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  • A
  • Academic Achievement Record (AAR)
    The official and permanent record of the student’s academic performance in high school; also known as a transcript.
  • Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS)

    The annual report on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas. This report has multiple indicators including graduation and attendance rates disaggregated by ethnicity, special education, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, at-risk, and bilingual/English as a second language. Additionally, the report has information on school and district staff and programs.  The Academic Excellence Indicator System was available from 2003-04 through 2011-12.  For performance reports beginning 2012-13, see the Texas Academic Performance Report.

  • Accelerated Reading Instruction
    Intensified, research-based reading instruction that addresses the student’s reading needs as determined by results of K-2 reading instruments.
  • Access to the General Curriculum (AGC)

    Access to the General Curriculum (AGC) is the goal of all Texas schools. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with disabilities must have the opportunity to learn and be tested on the same curriculum as that provided to students without disabilities.  By using a range of instructional strategies based on the varied strengths and needs of students, teachers ensure that students work towards grade level content standards.  

  • Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
    Print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability.
  • Accommodations
    Changes to materials or procedures that enable students with disabilities or English language learners to participate meaningfully in learning and testing. It is important to keep in mind that while some accommodations may be appropriate for instructional use, they may not be appropriate or allowable on a statewide assessment.
  • Adapted Physical Education (APE)

    Adapted Physical Education (APE) meets the needs of students who have a disability, chronic health problem, or other special need that precludes the student from participating in regular physical education instruction but who might be able to participate in physical education that is suitably adapted and, if applicable, included in the student's individualized education program (IEP).

  • Adaptive Behavior
    Adaptive behaviors are everyday living skills such as walking, talking, getting dressed, going to school, going to work, preparing a meal, cleaning the house, etc. They are skills that a person learns in the process of adapting to their surroundings.
  • Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee

    A committee composed of a child's parent, the child, when appropriate, and school personnel who are involved with the child. The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee determines a child's eligibility to receive special education services and develops the individualized education program (IEP) of the child. The ARD committee is the IEP team defined in federal law.

  • Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Meeting
    A meeting to annually review a student’s special education program that includes an update of the student’s progress, a review of the current individualized education program (IEP), and development of a new IEP for the upcoming year.
  • Adult Student
    Refers to a student with a disability who is at least 18 years old to whom rights have transferred under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and who is not under legal guardianship.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    Gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
  • Annual Goals
    Describes what a student with a disability can reasonably be expected to accomplish in the special education program within a twelve-month period. It is a skill and/or knowledge that can be measured and mastered based on given criteria. The academic annual goal is related to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills at the student’s enrolled grade level.
  • Annual Performance Report (APR)

    Each year Texas reports to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on its performance in meeting identified State Performance Plan Indicator (SPPI) targets. This report is called the Part B Annual Performance Report (APR).

  • Arts
    Includes band, choir, art, theatre, dance and other courses accepted by the State Board of Education for graduation credit in fine arts.
  • Assessment
    The ongoing evaluation used by appropriately qualified personnel throughout the period of a child’s eligibility to identify the child’s unique needs and strengths, the family’s concerns, priorities, and resources and the supports and services necessary to enhance developmental needs of the child, and the nature and extent of intervention services needed by the child and the family in order to address the determinations.
  • Assistive Technology Device (ATD)
    Any item, piece of equipment, or product, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Some children need ATDs to enable them to participate in activities with children who do not have disabilities.
  • Assistive Technology Service
    Any service that directly assists the child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device, and includes the evaluation of the needs of the child.
  • At-Risk
    At-risk students include the following:  students who were not advanced from one grade level to the next for one or more school years; students in grades 7–12 who did not maintain an average equivalent to 70 on a scale of 100 in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum during a semester in the preceding or current school year or are not maintaining such an average in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum in the current semester; students who did not perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument administered to the student and have not in the previous or current school year subsequently performed on that instrument or another appropriate instrument at a level equal to at least 110 percent of the level of satisfactory performance on that instrument; students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or grade 1, 2, or 3 who did not perform satisfactorily on a readiness test or assessment instrument administered during the current school year; limited English proficient students; recovered dropouts; pre- and post-adjudicated students; homeless students; pregnant or parenting students; and/or students who previously resided or currently reside in a residential placement facility in the district.
  • Attendance
    Includes but is not limited to attendance in person, or by paper correspondence, videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies for students who are physically present in the classroom and the period during which a person is working under a work-study program.
  • Audiologist
    State-licensed health care professionals who use technology, creative problem solving, and social skills to identify and treat hearing, balance, tinnitus, and other auditory disorders. 
  • Auditory Impairment

    Auditory impairment is the partial or total inability to hear. Also known as hearing impairment, this condition includes permanent or fluctuating hearing problems. Auditory impairment can range from slight and mild to severe and profound. The Texas legislature has given directions to avoid using the terms "hearing impaired," "auditory impairment," and "speech impaired" in reference to a deaf or hard of hearing person, and to instead use "deaf" or "hard of hearing," as appropriate.

  • Autism (AU)
    The developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, and adversely affects a child’ s educational performance.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    A complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of  ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
  • Average Daily Attendance (ADA)
    The number of students attending school on an average day.
  • B
  • Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

    A written plan, also referenced as a Behavior Improvement Plan, that is developed as part of the individualized education program to address behavioral concerns affecting the student’s educational progress. It is based on a functional behavioral assessment of the problem behaviors, identifies events that predict these behaviors, includes positive interventions to change behaviors, and includes methods of evaluation.

  • Biometric Record
    When used in the definition of personally identifiable information, a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints, retina and iris patterns, voiceprints, DNA sequence, facial characteristics, and handwriting.
  • Braille
    A form of media for obtaining literacy for people who use their tactile sense as the primary means of gathering information.
  • Bullying
    Engaging in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district that will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the student's property or is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
  • C
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE)

    The programs dedicated to preparing young people to manage the dual roles of family member and wage earner. Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs enable students to gain entry-level employment in a high-skill, high-wage job and/or to continue their education.

  • Career and Technical Education for the Disabled (CTED)

    For a student to be enrolled in a Career and Technical Education for the Disabled (CTED) course, an admission, review, and dismissal committee must determine that services available through a regular career and technical education course are insufficient for the student to make satisfactory progress and that the specialized services the student needs can only be provided in the specialized, self-contained CTED classroom.

  • Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS)

    A certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) is required to conduct an orientation and mobility evaluation for initial eligibility of a student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act category of visual impairment and to be a member of the multidisciplinary team in assisting with reevaluations.  A COMS provides services that enable students who are visually impaired to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within the home, school and community environments, and in addition support development of social, sensory, daily living, and recreation/leisure skills.  

  • Charter School
    Independent public schools designed and operated by educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others. They are sponsored by designated local or state educational organizations which monitor their quality and effectiveness but allow them to operate outside of the traditional system of public schools.
  • Child Find
    Refers to state-developed policies and procedures which ensure that all children with disabilities residing in Texas, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, who are in need of special education and related services are identified, located, and evaluated.
  • Child with a Disability
    A child with an intellectual disability, hearing impairments including deafness, speech or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities who needs special education and related services.  The term is used appropriately except when referring to services and activities for students aged 18 and older.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

    The codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation. Each volume of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is updated once each calendar year and issued on a quarterly basis.

