Director of Special Programs



Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Erica Lawless

I am so excited to be a part of the Sunnyvale Independent School District Administration. I am the Director of Special Programs. This includes working with students, faculty, and staff in the areas of Special Education, 504, Response to Intervention, English Language Learners, and federal programs. I look forward to another amazing new school year. 

I graduated from Baylor University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood. In 2007 I received my Masters of Education degree in Special Education from Texas A&M Commerce as an Educational Diagnostician. I have two beautiful girls that keep me busy. I am a resident of Sunnyvale and enjoy living in the community.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Director of Special Programs
417 E. Tripp Rd.
Sunnyvale, TX 75182


Special Programs Updates

  • SPEDTex Information

    Guide to Early Transition

    Parent Wellness Night 4/27/2021

    Connecting the DOTS- Saturday, April 24, 2021

    Pathways to Post-Secondary Schooling

    Summer Earn and Learn Flyer

    Procedural Safeguards March 2020

    Spanish Procedural Safeguards

    ARD Guide Process

    ARD Guide Process Spanish

    Parents of English Learner Students

    March Parent and Family Newsletter

    Spanish Version

    Connecting the DOTS Expo-

    April 24th- Flyer

    Parent and Family Engagement Newsletter-

    Volume 17, 3rd Quarter


    Parent and Family Engagement Newsletter-

    Volume 17, 2nd Quarter


    Texas Transition and Employment Guide

    Texas Transition and Employment Guide


    Parent and Family Engagement Newsletter-

    Volume 17


    Parent resources for At-Home Learning


    Compensatory Services

    Parent and Family Engagement Connection

    4th Quarter  



    SB 139 TEA Special Education Update

    ENGLISH TEA Notification

    SPANISH TEA Notification

    TEA Notification Letter


    Special Education Referral Process

    Timeline and Process


    Please see the attached memo regarding Senate Bill 2075 in regards to notifying parents of students with dyslexia and the availability of audiobooks through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  

    SB 2075


    Check out this informational website on Autism.

    Autism Website


    The Annual Connecting the Dots Expo is coming soon. We encourage parents to attend to gain valuable information about post-secondary transition and outside agencies. 

    Connecting the Dots EXPO 2019-2020


    Region 10 and the Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation is offering a self-determination course on April 13 for 12th graders. See flyer below for details. 

    Self-Determination Course


    Teachers, Parents, Students, and Community Members- please join us on January 26th in Rockwall for the annual Connecting the Dots EXPO!!

    Connecting the DOTS Expo


    Here is a list of great resources for parent of special education students.

    Parent Resources


    This is a great resource for the Texas Medicaid Program Waiver List.

    Texas Program Medicaid Waiver List


    This is a great resource to understand the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

    Parent Guide to ESSA


    Special Needs Activities Day was a hit!! We played games, ate some delicious food, and had great moves on the dance floor! Thank you PTA for your generous support and thank you to the faculty, staff, and volunteers for your help. 


    Dance Moves Dancing Special Needs Activities Activities Table Bowling Group


    The Texas Education Agency and the Local Education Agency (Sunnyvale ISD) is required to post information about the differences between RTI, 504, Dyslexia, and IDEA. The following link will provide helpful information about these programs. 


    TEA information on programs


    The Texas Education Agency has chosen the Sunnyvale Independent School District for a required parent survey of parents of students in special education. For elementary parents, those surveys will be sent home with students today. For middle or high school parents, those surveys will be mailed home today. If you are on the list as a chosen parent, please fill out the required form online or on paper and mail back to TEA. They are due by May 18, 2018. Only those who have been randomly selected by TEA, will be allowed to fill out the survey. I have attached a QR code for additional information. 


    TEA Parent Survey


    CANCELED Event- Special Night of the Decades April 21. We are so sorry for the inconvenience. Due to low participation, we are canceling this event and we will reschedule in the Fall. 


    Please see attached flyer for a wonderful opportunity to have a Special Needs Egg Hunt this Saturday, March 24th!!

