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Maine DOE Special Services Team Changes Name to Office of Special Services and Inclusive Education

With the support of Maine Department of Education, the Office of Special Services has changed its name to the (OSSIE). The Maine DOE continues its commitment to providing high-quality instruction to students with disabilities with a focus on inclusive classroom instructional practices and settings.

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that each public agency (SAU) must ensure that

  • to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and
  • special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. §300.114

Over 20 years of research studies have consistently demonstrated that the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms results in favorable academic and social outcomes. This includes positive benefits for typical peers in classrooms who benefit from involvement and relationships with students who have disabilities in inclusive settings.

Effectively including students with disabilities in the general education classroom requires teachers and school administrators to further develop an understanding of the individual strengths and needs of each student, not just those students with disabilities. Toward this end, the Maine DOE and the OSSIE Team will partner with SAUs and other stakeholders to provide technical assistance and professional development designed to increase educational opportunities for all students.

For additional information about the office name change or to learn more about inclusionary practices, please contact Special Projects & Educator Supports Coordinator, Tracy Whitlock, at tracy.w.whitlock@maine.gov.

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