NEOEA Special Education Work Group

UPDATE!

Congratulations to the following OEA Members who have been selected to serve on the OEA Special Education Work Group:

✦ Kathy Abrahamson, Newton Falls ACE, NEOEA
✦ Traci Arway, Columbus EA, Capital
✦ Jane Barnes, Springfield EA – Lucas, NWOEA
✦ Crystal Boyd, Hudson EA, NEOEA
✦ Amber Clark, South Western EA, Central
✦ Megan Flowers, Columbus EA, Capital
✦ Stacy Gibbs, Preble-Shawnee Local EA, WOEA
✦ Theresa Grubaugh-Alai, Brecksville-Broadview Heights EA, NEOEA
✦ Jessica James, Mayfield EA, NEOEA
✦ Jennifer Krause, Fairfield CTA-Butler, SWOEA
✦ Wendy Shubrowsky, Medina City TA, NEOEA

If you have comments or questions, please contact OEA President, Becky Higgins, or Education Policy and Practice Consultant, Daria DeNoia.

During the December 2017 OEA Representative Assembly, members passed the following New Business Item (NBI):

Create an OEA Special Education Work Group to develop recommendations for professional development programs, sample contract language, OEA Resolutions, and OEA Legislative Policies that would address the needs of OEA members involved in or supporting education programs for students with special needs.

OEA needs our members working as special education educators and service providers to share their expertise, experiences, knowledge and insight. Applications for this Special Education Work Group are being accepted through April 27, 2018. Your completed application will include:

Please note that participation on the OEA Special Education Work Group will require face-to-face meetings in Columbus that will occur during school hours, and virtual meetings that will occur after school hours. Please consider your availability to participate in those meetings prior to applying.

Please contact Daria DeNoia at denoiad@ohea.org if you have questions or concerns.

Links also available on the OEA homepage at https://ohea.org/.

OEA Special Education Work Group
New Business Item – PASSED Overwhelmingly at OEA RA

==>> If you are interested in serving on the new OEA Special Education Work Group, please contact OEA President Becky Higgins directly with your qualifications. She will appoint members and set up the first meeting.

==>> Continue to check this page and watch for emails for news about the new OEA Special Education Work Group.

Motion to: Create an OEA Special Education Work Group to develop recommendations for professional development programs, sample contract language, OEA Resolutions, and OEA Legislative Policies that would address the needs of OEA members involved in or supporting education programs for students with special needs.

One time action: 10 – 12 members, 3 – 6 meetings over 1 – 2 years

Rationale: OEA members in all settings, especially the roughly 15% that identify as working in special education, report they face critical challenges obtaining and providing the additional supports and accommodations for students with special needs to be successful.  The overwhelming concern is for more professional development for teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff; especially in the areas of appropriate IEPs, classroom, and behavior management.  Critically important are the issues of staffing, case load, and planning time. Members state that they are stretched too thinly to adequately meet the needs of their students. Contract language needs to be looked at.  Furthermore, the OEA Resolutions and Legislative Policies should be reviewed to assure that they adequately address the needs of members involved with special education.

==>> When the OEA Special Education Work Group completes its work, there will be a need for an OEA organization to continue advocacy for Pre-K-12 Special Educators within OEA.  OADDP is ready to fill that void.  At its March 2-3, 2018, Spring Conference, OADDP will consider changing its name to Ohio Association of Special Needs Professionals (OASNP) and re-brand the previously County Board of Developmental Disabilities focused organization to one more focused on Pre-K-12 educators in our local schools.  Please consider attending the conference.  The theme is Turning Challenging Behaviors into Opportunities presented by Daria DeNoia, OEA Education Policy and Practice Consultant.  For more information visit the OADDP 2018 Annual Conference Page for more information.  Registration will begin in mid-January.

NEOEA formed the Special Education Work Group in March 2017 to consider ways to address the concerns of special educators and work within OEA to effect change. The group met three times and now feels that it is time for OEA to take serious steps to address the needs of OEA members involved in or supporting education programs for students with special needs.

