Sunday, November 29, 2015

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NOVEMBER 16, 2015:



The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) as a milestone along the road of full equality of all individuals with disabilities from birth throughout their lives.

NASDSE was started in 1938 -- long before the enactment of a federal law -- by a group of professionals who were leading the way to open the doors of public schools across the country to children and youth with disabilities. Our schools have come a long way -- we've gone from shuttered buildings to separate and unequal classrooms to today, where most students with disabilities spend at least 80% of their school day in integrated settings. That is indeed good news.

We are well aware that we still have a ways to go. Students with disabilities are still less likely than their nondisabled peers to achieve proficiency on assessments, to go on to college and to be employed as adults. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which puts a heightened emphasis on post-school outcomes for students with disabilities, can help with improving post-school outcomes.

There is more good news in that there are dedicated teachers, specialized instructional support personnel and leaders at both the state and local levels who are committed to improving results for students with disabilities. NASDSE salutes your efforts and thanks you for your dedication.

This anniversary of IDEA rightfully should serve as a time for celebration as well as reflection on where we are and where we need to go. NASDSE looks forward to continuing its efforts to ensure good outcomes for all of our nation's children. 


NOVEMBER 3, 2015: At our recent 77th Annual Conference, NASDSE recognized the work of three outstanding individuals with NASDSE’s prestigious awards:

  • The NASDSE HERITAGE AWARD is presented to an individual on the basis of service and significant contribution to NASDSE and to the field of special education. Only NASDSE members in good standing over several years are eligible. This year’s honoree is Colleen Riley, Director of the Early childhood, Special Education and Title Services Team for the Kansas State Department of Education.
  • The R. Elwood Pace HUMANITARIAN AWARD is presented to an individual who engages in service or activities of a humanitarian nature that exceed what one normally expects of a person in the discharge of his/her professional duties. This year’s honoree is Helen Sengebau, Special Education Director for the Republic of Palau.
  • The Martha J. Fields Award of Excellence is presented to an individual or organization outside the NASDSE organization that has made exemplary contributions to the to the NASDSE mission and goals. This award was given to Katy Neas, Executive Vice President, Office of Public Affairs at Easter Seals. Katy also chairs the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a national coalition of more than 100 organizations working together on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.


OCTOBER 2015: Just prior to NASDSE’s 77th Annual Conference and Business Meeting, the NASDSE Board of Directors adopted, and presented to the NASDSE membership a new Mission Statement for our organization that more closely reflects the work that the state directors of special education do every day.

NASDSE Mission Statement

(adopted October, 2015)

NASDSE’s mission is to work with state education agencies to ensure that all children and youth with disabilities receive the educational supports and services they need from birth to be prepared for post-school education, career and independent living choices.

NASDSE accomplishes its mission by establishing and maintaining relationships with those individuals and groups responsible for the development of policies, educational and other programs serving individuals with disabilities, and those responsible for implementation at the school, local district, state and national levels. NASDSE promotes leadership development through collaborative relationship building with these stakeholders based on its Leading by Convening initiative and strategies. 


OCTOBER 10, 2015: At NASDSE's recently concluded annual conference and business meeting, John Eisenberg, Assistant Superintendent, Special Education and Student Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia, was inducted as NASDSE President for 2015-16. Debbie Gay, Director, Special Education Services and Support for the Georgia Department of Education was elected Secretary-Treasurer and Glenna Gallo, Director of Special Education for Utah’s State Office for Education, was elected President-Elect. Frank Podobnik, Director of Special Education for the Montana Office of Public Instruction assumed the position of Past President. Board members-at-large for 2015-16 include: Santina Thibedeau, Director of Special Education for the New Hampshire Department of Education; Angela Denning, Director of Exceptional Student Services for the Arizona Department of Public Instruction; Linda Turner, Director of Special Education for the South Dakota Department of Education and Bill Hussey, Director of the Division of Exceptional Children, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. 


SEPTEMBER 3, 2015: The agenda for the Data Managers Meeting at the NASDSE conference has been posted. Click here to view the agenda. 


SEPTEMBER 2, 2015: NASDSE is seeking a public policy analyst. Click here to see the job description. To apply, send your resume and a writing sample to or fax it to 703-519-3808.


AUGUST 27, 2015: NASDSE is pleased to share this short video featuring our colleagues who have endorsed NASDSE's Leading by Convening initiative. You can access the Leading by Convening document here.


AUGUST 19, 2015: In conjunction with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), NASDSE undertook a series of collaborative initiatives to both inform and highlight collaboration at the state level between state education agencies and protection and advocacy agencies. Our organizations each surveyed our members and then hosted webinars for members highlighting collaboration at the state level. A summary of the surveys and webinars has been compiled in the document, NDRN & NASDSE Collaboration Survey Results. Embedded in the document are links to the webinars, a transcript of each webinar and the PowerPoint presentations. Click here to read and download the report.


AUGUST 11, 2015: The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is seeking to hire a Director of Special Education. The director will lead and direct policy development and implementation of special education activities within the state. The director will serve as the designated representative of MDE to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), provide advice and counsel to the Education Commissioner and the MDE Executive Team, and manage fiscal and human resources in the division. For more information and to apply, please click here.


APRIL 14, 2015: NASDSE submitted a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee today as the Committee begins to debate the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Click here to read the letter.


FEBRUARY 25, 2015: At its winter board meeting February 11-13, 2015, the NASDSE Board of Directors adopted a Government Relations Agenda for NASDSE for 2015. Click here to read the agenda.


FEBRUARY 2, 2015: NASDSE submitted a letter to Senator Alexander on his proposed legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Click here to read NASDSE's letter.

Visit NASDSE's Other Websites!!

Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities:

NASDSE's IDEA Partnership has two websites: and

NASDSE'S Project Forum website,, has been taken down. All documents from the old Project Forum website are available on our website on the Project Forum Project page.


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