Published on February 6, 2014 by in Featured

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Do you need to take a Survey???

If you need to take the SoonerStart Family Survey or the Parent Survey for Special Education Services, you are in the right place!

The surveys are produced through a partnership between the Oklahoma State Department of Education – Special Education Services division (OSDE-SES) and the Oklahoma Parents Center (OPC).

Please visit our Surveys Introduction page for more information and links to the surveys!

Questions and Answers About the Surveys:

1.   What are these Surveys about?

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has two (2) Surveys for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities depending on the age of your child and who provides services to your child.

  • The SoonerStart Survey is for parents and caregivers of children from birth to 3 years old who are currently receiving services through SoonerStart.
  • The Parent Survey for Special Education is for parents and caregivers of children from ages 3 through 21 who are currently receiving services through their school district.

2.  Why are you doing this survey?

We have been asked by the Oklahoma State Department of Education to conduct the evaluation of SoonerStart services and Special Education services. The surveys provide valuable information for the State Performance Plan, as required by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

3.   Is there more than one version of this survey?

We have two versions of the survey:  SoonerStart surveys-Birth to 3 years old and Parent Survey for Special Education-Ages 3-21. Both versions are in English and Spanish.

4.   Are there other ways to complete the survey other than filling out a paper copy and mailing it in?

Parents have 3 options for completing the survey.

1.  Parents can request a paper copy, fill it out, and mail it in using the business reply envelope we provide.

2. Parents can also access the survey over the web at this link.

3. Parents can take the survey over the phone by calling 877-553-4332 during business hours.

5.   What information do parents need to take the survey online?

The surveys are designed to be user-friendly and parents and caregivers simply click on each answer/response.   You do not need a login or a password to complete the survey.

6.   What if parents want to do the survey by phone?

Parents and caregivers can call our toll-free number, 877-553-4332 or 405-379-6015, and a trained interviewer can conduct the survey over the phone.

7.   What have you been doing to increase your response rate?

We have been attempting to increase our response rate in a variety of ways. In addition to mailing out paper versions of the survey upon request, we have a staff of telephone interviewers who are reminding callers to complete the survey.

SoonerStart offices and School Districts are trying various ways to engage families in completing more surveys as well.

8.   If a parent or caregiver has a question, who can he or she contact?

If a parent has a question, that parent can call our toll-free number, 877-553-4332 or 405-379-6015. The OPC staff members will be available to answer their question(s).

9.   What if the parents or caregivers have already lost or discarded their Survey brochures — can you send new ones?

If a parent or caregiver needs a new copy of the Survey brochure, he or she can call our toll-free number 877-553-4332 or 405-379-6015 and request that the brochure be mailed or to complete the survey by phone.  The Parent Survey can also be downloaded from this website.  If a SoonerStart site or School District needs additional brochures, please call our toll-free number or email to order more.

10.   What is the timeline for this survey?

Survey brochures are automatically mailed out in early August. However, parents and caregivers have until the end of June to complete the survey. We will continue to conduct the survey over the phone until then.

11.   What if I have more than one child on an IFSP or an IEP?

If you have one child, then you complete one survey.  If you have 2 children, you complete two surveys.  If you have 3 children, you complete three surveys and so on.  You complete a survey for each child, based on your individual experience with the LEA and that child.





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What is Oklahoma Parents Center?

Published on February 6, 2014 by in Featured


The Oklahoma Parents Center is the statewide parent training and information (PTI) center serving parents of children with disabilities. Our goal is to educate and support parents, families and professionals in building partnerships that meet the needs of children and youth with the full range of disabilities ages birth to 26. We are a regionalized model with staff living in the area that they serve.

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Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Published on January 6, 2014 by in Featured

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Oklahoma ABLE Tech is the statewide Assistive Technology Act Program proudly located at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Wellness. ABLE Tech is funded through the Administration for Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and maintains coordination and collaboration efforts with partners throughout the State of Oklahoma. The funding provided helps enhance the opportunities for Oklahomans with disabilities to access and acquire needed assistive technology.

For more information about how Oklahoma ABLE Tech can assist your school, call 800.257.1705 or visit us online at

Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Oklahoma State University, Department of Wellness
1514 W. Hall of Fame, Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 800.257.1705 or 405.744.9748 (V/TTY)
Fax: 405.744.2487

Connect with Us:

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Special Education Resolution Center

Published on January 1, 2014 by in Featured

SERC logo

The Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) offers innovative programs that assist school districts and parents in settling disputes regarding the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) of students with disabilities. The programs are provided at no cost through a partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

SERC Programs and Services

CheckmarkIEP Facilitation

If your situtation qualifies and all parties consent, SERC will provide a highly-trained facilitator to attend an IEP meeting and help guide the discussion in a structured setting. The facilitator works on behalf of all parties to help come to a mutual agreement on a student’s education program.  >>Learn More