    Easter Egg Hunt


    Please see attahched flyer for our rescheduled Decades of the NIGHT!! We are excited to host this special event. 

    Decades of the NIGHT


    Please see the attached flyer for a parent focus group organized by the Texas Education Agency.


    Parent Meeting Notice


    Connect the Dots Expo 

    Please see the attached flyer on a great opportunity to learn about outside agencies and other important information. 
    ALERT- The Special Night of the Decades on January 20th, 2018 has been CANCELLED. We are hoping to reschedule the event for another night in the Spring. 
    ALERT- The Special Night of the Decades on January 20th, 2018 has been CANCELLED. We are hoping to reschedule the event for another night in the Spring. 
     Special Needs Night
    PLAYHOUSE AUCTIONS!! Please see the attached flyer to learn about how our Career Development Class built these amazing Playhouses!!
    Come support our Special Olympics Athletes compete in a basketball skills competition on February 15, 2017 at the High School Gym from 9:30-11:30. Over 100 athletes from five schools (Crandall, Wills Point, Kaufman, Scurry-Rosser, and Sunnyvale) will attend and compete. 
    Please support the PTA in their efforts to support Special Education by purchasing a Special Olympics shirt. We are so excited to partner with PTA in providing spirit wear for our Raiders! In addition, they have spirit wear for all three campuses and school supplies are now on sale. Please see the attached flyer.
    This website is a great tool with "real life" examples to use with middle school students (or any student for that matter) which is tied to the endorsement clusters, so it could help them choose or reinforce their path! Check it out!

    Live the Dream Expo co-hosted by Sunnyvale ISD was a huge success!! Thank you to the parents, students, teachers, and staff that attended this event and volunteered their time.  
    KidNetic Games- Please watch this video about an opportunity provided by Region 10!
    The Special Olympics Basketball Skills Competition on February 11, 2016 at Scurry Rosser was a success!! The kids did great. Thank you to the parents, teachers, students, and volunteers that made this event possible. Thank you to the Sunnyvale PTA for donating the t-shirts!
    SO Basketball Skills Competition  
    Upcoming event: Special Olympics Basketball Competition- Please see link below.
    Sunnyvale is co-hosting the Live the Dream Expo on February 27. Please make plans to attend.
     Live the Dream Expo
    Region 10 is hosting a Parent Training on Graduation. This would be a great opportunity to learn about the new Foundation Graduation requirements. Click on the link below for more information.
    Here is a great article about Community Housing for adults with Special Needs:
    11/28/15: Dallas Morning News front page story includes CPSH. The story includes information that hasn't been published until today. Enjoy! The link is here.
    7 Ways to Support CPSH, here. 
    Watch the CPSH Animated Mission Video, here. 
    Change your subscription or contact CPSH, here. 
    © by 2015-2016 Community for Permanent Supported Housing. All rights Reserved.
    If you know of an adult with special needs and they are interested in participaing in Special Olympics, please see the postcard and interest survey link below:
    Adult Special Olympics Survey  
    April is Autism Awareness month, and the students, staff, and parents have done a great job of showing their support by wearing their Autism Awareness shirts.

    Although we got rained out at the Special Olympics Track and Field Meet on April 28, 2015 in Crandall ISD, the Sunnyvale students remained positive and we had a great time playing games in the gym. Thank you to all of the parents, teachers, staff, and PALS volunteers for their support and help.
    We had a wonderful time at the Special Olympics Track and Field Meet on April 8, 2015 in Terrell ISD.  All of the students did great!  Thank you to the parents, teachers, staff, and PALS volunteers for their support and help.  

    Congratulations to Austin Payne, Alex Medina, and Spenser Adams for winning the Autism T-Shirt Design Contest!!! They received a free t-shirt, certificate and a $25 iTunes gift card. Thank you for your support and awareness of students with Autism. 

    nonPareil Institute
    is excited to host an
    Open House!

    nonPareil is excited to host an 


    for anyone who is interested in the

    opportunity to tour our facility!  



