Student and Family Services
Promising Practices Transition Sites
Descriptions, websites and contact information are provided below for centers, programs and organizations that provide information, services and resources to students with disabilities and their families. Visit the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) Discretionary Project page for a complete list of projects, including contact information for each Projects' FDOE BEESS liaison.
The Access Project focuses on evidence-based instructional strategies and supports that align with Florida’s alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
Project Contact: Christina Yu, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arts4All Florida project supports student achievement by providing direct arts experiences to students with disabilities and by providing professional development and technical assistance to individuals that provide programs that relate to access to art programs and activities for students with disabilities from prekindergarten (PreK) to 21 years of age.
Project Contact: Jennifer Sabo, email@example.com
Auditory/Oral Education (Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech)
The Clarke School Auditory/Oral Education project provides funding assistance at the Clarke School for an attending student’s services. The Clarke School serves children with hearing implants or assistive hearing devices from birth to 7 years of age in multiple counties, including rural and underserved areas.
Project Contact: Alisa Demico, firstname.lastname@example.org
Auditory/Oral Education (Debbie School)
The Debbie School Auditory/Oral Education Program provides funding assistance at the Debbie School for an attending student’s services. The Debbie School serves children in multiple counties, from birth to 7 years of age, including rural and underserved areas. The project provides funding for services at auditory-oral education programs, to attending Florida students who meet eligibility for programs for students who are DHH or programs for students who have dual sensory impairments, and have a current individual educational plan or individualized family support plan.
Project Contact: Kathleen C. Vergara, email@example.com
Centers for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)
The Centers for Autism & Related Disabilities are located at seven state universities and provide community-based information and consultation to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities, their families, and school districts. See the list of universities and project contact information below.
- Florida Atlantic University – Dr. Jennifer Percival, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Florida State University – Dr. Amy Wetherby, email@example.com
- University of Central Florida – Dr. Terri Daly, firstname.lastname@example.org
- University of Florida (Gainesville) – Dr. Greg Valcante, email@example.com
- University of Florida (Jacksonville) – Jeannie Potthast, firstname.lastname@example.org
- University of Miami – Dr. Michael Alessandri, email@example.com
- University of South Florida – Nona Boone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Children's Registry and Information System (CHRIS)
The CHRIS is an information database and planning tool that is utilized for tracking, reporting and case management for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) Child Find activities and Child Outcomes. Information stored in the CHRIS is used to project the needs of the service delivery system to ensure adequate capacity to meet the needs of children with disabilities entering the public school system during PreK.
Project Contact: Christine Delgado, email@example.com
Critical Initiatives in Visual Impairment (CIVI)
The CIVI project provides teacher-preparation courses for teachers of the visually impaired (TVls) and orientation and mobility specialists, through Florida State University, the sole provider in the state.
Project Contact: Eileen Bischof, firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Interpreter Project (EIP)
The EIP is a state-funded initiative to improve the skills and quality of interpreters working with students who are DHH or who have dual sensory impairments. The project provides technical assistance to school district personnel regarding educational interpreting in an effort to increase the competency level of these individuals.
Project Contact: Andrea Smith, email@example.com
ESE Tuition Support
The ESE Tuition Support project provides financial support to paraprofessionals enrolled in special education preservice training programs; to ESE teachers earning an endorsement in ASD, PreK disabilities, or in-field educator certifications; and to speech-language therapists earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
Project Contacts: FIU – Melanie Morales, firstname.lastname@example.org; FSU – Mollie Romano, email@example.com; UWF – Keri Fogle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Café (Cooperation, Advocacy, Friendship and Empowerment)
The Family Café exists to provide individuals with disabilities and their families with an opportunity for collaboration, advocacy, friendship and empowerment by serving as a facilitator of communication, a space for dialogue and a source of information.
Project Contact: Lori Fahey, email@example.com
Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System Associate Centers (FDLRS ACS)
The FDLRS ACS are a network of 18 regions that provides programs and services for individuals working with exceptional student education (ESE) students, families and support agencies.
Project Contacts: https://www.fdlrs.org/about/contact-lists
The FDLRS Administration Project provides overall management of and technical support and professional development for the 18 FDLRS ACS and general support to the six multi-disciplinary centers and two specialized centers.
