Even as the state of Texas lifts stay-at-home orders and begins reopening public schools, parents are still concerned that the coronavirus pandemic has held students back from what they should have been learning by now. The concern amongst parents of students with special needs has been especially great since the start of the pandemic. Considering these families, Texas Governor Greg Abbot and the Texas Education Agency worked together to establish a program in October 2020, called the Supplementary Special Education Services program, to help public school students with cognitive and complex disabilities who have been impacted by the unprecedented public health crisis of COVID-19.

The Supplementary Special Education Services (SSES) program, which has specific eligibility criteria, requires an application. Once the application is reviewed and accepted, the SSES program allows families of students with eligible disabilities to create online targeted spending accounts to find and acquire special educational resources, supplies, and/or services using credits up to $1,500 per student. Accounts are available to individual students—they are funded on a per-student basis, not per family. Whatever is purchased with the credits, from digital resources approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to educational technology like computer hardware and software, and specific educationally-related services or therapies (e.g., OT/PT, speech and language services, etc.) to extra tutoring in all subject areas, should be used to supplement what the public schools and school districts are already doing to keep students on track and progressing.

The SSES program application window opened in January 2021 and will close at the end of June, according to the TEA. But as Texas starts relaxing many of the mandates and orders that have been put in place over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as summer break approaches for Texas students, many families are wondering if the SSES program will come to a natural end, or if it will go on after the next school year as students continue to play academic catch-up and attempt to beat the “COVID-19 slide.” Time will tell. 

 Tots ‘N Tutors is a professional mobile tutoring company based in Austin, Texas. Tots ‘N Tutors offers support to any students who need academic assistance, in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and college. The caring and competent tutors provide guidance to students as they more fully develop the skills necessary to expand their minds and achieve their academic goals. Tots ‘N Tutors is ready to offer quality educational services through structured tutoring tailored to your child, as he or she faces the challenge of learning during the current COVID-19 pandemic and into the future. Our learning guides are available to meet with each student individually or in small groups, in person or via a video teleconference platform, to help students who worry they are falling behind with practice and comprehension of information in all subject areas. Contact Tots ‘N Tutors today to discuss the in-person and virtual availability of tutors who are committed to helping your child stay on track throughout the educational journey.

Written by Erika Mehlhaff