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Serving Medina, Portage,
and Summit Counties


Special Education

Special Education in Region 8

Improving Results for Children with Disabilities

Four children smiling
School and district data show consistent gaps in academic performance and graduation rates of students with disabilities compared to their nondisabled peers:
  • Students with disabilities are almost three times less likely to enter kindergarten demonstrating readiness;
  • Fewer than one-third of Ohio’s students with disabilities are proficient on the third grade English language arts
  • On the state English language arts assessment, 28.9% of students with disabilities scored proficient or better as compared to 64.6% for all students.
  • Like national trends, Ohio’s students with disabilities are more likely to experience exclusionary discipline practices than their peers who do not have disabilities.

Ohio, and all of its 16 State Support Teams, are committed to ensuring positive and meaningful educational experiences for students with disabilities that will lead to academic and postsecondary success. In alignment with Ohio's Plan to Improve Learning Experiences and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, Each Child Means Each ChildSST8 offers a variety of special education-related professional development and technical assistance services for district personnel, with particular emphasis in the areas of alternate assessment, assistive technology, autism, implementation and internal monitoring IDEA-related policies/procedures, inclusive instructional practices (including co-teaching), and postsecondary transition. Additionally, we welcome questions from parents of students with disabilities on these and related topics. Please contact the SST8 consultant(s) at the bottom right of this page for additional information.

Operating Standards

The revised Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities, which are Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-51-01 to 09, 11 and 21, became effective on July 1, 2014. Additional updates will be posted to the ODE and SST-8 websites as they become available.

The Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities identify the state requirements and federal Part B Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requirements that apply to the implementation of special education and related services to students with disabilities by school districts, county boards of developmental disabilities and other educational agencies.

Equity in Special Education: Reducing Disproportionality

Disproportionality is one measure of educational inequity. It occurs when students of any racial subgroup are identified for special education, placed in more restrictive settings or disciplined at a markedly higher rate than their peers. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) considers disproportionality to be significant when overrepresentation of a group exceeds a threshold defined by each state. The Ohio Department of Education has set Ohio’s threshold at a ratio of 2.50 in order to more fully identify and address racial disparities in special education across the state.
According to federal IDEA regulations, districts with significant disproportionality must:
1. Review their policies, procedures and practices for identifying, placing and disciplining students with disabilities;
2. Identify the factors that may be contributing to significant disproportionality; and
3. Provide services to address the contributing factors, including professional development for adults and educational and behavioral interventions for students, using 15 percent of their federal special education funds. 

Ohio's State Support Teams play a critical role in helping districts analyze data and plan for systems change efforts aimed at increasing equity in special education identification and discipline. Among other targeted supports, SST8 hosts an MTSS for Equity network aimed at reducing rates of disproportionate eligibility of black students in the category of Specific Learning Disability and other equity needs identified by districts. To learn more, contact Jenine Sansosti.

Who Can I Talk To About...

Alternate Assessment: Dee Dee Howes and Helen Brophy
Assistive Technology: Tracy Mail and Dee Dee Howes
Co-Teaching: Tracy Mail and Mike Kaschak
Disproportionality in Special Education: Jenine Sansosti, Tracy Mail 
Instructional Supports for Diverse Learners: Dee Dee Howes, Tracy Mail
Post-Secondary Transition: Helen Brophy
Career and Technical Education: Stacia Kaschak
Preschool Special Education: Stacey Smith

Supports and Resources

Virtual Office Hours

From September through May, SST8 consultants Helen Brophy and Dee Dee Howes will host monthly "Virtual Office Hours" via webinar to answer questions from educators regarding special education policies and practices, including ETR/IEP questions. Sessions are recorded and archived for future listening via our SST8 YouTube Channel.  Please remember that all guidance shared is current only as of the date of the session and could later be revised by U.S. Department of Ed or ODE policy changes.  Interested in joining a session? Visit our Events Calendar to find the next session!

Special Education Forum

The Special Education team at SST8 hosts bi-monthly forums throughout the school year to bring critical updates, announcements, and learning opportunities to professionals in the field. Each session strives to increase participants' knowledge and understanding of a relevant topic of interest in addition to sharing what leaders in special education need to know to be better equipped in their roles. Want to join us? Visit our Events Calendar to find the next session!

Region 8 Independent Educational Evaluator (IEE) List

SST8 maintains a directory of IEE providers as a courtesy to local districts and schools who may need to access these professionals. The list is developed by input of Region 8 special education leaders who nominate or request to remove various providers and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation on the part of SST8 or the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. For questions about this list, please contact Chrissy Wooley at [email protected].

Surrogate Parent list

Need a surrogate parent for an upcoming meeting? Region 8 maintains a list of individuals who have are up-to-date with training requirements and have agreed to serve LEAs in Medina, Summit, and Portage Counties. Access the list here.

Know someone who would be a great surrogate parent? ODE has now made trainings available online