Special Education Director Erika Dilosa Appointed to State Board of Education

Erika DilosaThe Arc of Indiana is pleased to share that Governor Holcomb has appointed Erika Dilosa to the Indiana State Board of Education. Dilosa, a former special education teacher, is the director of special education for 21st Century Charter School at Gary and Gary Middle College East and West. She and her husband are parents of six children, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. She will serve a four year term.

The Arc of Indiana worked tirelessly in the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly to change Indiana law to require that an individual who is a special education teacher or director be appointed to the State Board of Education. This provision was included in Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 346.

Dilosa’s appointment to the board is an important step in ensuring there is a voice on the State Board of Education for students receiving special education services, their parents, and special education teachers.

In addition, Daniel McNulty, state director of the PATINS Project and a former special education teacher, has been added as an advisor to the State Board of Education’s Technical Advisory Committee. He will work to ensure the committee considers special education students when making decisions regarding statewide assessments, including ILEARN. The Arc of Indiana recommended McNulty for the advisory position. PATINS works to connect schools to accessible materials, assistive technology, professional development and technical support.

The Arc of Indiana appreciates Governor Holcomb’s thoughtful appointment and thanks the sponsors and authors of SEA 346 for their advocacy.
Sponsors: Representatives Robert Behning, Woody Burton, Edward Clere, Edward DeLaney. Authors: Senators Erin Houchin, Linda Rogers, Dennis Kruse.
Co-Authors: Senators Mark Stoops, Aaron Freeman, Lonnie Randolph, Mike Bohacek, Mark Messmer, Liz Brown, Jeff Raatz.

Senate Enrolled Act 346 also includes several improvements regarding assessments for special education students.

  • Provides that If a student in grades 6 through 12 receives an accommodation of a text-to-speech, screen reader, human reader, or calculator, that accommodation must be included on every section of the statewide assessment program.
  • Provides that student’s score on the statewide assessment may not be the primary factor or measure used to determine whether a student is eligible for a particular course or program.
  • Establishes the Indiana standards and assessment accommodation task force to review: (1) the accommodations provided for by Indiana’s statewide assessment to determine if appropriate accommodations are available to accurately measure a student’s learning; and (2) the possibility of separating the academic standard of reading comprehension into a separate reading academic standard and a comprehension academic standard.
  • Provides that the department, in consultation with The Arc of Indiana and ICASE, shall develop a notice for parents of certain students with disabilities that informs a parent that the student is not allowed to use certain accommodations on all or part of the statewide assessment.
  • Provides that, not later than February 1, 2021, and not later than February 1, 2022, each public school, including each charter school, and each accredited nonpublic school shall do the following: (1) Provide the notice to the parent during the annual review of the student’s special education plan or program. (2) If the parent does not attend the annual review, provide the notice to the parent by certified mail or personal delivery. (3) Discuss and determine, at the annual review of the student’s special education plan or program in which a parent of the student participates, whether the student may be eligible to opt out of any applicable section of the statewide assessment.
  • Provides that the state board, in consultation with The Arc of Indiana and the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE), shall consult with individuals who specialize in special education as part of the state board’s oversight of the development and implementation of the Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) program.