  • Commensurate School Day
    When the child with a disability has the same instructional day as that provided to students without disabilities on the student's home campus.
  • Commissioner
    The chief executive official or chief state school officer of the Texas Education Agency is known as the commissioner of education.
  • Communication Disorder
    An impairment in the ability to receive, send, process and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems. It includes stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, and voice impairment. 
  • Community Resource Coordination Group (CRCG)
    An interagency group comprised of public and private child-service providers who meet on a regular basis to review service needs and provide limited case management services for students who have multiple personal and family needs. These needs which adversely affect their ability to benefit from the educational program are best met through interagency coordination.
  • Compensatory Education
    Defined in law as programs and/or services designed to supplement the regular education program for students identified as at risk of dropping out of school. The purpose is to increase academic achievement and reduce the dropout rate of these students.
  • Complaint
    Written action taken to notify the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and a school district that special education regulations are not being followed by the school district.  A complaint must include the name and address of student, the violation that occurred, and offer a possible resolution to the complaint.  It must be sent to both TEA and the school district superintendent.
  • Consent
    Written informed parental consent is required before the local educational agency (LEA) evaluates a child for special education services for the first time, provides special education services for the first time, and reevaluates the child to determine the continued eligibility for special education services. Informed parental consent need not be obtained prior to reevaluation if the LEA can demonstrate it has taken reasonable measures to obtain such consent and the child's parent has failed to respond. Written consent is also needed before the LEA can release personally identifiable information from a child's education records, with certain exceptions as provided in federal law including when releasing to other school officials with a legitimate educational interest and to another LEA because the child intends to or has enrolled in the LEA. Consent is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time.
  • Controlled Substance 
    A drug which has been declared by federal or state law to be illegal for sale or use, but may be dispensed under a physician’s prescription.
  • Core Academic Subjects
    English, reading/language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics/government, economics, arts, history, and geography.
  • D
  • Dangerous Weapon
    A weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, but does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)

    Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, whether permanent or fluctuating, and adversely affects the child’s educational performance.  
    Deaf usually refers to an individual with very little or no functional hearing and who often uses sign language to communicate. Hard of Hearing refers to an individual who has a mild-to-moderate hearing loss who may communicate through sign language, spoken language, or both.

  • Deaf-Blind
    The combination of hearing and visual impairments, which cause such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that the student cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or solely for children with blindness. 
  • Determination Level (DL)

    Local education agencies (LEAs) receive determination level (DL) assignments from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the Results Driven Accountability (RDA) system based on combined Indicator performance levels derived from the federally required elements and the state defined elements contained in each LEA's public RDA report.  The annual DLs regarding the performance of LEAs fall into four categories: Meets Requirements, Needs Assistance, Needs Intervention, and Needs Substantial Intervention. 

  • Differentiated Instruction
    A process used to recognize the varying background knowledge, readiness, language, learning preferences, and interests of a student. The intent of differentiated instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success.
  • Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS)

    The Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) system consists of two types of special education program monitoring.  The first is cyclical reviews, which the Texas Education Agency (TEA) conducts to determine compliance with federal and state laws for serving students with disabilities and to assist local education agencies (LEAs) in resolving specific issues or concerns that impact services and outcomes for students with disabilities.  The second is targeted reviews, where performance levels determined for each LEA will trigger differentiated levels of monitoring and enforcement by the agency to improve results-driven outcomes for students. The indicators will be used as a preventative diagnostic for LEAs to develop solutions for issues impacting results for students with disabilities. The performance levels identify the need for more in-depth analysis. LEAs that are identified as having an overall Determination level of 2, 3, or 4 will be asked to participate in a Targeted Support Review which will focus on the identified areas that require intervention.

  • Director and Librarian
    The executive and administrative officer of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, respectively.
  • Directory Information
    Information contained in the education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
  • Disciplinary Action
    The investigation, adjudication, or imposition of sanctions by an educational agency or institution with respect to an infraction or violation of the internal rules of conduct applicable to students of the agency or institution.
  • Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP)

    Each school district shall provide a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) that: is provided in a setting other than a student's regular classroom; is located on or off of a regular school campus; provides for the students who are assigned to the DAEP to be separated from students who are not assigned to the program; focuses on English language arts, mathematics, science, history, and self-discipline; provides for students' educational and behavioral needs; and provides supervision and counseling.

  • Disclosure
    To permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means including oral, written, or electronic means to any party except the party identified as the party that provided or created the record.
  • Disproportionate Representation

    Disproportionate representation exists when student representation in special education programs or specific special education categories exceeds their proportional enrollment in a school's general population.

  • Distinguished Level of Achievement
    A high level of academic achievement earned by going beyond the Foundation High School Program. It requires a total of 26 course credits including Algebra II, a fourth science credit, and an endorsement. 
  • Districtwide Assessment
    The assessments required for all children in a grade and may include benchmark testing, achievement testing, reading inventories, or other assessments required by the district.
  • Drug

    Drug is a term that includes controlled substances, the illegal use of alcohol and tobacco, and the harmful, abusive, or addictive use of substances including inhalants and anabolic steroids.

  • Dual Enrollment
    When the parent of the child with a disability enrolls the child in both a public and a private school.
  • Dual Language Learner (DLL)
    A child who acquires two or more languages at the same time or who learns a second language while continuing to develop their first language.
  • Due Process
    A formal legal process that is similar to a civil court hearing used to solve disagreements concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability. An impartial hearing officer, similar to a judge, provided by the Texas Education Agency conducts the hearing, hears evidence from all parties, and makes a legally binding decision.
  • Dysgraphia
    A learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper.
  • Dyslexia
    A brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics are difficulty with phonological processing, spelling, and/or rapid visual/verbal responding.
  • Dysphasia
    A delay in the development of comprehension and/or expression of oral language.
  • E
  • Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
    Programs and services which are provided to infants and toddlers with developmental delays from birth through age two administered under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

    Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is a state and federally mandated program for young children with disabilities ages 3-5. Eligible children with disabilities, ages 3-5, are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619 in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in accordance with their individual needs. Children who meet eligibility criteria may receive Early Childhood Special Education services in a variety of settings such as a pre-kindergarten classroom, in the home, or in community settings such as Head Start and pre-school. 

  • Early Childhood Transition
    Early Childhood Transition is the movement from the Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI) Part C to Part B, for those children found eligible to receive Special Education services and who have an individual education program developed and implemented by their third birthday.
  • Early Intervening Services (EIS)
    Support services for students not identified with a disability but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in the general education classroom. 
  • Education Material for the Visually Impaired (EVI)
    This is part of the online instructional materials ordering system known as EMAT. Local education agencies are able to order Braille, large type or audio copies of adopted instructional material through this system.
  • Education Records

    Education records are records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

  • Education Service Center (ESC)

    In Texas, an education service center (ESC) provides training, technical assistance, administrative support, and an array of other services as determined by the legislature, the commissioner of education, and the needs of local school districts and charter schools. Most often associated with small and medium-sized districts, the ESCs have a long history of providing assistance to all districts, including metropolitan and large suburban districts.