Mediation is an agreement-reaching process in which SERC will provide a highly-trained mediator to assist all consenting parties in resolving their dispute in a collaborative and informed manner.  >>Learn More

CheckmarkDue Process Hearing

A due process hearing is a court-like review process governed by administrative laws. SERC will provide a highly-trained hearing officer who will preside over the hearing; the hearing officer’s decisions have the effect of law and are binding upon the participating parties.  >>Learn More

CheckmarkStakeholder Training

SERC provides training to school districts and parents in Engaging in Challenging Conversations. The training teaches the participants to focus on Mutual Purpose and develop skills for effective Collaboration.  >>Learn More


Contact Us

Special Education Resolution Center
9726 E. 42nd Street, Suite 203  |  Tulsa, OK 74146
Phone: 918.270-1849 or 888.267.0028
Fax: 918.270.2062

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How You can Help!

Published on July 18, 2013 by in Featured


The Oklahoma Parents Center provides training to all families of children and youth in Oklahoma and the providers who service and support them. In order to effectively advocate for children, detailed information is needed on the laws, communication, team building skills, etc. Ongoing training opportunities for all parents and professionals can assist in this process. Click on the TRAINING tab to find a list of workshops that are available to groups and organizations upon request. They are two hours long unless otherwise specified.

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Oklahoma Parents Center Library

Published on July 14, 2013 by in Featured


PARENT CENTERS in each state provide training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, school-aged children, and young adults with disabilities and to the professionals who work with their families. This assistance helps parents participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the educational needs of children and youth with disabilities. In order to better serve our state, the Oklahoma Parent Center continues to offer as many methods as possible to assist you in becoming better educated about disabilities, basic rights, IEP’s, and advocacy. Please keep in mind that the OPC Library has a collection of books, DVDs, and VHS tapes for you to check out.   We welcome your suggestions and are dedicated to providing you up-to-date information, and high quality resources and materials.  Contact us at 405-379-6015 or at our toll free number 877-553-4332 for more information.  The lending library services are free to participants.

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Reading Sufficiency Act

Published on February 6, 2013 by in Featured


What does this new Oklahoma law mean?  The law outlines the adults’ responsibilities in a student’s academic career, leading up to and including third grade, who endorse the student reading on a third grade level before entering the fourth grade.  It also states that third graders who score UNSATISFACTORY in reading on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests (OCCT) must be retained (NOT PROMOTED to the fourth grade) with the exception of students who fit one of the SIX GOOD CAUSE EXEMPTIONS (below).

Parent of students on an IEP may learn more about the Reading Sufficiency Act by reviewing the following publications from the Oklahoma State Deparment of Education.  On their website is a PowerPoint, a pdf file, a brochure and other helpful materials.  This new Oklahoma law is designed to intensify reading instruction and allows for intensive help so that reading deficiency is corrected in the early years of education. The link to their website is, a location that has more information about the Reading Sufficiency Act.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has published a brochure entitled., “Educator’s Pocket Reference Oklahoma’s Third Grade Graduation Law.”  Parents will find a very good summary about RSA by reading the brochure.

To view the brochure, please click on one of the links below.

RSA Educator Brochure 2013-2014
iRead Brochure | pdf |
El Folleto de iRead en español | pdf |


Parents Guide to Third Grade Reading Retention

Parents Brochure
  1. What parents need to know about third-grade reading retention.

  2. Why was the law created?

  3. How do I know if my child is at risk of being held back?

  4. Is my child’s reading ability to be assessed by a single test on a single day?

  5. What are the exemptions to the law?

  6. What should I do if I believe my child is eligible for an exemption?

  7. What is a “passing” grade for the reading test? 

  8. If my child is retained — what then?

  9. What is the SDE doing to help?

What parents need to know about third-grade reading retention.

A major policy change taking effect in the 2013-2014 school year involves the promotion of third-grade students based on reading scores. The Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) states that a third-grade student cannot be promoted to the fourth grade if he or she scores Unsatisfactory on the reading portion of the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT). Any change this significant is bound to raise a number of questions — and possible concerns — for parents. Is my child at risk of being retained? Are there exemptions to the law? What can I do to help my child read at grade level?

We have answers.

Why was the law created?

Studies consistently show that children who cannot read end up struggling in all other subjects. One such survey found that students who can’t read by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

RSA significantly reduces the possible need for remediation in middle and high school and lowers the risk of a student dropping out of school because he or she is unable to read.

How do I know if my child is at risk of being held back?

Many schools assess pre-kindergarten students in literacy. RSA requires benchmark assessments in kindergarten through third grade and mandates that schools identify children who need intensive intervention in reading and notify their parents in writing.

Moreover, the school must develop for that student an individualized program of reading instruction that includes:

  • the child’s specific reading difficulty
  • the intensive teaching practices to be implemented
  • how often progress will be monitored
  • ensures enough time is given to the student to achieve grade-level reading

The school is strongly encouraged to utilize ongoing communications to parents pertinent to their child’s progress. If you have a concern about your child’s reading ability, please contact your child’s teacher.

