DESE/IDEA Updates (May 2017)

By: Jean Spera, Special Education Director

On April 12, 2017, the Office of Student Services and Cambridge Police Department—Safety Net Program presented at the Massachusetts Statewide Conference Building Better School and Police Relationships to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth. The goal of the conference was to help identify best practices to support students with significant behavioral support needs when interacting with educators and law enforcement. The conference was sponsored by the Department of Mental Health, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Early Education and Care, Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education, Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private School.

Free Workshops on How to Provide Travel Training
Want to help your students learn to use public transit independently—but not sure how? Sign up for an Introduction to Travel Training Workshop offered by Kennedy Center, expert travel trainers from Connecticut. These three-day workshops are open to educators, human service agency staff, and transit authority staff who currently or plan to offer travel training in Massachusetts. Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, tuition is free, and breakfast and lunch is provided; participants or their schools are responsible for any travel or lodging expenses. To find out locations and dates for upcoming work-shops, please contact Rachel Fichtenbaum, MassMobility, at [email protected].

Research and Reports 

Preparing for Life After High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education: A new multivolume report issued by Mathematica in March 2017 provides a national picture of secondary school students in special education and examines how they compare with their peers. The research sheds light on challenges youth can face in socioeconomic status, health, communication, and social functioning in school. It looks at other areas such as academic supports and preparation for life after high school.

Intervention IDEAs Brief Series: The Intervention IDEAs Brief Series, available at, describes interventions based on evidence for practitioners and parents that address academic, developmental, and behavioral domains of infants and toddlers as well as school-aged children and youth with or at risk of disabilities. The briefs are designed to highlight practices and provide links to federally supported resources. Each brief includes a description of the issue, examples of practices associated with the interventions, quality indicators, or measures of the positive impacts that may occur as a result of the intervention, and links to additional resources.
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