Project Contact: Alice Schmitges, SchmitgesA@nefec.org
FDLRS Multidisciplinary Educational Service Centers (FDLRS MDCS)
This network of six regional Multidisciplinary Educational Services Centers provides multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations for pre-school and school-aged children with complex academic, medical, emotional and/or behavioral need. The Centers also provide technical assistance and consultation services to families, school and community agencies and pre-service and in-service training. See the regional centers and project contact information below.
- Florida State University – Anne Selvey, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Keiser University – Ilene Miller, email@example.com
- University of Florida (Gainesville) – Anne-Marie Slinger, firstname.lastname@example.org
- University of Florida (Jacksonville) – Jeannie Potthast, Jeannie.Potthast@jax.ufl.edu
- University of Miami – Dr. Daniel Messinger, email@example.com
- University of South Florida – Rose Iovannone, Iovannone@usf.edu
FDLRS Regional Local Assistive Technology Support (FDLRS RLATS)
The FDLRS RLATS project will provide an array of professional learning, technical assistance, and coaching in Technology: Assistive Technology (AT), Instructional Technology (IT), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM).
Project Contact: Christina McCray, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) Administration
FIN provides learning opportunities, consultation, information, and support to educators, families, and community members resulting in the inclusion of all students.
Project Contacts: Kelly Claude, email@example.com; JaSheena Ekhator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FIMC-VI)
FIMC-VI provides services to students with visual impairments enrolled in Florida’s public and private schools as well as those students that are home schooled as long as they are participating in a formally organized educational program. FIMC-VI also supports all teachers, school administrators, and agency personnel working with Florida’s K-12 students with visual impairments.
Project Contact: Liz Anderson, email@example.com
Florida Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Project: Multi Tiered Systems of Supports (FLPBIS: MTSS)
The FLPBIS: MTSS Project is committed to building the capacity of school districts to address significant behavioral problems that contribute to unsafe school environments and reductions in student performance. The capacity built helps those school districts assist schools to develop effective discipline, social skills teaching and behavior support strategies for all students.
Project Contact: Donald Kincaid, firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute for Small and Rural Districts and Compliance (ISRD)
ISRD provides a forum for school district staff from small and rural school districts to keep abreast of changing state and federal legislative requirements and a wide array of topics impacting the delivery of services to students with disabilities and their families, such as curriculum and instructional practices; educational policies, procedures and practices; behavior support; and transition.
Project Contact: Chasity Lee, email@example.com
Learning Ally/FSU Dyslexia Screener
The program will yield an early literacy screener guaranteed to be a valid measure of early literacy readiness for students in grades K-3. Following the screening, Florida educators will receive a supporting instructional program that will allow them to adjust their instruction based on results.
Project Contact: Patrick Brennan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning through Listening Project (LtL)
The purpose of this project is to provide digital audio textbooks and equipment to students who cannot read standard print due to visual, perceptual, physical, or learning disabilities. The project also facilitates support services and training to administrators, teachers, parents, and students on the use of this technology provided by Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic).
Project Contact: Dawn Ulley, email@example.com
Learning Independence for Tomorrow (LiFT)
LiFT University Transition Program is a post-secondary program that was established to meet the needs of young adults ages 18-22 with neurodiversity. The program offers students a unique and highly individualized opportunity to further their education while developing the skills necessary to live their best life independently: life skills, social and emotional skills, and executive functions.
Project Contact: Shawn Naugle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Multiagency Network for Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disabilities (SEDNET)
SEDNET is a network of 19 regional projects that are comprised of the major child-serving agencies, community-based service providers, and students and their families. Local school districts serve as fiscal agents for each local regional project. SEDNET is devoted to facilitating the creation of a comprehensive "system of care" for high-risk students and students with emotional/behavioral disabilities and their families.
Project Contacts: https://sednetfl.info/Regions.aspx
The SEDNET Administration project provides overall management, technical support and professional development for the 19 local SEDNET projects. Through support and leadership provided by SEDNET Administration, local SEDNET projects, school districts and other stakeholders are better postured to provide intensive, integrated educational programs to include a continuum of mental health treatment services to enable students with or at risk of EBD to develop appropriate behaviors and demonstrate academic and career education skills.
Project Contact: Charlene Grecsek, email@example.com
Partnership for Effective Programs for Students with Autism (PEPSA)
Under PEPSA, statewide CARD staff partners with Florida educators to provide training and technical assistance in developing a plan for implementing innovative and effective practices in the school environment.
