Special Education Needs: Considerations in an Era of Disrupted Learning

As you return to learning it’s important to be prepared for the fact that many students will not meet traditional grade-level benchmarks after more than a year of disrupted learning. This will make it more difficult to determine when students require special education services to get back on track versus when Tier 1 instruction or Tier 2 supports need to be intensified.

During this on-demand webinar, Dr. Sarah Brown and Wendy Stuttgen provide guidance on how to ensure that students receive the instruction and intervention they need while reducing unnecessary special education referrals. The practices used by the St. Croix River Education District will serve as a real-world example.

Tune-in to learn:

  • How and when to conduct universal screening to identify class- or school-wide academic needs
  • How to interpret screening data to guide Tier I instruction and identify students in need of Tiers 2 and 3 interventions
  • The role of progress monitoring in determining the effectiveness of Tier 2 interventions and when they should be intensified
  • Considerations related to suspecting disabilities for low-achieving students this fall  

Screening and progress monitoring will be more important than ever this school year as you work to close gaps. This webinar provides valuable steps and insights to successfully navigate special education referrals.

About Our Presenters:

Dr. Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Professional Learning
Illuminate Education, Inc.

Dr. Sarah Brown is the executive director of professional learning at Illuminate Education. Her work focuses on implementing MTSS at multiple levels of the education system and improving systems to support high achievement for every student. Before joining the Illuminate team, Dr. Brown led special education and MTSS implementation for the state of Iowa as a bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Education.


Wendy Stuttgen, Ed.S, NCSP
Literacy Consultant
St. Croix River Education District

Wendy Stuttgen, Ed.S, NCSP is a literacy consultant for the St. Croix River Education District (SCRED), which services six school districts north of the Twin Cities. She is also a local certified trainer/facilitator for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), which has received accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Prior to these roles, Wendy worked as a director of special education and school psychologist and has been on faculty as an adjunct professor in the School Psychology Graduate Program. Wendy is passionate about providing evidence-based literacy instruction to students, and she firmly believes that all children can learn to read if provided systematic and explicit instruction. She recently co-authored a children’s book with her daughter to help both children and parents understand dyslexia and what evidence-based literacy instruction looks like. The book is called Daisy Describes Dyslexia and How She Learns to Read.

Watch the Webinar