Workgroup Focus

Four workgroups have been established to drive development of Ohio’s Plan to Improve Learning Experiences and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities. Each workgroup is comprised of representatives from schools, disability advocacy organizations and other key partners who have expertise in the education of students with disabilities. Ohio Department of Education staff members are convening and supporting each workgroup. The four workgroup themes have been identified with leadership from the steering committee and input from key stakeholders. They include:


Adults sometimes mistakenly hold lower expectations for students with disabilities to read at grade level. This must change for the sake of equity. The Literacy Workgroup is charged with, among other things:

  • Identifying and elevating professional learning that promotes high-leverage special education practices.
  • Exploring ways to improve the individualized education program (IEP) process and enhance literacy progress monitoring, exemptions from the consequences of state assessments, overidentification of students with specific learning disabilities and evaluations.
  • Provide recommendations on how to ensure students with disabilities have access to the evidence-based language and literacy practices and interventions included in Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement.

(Links to Strategy 9 in Each Child, Our Future: Develop literacy skills across all ages, grades and subjects)


Disproportionality is the overrepresentation of distinct student groups by ethnicity or race in special education. Some student groups are disproportionately identified with certain disabilities, placed in separate classrooms or schools and often disciplined with removal from the classroom. Disproportionality can harm students by limiting their access to rigorous curriculum and lowering expectations for their achievement based on their race or ethnicity. The Disproportionality Workgroup will, among other things:

  • Address the overidentification of students from racial and ethnic minority groups as disabled.
  • Design a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) to assist districts and community schools in improving their policies and practices.
  • Recommend policies, practices and interventions to reduce the disciplinary removal of students with disabilities from the classroom, including the restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities.
  • Propose best practices for functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plan development.
  • Identify professional learning experiences that will help educators gain deeper knowledge and understanding of disproportionality.

(Links to Strategy 7 in Each Child, Our Future: Work together with parents, caregivers and community partners to help schools meet the needs of the whole child.) 

Postsecondary Outcomes and Graduation

Students who struggle academically have unique challenges in pursuing postsecondary success. The Postsecondary Outcomes and Graduation Workgroup will, among other things:

  • Identify ways to ensure that students with disabilities are prepared with the knowledge and skills for high school graduation and beyond.
  • Seek to understand what it takes to meet each student’s needs and personalize the high school experience.
  • Use postsecondary outcomes data as a means to create a school culture that prioritizes high expectations for students with disabilities.
  • Investigate ways to improve the IEP process in the areas of postsecondary activities and graduation exemptions.

(Links to Strategy 10 in Each Child, Our Future: Ensure high school inspires students to identify paths to future success, and give students multiple ways to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for high school graduation and beyond.)

Inclusive Leadership and Instructional Practices

Strong school leaders and excellent instructional practices matter, especially when it comes to educating students with disabilities. The Inclusive Leadership and Instructional Practices Workgroup is charged with, among other things:

  • Identifying ways to improve inclusive leadership approaches across the state.
  • Investigating high-leverage instructional strategies and practices that positively affect the learning of students with disabilities.
  • Making recommendations to enhance preservice training, educator preparation and professional learning that favors results-driven accountability and moves away from compliance.

(Links to Strategy 2 in Each Child, Our Future: Support every principal to be highly effective—especially those leading schools that serve the neediest children; and Strategy 3: Improve targeted supports and professional learning so teachers can deliver excellent instruction today, tomorrow and throughout their careers.)

Each workgroup will review pertinent literature, analyze data, determine gaps, identify specific practice guidelines and craft a set of recommendations to advance special education services and supports in Ohio. 

Last Modified: 7/9/2019 11:49:16 AM