Join us at our viewing party for the National Forum on Disability Issues

Women hold signs with questions for the candidates.

By Storee Powell

While the economy and foreign affairs seem to top the list of issues in the upcoming 2012 election, there is an issue that is sometimes overlooked that could affect nearly 57 million people in the U.S.

We’re doing our best to change that. Join us on Friday, September 28, to find out what the candidates think about disability issues.

Jeff Sheen, training and development specialist for the CPD, said people with disabilities may be facing cuts to many programs beginning January 2013.

“It is the nature of politics that politicians are swayed to the squeaky wheel regarding issues, and right now it is the budget and foreign affairs,” Sheen said. “This is typically how it goes – disability issues are still seen as ‘marginal’ – but with one in five Americans having a disability, there are a lot of people with a stake in this election.”

Read more on our blog.

CPD by the numbers

 We currently  administer  over 70 projects, employ over 200 people, and we have outgrown our one-story building ...

--CPD Director Bryce Fifield, in the introduction to this year's annual report

A new approach in Kansas puts first things first in special education

photos of children

In Kansas, a new system is changing the way the state supports special education students and teachers. Student outcomes and district needs take center stage.

 The new approach puts the schools’ convenience above the service providers’, said Kevin Davis, a project coordinator with the CPD’s Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education. This collaborative program with Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas focuses on meeting educational goals through collecting and analyzing data. Then it provides professional development at the district, school and classroom levels.

It used to be up to the school districts to find their own specialists if they needed help. Now it’s up to Kansas’s Technical Assistance System Network, or TASN, to link school districts to the support they need. This allows the districts to draw from a larger pool of expertise.

While it sounds simple, it has revolutionary undertones. “We presented this idea at a national conference and people didn’t think we were serious,” said Marty Blair, associate director of TAESE.

A recent survey found that over the past six months, 96 percent of respondents under the new system said they’d received assistance “in a timely manner” and 90 percent rated the response as “helpful” or “very helpful.”

photo of the blue button

School districts request for assistance through the TASN website, where school district staff click “the big blue button.”  TASN staff responds to the requests within five business days.

“We’re encouraged by the results,” Davis said. “We are seeing more requests and involvement with the school districts."

“School districts get assistance quickly,” Dr. Blair added. “Some is one-time, but more often the help involves intensive training over time, with multiple experts combining their efforts to meet complex needs.”

Learn more about TASN on our website.

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