Special Education Resources

Family Resources

Educator Resources


The following resources are intended to help families make decisions about special education services for students who have disabilities and who are eligible for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Family Rights in Special Education

Under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 and Agency of Education's Special Education rules, parents have specific rights concerning their participation in the special education process.

English Language Learners and Special Education

Special Education Organizations


The following resources are for educators and administrators working with students who have disabilities and who are eligible for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Co-teaching is the delivery of special education services in the general education classroom provided jointly by the general education teacher and a special education teacher. In order to offer co-teaching services, the LEA must complete an implementation plan with the Vermont Agency of Education. For an application or more information email: aoe.specialed@vermont.gov.

Adverse Effect

Historically determining whether a disability has an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance has been inconsistent and confusing to special education staff throughout the state. Criteria were developed through a collaboration of stakeholders, and these training materials represent those guidelines.

Instructional Information

Forms for Special Education

Programs that opt to use these special education forms will be evaluating children age three through 21 years of age to determine their eligibility for special education services. Users will also use the individualized education program (IEP) form to develop a document of appropriate services, if the child is eligible.

Severe Learning Discrepancy

The severe learning discrepancy (SLD) software is to be used by Evaluation Planning Teams to determine whether the cognitive and achievement test scores for students suspected of having a specific learning disability meet the regulatory requirement of a 1.5 standard deviation gap between expected achievement levels and actual achievement levels.

Please note: The Agency of Education is no longer supporting or updating this software.

Alternate Assessments

All publicly funded students enrolled in grades 3-8 and 11 in Vermont schools must take state assessments. While most students participate in the general statewide assessments with no accommodations, a small percentage of students take the general assessment using approved accommodations when necessary. An even smaller number of students (approximately 500) participate in the assessment accountability system using an alternate assessment. The alternate assessment allows students with significant cognitive disabilities (SWSD) to demonstrate their knowledge and skills on core academic content and for their performance scores to be included in school accountability.

Secondary Transition Planning Resources

Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit, National Technical Assistance Center on Transition

A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment For Students and Youth With Disabilities by Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education

NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist

Postsecondary Transition Planning Presentation 2020

Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGR) – Access Plan

Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGR) – Access Plan (Blank Template) 

Personalized Learning and Transition Planning Module Series, a professional learning opportunity presented by Lee Ann Jung and Lead Inclusion

In this 5 module series participants will identify and explore the implications for students with disabilities accessing personalized learning plans and proficiency-based graduation requirements. This module series is a companion to the VT AOE Case Study Learning Project.

These modules were created by Lee Ann Jung, a nationally recognized expert on disability, inclusion, personalization and proficiency-based learning. The link below will bring you to the registration page for the modules at which time you will be given a code to access the modules.

Vermont AOE Case Study Learning Project

Welcome to the Vermont Agency of Education case study learning project. The goal of these case studies is to provide exemplars of the inter-relationship between a student’s personalized learning plan (PLP), IEP transition plan and the student’s pathway to meeting proficiency based graduation requirements (PBGRs). We are fortunate to have had these developed by Lee Ann Jung, a nationally recognized expert on personalization, disability and proficiency based learning. Through these case studies, you will see examples of how our fictional Happy Valley High School executed the requirements of Act 77, the VT Education Quality Standards, and IDEA. These case scenarios provide potential models that can be adapted to fit each school’s particular context. These models are not new requirements but rather tangible exemplars of how these plans might be developed to support rather than duplicate each other. Additionally this resource showcases a strategy for making PBGRs accessible for students with disabilities. If you have questions about this project please contact John Spinney.

Alex is a 19-year-old junior who is focused on having a successful career in the automotive industry. He is eligible for special education as a young person who experiences some dysregulation in his emotional and behavioral states. Alex also experiences a moderate hearing loss. Learn more about Alex’s story and his pathway to graduation. You will see his PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how he accesses the PBGRs.

Allison is an 18-year-old junior who has an interest in a career in early childhood development and education. Allison is eligible for special education as a person who experiences a specific learning disability which creates difficulty for her in reading comprehension and written expression. Learn more about Allison’s story and her pathway to graduation. You will see her PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how she accesses the PBGRs.

Jamarreo is an easily motivated, detail oriented 17-year-old student who experiences Autism. He is currently receiving general and special education services in classroom and community settings to improve his vocational, academic, and social skills. Jamarreo currently is working 15 hours a week at an office supply store. Learn more about Jamarreo’s story and his pathway to graduation. You will see his PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how he accesses the PBGRs.

Jodi is a 17-year-old girl with a strong work ethic. She qualifies for special education as a person who experiences a mild cognitive disability. Jodi loves working in the retail environment and has expressed a strong desire to be employed in one after graduation as well. Learn more about Jodi’s story and her pathway to graduation. You will see her PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how she accesses the PBGRs.

Kevin is a friendly, outgoing, 18 year old young man who loves to be around others. Kevin is eligible for special education as a person who experiences physical and intellectual disabilities. Kevin has quadriplegic cerebral palsy with spasticity, utilizes ankle and foot orthoses (AFOs) during stander use, and a left hand elbow immobilizer. Kevin experiences generalized tonic-clonic seizures, which are well, but not completely, controlled with a combination of medications. Kevin is primarily fed via gastrostomy tube because of aspiration risk. Kevin can verbally express yes/no and one word utterances are intelligible to familiar audiences. He has used a GoTalk 2 successfully in the classroom and a picture communication system travels with him between school and home. Learn more about Kevin’s story and his pathway to graduation. You will see his PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how he accesses the PBGRs.

Paulo is an athletic, bilingual student with an admirable work ethic. Paulo is eligible for special education as a person who experiences autism and a mild cognitive disability. A first generation Brazilian American, Paulo lives with his parents, his older brother, and his younger sister. Paulo’s primary mode of communication is through gestures, adaptive signs, and vocalizations to indicate what he wants and needs. Paulo’s family has supported the development of his strong independent living skills set. Paulo has been job shadowing at a local grocery store. Learn more about Paulo’s story and his pathway to graduation. You will see his PLP and his IEP transition plan as well as how he accesses the PBGRs.

This memo contains guidance for educators when they have a student who is on an IEP and would like to access the high school completion program.

The Vermont Graduation Readiness Tool is designed to address a long standing challenge for IEP teams in VT, which is, how to determine the graduation date for students with disabilities particularly students with developmental disabilities. Sometimes students graduate too soon and sometimes much later than necessary. VT AOE has coordinated an effort in developing a tool to help IEP teams decide on the date of graduation in a quantitative manner. Graduation readiness is more than just meeting the local proficiencies for graduation and this tool can help teams ensure their student has had preparation that is aligned with their specific needs to be successful after high school. Contact: John Spinney, Post-Secondary Transition Coordinator at john.spinney@vermont.gov.

Contact Us

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
1 National Life Drive, Davis 5
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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