Shauna Crane appointed as TAESE Associate Director

August 11, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Shauna Crane


The Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) announces the appointment of Shauna Crane as its new Associate Director. Crane has been part of the organization for over 30 years and brings a wealth of experience and skills to the position.

Crane began her career at the Center for Persons with Disabilities in September 1985. She was a staff member at the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC), an Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education project that provided technical assistance in special education to 11 State Education Agencies in that region. During that time, she served in library services, information services, program coordination, and technical assistance.

Crane then became the program coordinator for the entire Regional Resource Center Program and has most recently served as a program coordinator for two OSEP Centers, the Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR) and the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID), work she will continue following her Associate Director appointment. Crane also provides other technical assistance for a variety of TAESE projects.

TAESE is the Technical Assistance division of the CPD. The main focus and purpose of  TAESE is to provide technical assistance in special education and to build the capacity of State Departments of Education, school districts, and charter schools to better serve infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.





TAESE coordinates Kansas conference

March 15, 2016 by Sue Reeves

A TAESE employee sits at the information table.

The information table at the Kansas Division for Early Childhood Conference in Wichita.

The 34th Annual Kansas Division for Early Childhood Conference (KDEC) was held February 25-26 in Wichita, Kansas. The theme of this year’s conference was Building Real Relationships with Professionals and Families Using Evidence Based Practice. Staff from the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE), the technical assistance division of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilties, coordinated the conference. The conference had record attendance with 306 Kansas early childhood education professionals coming together for networking and professional development.

The conference included a day and a half of professional development opportunities, a pre and post conference, a poster session showcasing six students, and the opportunity to connect with 20 vendors. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, former faculty member of Kent State University and past president of the Division of Early Childhood. The keynote address was titled How Can You Avoid Making These Three Common K-Readiness Mistakes? A total of 35 breakout sessions were available to participants.

Mark Innocenti, director of the CPD’s Research and Evaluation Division, presented a well-received half-day workshop on using the PICCOLO (Parenting Interactions with Children:  Check list of Observations Linked to Outcomes). The PICCOLO was developed by Mark and colleagues at USU. The PICCOLO is currently being used across the U.S. and many other countries in programs serving families with children from birth through age three.


UPDN organizes Transition Institute

February 17, 2016 by Sue Reeves

By Deanna Taylor and Kim Mendenhall, UPDN

Susan Loving standing in front of a projection screen during a presentation.

Susan Loving, USOE, leads a session at the Transition Institute.

The 2016 Utah Transition Institute took place January 28 and 29 at the Davis Conference Center. The event was organized by the Utah Professional Development Network, a project of the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

The purpose of the institute was “to support transition planning and building capacity to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities.” More than 200 dedicated professionals in Utah left their places of work and invested the time to dig deep into data that informed how they designed their team transition plans for their districts and charter schools. Team participants included both special and general educators, coordinators, specialists, administrators, counselors, vocational rehabilitation representatives, counselors, agency providers, parents, and paraprofessionals.

Facilitators received one full day of training, and then spent two days providing guidance for the teams in their work on the team transition planning tool. Dr. June Gothberg, from the National Technical Assistance in Transition (NTACT), provided the facilitator training as well as support of the planning tool for all participants at the institute. Prior to the institute, team leaders from each participating district/charter school participated in an online training led by Susan Loving, Utah State Office of Education (USOE) Transition Specialist, on preparing their teams for the institute. All 34 teams in attendance left with plans that will be reviewed and analyzed for technical soundness. The work will continue with the Virtual Community of Practice (V-CoP) for Transition in the coming months to insure implementation and evaluation of the team transition plans, as well as ongoing statewide transition collaboration.

In addition to team planning, outstanding keynote speakers and presenters from all over the state provided rich content for the plenary and learning sessions. Each of their presentations provided knowledge and planning of effective transition, aligning beautifully with the institute’s purpose.


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TAESE to review services

February 2, 2016 by Sue Reeves

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 8.40.16 AMRecently, the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced that a new focus for federal and state compliance monitoring for the implementation of IDEA will be in the area of services for students placed in juvenile correctional settings.  In a “Dear Colleague Letter” from the Department of Education, OSEP Director Melody Musgrove and then Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin described the obligations of federal, state, and local agencies to ensure the protections of the IDEA for students placed in correctional settings, including the requirement to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with disabilities in “…ensuring successful outcomes…” for all students (Dear Colleague Letter on Correctional Education, December 5, 2014).

The Utah State Office of Education (USOE), Special Education Services section, has asked the center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE), one of the divisions of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University, to conduct an independent review of services for students with disabilities who are placed in Youth in Custody (YIC) settings across the state.  In cooperation with the state Juvenile Justice Services division (JJS), the intent of this project is to provide information to the USOE regarding the “State of FAPE” for students who are receiving their education in YIC or correctional settings.

The project involves a team consisting of educational program specialists from TAESE and program staff from the special education division of the USOE.  The project will include the review and evaluation of local systems across the state that are representative of students placed in correctional facilities, residential placement facilities, as well as adult jail settings.  The project should be complete later this spring.


Shaping and informing professionals

January 7, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD2A poster that was presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted the activities of two programs at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities—Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) and the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE). URLEND is part of the Interdisciplinary Training division at the CPD, while TAESE makes up the Technical Assistance division.

The poster, entitled “CPD Leadership Programs: Shaping and Informing Professionals,” was presented by Judith Holt and David Forbush. The poster featured URLEND, which is an interdisciplinary program for graduate students and post-graduate professionals; the Interdisciplinary Disability and Service Learning (IDASL) class, for upper-level undergraduates in a variety of disciplines; the Utah Professional Development Network, which provides technical assistance to educators in the state of Utah; and the Kansas Leadership Conference, which offers relevant information to regular and special education leadership.

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