SST3 Updates, Resources, & Supports

February 2024 | Issue 35

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to the SST3 newsletter! Each month SST3 will share updates, educational topics that might be of interest to you, and upcoming professional development. We encourage you to review this information, share it with others and visit our website for additional information. We also would appreciate learning of topics that would support your work.

Director's Message

"I believe in the potential to solve big problems. If we're honest with each other and if we ask the right questions and push the right way." This quote is from Kareem Weaver. Kareem Weaver is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of FULCRUM and is also the Oakland NAACP's 2nd Vice President and Chair of its Education Committee. Kareem's advocacy is featured in the film The Right to Read. The tagline for The Right to Read film is "the greatest civil rights issue of our time" and literacy is! 

We wanted to feature Mr. Weaver's work in honor of Black History Month. If you have not heard his message before, do yourself a favor and listen to Season 7, Special Episode The Right to Read: Live from Plain Talk, with Kareem Weaver. You will be inspired and uplifted by his call to action. 

We would also like to feature a resource from the Center for Racial Justice in Education. Their Black History Month Resource Guide for Educators and Families has numerous resources to assist you in learning more and celebrating Black History. 

Be well,

Michele (Shelly) Gaski, Director

State Support Team Region 3 

Excellence in Education Awards

It is that time of year when we ask you to acknowledge the outstanding students with disabilities and the peers and educators who support them by submitting nominations for the Annual Excellence in Education Awards Recognition taking place on May 17, 2024. State Support Team Region 3 (SST3), in partnership with the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio (ESC-NEO), is seeking to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of students with disabilities, peers who have built meaningful relationships with them, and outstanding educators who instruct and/or support their learning. This is open to all districts and community schools in Cuyahoga County so please share this information with your staff! Click on the category title below to complete a nomination form. Nominations are currently being accepted for the following categories:

Outstanding Student Achievement Award

Recognizes, celebrates, and honors students with disabilities and acknowledges their outstanding achievements, both academic and non-academic. (Nominees must be students – ages 3-21 and enrolled in a school program).

Outstanding Peer Achievement Award

Recognizes, celebrates, and honors student peers who have established meaningful relationships and are exemplary role models for others.

Outstanding Educator Achievement Award

Recognizes, celebrates, and honors educators (including administrators, general education teachers, intervention specialists, and related service staff) who have provided exemplary instruction and creative programming that promotes educational results for students with disabilities.

Please refer to the rubrics for the nominee as the forms are being completed. The rubrics contain selection criteria for how the Franklin B Walter  (educator) and RA Horn (students and peers) regional nominations are selected. 

The deadline for submission of nominations is March 15, 2024. Each district/community school may submit a single nomination per category. All submissions should have the approval of the district’s Pupil Services/Special Education Director and include a press release form and photo of the nominee.

Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Grant

Save the Date: 7th Annual Literacy Academy

June 10-11, 2024

The Literacy Academy, brought to you by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, is returning in person on June 10-11, 2024, in Columbus! The seventh annual Literacy Academy will provide professional learning to support the use of evidence-based language and literacy practices. This event is intended for Ohio districts, schools, and early care and education programs working toward raising literacy achievement. There are no registration fees to attend this event. 

Registration will open in spring 2024. Please continue to check our website for additional information. Questions may be emailed to 

ED STEPS - Cohort 1

Cohort 1 will be completing the One Needs Assessment and One Plan with ODE feedback. To determine what cohort your organization is in, please click on this link

As you begin to prepare for the One Needs Assessment (ONA), be sure to utilize the “One Needs Assessment and Root Cause Fidelity Tool”. The purpose of this tool is to help guide administrators as they conduct root cause analysis processes. The tool assesses the pre-, during, and post-processes of the root cause analysis, performed most commonly in the One Needs Assessment (ONA) by educational entities. For more information regarding the One Needs Assessment and One Plan, be sure to visit the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce website.

State Support Team – Region 3 will be offering support with the One Needs Assessment/One Plan through a professional development called “ ED STEPS – Root Cause Analysis, Vision Setting.” The professional development will be held virtually on February 22, 2024 from 9:00-10:30 am. To register, click on this link or view the flyer for further details.

Autism Scholarship Program

Last fall DEW released information about The Autism Scholarship Education Plan as part of the Autism Scholarship Program (ASP) which gives the parents of children with autism who qualify for a scholarship the choice to send the child to a special education program other than the one operated by the school district of residence to receive their education and the services outlined in the child's individualized education program (IEP).  

Any student may qualify for the Autism Scholarship Program if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

1) A student who has been identified by their district as a child with autism and for whom the district has created an individualized education plan (IEP). The student must have a current IEP from the district of residence that is finalized and all parties, including the parent, must be in agreement with the IEP.


2) A student who receives a private diagnosis of autism and reflects this in their individualized education plan (IEP) or in an autism education plan (AEP) developed by the district of residence. 

A child is eligible to apply to participate in the program when the child turns three.