Is my child’s reading ability to be assessed by a single test on a single day?

No, there are other options. A portfolio of a student’s work demonstrating grade-level reading can be submitted by a teacher, ensuring that the retention decision does not come down to a single day of testing. The student also will have the opportunity to take an alternative standardized assessment test at a later date, as long as he or she first takes the OCCT. Children also may successfully complete a summer reading academy prior to utilizing the portfolio or alternative test exemptions.

What are the exemptions to the law?

RSA provides six “good cause” exemptions for some students who score Unsatisfactory on the reading test:

  • English Language Learners who have had less than two years of instruction in English and are identified as Limited-English Proficient (LEP)/ English Language Learner (ELL) on a screening tool approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Education Office of Bilingual/Migrant Education and have a Language Instruction Educational Plan (LIEP) in place prior to the administration of the third-grade criterion referenced test; and the student must have had less than two years of instruction in an English Language Learner (ELL) program.
  • Students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) indicates they are to be assessed with the Oklahoma Alternate Assessment Program (OAAP).
  • Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of performance (minimum of 45th percentile) on an alternative standardized reading test approved by the State Board of Education (SAT 10, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Terranova).
  • Students who demonstrate through a teacher- developed portfolio that they can read on grade level. The student portfolio shall include evidence demonstrating the student’s mastery of the Oklahoma state standards in reading equal to grade-level performance on the reading portion of the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT).
  • Students with disabilities who take the OCCT and have an IEP that states they have received intense remediation in reading for more than two years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and were previously retained one year or were in a transitional grade during kindergarten, first-, second- or third-grade.
  • Students who have received intensive remediation in reading for two or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who already have been retained in kindergarten, first-grade, second-grade or third-grade for a total of two years.  Transitional grades count.

What should I do if I believe my child is eligible for an exemption?

Talk to your child’s teacher if you believe he or she may be eligible for a good-cause exemption.

For an exemption to be approved:

  • The student’s teacher must submit documentation to the school principal.
  • The principal must review the documentation and decide whether the student should be promoted to the next grade level. If the principal determines the student should be promoted, he or she must make that recommendation to the school district superintendent.
  • The district superintendent must accept or reject that principal’s recommendation.

What is a “passing” grade for the reading test? 

Only children scoring Unsatisfactory (about a first-grade level or below) on the reading portion of the third-grade OCCT are at risk of being retained.

Children who score Limited Knowledge (typically a second-grade reading level), Proficient or Advanced do not have to be retained.

If my child is retained — what then?

The school will continue remediation based on your child’s academic progress plan.

It is very important to realize that retention is absolutely a last resort, but it can be a very effective one. Florida, one of 15 U.S. states to have a third-grade reading law, saw a significant drop in illiteracy after it ended social promotion. Retention allows children to get the intensive help they need.

What Is the SDE Doing to Help?

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) is assisting school districts as they work to ensure all students are able to meet third-grade reading requirements. These efforts include:

Classroom Support

58 literacy coaches are available to classroom teachers in all Oklahoma school districts to assist with reading instructional strategies.

Regional Workshops

Literacy coaches have held 35 regional workshops statewide, attended by large groups of teachers learning reading strategies.

“Love. Read. Learn!” Parent Meetings

Workshops have been presented at school site parent nights by the literacy coaches. More than 15,000 backpacks containing reading resources have been distributed to participants.

Engaging Lowest-Performing Sites Across the State

Literacy coaches and SDE “SWAT Team” members, who offer data analysis and individualized problem-solving, are visiting each low-performing school site in the state to discuss the importance of great reading instruction and remediation in Pre-K through third grade.

Statewide Reading Grants

These grant funds provide professional development and products to Oklahoma school districts targeting priority schools and utilizing the following reading instruction materials:

  • Voyager Passport
  • PAYNE Education
  • Literacy First

Updated Early Childhood Materials for Educators and Parents

  • Early Childhood academic standards revision. State standards serve as expectations of what a child should know and be able to do at the end of a year of learning so students will be prepared for the next level of learning. Curriculum and classroom instruction methods are chosen by the local school administrators and teachers.
  • Early Childhood website revision (

Video:  What Parents Need to Know about Third Grade Reading Retention

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Project Child Find

Published on February 5, 2013 by in Featured


All children deserve a chance to reach their full potential. Project Child Find, a service to assist families of children who may have special needs, is here in Oklahoma to see that every child has that chance.  The Oklahoma Parents Center has Project Child Find Hotline, 1-888-9-OKFIND or 1-888-965-3463.

If there appears to be a delay in area of your child’s development, you may seek assistance from Project Child Find. Even if a child is not yet school age, he or she may benefit from screening and evaluation. All needed screenings and evaluations are free of charge.

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