Project Contact: Nona Boone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Personnel Development Support Project (PDSP)
The PDSP project develops and provides technical support for multimedia products, including databases, websites, online courses, and other electronic and print materials that support the implementation of BEESS’s initiatives, including federally required activities.
Project Contact: Lezlie Cline, email@example.com
Problem Solving and Response to Intervention (PS/RtI)
The PS/RtI project results in the high-quality implementation of statewide training, technical assistance and building sustainable capacity for the problem-solving and response-to-instruction and -intervention framework in Florida school districts.
Project Contact: Jose Castillo, firstname.lastname@example.org
PS/RtI Technology and Learning Connections (TLC)
The TLC team is a part of the FDOE BEES-funded PS/RtI project at the University of South Florida. The TLC services support the local development of highly effective classrooms for students with disabilities based on the Florida Standards through an MTSS within a universal education system. The TLC team provides guidelines and resources to support the implementation of the following:
- Florida Standards;
- Assistive and instructional technology;
- Accessible Educational Materials (AEM); and
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
The TLC staff includes five technology coordinators and regional technology specialists housed at the Regional Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning Centers. The team also supports the regional local assistive technology specialist (LATS) and their activities.
Project Contact: Janet Good, email@example.com
Project 10: Transition Education Network
The mission of Project 10: Transition Education Network, hereinafter referred to as "Project 10," is to assist Florida school districts and relevant stakeholders in building capacity to provide secondary transition services to students with disabilities in order to improve their academic success and post-school outcomes.
Project Contact: Donna Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org
Resource Materials and Technology Center for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (RMTC-D/HH)
RMTC-D/HH is a statewide discretionary project of the FDOE BEESS and functions as a statewide specialized center within the FDLRS network. RMTC-D/HH serves as the coordinating unit for accessible materials including captioned and signed videos, professional development books, and other reference materials. In addition, RMTC-D/HH staff provide on-site training and technical assistance to all school districts, families, and other state and federal discretionary projects working with students who are deaf/hard of hearing.
Project Contact: Carmelina Hollingsworth, email@example.com
Special Olympics, Florida
The goal of Special Olympics Florida is to implement the Unified Champion Schools Program in schools within Florida each year. The Unified Champion Schools Program is a school-based project that uses sports and education programs to activate young people to develop school communities where all youth are agents of change.
Project Contact: Sherry Wheelock, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG)
The SPDG project builds capacity in districts to increase school completion rates of students with disabilities, through the provision of professional development to support and scale up existing research-based practices, develop capacity for use of evidence-based dropout prevention strategies and enlist parental support of these research-based practices.
Project Contacts: Florida Gulf Coast University - Timothy Ferguson, email@example.com; Putnam County School District – Alice Schmitges, SchmitgesA@nefec.org; University of South Florida (St. Petersburg) - Sonya Eorio, firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Support Services (SSS) Project
Student Support Services staff are charged with facilitating the development of critical support services programs so that observable and measurable indicators of success are achieved. This is accomplished through the provision of technical assistance, training, research, resource development, and policy development and interpretation to local and state educators and parents.
Project Contact: Jose Castillo, email@example.com
Technical Assistance and Training System for Programs Serving Kindergarten Children with Disabilities (TATS)
TATS is a statewide system of technical assistance and training that utilizes a combination of strategies to build capacity, create infrastructure, and support high-fidelity implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices that promote high-quality programs that lead to and support positive outcomes for Pre-kindergarten children with disabilities and their families.
Project Contact: Debbi Nicolosi, Debbi.Nicolosi@ucf.edu
The First Tee CHAMP project provides educational, tutoring, college preparation, entrance test training, and, health and wellness opportunities to individuals who are fall under Chapter 393, F.S., defining developmentally disabled. The primary goal of this project is to increase student achievement, wellness and inclusive practices.
Project Contact: Felicia Leftinger, Fleftinger@thefirstteemiami.org
Unicorn Children's Foundation (UCF) Vocational Jobs Training for Developmentally Disabled Young Adults
Unicorn Children's Foundation provides vocational job training and employment placement opportunities to young adults with developmental disabilities in key growth industries.
Project Contact: Kerri Morse, firstname.lastname@example.org
Working with the Experts (WWE)
The WWE project provides financial support for professional development activities for speech-language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs).
Project Contacts: Florida Gulf Coast University - Timothy Ferguson, email@example.com; University of Florida (Gainesville) - Alice Kaye Emery, firstname.lastname@example.org