News & Announcements
All parents of school-aged children and youth with disabilities who receive special education services in Virginia are encouraged to complete the Virginia Department of Education’s annual Parent Involvement Survey. The survey will remain open through December 16, 2022. If you have questions concerning this survey, please contact Chiquita Seaborne, Family Engagement Specialist/Special Projects Coordinator, via telephone at (804) 225-3898 or via email, at Chiquita.Seaborne@doe.virginia.gov.
- Parent Involvement Survey-English
- Parent Involvement Survey-Spanish
- Parent Involvement (Indicator 8) Survey-Frequently Asked Questions-This is a Word document.
- Building Strong Parent Advocates-This is a PDF document. - (multiple sessions) This self-paced training course provides information to help families build a solid foundation to understand the special education process while empowering them to be their child’s best advocate. Three virtual sessions will be offered:
- June 6 through July 1 - Register here
- July 11 through August 11 - Register here
- August 25 through September 19 - Register here
- Transition University June 12, 2022 thru August 7, 2022-This is a PDF document. - Transition University is a FREE 5 session self-paced online series to help parents/guardians navigate the transition process for their school age child and prepare for the adult world. This course is designed for parents/caregivers of elementary, middle or high school students that receive special education services, but is open to everyone.
- Early Childhood Academy August 6 - September 10 - In this FREE virtual 5-week learning program, parents and caregivers will learn useful tips and ideas for supporting their child’s development and the resources available to help make transition from early intervention to school less confusing. This course was designed so that busy families can learn on their own schedule with new sessions opening weekly and available anytime – day or night. Participants who complete all sessions will receive a certificate of completion with 6 contact hours.
- SEAC Self-Paced Training | Open now through September 30, 2022-This is a PDF document. - The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), is pleased to offer a self-paced Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) training aimed at helping SEAC members understand the role of the local SEAC in Virginia and to build a more effective and efficient advisory committee.
- Family Engagement Lessons of COVID-19: Building on What We've Learned-This is a PDF document. - The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began for schools in early 2020. At times, this period has been frightening, sad, and anxiety-provoking. At the same time, however, we have learned quite a bit about how schools and families can work together in order to help children be more successful learners. In an effort to help carry these lessons with us as we move forward, the Virginia Department of Education's (VDOE's) Family Engagement Network (FEN) created this document to help catalog what we've learned throughout the past two years.
- Supporting Students with Complex Learning Needs in Virtual and Remote Learning Environments-This is a PDF document. The purpose of this document is to help families identify ways they can work with educators to provide instruction and support to their children with complex learning needs.
- Tips for Successful Communication with Families during Online Learning-This is a PDF document. - Online learning has become the new normal for many students across the nation which has presented challenges communicating with students and families. The following document was created by the Virginia Department of Education's (VDOE's) Family Engagement Network (FEN) in order to provide tips for educators who are communicating with families through online learning.
The VDOE's new resource, Understanding the Applied Studies Diploma-This is a PDF document. is here to assist families with understanding everything they need to know related to this specific diploma option. An accessible Word document version-This is a Word document. as well as an accessible Spanish Word document version-This is a Word document., is also available.
Parent Resources for New VAAP Assessment 2021-2022
Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, the portfolio-based Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) will be replaced with a new multiple-choice assessment in the content areas of reading, mathematics, and science that will be administered to students in an online or paper format. The new VAAP will be based on academic content standards derived from the Standards of Learning (SOL) in reading, mathematics, and science that have been reduced in depth, breadth, and complexity. These resources have been developed in order to assist families with understanding the changes to the VAAP:
Parent Ombudsman for Special Education
VDOE has an Ombudsman for Special Education who acts as a source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals' questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and issues. School divisions, parents, and children benefit and build relationships when school divisions and parents work together to resolve problems, the Parent Ombudsman for Special Education serves to facilitate that process.
Family Engagement in Education Month-This is a PDF document. is an opportunity to recognize the importance of families and schools working together to build better futures for all children. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and Board of Education (BOE) believes that families and schools working in collaboration can create meaningful relationships that lead to significant gains in student achievement and success. We strongly encourage local school officials to develop plans and policies to enhance family engagement in their children’s schools, lives, and in the education community. Refer to the Family Engagement Resource Flyer-This is a Word document. for a variety of resources to promote and highlight Family Engagement during the month November and throughout the year.
- Early Childhood Academy August 6, 2022 - September 10, 2022 - In this FREE virtual 5-week learning program, parents and caregivers will learn useful tips and ideas for supporting their child’s development and the resources available to help make transition from early intervention to school less confusing. This course was designed so that busy families can learn on their own schedule with new sessions opening weekly and available anytime – day or night. Participants who complete all sessions will receive a certificate of completion with 6 contact hours.
Parents play an important role in the education of their children, especially parents of children who are identified as having disabilities. The law requires that parents and school personnel work together to provide children with appropriate educational services.
SEACs Guide: A Guide for Local Special Education Advisory Committees in Virginia-This is a PDF document.
Since 2005, the Virginia Department of Education has collaborated with the Center for Family Involvement at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University to develop and revise a guide that outlines the legal mandates of the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (the Virginia Regulations), at 8VAC20-81-230.D, related to the local advisory committee or, as is commonly referred to in Virginia as a local Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC).
The purpose of this guide is to provide basic information for local SEAC members and school division representatives regarding SEAC roles and functions. SEACs can play a critical role in assisting school divisions in shaping services for students with disabilities. It is intended that this guide be used to strengthen collaboration and effective working relationships among families, school board members, division staff and administrators, and community members as a means of improving special education services and outcomes for students with disabilities. This guide was revised in 2011 to comply with revisions to the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (published January 25, 2010). The 2020 revision of the guide was supported by a team of parents who serve (or served) as local SEAC chairs and the Virginia Department of Education staff.
