Legislative Advocacy

New Connecticut Special Education Law addresses Gifted Students
Essential gifted-identification notification obligatory practice for the 2019/2020 school year

Hartford, CT, July 12, 2019 - On July 12th, Governor Lamont signed HB 7353, An Act Concerning The Provision of Special Education, into Law. Public Act 19-184, as it will now be known, addresses various issues relating to the provision of special education in Connecticut, including a section on Gifted Education.

"This is quite an important moment for the gifted community." Said Bonnie O'Regan, Board President for Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG). "This is the second CT law focused on gifted students in three years, and this time giftedness was rightfully included in the general Special Education bill, a gentle reminder to educators across the state that gifted students also have special needs."

The new law requires schools to inform parents about not only the results of a student's gifted-identification process, but also an explanation of HOW the student was identified. The correspondence must include contact information for staff in charge of the provision of gifted services, if any available, at the school or district level, as well as reference information on CT's organizations supporting gifted education (CAG, etc.). The new process should enable parents of gifted students, as well as their teachers, to better understand the giftedness and needs of a given child. PA 19-184 will be an obligatory practice for the 2019/2020 school year.

"Children are rarely gifted in every subject area." Explained Bianka Kortlan-Cox, CAG's former President and currently head of their legislative committee, "Knowing whether the child has been identified as gifted in math, language or science, or talented in drawing or music, is perhaps the most important element of the initial evaluation. Sharing this information provides the necessary foundation for parents and schools to begin meeting the special academic and social-emotional needs of these students."

The omnibus law was unanimously supported by the Education Committee, as well as both the House and the Senate members, and was passed unanimously by the Connecticut Assembly in June. This is Connecticut's second law in three years, specifically addressing the needs of gifted children. The first, Public Act 17-82, established a position of "Gifted Education Representative" at the State Department of Education (SDE) and directed the SDE to publish resource guidelines for both academic and social emotional "Best Practices." That Law also mandates the SDE to publish guidelines on educator training and professional development relating to gifted and talented students. Dr. Gilbert Andrada, the first CT Gifted Representative oversaw the initial development of these resources, now available at https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Gifted-and-Talented/Gifted-and-Talented-Education---Guidance.pdf. The recently named SDE Gifted Representative, Dr. Dori Papa-Santini, will work on further development of these guidelines.

Connecticut Association of the Gifted is indebted to Representative Jeff Currey, Deputy Majority Leader 11th Assembly District (East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor), (www.housedems.ct.gov/Currey), for his steadfast support of the ideas presented to him by CAG, and for his leadership in ensuring that these ideas are embodied in the legislation.

CAG would also like to thank the leadership of the Education Committee Rep. Robert Sanchez, New Britain, (http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Sanchez) and Sen. Doug McCrory, Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor, (http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/McCrory.) for including the gifted education provision in their Special Education omnibus bill.
Gifted education serves students who have Special Needs!



Special Education Bill, HB 7353, which includes Gifted and Talented provision, PASSED THE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY!

Late Wednesday night, May 29th, the CT Assembly's House of Representatives UNANIMOUSLY passed CAG-supported HB 7353 which includes a gifted and talented section. In the coming weeks, the Bill will be presented for approval by the Senate (expected) and then signed into law by Governor Lamont.

Section 9) of HB 7353 requires that the process of gifted Identification (already mandated under the CT law) be made fully transparent. Specifically, it requires that information be sent to the parents/guardians and teachers of the identified students, HOW the student was identified (which should include process details, as well as information about identified areas of giftedness) as well as provide a point of contact within the district (responsible for gifted and talented or special education), as well as additional support resources.

Detailed identification information will allow parents and teachers of the identified students to not only gain insight into the areas in which a child's high ability has been identified, but also equip them with valuable information to better serve student's needs within school, through after-school activities and beyond.

Now the Bill needs to be approved by the Senate (expected!), and then signed by Governor Lamont into law.

The Bill's champion is Rep. Jeff Currey, Deputy Majority Leader at the House, representing the 11th Assembly District, East Hartford, Manchester and South Windsor. www.housedems.ct.gov/Currey

CAG is thrilled to share this progress, and encourages you to share the same with parents and educators in your community. If you have questions about the Bill or the process, please contact Bianka Kortlan-Cox, CAG's VP Legislation and Public Policy at bkortlancox@ctgifted.org

Current text of Sec. 9) of HB 7353:

12. "Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2019) A local or regional board of

13. 22 education shall, upon the identification of a student as gifted and

14. 23 talented, provide electronic notice of such identification to the parent

15. 24 or guardian of such student. Such notice shall include, but need not be

16. 25 limited to, (1) an explanation of how such student was identified as

17. 26 gifted and talented, and (2) the contact information for (A) the

18. 27 employee of the school district in charge of the provision of services to

19. 28 gifted and talented students, or, if there is no such employee, the

20. 29 employee of the school district in charge of the provision of special

21. 30 education and related services, (B) the employee at the Department of

22. 31 Education who has been designated as responsible for providing

23. 32 information and assistance to boards of education and parents or

24. 33 guardians of students related to gifted and talented students, pursuant

25. 34 to section 10-3e of the general statutes, and (C) any associations in the

26. 35 state that provide support to gifted and talented students."

Connecticut General Assembly Bill Status can be accessed at:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB07353&which_year=2019

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