Special Education

State and local educators need assistance in building a knowledge base and developing and implementing systems to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for children and youth with disabilities. SEDL provides technical assistance and information resources that build the capacity of state and local systems in implementing approaches proven to enhance the academic achievement of students with disabilities in the areas of reading and mathematics, including early childhood literacy. Through its various projects, SEDL has helped general education and special educators work together, a vital ingredient in significantly and continuously improving academic and functional outcomes for students with disabilities. Our experts bring fresh resources, perspectives, and energy to this work.

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including supporting special education at state and local levels. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including supporting special education at state and local levels.

Our Comprehensive Center work includes providing technical assistance and research-based resources on multi-tiered interventions, graduation rates, dropout rates, assessments, and federal and state policies. Examples of our work:

  • Policy Review – Seclusion and Restraints for the Alabama and Mississippi Departments of Education: In 2009, the General Accountability Office (GAO) released the report Seclusions and Restraints: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers. Given the testimony and reports regarding death and abuse allegations of children and teens served in residential programs and other settings, the House committee asked the GAO to review the use of seclusions and restraints in any public school or educational facility serving preK and K–12. The Southeast Comprehensive Center reviewed the seclusion and restraint policies of the Alabama and Mississippi Departments of Education to determine whether they contained key elements of effective strategies on seclusions and restraints as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of General Counsel.
  • Curriculum and Instruction – Alabama instructional Strategies Project for Diverse Learners: The Southeast Comprehensive Center conducted an extensive review of the literature on instruction for diverse learners and provided the Alabama State Department of Education with a resource document describing research-based instructional strategies in reading/English-language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The resource was used to inform the state’s development of training for Alabama teachers to improve their capacity to meet the academic needs of diverse learners, including students with disabilities.
  • Implementing Federal Policy – Mississippi's Department of Education ESEA/IDEA Training: SEDL provided training to familiarize staff at the Mississippi Department of Education with the basic program requirements of Title 1, Part A of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which is aligned with Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004) in providing services to students with disabilities. The training built participants’ awareness of the components of ESEA and IDEA 2004 regulations that are essential to meeting the (a) annual progress for students with disabilities, (b) academic achievement standards and assessment requirements for students with disabilities, and (c) highly qualified teacher and paraprofessional requirements for special educators.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 7
Effectively meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students presents challenges for educators across the United States, including the Texas and Southeast Comprehensive Center regions. To support ever more rigorous achievement expectations, educators need to provide flexible, accessible curricula that give students’ multiple pathways to success and secure opportunities for all children.
Image of publication cover Engaging Diverse Learners Through the Provision of STEM Education Opportunities: Southeast Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, May 2012
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are viewed as fundamental elements in preparing our next generation to compete in the 21st century economy. This brief examines how various states are seeking to improve access to STEM education opportunities for diverse learners to meet state and federal education priorities and funding requirements.
Image of publication cover Closing the Texas Achievement Gap
This Web portal was created to address the need for information relevant to the disparity in mathematics and science achievement among different student populations. It is intended for educators at all levels, as well as policymakers, researchers, parents, and members of the business community. Developers of this site seek to encourage active involvement of these many stakeholders in solving this persistent problem. In support of this, the site provides definitions and descriptive data, discusses the roles of various groups, and highlights successful approaches to ensuring a quality mathematics and science education for all students.
Image of publication cover SECC Information Request: Approaches for Improving High School Graduation Rates of Students with Disabilities in CA, FL, NC, and TX
A number of states are implementing strategies for improving high school graduation rates of students with disabilities. This report takes a closer look at such efforts in the states of California, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas.
Image of publication cover SECC Information Request: Approaches for Improving High School Graduation Rates of Students with Disabilities in DE, KY, MD, and TN
Efforts to improve graduation rates for students with disabilities in four states are explored as well as any potential impacts on student achievement.

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