  • Educational Diagnostician

    A qualified examiner who primarily serves as a member of a multidisciplinary team and works closely with parents, teachers, and other school personnel in using a wide variety of instruments to assess and diagnose learning problems and evaluate academic skills of students.

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

    The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was a law passed in 1965 that emphasized equal educational access and high accountability standards with state-administered federal funds.   In 2002, the ESEA was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In December 2015, ESEA was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing NCLB.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility is the determination that a student is a “child with a disability” as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and as a result of the disability, the child needs special education services to benefit from education.

  • Emergency
    A situation in which a student's behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others or imminent, serious property destruction.
  • Emotional Disturbance (ED)

    Emotional disturbance (ED) is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and/or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

  • Employability Skills 
    Skills that are directly related to the preparation of young adults for employment including general skills necessary to obtain or retain employment.
  • End-of-Course (EOC)

    End-of-Course (EOC) assessments are tests that measure the student's academic performance in core high school courses and become part of the graduation requirements. The EOC assessments for lower-level courses must include questions to determine readiness for advanced coursework. The assessments for higher-level courses must include a series of special purpose questions to measure college readiness and the need for developmental coursework in higher education.

  • Endorsement
    A related series of courses that are grouped together by interest or skill set that provide high school students with in-depth knowledge of a subject area. Endorsements are one part of the Foundation Graduation Program and are available in five areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Business and Industry; Public Service; Arts and Humanities; and Multi-Disciplinary Studies.  
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)

    A program of techniques, methodology and special curriculum designed to teach English language learner students English language skills, which may include listening, speaking, reading, writing, study skills, content vocabulary, and cultural orientation. English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is usually in English with little use of native language.

  • English Learner (EL)
    A child whose native language is a language other than English or who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant and who has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language.
  • Equal Access
    The opportunity for a qualified person with a disability to participate in or benefit from educational aid, benefits, or services that is equal to what is available to a nondisabled person.
  • Equipment
    Includes machinery, utilities, built-in equipment, and any necessary enclosures or structures to house such machinery, utilities, or equipment, and all other items necessary for the functioning of a particular facility as a facility for the provision of educational services including items such as instructional equipment, necessary furniture, printed, published and audiovisual instructional materials, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices, books, periodicals, documents, and other related materials.
  • Evaluation
    The collection of information to determine whether a child is a child with a disability, and to determine the educational needs of the child. The team who collects or reviews evaluation data, referred to as the multidisciplinary team, must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information, including information provided by the parent. An evaluation may include giving individual tests, observing the student, looking at educational records, and talking with the student, teachers and parents.
  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

    A law signed on December 10, 2015, amended and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Four key points of the ESSA are college- and career-ready standards, focused support and attention for the lowest-performing five percent of schools, expanding preschool opportunity, and support for local innovation and investing in what works.

  • Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)

    Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) are practices, strategies, and/or programs whose effectiveness is supported by rigorous research which indicates that the practice, strategy, and/or program works.

  • Excess Costs

    Excess costs are costs that exceed the average annual per student expenditure in the local educational agency during the preceding school year for the elementary or secondary school child, as may be appropriate.

  • Extended School Year Services (ESY)

    An individualized educational program for children with disabilities that is provided beyond the regular school year. The need for Extended School Year (ESY) services must be determined on an individual basis by the child's admission, review, and dismissal committee from formal and/or informal evaluations provided by the local educational agency or the parents. A child is eligible for ESY services when the child has exhibited or reasonably may be expected to exhibit severe or substantial regression in one or more critical skill areas that cannot be recouped within a reasonable period of time.

  • Extent Practicable
    Services and supports should be based on peer-reviewed research to the extent that it is possible given the availability of peer-reviewed research.
  • F
  • Facilitated IEP (FIEP)

    Alternative dispute resolution that involves the use of a trained facilitator to assist an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee in developing an individualized education program (IEP) for a student with a disability.

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    A federal law (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive federal funds. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student reaching the age of 18 or when the student attends a school beyond the high school level.

  • Federally Required Elements (FRE)

    The Texas Education Agency (TEA) makes annual determinations on the performance of local education agencies.  The determination levels are made using performance levels (PLs) assigned to the results-driven accountability (RDA) indicators and the four federally required elements (FREs) which are: 1) State Performance Plan (SPP) Compliance Indicators; 2) Valid, Reliable, and Timely Data; 3) Uncorrected Noncompliance; and 4) Financial Audits. 

  • Fluency
    The ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Fluency is one of several critical factors necessary for reading comprehension.
  • Foster Parent
    A person who provides foster care services in the foster home. Foster care means 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the state agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes but is not limited to placement in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, childcare institutions, and pre-adoptive homes.
  • Foundation High School Program
    The basic 22-credit graduation program for Texas public school students.
  • Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

    Special education and related services that have been provided at public expense under public supervision and direction and without charge, meets the standards of the Texas Education Agency, includes an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the state involved, and are provided in conforming with the individualized education program (IEP).

  • Frequency
    How often the child with a disability receives a service, as in the number of times per day or week. If the service is less than daily then the conditions for the provision of services must be clearly specified within the admission, review, and dismissal documents using a weekly reference; e.g., one hour per week, 30 minutes every two weeks. Frequency for Early Childhood Intervention is the number of days or sessions that a service will be provided within a specific period of time.
  • Full Individual and Initial Evaluation (FIIE)

    A comprehensive initial evaluation that consists of data gathered from multiple sources for a student suspected of having a disability and being considered for special education and related services. The evaluation covers all areas related to the suspected disability, including: health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, adaptive behavior, and motor abilities.

  • Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
    Thirty hours of contact a week between a special education student and special education program personnel.
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)
    A systematic process for describing problem behavior and identifying the environmental factors and surrounding events associated with problem behavior. The team that works closely with the child exhibiting problem behavior observes the behavior and identifies and defines its problematic characteristics, identifies which actions or events precede and follow the behavior, and determines how often the behavior occurs.
  • Functionally Blind
    The child with a visual impairment is functionally blind if, based on the functional vision evaluation and the learning media assessment, the child will use tactual media which includes braille as a primary tool for learning to be able to communicate in both reading and writing at the same level of proficiency as other children of comparable ability.
  • Futures Planning
    Planning for the future regardless of the age of the child, providing an outline of the necessary requirements to reach goals that will enable the child to function in the present and upcoming school settings, as well as post-secondary settings.
  • G
  • Gifted and Talented (GT)
    Students who exhibit evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
  • Graduation

    The successful completion of all curriculum requirements and satisfactory performance on the secondary exit-level assessment instrument, or it may be the successful completion of an individualized education program (IEP) and the criteria for graduating pursuant to an IEP. A child with a disability may graduate by completing the same program required of non-disabled children or by completing the requirements the IEP and meeting the criteria set forth by the commissioner in 19 TAC §89.1070.

