two handbooks to assist states, schools, and communities in safely reopening America’s schools for in-person learning of students, including those with disabilities. Volume 1, Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, focuses on health and safety measures that schools can use to successfully implement the CDC’s K-12 Operational Strategy guidelines. Volume 2, Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, spotlights research-based strategies for addressing the social, emotional, mental-health, and academic impacts of the pandemic on students, educators, and staff.

To learn more about each volume, see the Table of Contents for both, and access the handbooks, come here.

Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools

(2021, February) | Useful for sharing with PTAs, families, community organizations involved in educational issues, and school leadership staff. COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools comes from the U.S. Department of Education. The 26-page handbook begins with a summary of CDC’s operational strategies and steps for safe school reopening. […]

Request for Comments | Proposed Revisions to SPP/APR Data Collection

The Department of Education (ED) is soliciting comments on proposed revisions to the data collected via the State Performance Plan (SPP) and the Annual Performance Report (APR). Each state must file the SPP/APR with the Department for both Parts B and C of IDEA. These are the parts of the law that authorize special education and related services for children with disabilities (Part B) and early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities (Part C). Among other changes, the Department is proposing to establish a new 6-year SPP cycle (FFY 2020 through FFY 2025). Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before April 20, 2020. Read more about this request for comment and connect with what’s proposed for Parts B and C here.

SchoolSafety.gov

(2020) | Useful to Parent Centers and all stakeholders involved in school systems, improving the school climate, and ensuring student safety. SchoolSafety.gov is a website recently created by multiple federal agencies. The site aims to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from emergency situations. In collaboration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security […]

Understanding ESSA: A Parents’ Guide to the Nation’s Landmark Education Law

(2018, August) | Useful to Parent Centers for sharing with the families they serve, to better parental understanding of ESSA and their role in advocating for how it is implemented in their state. This 19-page Parents’ Guide to ESSA comes from the U.S. Department of Education with the stated purpose of helping parents understand the […]

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