An OEA Special Education Work Group would be able to quickly assess needs and develop recommendations from a statewide perspective. Perhaps some of the recommendations could result in options for the OEA Summer Academy. Other recommendations could be passed to the appropriate OEA committee for further action.

Currently, there is no OEA affiliate or associate organization involved in special education other than OADDP. For the past thirty-four years, OADDP was primarily concerned with OEA members in County Board of DD programs. Few K-12 special educators have been involved, mostly because they identify more strongly as K-12 special education than with the term developmental disabilities. The OADDP leadership is committed expanding the scope to also focus on the needs of K-12 special educators. OADDP leadership invites K-12 special educators to work with them and develop an inclusive organization supporting all special needs professionals.

OADDP has set up this page for the NEOEA Special Education Work Group. OEA Members can download working documents, reports, meeting notices, agendas, and minutes. Members interested in receiving email updates or joining the work group can also register below.

Old News:

The NEOEA Board of Directors met on November 10, 2017 and voted overwhelmingly to support the following New Business Item and recommend it to the NEOEA Representative Assembly. The Representative Assembly met on November 11, 2017 at the Warren G. Harding High School in Warren OH and voted overwhelmingly to support the following New Business Item at the OEA Representative Assembly on December 2, 2017.

Purpose:

NEOEA formed the Special Education Work Group to consider ways to address the concerns of special educators and work within OEA to effect change. Currently, there is no OEA affiliate or associate organization for special education other than OADDP (Ohio Association of Developmental Disabilities Professionals). OADDP leadership has committed to re-brand the organization and expand the scope of its activities to also focus on K-12 special educators and will be reaching out to involve them in an inclusive organization supporting the needs of all special needs professionals.

OADDP was formed in 1983 primarily to represent the needs of County Board of DD staff. Now that most students with DD are served by their local K-12 schools, many K-12 special education members are experiencing the same challenges of obtaining adequate and appropriate supports to meet the needs of students and staff that DD staff have faced. Teaching and non-teaching special educators and support staff are invited to join in exploring steps to address these needs.

Activities to Date:

Three meetings have been held: the first, April 25, 2017, at the NEOEA Conference Center; the second, July 27, 2017, at the conclusion of the NEOEA Summer Leadership Conference at The Bertram Inn; and the third, October 13, 2017, on NEOEA Day at the NEOEA Conference Center. With participation balanced between both K-12 and DD staff, discussion has been lively.

The NEOEA Special Education Work Group met Monday, October 13, 2017, at the NEOEA Conference Center to explore how OEA can better address the needs of Special Educators and the learners they serve. The work group completed drafts of a new business item, informational flyer, and floor speech for the 2017 fall District and OEA Representative Assemblies.

The NEOEA Special Education Work Group reviewed of the scope and nature of issues affecting special educators by sharing personal experiences and reviewing the OADDP Special Education and DD Services Survey results from last year. The group reviewed a summary of current OEA Legislative Policies and Resolutions addressing special education and students with disabilities.

The overwhelming concern is for more professional development for teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff; especially in the areas of appropriate IEPs, and classroom and behavior management. The most critical concern is resolving issues of class size, case load, and planning time within local collective bargaining agreements.

Discussion included how to work within OADDP to expand the scope of OADDP to meet the needs of K-12 special educators and increase membership. It appears that minor adjustments to the OADDP Mission and Strategic Goals could better position OADDP to also address the needs of K-12 special educators. In 2016, the OADDP Constitution and Bylaws was amended to provide K-12 seats on the OADDP Executive Committee (145 of 900 or 16% of OADDP members work in K-12 schools.)

Extended discussion focused on one major hurtle to expanding OADDP membership among K-12 special educators – the organization’s name. The K-12 staff just don’t identify with the term “developmental disabilities” and the DD staff are tightly identified with the term. However, it appears that changing DD to Special Needs will be needed; perhaps OASNP or “Ohio Association of Special Needs Professionals”.

The Work Group will need to develop proposals for name, mission and strategic goals to present at the OADDP general meeting at the annual conference March 2-3, 2018 at Mohican State Park Conference Center. If interested in helping or for more information contact Hank Haynes, haynes@neoea.org.

Informational Items:

 

Special Education Work Group

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