  • Guardian
    A person who has been appointed to be the legal caretaker of a child through formal proceedings in accordance with law or stands in the place of a parent to a child whether by accepting responsibility for the child’s welfare or by a court order.
  • Guardianship
    A legal process that removes rights and privileges from a person aged 18 and older who is considered incapacitated under state law. The process involves the court system and an attorney. Unless parents have gained guardianship of their child with a disability or made other legal arrangements, all rights including signing and agreeing to the individualized education program will be transferred to the student upon turning 18.
  • H
  • Hearing Officer
    An impartial person appointed by the Texas Education Agency in charge of a due process hearing. The hearing officer cannot be an employee of any agency involved in the education or care of the child who is the subject of the hearing and cannot have any personal or professional interest that would conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing. The hearing officer must possess the necessary knowledge and skill necessary to serve as a hearing officer. The hearing officer issues a written decision based upon the evidence and witnesses presented at the hearing.
  • High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE)

    The method by which eligible, experienced special education teachers may demonstrate competency in each core academic subject area they teach on the basis of a high objective uniform state standard of evaluation. This standard must be one that, among other requirements provides objective coherent information about the teacher’s attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which a teacher teaches.

  • Highly Qualified Teacher (HQ)
    Teachers who teach core subject academic areas to meet specific competency and educational requirements and who meet these requirements are considered highly qualified. Teachers are required to be highly qualified if they are the teacher of record providing direct instruction to students in any core academic subject area. Highly qualified teachers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, be fully certified to teach in Texas, and demonstrate competency in their core academic subject area.
  • Home School
    In Texas, children may be home-schooled in lieu of attending traditional public school. Under the Texas Education Code, home schools must be run in a bona fide manner with a written curriculum that covers the basics of math, reading, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. The Texas Education Agency does not regulate, index, monitor, approve, or register the programs available to parents who choose to home school, nor does the state of Texas award diplomas to students that are home schooled.
  • Homeless
    An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised public or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • I
  • Immigrant Student
    Individuals, aged 3 through 21, who were not born in any state, and have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years.
  • Inclusion
    The process of integrating children with disabilities into the academic and social activities of regular schools and general education classrooms.
  • Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)

    An evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the local education agency (LEA) responsible for the education of the child being evaluated. A parent has a right to request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense when the parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted or obtained by the LEA. The IEE must meet the same criteria the LEA uses for its own evaluations. The LEA does not have to pay for the IEE if it can show at a due process hearing that the LEA's evaluation is appropriate or if it can show that the IEE does not meet the LEA's criteria. The parent always has the right to get an IEE at the parent's expense. Regardless of who pays for it, the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee must consider any IEE that meets its criteria.

  • Independent Hearing Examiner (IHE)

    An independent hearing examiner (IHE) is an individual licensed to practice law in Texas, is not affiliated with any school district, a teacher in any dispute with a school district, or an organization of school employees, school administrators, or school boards. A teacher can request a hearing after receiving notice of a proposed termination, non-renewal, or suspension without pay. An IHE may be requested and assigned to the case. The IHE is the main point of contact throughout the proceedings and will complete the hearing and make a written recommendation within 60 days from the date TEA received the request for the hearing.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    A written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed and revised by the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee, of which parents are active members. The IEP includes the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, participation in state and district-wide assessments, transition services, annual goals, special factors, special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, extended school year services, and least restrictive environment. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is now aligned with the important principles of No Child Left Behind in promoting accountability for results, enhancing the role of parents and improving student achievement through instructional approaches that are based on scientific research.

  • Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

    A comprehensive, written plan developed by a multidisciplinary team, including the parents, that provides a description of the appropriate transition services for the infant or toddler.  For a child from birth through two years of age who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a visual impairment, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting must be held in place of an admission, review, and dismissal committee (ARD) meeting. 

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    The federal law that provides assistance to states for the education of children with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law gives every child with a disability the right to a public education at no cost to the family. Part C of the IDEA requires services to begin at birth and extends until the child turns three. Early Childhood Intervention programs deliver Part C services. Part B of the IDEA requires services for children from ages 3 through 21. Most children receiving Part B services are in public schools.

  • Informed Consent
    When the parent has been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought in his or her native language or through another mode of communication. The parent understands and agrees in writing to the carrying out of the activity for which consent is sought, and the consent describes that activity and lists any records that will be released and to whom. The parent understands that the granting of consent is voluntary on the part of the parent and may be revoked at any time. If a parent revokes consent, that revocation is not retroactive and it does not negate an action that has occurred after the consent was given and before the consent was revoked.
  • Instructional Setting/Arrangement
    The educational placement for the child with a disability and the decision for determining the instructional arrangement/setting must be based on the child’s individualized education program. The admission, review, and dismissal committee determines the appropriate instructional setting/arrangement. The local educational agency must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs for special education and related services.
  • Intellectual Disability (ID)

    A student with an intellectual disability (ID) is one who has been determined to have significantly sub-average intellectual functioning as measured by a standardized, individually administered test of cognitive ability in which the overall test score is at least two standard deviations below the mean when taking into consideration the standard error of measurement of the test and concurrently exhibits deficits in at least two of the following areas of adaptive behavior: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety.

  • Intensive Program of Instruction (IPI)

    Instructional practices adapted to respond to the complex needs of students not meeting standard on state assessments in grades 3 through 12. Difficulties meeting state assessment standards in any academic subject area may or may not be related to the student’s area of disability.

  • Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES)

    An appropriate setting determined by the child’s admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee in which the child is placed for no more than 45 school days.  This setting enables the child to continue to receive educational services and participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the individualized education program.

  • J
  • Job Coach
    A person who specializes in helping individuals with disabilities learn and accurately carry out job duties as well as provides one-on-one training tailored to meet the needs of the employee and to meet the employer's expectations.
  • Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP)

    This program was designed to provide an educational setting for students who are mandatorily expelled from school per the Texas Education Code or students discretionarily expelled according to the local school districts’ student codes of conduct.  A juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP) is mandated to operate by statute in counties with a population of 125,000 or greater. Each program is governed and controlled by a locally negotiated memorandum of understanding between the local juvenile board and each school district within the county.  

  • L
  • Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC)

    All school districts that are required to provide bilingual education and/or English as a second language programs must establish and operate a language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC). The LPAC is charged with reviewing all pertinent information on all identified limited English proficient students upon their initial enrollment and at the end of each school year. Districts are required to have on file policy and procedures for the selection, appointment, and training of members of the LPAC. The committee must adhere to the provisions, monitor student progress, determine appropriate instructional interventions, make assessment decisions on an individual student basis, function as a committee to make assessment decisions, and maintain appropriate documentation.

  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE)

    Any world language other than English, including American Sign Language (ASL), is considered a language other than English. Currently, students may earn credit by taking ASL, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, or Vietnamese. In addition, certain computer programming languages can be used to satisfy the languages other than English (LOTE) requirement.