Sign Up for Parent Information Email UpdatesSubscribe or update your GovDelivery subscriber preferences to receive email updates from the Virginia Department of Education. For information designed specifically for parents, look for the heading News and Updates and check the box marked "Information for Parents and Families." You can also select other topics that you would like to receive. For more information or questions related to the GovDelivery system, please contact Tracy Lee, via email, at Tracy.Lee@doe.virginia.gov, or by telephone, at 804-225-3492.
Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities
The Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities-This is a Word document. guide was developed in order to assist families of children with disabilities with understanding keys to their children's academic success, as well as decisions that they will have to make throughout their children's careers in public education. Information is provided that will assist parents with understanding not only what decisions will need to be made, but also when those decisions need to start being considered.
Five web-based training modules are also available and can be found at I'm Determined - Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities.
Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities One-Pager Library
Critical Decision Points for Children with Disabilities Training Videos
Five Critical Decision Points for Children with Disabilities training videos can also be accessed on VDOE's YouTube channel.
Critical Decision Points Session 1
Critical Decision Points Session 2
Critical Decision Points Session 3
Critical Decision Points Session 4
Critical Decision Points Session 5
Back to Basics Special Education Law Modules
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), in partnership with Old Dominion University (ODU), has created five Back to Basics Special Education Law Modules. This professional development initiative is designed to support Virginia school division personnel by providing introductory information on special education compliance. These modules provide information that is valuable for the schools and families who support Virginia's students with disabilities.
A Parent's Guide to Special Education
This publication was developed to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, their child's rights and the school's responsibilities to meet the special needs of their child. The guide includes a description of the special education process and what is required of you and the school during each step of that process. Important timelines are highlighted in each section.
A Parent's Guide To Special Education is provided in these formats:
Virginia Family Special Education Connection
Virginia Family Special Education Connection is a new website dedicated to providing comprehensive information on special education issues, practices and services to Virginia families who have children with disabilities. This resource was developed by VDOE, in collaboration with the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities at George Mason University.
VDOE has an ombudsman who acts as a source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals' questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and issues. The ombudsman serves as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters.
Parent's are encouraged to resolve special education concerns at the local school division level. School divisions, parents, and children benefit and build relationships when school divisions and parents work together to resolve problems.
- Parents’ Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Ombudsman for Special Education
- Troubleshooting Parents' Special Education Concerns Within A Local School Division – (This document is under revision)
Training Opportunities For Families of Students with Disabilities
As the result of collaboration between the VDOE and the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), the following training opportunities are available for families of children with disabilities and those who serve them. For a description of the training objectives, other specific information about each training, and to register for a training event, please click the desired web link below.
- Transition University flyer-This is a PDF document.: A FREE parent friendly 5-week self-paced online transition course
- Early Childhood Academy-This is a PDF document.: Offered for families of young children (birth through age six) with disabilities or developmental delays
Special Education Regulations & Rights
- Guidance Document on the Implementation of the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, 2009 (PDF)
- Guidance Document for Implementing New Special Education Requirements for the Definition of Parent, May 2009 (PDF)
- Virginia Special Education Regulations
- Your Family's Special Education Rights – Virginia Procedural Safeguards Notice (PDF)
- Guidance Document on Manifestation Determination (PDF) – Document currently under revision
- Extended School Year Services (PDF)
- Early Childhood Transition From Part C Early Intervention to Part B Special Education and Other Services for Young Children with Disabilities (PDF)
- Educational Interpreting Services (PDF)
- Transfer of Children with Disabilities and Special Education Protections Briefing (PDF)
- Guidance on Prior Written Notice in the Special Education Process (PDF)
Parent Resource Centers (PRC)
Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC)
- State Special Education Advisory Committee – The State Special Education Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Regular quarterly meetings include time for the committee to receive public comment.
- Local Special Education Advisory Committees
- Private Day & Residential Schools
- Licensed Private Schools for Students with Disabilities-This is a Word document.
- Private School Parent Survey SY 2019 -2020
- Private School Student Survey SY 2019-2020
Military Family Information
- Military Families
- Guidance for Military Families with Students in Special Education (PDF)
- Transfer of Children with Disabilities and Special Education Protections Briefing (PDF)
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - IDEA
- Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
- Center for Family Involvement
- The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center – Building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life
- The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) – National Directory
You May Also Be Interested In
- For Parents: Virginia's Tiered System of Supports (VTSS) – A video that explains the system used in Virginia that provides resources and support to help every student become successful in academics and behavior. Also see Virginia's Tiered Systems of Support.
- Participation & Inclusion - includes guidelines for assessment participation and special test accommodations
- Educational Interpreting Services (PDF)
- Comprehensive Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families (CSA)
- Transition Services for Students with Disabilities
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
Endrew F. Question and Answer Document
On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S.Ct. 988. In this decision, the court held that "to meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a school must offer [a child] an IEP [individualized education program] reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances."
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is pleased to announce its release of a Question and Answer (Q&A) document addressing the Endrew F.decision. OSERS is issuing this Q&A document to provide parents and other stakeholders information on the issues addressed in Endrew F. and the impact of the Court's decision on the implementation of IDEA. We hope that you find this Q&A document useful, and we look forward to receiving additional questions and comments related to the Q&A and the Endrew F. decision by email at EndrewF@ed.gov.