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Blog: Spotlight on Special Education

Annette Hyde

Director of Special Education

Barb Pline

Special Education Consultant

Amy Pope

Special Education Consultant
logo spotlight on special education

The Spotlight on Special Education blog breaks down the complexities of special education one post at at time.

The blog posts are based on the Iowa Special Education Procedural Manual. There may be additional district requirements that are not reflected in the posts.



Most recent post

Literacy Team at Keystone AEA

Literacy Team

Literacy Initiatives Team (LIT): The mission of the literacy team is to empower educators with a unified method, to identify, learn and cultivate strong literacy skills for students so they may be empowered as learners. We are a diverse group of individuals that work as broad as the PK-12 system and with smaller populations such as Special Education, Title One, Reading Recovery, English Learners, just to name a few. For additional information regarding the Literacy Team, please visit our website (


Elementary Strategies:

Phonemic Awareness 


FluencyVideo Demonstration




Secondary Strategies:

Hot Topic

Q: What is the difference between universal instruction and specially designed instruction?

A: Universal instruction includes routine strategies used with all students in a general-education setting, which is essential and forms the foundation of academic support. General education teachers should provide General Education Interventions to any students who are not making progress with universal instruction, which could include classwide interventions and/or small-group instruction either in the classroom or in another setting with a reading specialist. Specially Designed Instruction is an individualized approach to teaching a student the foundational skills a student needs to access grade-level content.  This may include adapting the content, methodology, and/or delivery of instruction regardless of location.

Here are a few reminders for the end of the year; feel free to click on the link below and download the checklist as a ‘doc’ and edit for your own purposes.

End of Year Checklist

  • Complete annual reviews and re-evaluations with due dates through the end of September the following school year.

  • Check that all IEPs on your roster are submitted for review or validated on the Iowa WebIEP system.

  • Ensure all IEP progress monitoring data are updated and added to the IEP Graphs.

  • Ensure the student’s cumulative/special education file is updated with current progress monitoring data.

  • Send a copy of the updated progress monitoring graphs to parents.

  • Ensure all additional forms are uploaded to the student’s Iowa WebIEP (BIP, Behavior chart, Rubrics,etc.) as indicated in the Associated Files guidance document.

  • Complete Extended School Year Services (ESYS) plans for the student (if applicable).

  • Return/catalog any assistive technology devices.

  • Organize/file all student records are to ensure nothing is misplaced over break.

High School Only

  • Complete Exit paperwork for students graduating or aging out.

  • Ensure all exit paperwork is marked for Review.

  • Ensure all exit paperwork is filed in the student’s cumulative/special education folder.

  • Send a copy of all exit paperwork to parents.

Take some time to relax, recharge and be ready to come back to be an advocate for your students!



For more information, please contact a member of your district navigator team or refer to our Specialized Service Team Directory.