  • Learning Media Assessment (LMA)
    An evaluation conducted by a teacher of the visually impaired  to determine the most appropriate literacy media, print or braille, or a combination, for the student with a visual impairment.
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
    To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled.  Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
  • Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP)
    An individual who has completed a supervised school psychology internship of which 600 hours are in the school setting, is licensed or certified in school psychology by the state in which the individuals works, or in the absence of such state licensure or certification, possesses national certification by the National School Psychology Certification Board.
  • Limited Alertness
    A heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment.
  • Limited English Proficient (LEP)
    A student whose primary language is other than English and whose English language skills are such that the student has difficulty performing ordinary class work in English.
  • Local Education Agency (LEA)

    A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for a combination of school districts or counties that is recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools. Public school districts, open enrollment charter schools, and regional education service centers are specific examples of local education agencies (LEAs).

  • Local Government
    A county, including all district and precinct offices of a county, municipality, public school district, appraisal district, or any other special-purpose district or authority.
  • Local Government Record
    Any document, paper, letter, book, map, photograph, sound or video recording, microfilm, magnetic tape, electronic medium, or other information recording medium regardless of physical form or characteristic and regardless of whether public access to it is open or restricted under the laws of the state, created or received by a local government or any of its officers or employees pursuant to law, including an ordinance, or in the transaction of public business.
  • M
  • Maintenance of Effort (MOE)

    A requirement to ensure the recipient of federal funds does not spend those funds in place of state and local dollars. Maintenance of Effort (MOE) ensures grant recipients spend their state and local funds for the same activities that would be provided if federal dollars were not available. The underlying principle is that the local educational agency is responsible for maintaining effort in providing a free public education to all students from year to year.  MOE is required by many grant programs. 

  • Manifestation Determination Review (MDR)
    A meeting held within 10 days of a behavior infraction causing a student to be removed from current placement. The meeting would determine whether the cause of the behavior is due to the child’s disability, whether the district has sufficiently addressed the issue, and whether an alternate placement may be appropriate for the child.
  • Mediation

    An option available to be used for resolving disagreements about a child's identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of a free appropriate public education. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will automatically offer mediation services to the parent and local education agency (LEA) when a due process hearing is requested. When both the parent and the LEA agree to participate, the TEA will provide a trained mediator to conduct the mediation. Mediation may not be used to delay or deny a parent a due process hearing or any other procedural safeguards.

  • Medically Fragile
    A serious ongoing illness or a chronic condition for a child with a disability that lasts or is anticipated to last at least 12 or more months, or has required at least one month of hospitalization, and requires daily, ongoing medical treatments and monitoring by appropriately trained personnel which may include parents or other family members. The child also requires the routine use of a medical device or of assistive technology to compensate for the loss of usefulness of a body function needed to participate in activities of daily living and lives with ongoing threat to continued well-being.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
    A formal agreement with another organization that defines the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each party. It is usually used to establish an agreement with county/local offices particularly when the project will be reimbursing the county/local office for implementation expenses.
  • Migratory Child, Migrant
    When a student within the ages of 3 to 21 or the student's parent, spouse, or guardian is a migratory agricultural, dairy, or fisher worker, and who in the preceding 36 months in order to obtain or accompany such parent, spouse, or guardian in order to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work has moved from one school district to another or resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence to engage in a fishing activity.
  • Minimum High School Program (MHSP)

    The Minimum High School Program (MHSP) is one of three high school programs by which students who entered grade nine prior to the 2014-2015 school year may graduate.  Before a student is permitted to take courses under the MHSP, the student, the student's parent or guardian, and a school counselor or school administrator must agree that the student should be permitted to take courses under the MHSP, and the student must meet at least one of the following conditions: be at least 16 years of age; have completed two credits required for graduation in each subject of the foundation curriculum under the Texas Education Code §28.002(a)(1), and have failed to be promoted to grade 10 one or more times as determined by the school district. The agreement must be in writing and signed by each party.

  • Modifications
    A modification is an adjustment to an assignment or a test that changes the standard or what the test or assignment measures. It is a practice or procedure that changes the nature of the task or target skill.
  • Modified Content
    Modifying content material requires structural, cognitive changes in the level of the material.  Modifications change “what” is learned and therefore changes the content of the grade-specific curriculum.
  • Modified Curriculum
    Any reduction of the amount or complexity of the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

    The multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) focuses on intervention for the student struggling in academics, behavior, and/or social/emotional areas. Tiers are based on student need and levels of support are provided based on progress monitoring data. 

  • Multidisciplinary
    The involvement of two or more separate disciplines or professions and may include one individual who is qualified in more than one discipline or profession.
  • Multiple Disabilities
    A student with multiple disabilities is one who has a combination of disabilities and who meets all of the following conditions: the student's disability is expected to continue indefinitely and the disabilities severely impair performance in two or more of the following areas: psychomotor skills, self-care skills, communication, social and emotional development, or cognition. 
  • N
  • Native Language
    The language normally used by an individual or in the case of a child, the language normally used by the parents of the child.
  • Natural Environments
    The natural or typical settings in which required services are provided, as much as possible, to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
  • New Special Education Teacher
    A fully certified general education teacher who subsequently becomes fully certified or licensed as a special education teacher is a new special education teacher when first hired as a special education teacher.
  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

    No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorized the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Act.  NCLB was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015.

  • Noncategorical Early Childhood (NCEC)
    A condition of developmental delay where a child between the ages of three through five has been identified as having an intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, a specific learning disability, or autism.
  • Nonprofit
    An agency, organization, or institution that is owned or operated by a corporation or association whose net earnings cannot benefit in any way any private shareholder or entity.
  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards (NPS)

    The written document that contains a full explanation of parental rights as guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, written in the native language of the parents and written in an easily understandable manner. A copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards (NPS) is available to the parents of the child with a disability and must be given to the parents only one time a year, except that a copy also must be given to the parents upon initial referral or parental request for evaluation, upon the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing, and upon request by a parent.

  • O
  • Occupational Therapy (OT)
    A related service that emphasizes the acquisition of or compensation for functional performance skills that may be needed by children with disabilities during their educational experience. Examples are fine motor skills which include small, finely coordinated hand movements; visual perceptual skills which include the ability to understand and interpret what is seen; visual motor skills which include the ability to coordinate visual and motor skills, and/or self-care skills which include feeding, dressing, hygiene, and toileting skills for increasing independence in necessary life skills.
  • Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)
    A division of the United States Department of Education that provides useful and timely information that will enhance knowledge of elementary and secondary education programs and issues.
  • Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

    The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is a federal organization that supports programs that help educate children and youth with disabilities and provides for the rehabilitation of youth and adults with disabilities. OSERS provides a wide array of supports to parents and individuals, school districts and states in two main areas—special education and vocational rehabilitation.

  • Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

    The mission of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is to lead the nation's efforts to improve outcomes for children with disabilities, birth through 21, and their families, ensuring access to fair, equitable, and high-quality education and services. OSEP administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which authorizes formula grants to states under Part B, grants to lead agencies for the infants and families program under Part C, and discretionary grants under Part D to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations to support grants for state personnel development, technical assistance and dissemination, technology, personnel development, and parent-training and information centers.

  • Organization
    The term includes, but is not limited to, federal, state, and local agencies, and independent organizations.
  • Orientation and Mobility (O&M)

    Related services provided to blind or visually impaired children by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community. In the state of Texas, orientation and mobility (O&M) instruction must be provided by a certified orientation and mobility specialist who is certified by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

  • Orthopedic Impairment (OI)

    An orthopedic impairment is a physical impairment which adversely affects a child’s educational performance and is caused by a congenital anomaly, a disease such as poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis, or impairments from other causes such as cerebral palsy, amputations, fractures, or burns that cause contractures.

  • Other Health Impairment (OHI)

    Other Health Impairment (OHI) is defined as having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, which may include asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and/or Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child's education performance.

  • Otologist
    A physician trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders relating to the ear involving hearing, sensory systems, and/or related structures.
  • P
  • Parent
    Refers to a biological or adoptive parent, a foster parent, a legal guardian, a properly appointed surrogate parent, or other person as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act who has legal authority to make educational decisions for a child with a disability or who is suspected of having a disability.
  • Parentally-Placed Private School Children
    Children with disabilities enrolled by their parent in a private, including religious, school or facility that meets the definition of elementary school or secondary school.
  • Peer-Reviewed Research
    A type of research that is reviewed by qualified and independent reviewers to ensure that the quality of the information meets the standard of the field before the research is published.
  • Penological
    Interests that relate to the treatment including punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation of persons convicted of crimes.
  • Performance Levels (PL)

    In Results Driven Accountability (RDA), a performance level (PL) is the result that occurs when a standard is applied to a local education agency's (LEA's) performance on an indicator. RDA indicators include a range of PLs, and each PL range has an established set of cut points. Throughout the RDA indicators, the higher the PL, the lower the LEA’s performance.

  • Personally Identifiable Information
    Personal information pertaining with reasonable certainty to the identity of a child.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS)

    A group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. Symptoms may include problems with using and understanding language, difficulty relating to people, objects, and events, unusual play with toys and other objects, difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns.

  • Phonics
    A method of teaching reading that helps students build understanding of sound-symbol relationships and spelling patterns.
  • Physical Therapy (PT)
    A related service provided to qualifying children with disabilities that focuses on the child’s ability to move as independently as possible and may include exercises designed to develop strength and endurance, range of motion and flexibility.
  • Placement
    The location of the instructional arrangements/settings based on the individual needs and individualized education program of an eligible child receiving special education services.
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
    An approach to school discipline practices that addresses challenging behaviors through prevention-based interventions and positive behavior strategies that are not harmful or demeaning to the student.
  • Postsecondary
    The time frame after high school, and refers to students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Present Levels / Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)

    Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP) for the school-aged student summarizes the current strengths and needs of the student in both academic and functional performance areas. It must include how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum, regardless of the setting in which the student currently receives services. Additionally, it may describe the current instructional level of the student compared to the grade level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and, if the student is below grade level, the PLAAFP also may describe the prerequisite skills the student needs in order to achieve grade-level proficiency.
    PLAAFP for the preschool student summarizes the current levels of present performance related to the student’s developmental domains, functional performance, and pre-academic skills. It must include how the student’s disability affects the student’s participation in appropriate activities. Additionally, it may describe the student’s current developmental levels compared to the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines or district-adopted prekindergarten curriculum.

  • Prior Written Notice (PWN)
    A notice that must be given to the parents of the child whenever the local educational agency proposes to initiate or change or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child. Texas defines a reasonable time for providing such notice as five school days.
  • Private Schools
    A nonprofit entity that provides elementary or secondary education that incorporates an adopted curriculum designed to meet basic educational goals.
  • Provider of Dyslexia Instruction (PDI)

    Educators who provide dyslexia instruction are called providers of dyslexia instruction (PDIs). These individuals are not required to hold a specific license or be certified as a special educator when serving a student who also receives special education and related services if that provider is the most appropriate person to offer dyslexia instruction. These educators must have additional documented dyslexia training and must deliver the instruction with fidelity. This includes training in critical, evidence-based components of dyslexia instruction such as phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllabication, orthography, morphology, syntax, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. In addition, they must deliver multisensory instruction that simultaneously uses all learning pathways to the brain, is systematic and cumulative, is explicitly taught, uses diagnostic teaching to automaticity, and includes both analytic and synthetic approaches. 

  • Psychotropic Drugs
    A substance or medication intended to have an altering effect on perception, emotion, or behavior.
  • Public Agency
    Public entities that provide early intervention services as well as public agencies that provide other services or are sources of funding for early intervention services. The term includes the lead agency and any other agency or political subdivision of the state.
  • Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS)
    A data collection system that encompasses all data requested and received by the Texas Education Agency about public education, including student demographics, academic performance, personnel, financial, and organizational information.
  • Public Expense
    When the local educational agency either pays for the cost of an evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent.
  • Public Information
    Information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by a governmental body or for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.
  • Public Information Act (PIA)

    Originally known as the Texas Open Records Act, the Public Information Act (PIA) was approved by the Legislature in 1973. This act gives an individual the right to access government records and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies must promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an exception to disclosure has not been sought.

  • Q
  • Qualified Personnel
    An individual who is qualified through state certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements to conduct evaluations or assessments or provide early intervention services.
  • R
  • Record
    Any information recorded in any way including but not limited to handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm and microfiche.
  • Records Retention Schedule
    A document issued by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under authority of the subchapter on the Preservation and Management of Local Government Records in the Texas Government Code, establishing mandatory retention periods for local government needs. The retention schedule indicates the minimum length of time listed records series must be retained by a state agency before destruction or archival preservation.
  • Reevaluation

    A student evaluation that is conducted by the local education agency (LEA) to determine the educational or related service needs of the child after a previous evaluation. If the child's parents or teacher request a reevaluation, it must occur not more frequently than once a year unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise, and at least once every three years unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

  • Referral
    A referral to special education may be considered for children experiencing difficulty in the general classroom after providing all support services available to all students, such as tutorials, remedial options, compensatory support, and other services.
  • Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD)

    Any student who has a hearing impairment that severely impairs processing linguistic information through hearing, even with a recommended amplification, and which adversely affects educational performance must be eligible for consideration for the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD), subject to the recommendations of the student’s admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee.