HB554 made changes related to the category of Developmental Delay under the Autism Scholarship. A child may now be eligible for the Autism Scholarship under the disability category of Developmental Delay until the day before they turn 10 years old.

Districts may want to refer to the documents released from DEW regarding options for the Autism Scholarship Education Plan:

Autism Scholarship Private Diagnosis Pathways

Autism Scholarship Education Plan Checklist

HB554 made changes related to the category of Developmental Delay under the Autism Scholarship. A child may now be eligible for the Autism Scholarship under the disability category of Developmental Delay until the day before they turn 10 years old. If you have questions about the implementation of this change, please contact your Regional Consultant if you are an approved provider or email the Autism Scholarship Program at


Student and Staff Mental Wellness

Consider accessing the Supporting Student and Staff Mental Wellness Video Series by Dr. Bruce Perry to learn more about supporting those in the building through a trauma-informed lens. The videos include techniques for safe and inclusive classrooms, alternative strategies to discipline, and educator wellness. This is a follow-up to a previous series with Dr. Perry.

PBIS Recognition Program

Ohio’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Recognition System provides an opportunity to celebrate schools and districts. Applicants must complete the 2023-2024 PBIS Recognition Award Intent to Apply Form and Application by Feb. 12, 2024. A direct link to the form can be found here.

What Kind of Professional Development Best Supports Principals Right Now?

What helps to retain the best school leaders is providing them with impactful and sustainable professional development (PD) and giving them the working conditions where they can thrive. Being a school leader today is drastically different than it was ten years ago, in which compliance tasks were the focal point. School leaders must be equipped to help students become active and engaged citizens, develop positive mindsets and healthy habits, and to be the visionary leader of their school centered around instruction. This article will share four essential professional learning needs that principals are currently seeking.

Growing Strong Calendar

The 2024 Growing Strong Calendar is a free resource for early childhood teachers, parents, and anyone who cares for or works with young children. This printable calendar is filled with colorful photos, memorable quotes from our expert authors, and practical tips and activities that promote healthy development.

Ohio's Alternate Assessment

There is an important update regarding the Alternate Assessment District Justification and Assurances process. In our continuous efforts to improve efficiency and streamline procedures, the Department is transitioning the entire district justification and assurance process to the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP). Starting January 2024, justification links will no longer be emailed to Superintendents. Instead, the entire process will be conducted through the CCIP Consolidated Application offering a more-centralized experience. The form will be available in the CCIP Consolidated Application beginning calendar year, January 2024. The due date for the form is April 26, 2024. No special link will be sent to superintendents. See this booklet for more details

Additionally, on the AASCD Testing Portal, under the Teachers and Test Administrators tab, you can find the Assessment Authoring tile which allows you to create practice tests using released test items. This year’s AASCD Testing Window is Feb 26-April 19.

Literacy Assessment Guidance Document

This document is available for students with disabilities!

Per Ohio’s laws about dyslexia supports and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, students with complex communication needs and low-incidence disabilities require accommodations and supports to obtain accurate data related to students’ reading abilities. A recently posted guidance document provides resources and recommendations for accommodations districts may use when administering literacy screenings and benchmarks or reading diagnostics. 

Parent Powered Resources

The Parent Powered website provides some excellent resources to support schools in partnering with families. Two that are worth checking out are the article “Strategies for Equitable Family Engagement” and the document “Building Joyful Relationships with Families” .

Preparing for the 'Good Life"

With the new Department of Education and Workforce's permanent graduation requirements, school districts have the opportunity to guide every student towards a diploma, but even more importantly, to give students the tools and skills to be able to take that next step towards realizing each student's definition or vision of the "good life." 

It is no mistake that the first question on every student's graduation plan is related to what that student's postsecondary goals are. Some students may have a pretty good idea of what that "good life" looks like and others may need to explore their preferences, interests, needs, and strengths.  

Person-centered planning and backward planning (start with the end in mind) are at the core of any postsecondary goal setting. Helping students navigate this often confusing and scary time of life is foundational to all counseling practices and policies. Discovering interests and preferences while addressing the barriers to postsecondary goals can help ensure that we are doing our best to move every student toward the next step post-diploma.

The O*Net Online is one tool that can be a resource that schools can use with students and their parents. Exploring jobs and career areas that are in demand is also important. Have fun using these resources!

O*Net Online

Ohio In-Demand Jobs 

Professional Development

State Support Team 3 is offering several opportunities for professional development. Click here to view our calendar of events. Please visit this site often as ever-changing circumstances may warrant cancellation or postponement of scheduled events.

Our Moral Imperative:
To ensure equitable access and achievement for all students, State Support Team 3 partners with districts and community schools to support inclusive leadership and collaborative teams in the implementation of an effective
Multi-Tiered System of Support.

Belief Statement: 
We believe that ALL children/students have the right to belong, learn, and thrive in
proactive, integrated, and rigorous learning environments.
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