    Saturday, April 25, 2015

    1pm - 3pm

    (Come and Go)


    Brief Presentations:

    1:30pm, 2:00pm, & 2:30pm



    On Campus:

    nonPareil Institute

    SMU-in-Plano Campus

    5240 Tennyson Parkway

    Plano, TX 75024 




    Free Admission

    Donations Appreciated


    Please feel free to forward this email to anyone

    you feel may be interested.


    Need Information about Transition:
    The following link has lots of resources to help with transition. Check out the Employment guide!!
    News and Events 
    Autism Awareness is coming up and we would like to give our middle school and high school students the opportunity to design a t-shirt. Please see the flyer above for more details.

    What does Autism mean to teenagers?
    Watch the video below to get an idea.
    Sensory Santa 
    Thanks to an anonymous donor, our students experienced Santa in a relaxed environment that was not too overwhelming and enjoyable for everyone!! The kids had a great time eating donuts, making crafts, getting their face painted, and talking with Santa. Thank you again.  
    Living the Dream Expo
    Living the Dream Expo is an opportunity for parents, educators, and key stakeholders to gain important information about agencies, extra-curricular activities, and options for special needs children.  Thank you to everyone that participated and organized such a beneficial event on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

    We had a great time at the Frisco RoughRiders Game on May 22. It was a beautiful sunny day and the kids really enjoyed watching the baseball game.  



    We had a great time at the Forney Special Olympics on May 12. All of the students did great!! We could not have had such a successful event without the gracious help from the teachers, parents, and volunteer students. Thank you.



    Student w/ Autism creates short film showing housing needs for disabled

    Dallas, Texas – Community for Permanent Supported Housing (CPSH)announces an animated short film called “Where Will I Live Without You”. The film depicts a young man with intellectual and developmental disabilities who experiences finding a home with support services and realizes there are many people like him who need this type of housing.

    “Where Will I Live Without You” was conceived, designed and produced by Cesar Jimenez.  Cesar is a senior at Jack E. Singley Academy, a career-oriented public high school in Irving, Texas. He has won many awards for his videos and art work.

    When asked why he worked on this film, Cesar said, “I decided to create this short film for CPSH because I wanted to help spread the awareness of the need for more housing for people with disabilities.”

    Despite Cesar’s disability, he is using his talents to get a head start on his career.  This short film is his interpretation of the mission ofCommunity for Permanent Supported Housing.

    Music and sound for this short film were produced by Susan Hersey, with SH Productions.

    •       “Where Will I Live Without You”:
    •       Short Film Facebook Fan Page:
    •       CPSH website:
    •       CPSH Facebook page:

    “The lack of enriched housing for adults living with intellectual/developmental disabilities is an emerging social issue in the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” said Robin LeoGrande, Co-Founder andPresident of CPSH. “Because there isn’t enough housing, many parents are unable to plan sufficiently for the living environments of their children when they no longer able to care for them. Adults living with disabilities have been raised by their parents – their primary caregivers – in our communities and educated in our schools. The communities are unaware of the need for this housing as people with disabilities age.  The lack of housing is an issue that affects everyone.  If there is no housing available, these adults will become homeless; requiring community emergency services which are much more expensive than proactively creating housing.”
    CPSH is pleased to present this social issue as interpreted by CesarJimenez and at the same time show that Cesar’s talents as an artist have no boundaries. He is more than his disabilities.
    CPSH also appreciates the expertise of Susan Hersey in contributing the music and sound for this short film, further adding emotion to the visual experience.
    Please share the link to this short film through your social media.  Let the world know about the need for housing.  
    To find out more about how businesses, social organizations, and religious organizations can participate in addressing this issue, please contact CPSH at .

    About Community for Permanent Supported Housing (CPSH)
    CPSH creates collaborations among community partners to provide enriched housing options for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in North Texas, regardless of IQ.
    Robin LeoGrande, President
    Community for Permanent Supported Housing (CPSH)
    Tel: 214-632-8115