  • Regression
    The loss of learned skills usually after breaks in instruction such as summer vacation. The amount of instruction students need to recover or recoup their abilities may be longer than other students, and additional instruction may be needed to catch up.
  • Related Disorders
    The term includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.
  • Related Services
    A wide array of developmental, corrective, and other supportive services that are required to assist the child to benefit from special education. Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device. Special education and related services are based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable. This means there is reliable evidence to demonstrate that the program or services are effective in meeting the needs of the child. Peer-reviewed research ensures that the quality of the research meets the established standard of the field. Peer-reviewed research may apply to academic, as well as nonacademic areas, such as behavioral interventions. Related services include, but are not limited to assistive technology, audiology services, counseling services, interpreting services, medical services, music therapy, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility services, parent counseling and training, physical therapy, psychological services, recreation, rehabilitation counseling services, school health services, social work services in school, speech-language therapy, and transportation.
  • Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS)

    Research-based instructional strategies (RBIS) are a set of research-based practices that highlight common misconceptions in the teaching field. They cover topics that sometimes require conceptual or philosophical changes to how we approach instruction and form a set of practices that are supported by research and should be present in classrooms, regardless of available instructional materials. These strategies are based on the science of how students best learn math and reading in K-12 classrooms. 

  • Research-Based Strategies
    Systematic and objective procedures resulting in and based on valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.
  • Residential Facility (RF)
    A facility that provides 24 hour custody or care of students who reside in the facility for detention, treatment, foster care, or any noneducational purpose. A residential facility does not include traditional foster homes licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
  • Respite Care

    Respite care is a short time of rest or relief for a person who acts as a caregiver for an individual with a disability in a home, community organization, or residential facility for part of the day, evening, or overnight by paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends occasionally or on a regular basis.

  • Response to Intervention (RtI)
    A process addressing the needs of all students through a continuum of services which provide high quality instruction and scientific, research-based, tiered intervention strategies aligned with individual student need; frequent monitoring of student progress to make results-based academic or behavioral decisions; data-based school improvement; and the application of student response data to important educational decisions such as those regarding placement, intervention, curriculum, instructional goals and methodologies.
  • Restraint
    The use of physical force or a mechanical device to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a child’s body. A school employee, volunteer, or independent contractor may use restraint only in an emergency and with limitations.
  • Results Driven Accountability (RDA)

    Results Driven Accountability (RDA) is an automated data system that reports annually on the performance of local education agencies (LEAs) in these selected program areas: bilingual education/English as a second language, career and technical education, certain federal Title programs, and special education.

  • Retention Period
    The minimum time that must pass after the creation, recording, or receipt of a record, or the fulfillment of certain actions associated with a record before it is eligible for destruction.
  • Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED)
    Must take place as part of an initial evaluation or as part of a reevaluation. It is conducted by the members of the admission, review, and dismissal committee including the parent, but it does not have to take place in a meeting. Members review existing evaluation data about the child, including information provided by the parent, to determine the scope of the evaluation.
  • Revocation
    When a parent withdraws consent for the continued provision of special education and related services, the school is no longer required to make a free and appropriate public education available to the child. The child's individualized education program will no longer be in effect, and the child will be treated as a general education student.
  • S
  • School Day

    For purposes of determining the timeline for an initial admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee meeting, school day does not include a day that falls after the last instructional day of the spring school term and before the first instructional day of the subsequent fall school term.

  • School Health and Related Services (SHARS)

    The School Health and Related Services (SHARS) program allows Texas local education agencies (LEAs) and shared service arrangements (SSAs) to request reimbursement for Medicaid health-related services. The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee determines SHARS services. Services must be medically necessary and reasonable to ensure that children with disabilities are able to participate in the educational program.

  • School Year
    A school district must operate so that the district provides for at least 75,600 minutes of instruction per year for students.
  • Scientifically-Based Research
    Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.
  • Seclusion
    A behavior management technique in which a student is confined in a locked box, locked closet, or locked room that is designed solely to seclude a person and contains less than 50 square feet of space.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    A federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Under Section 504, a free appropriate public education consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
  • Serious Bodily Injury
    Bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
  • Services Plan
    A written statement that describes the special education and related services the local educational agency will provide to the parentally-placed private school child with a disability who has been designated to receive services, including the location of the services and any transportation necessary.
  • Shared Service Arrangements (SSA)

    School districts may enter into a written contract to jointly operate their special education programs. The contract must be approved by the commissioner. Funds to which the cooperating districts are entitled may be allocated to the districts jointly as Shared Service Arrangement (SSA) units or SSA funds in accordance with the agreement of the SSAs.

  • Short-Term Objectives/Benchmarks
    The intermediate steps of progress toward mastering the annual goal. They provide a means to monitor a student’s progress toward reaching the related annual goal. Benchmarks or short-term objectives are required to be included in the individualized education program (IEP) of a child who takes an alternate assessment aligned to alternate achievement standards; however, they may be included in any student’s IEP.
  • Sign Language
    A form of manual communication in which hands, limbs, head, facial expression and body language are used to communicate a visual-spatial language without sound.
  • Special Education (SpEd)
    Specially-designed instruction at no cost to parents to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings, and includes instruction in physical education.
  • Special Factors
    Includes assistive technology, behavior, blind or visually impaired, communication needs, limited English proficiency, autism, deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Specially-Designed Instruction

    Instruction adapted, as appropriate, to the needs of the eligible child under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which may include the content, methodology or delivery of instruction; addressing the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability; and ensuring access of the child to the general curriculum so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the local educational agency that apply to all children.

  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
    A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
  • Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
    The state certified professional responsible for the diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and remediation of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A speech language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading, writing, or swallowing. The overall objective of speech language pathology services is to optimize individuals’ ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life.
  • Speech or Language Impairment
    A communication disorder or a voice impairment that adversely affects the child's educational performance.
  • State Assessment
    The academic assessments required by state and federal law. A child with a disability will take the state assessment or an alternate state assessment as determined by the admission, review, and dismissal committee.
  • State Board of Education (SBOE)
    An elected 15-member board along with the commissioner of education who oversee the public education system of Texas in accordance with the Texas Education Code. Establishing policy and providing leadership for the Texas public school system are the responsibilities of the State Board of Education. By adopting policies and setting standards for educational programs, the Board provides the direction necessary to enable Texas public schools to prepare today’s schoolchildren for a successful future.
  • State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC)

    The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1995 to recognize public school educators as professionals and grant educators the authority to govern the standards of their profession. The board oversees all aspects of the preparation, certification, and standards of conduct of public school educators.

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

    A series of state-mandated standardized tests given to Texas public school students in grades 3-8 and those enrolled in five specific high school courses. First given in spring 2012, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is based on the state's curriculum standards called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

  • State Performance Plan (SPP)

    Texas is required to develop a six-year performance plan that evaluates efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA).  The State Performance Plan (SPP) illustrates how Texas will continuously improve upon this implementation, and includes updates through the Annual Performance Report (APR) submitted each February to the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

  • Strategic Support Plan (SSP)

    The purpose of the Strategic Support Plan (SSP) is to guide local education agencies (LEAs) through the process of prioritizing Results Driven Accountability (RDA) indicators contributing to low performance and to assist in the LEA's area(s) of growth to improve student outcomes. When implemented with fidelity, the SSP assists in identifying district goals to support root causes of low performance and is used by the LEA as a tool in the continuous improvement process to prioritize essential program elements.

