USDE Sends DCL with and Resources to School Officials Urging Gun Storage Awareness

To view the DCL, click here.

To access the USDE press release, click here.

To download the template letter for use by school officials to inform the public, click here.

CMS Provides Toolkit for Schools Explaining the ‘Unwinding’ of Medicaid Services

It is estimated that 536,400 children have lost access to Medicaid and CHIP insurance since automatic renewals ended in April. As a result, a toolkit from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) titled Medicaid and CHIP Renewals: Reaching Children and Families in School-Based and Early Education and Care Settings has been made available. It urges K-12 and early childhood educators, administrators, staff and parent-teacher associations to help families be aware of the change in public health policy through letters, robocalls, text messages, social media and other communications.

In addition, The School Superintendents Association (AASA) advises that raising awareness about continuous coverage also benefits school systems that rely on Medicaid reimbursements for school-based health services. In fact, keeping students enrolled in Medicaid will be especially important for the fiscal health of those districts, since Medicaid reimbursements for school-based services is the third- or fourth-largest federal revenue stream for school systems

To access the toolkit Medicaid and CHIP Renewals: Reaching Children and Families in School-Based and Early Education and Care Settings, click here.

For more from K-12 Dive, click here.

School Safety Resource Provided by Homeland Security and Secret Service

In May 2023, the U.S. Department’s Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) published a toolkit with strategies to help schools. Titled Improving School Safety Bystander Reporting: A Toolkit for Strengthening K-12 Reporting Programs, the toolkit aims to provide schools with actionable, practical, and cost-efficient steps toward preventing harm or acts of violence and focuses on five strategies for schools to employ. They are:

1. Encourage bystanders to report concerns for the wellness and safety of themselves or others.
2. Make reporting accessible and safe for the reporting community.
3. Follow-up on reports and be transparent about the actions taken in response to reported concerns.
4. Make reporting a part of daily school life.
5. Create a positive climate where reporting valued and respected.

According to the toolkit, the willingness of bystanders to come forward with concerns for the wellness and safety of themselves or others is a key component of student health and violence prevention efforts in kindergarten through 12th grade (K12) schools. The CISA-USSS K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit is designed to help community leaders create tailored, customized approaches to encourage reporting that meet the needs of their unique communities.

To access the toolkit, click here.

Prevention at School: Stop Bullying on the Spot

Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.

When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time.

Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.

Training school staff and students to prevent and address bullying can help sustain bullying prevention efforts over time. There are no federal mandates for bullying curricula or staff training. The following are some examples of options schools can consider.

To learn more go to

To watch the video on YouTube, click here.

School Safety Plans Must Include Special Needs Students – Check Out the Especially Safe Program

In response to increasing episodes of school violence across the nation, Safe and Sound Schools, a nonprofit organization founded by survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre, has created Especially Safe trainings to help schools plan for the unique needs of students and staff.

As schools continue to revamp their safety/crisis plans, the organization’s focus is to make everyone aware of the exigencies inherent to addressing the needs of students and other people with disabilities or other unique needs.

Especially Safe, a program created in 2017 by the mother of a special needs child killed in the shooting, helps to provide valuable inclusive emergency preparation resources for schools to ensure that a safety prevention, response, and recovery team is in place for special needs individuals (e.g., those who are disabled, those who have experienced trauma and/or ACES, English language learners, etc.). Among the resources available are virtual and in-person trainings and workshops, as well as numerous free downloads of guides for planning, preparation, teaching, and training.

For more from K-12 Dive, click here.

To learn more about this program, click here

USDE Provides Resources for Schools to Assist Students in Addressing Disability-based Behaviors

The US Department of Education (USDE) shares information about resources that may be useful in supporting the needs of students with disabilities in particular, including tools for schools to assist students in addressing any disability-based behaviors that could otherwise interfere with their or other students’ learning, or that could lead to student discipline or impact safety.

Links to Materials:
Positive, Proactive’ Approaches to Supporting Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders – click here to view.
Questions and Answers: Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA’s Discipline Provisions – click here to view.
Providing Students with Disabilities Free Appropriate Public Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Addressing the Need for Compensatory Services Under Section 504 – click here to view.

In addition, guidance was jointly issued by the USDE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) includes a fact sheet, a Q&A, a Dear Colleague Letter and a 17-page guide for proactive measures schools can take to support the social, emotional and behavioral health of students with disabilities.

OSEP Provides Resources for Families, Practitioners, and Employers

Check the OSERS Expect, Engage, Empower: Successful Transition for All website for links to resources from various OSEP Centers support families, practitioners, and employers youth and families with transition.

OSEP Provides Publication on Visual Impairments in Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

A number of differences exist between students with significant cognitive disabilities who have cortical visual impairment (CVI) and those who have other types of visual impairment. Learn more in NCDB/ATLAS Brief #2, co-produced by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS). Information in the brief is drawn from a more extensive report, “Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities and Dual Sensory Loss.”

A Survival Guide for Pupil Services Administrators – Summer 2002 – Jim Shillinglaw, Trustee