  • Student
    An individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational agency or institution and regarding whom the agency or institution maintains education records.
  • Student Success Initiative (SSI)

    The Student Success Initiative (SSI) grade advancement requirements apply to students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 who take the state assessment in reading and mathematics at grades 5 and 8. The goal of the SSI is to ensure that all students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful in reading and mathematics.

  • Student-Centered Transitions Network (SCTN)

    The Student-Centered Transitions Network (SCTN) creates pathways for a successful adult life for students with disabilities. 

  • Summary of Performance (SOP)
    A review of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance which must include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s post-secondary goals.
  • Supplementary Aids and Services
    Includes aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.
  • Supports for Personnel
    Training provided for educators who work primarily outside the area of special education, and who do not possess the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the individualized educational program developed for the child with a disability. The training must be based on scientifically-based research to the extent practicable.
  • Surrogate Parent

    When the parents of a child with a disability are not known or cannot be located, or when the child is a ward of the state, the local education agency (LEA) must assign an individual to act as a surrogate or substitute parent for that child. The surrogate parent works to ensure the rights of the child are protected. The surrogate parent cannot be an employee of the Texas Education Agency, the LEA, or any agency that is involved with the education or care of the child.

  • Systems of Support (SOS) Team
    A group of educators who work together as effective problem-solvers and help teachers gather information about students and devise and implement interventions to address student needs prior to referral for special education services.
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  • Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)

    A teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) can also be called a teacher of the visually impaired or VI teacher, and is typically a licensed special education teacher who has received certification and specialized training in meeting the educational needs of students who are blind or have visual impairments ages birth to 21.  

  • Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR)

    The Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) provides a wide range of information on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas every year. Performance information is disaggregated by student groups, including ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The report also provides extensive information on school and district staff, programs, and student demographics.

  • Texas Administrative Code (TAC)
    A compilation of all state agency rules in Texas. These rules are collected and published by the Office of the Secretary of State. Each title represents a subject category, and related agencies are assigned to the appropriate title. The State Board of Education and commissioner of education rules are codified in the TAC under Title 19, Education, Part 2, Texas Education Agency.
  • Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

    As of September 1, 2016, programs and services previously administered or delivered by the former Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) have been transferred by the Texas Legislature to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS).

  • Texas Education Agency (TEA)

    The state department of education or state educational agency which is responsible for the public education of all students in Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) works with local school districts to ensure that all public education laws, rules, and regulations are followed.

  • Texas Education Code (TEC)
    A set of the state statutes/laws governing public education in Texas. It applies to all educational institutions supported in whole or in part by state tax funds unless specifically excluded by the code. The TEC directs the goals and framework of public education in Texas and is established by the Texas Legislature.
  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

    The required curriculum for each grade level used in the Texas public schools. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do.  It is the general curriculum referred to in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS)
    An organization that offers a broad array of services to meet the needs of people with disabilities, whether it is providing options to a family whose child was just diagnosed with disability, helping find independent housing, working with community partners to create jobs, or finding someone to provide services to keep people out of institutions.
  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)
    A fully accredited program under rules and guidelines of the Texas Education Agency offering high school diplomas, workforce certifications, and GED certificates. Students in the education programs are instructed in core curricular courses and a wide array of vocational and elective courses. According to state and federal guidelines, the division provides English as a second language programming for eligible students as well as special education and related services to children with disabilities.
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

    A special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. It is also a statewide resource to parents of these children and professionals who serve them. Students ages 6 through 21 who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired including those with additional disabilities are eligible for consideration for services at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).

  • Texas School for the Deaf (TSD)
    A special public school for students who are deaf and hard of hearing and serves as a resource center on deafness for students, parents, professionals, and others.
  • Texas Sensory Support Network (TxSSN)

    The Texas Sensory Support Network (TxSSN) ensures the provision of support to infants, toddlers, children, and youth with sensory impairments, their families, and the professionals who serve them, through collaboration with appropriate agencies and organizations, for the education of students under 21 years old who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. This network provides information and strategies for development of communication, mobility, tactile skills, and environmental adaptations. It also addresses diagnosis, evaluation, and educational programs for services to students in their home communities in support of the comprehensive statewide education plan for this student population. 

  • Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)

    An organization that provides vocational rehabilitation services for youth and students with physical or cognitive disabilities, including blindness or visual impairments. Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) supported programs encourage students to participate in science, technology, engineering and math programs in order to promote pursuit of careers and educations in these in-demand fields.

  • The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)
    Encourages the use of mediation, facilitation, and other collaborative processes as strategies for resolving disagreements between parents and schools about children's educational programs and support services.
  • Tiered Interventions using Evidence-based Research (TIER)

    Tiered Interventions using Evidence-Based Research (TIER) is a project funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The goal is to provide educators, caregivers, and other educational stakeholders with the knowledge and materials to ensure appropriate implementation of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) in every school across Texas.

  • Time-Out
    A behavior management technique that provides a student with an opportunity to regain self-control. The student is separated from other students for a limited period in a specific setting that is not locked and from which the exit is not physically blocked by furniture, a closed door held shut from the outside, or another inanimate object.
  • Transfer of Equipment
    The process by which the local educational agency that has purchased an assistive technology device may sell, lease, or loan the device for the continuing use by the child or adult student with a disability changing the school of attendance in the district or leaving the district.
  • Transition Assessment
    Ongoing process of collecting information on the student’s strengths, needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future living, learning, and working environments. This process begins at age 14 or earlier and will continue until the student graduates or exits high school.
  • Transition Services
    A coordinated set of activities for the child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities or home-to-school for the child in early childhood.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

    An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, and problem-solving, along with sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

  • Twice-Exceptional Students
    Children who have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement and give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria.
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  • U.S. Department of Education (USDE)
    An agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers, and coordinates most federal assistance to education.
  • Uniform Transfer Agreement
    If a school district purchases an assistive technology device (ATD) for a child with a disability and that child moves to a new school or is graduating, the district may be willing to transfer the ATD if it is not needed by another student in the district. Transfer means that the district may sell, lease, or loan the ATD to the receiving school or school district, to a state agency, to the parents of the student, or to the student if the student has the legal capacity to enter into a contract. 
  • Unique Student Identification Number (UID)

    A distinctive student identification number assigned to a student by the Texas Education Agency.

  • Universal Screening
    A step taken by school personnel to determine which students are at risk for not meeting grade-level standards. Universal screening can be accomplished by administering an academic screening to all students in a given grade level. Students whose scores fall below a certain cutoff point are identified as needing closer monitoring or intervention.
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  • Visual Impairment (VI)
    Impairment in vision that even with correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. A licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist determines the child has a progressive medical condition that will result in no vision or a serious visual loss after correction.
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  • Weapon
    A device, instrument, material, or substance animate or inanimate that is used for or is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 ½ inches in length.
  • Written Statement of Disagreement

    An admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee member who disagrees with the individualized education program (IEP) is entitled, but is not required, to write a statement regarding the basis for the disagreement. The written statement of the basis for the disagreement must be included in the IEP.