New This Week on NASET
NASET Special Educator e-Journal
Table of Contents
Update from the U.S. Department Education
Calls to Participate
Special Education Resources
Update From The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Funding Forecast and Award Opportunities
AcknowledgementsTo read or download this issue - Click here (login required)
The Fourth Grade Slump
Fourth grade is often students' first real experience with the content-area textbooks that will dominate much of their subsequent adolescent literacy experience. Fourth grade is also the first time students are tested with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and the results are sobering. Only 67% of fourth graders performed above the basic level in 2009; only 33% performed above the proficient level. Thirty-three percent of fourth-grade students were below the basic level. NAEP does not test at the early grades, but conventional wisdom leads many to speculate that a sizable number of children whose performance appeared to be adequate through grade three begin to dip in grade four. The focus of this issue of NASET's Practical Teacher is to address this trend, the fourth-grade slump.To read or download this issue - Click here (login required)
Parent Teacher Conference Handouts
Alternative Educational Delivery Systems
Alternative delivery systems are management systems used in Inclusion classrooms that provide support for students and maximize learning while being presented with the core curriculum. It is an approach that uses success-oriented presentations and the elements of collaboration and school based coordination in its implementation. The goal of alternative delivery systems is to develop many creative ways of working together for the benefit of all students.
This issue of Parent Teacher Conference Handhouts presents examples of how school specialists i.e. psychologist, special education teacher, can enhance and assist the classroom teacher in the delivery of information to students.
To read or download this issue - Click here (login required)
In San Diego, Where Did the Children with Disabilities Go?
Students with disabilities have dwindled in San Diego Unified. But nobody is exactly sure why. School district officials counted nearly 1,600 fewer special education students this December than three years ago. That adds up to a 9.5 percent drop over the same time that overall enrollment fell only 1 percent.Educators are still puzzling over why the numbers fell. Special education has waxed and waned over the years, but the numbers fell more steeply this year than enrollment, continuing a steady trend. While a few hundred of those students were in charter schools that split away from San Diego Unified to seek special education services elsewhere, they make up only a little of the drop. Nor is it the result of recategorizing students: Fewer kids exit special education than in the past. School district officials believe the downward trend could be a good thing, a reflection of schools trying more tactics and offering kids more help before concluding they have a learning disability. That, in turn, is supposed to reduce the disproportionate number of English learners and students of color who are classified with disabilities in San Diego Unified, possibly cutting the overall numbers. To read more, click here
Gifted, Talented and Invisible
Bloomington's all-day gifted student program rescued Delly Fears from chronic boredom at school. She just wishes the task of busting stereotypes didn't fall squarely on her shoulders. Delly is the only African-American student in her seventh-grade class at the Dimensions Academy, Bloomington's 6-year-old school for the gifted within Oak Grove Middle School. In her class, she's deflected jabs at black peers outside the academy. Outside the academy, she's deflected charges that she's an "Oreo," black only on the outside. Full-time gifted and talented programs such as Dimensions have mushroomed across the metro area in recent years. The programs - magnets or schools within schools - offer bright students the fast pace they crave throughout the school day. But across the board, these programs have failed to mirror their district demographics. Black, Hispanic and low-income students are decidedly underrepresented - a disparity that has long plagued more traditional part-time gifted and talented programs in the state and beyond. To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
Research indicates that a well-prepared teacher has more influence on a child's learning than any other factor under school control (Darling-Hammond, 2000).
Program Gives At-Risk Students the Tools to Try
Though he only had sixth-grade math abilities and seventh-grade reading skills, Christian Moore became an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University in 1996. A professor there asked him how he managed to make it from special education to a large university. In an attempt to answer, Christian pulled out a piece of paper and wrote the words "Why Try?"Growing up in poverty as one of 12 children, Christian did not have high expectations. By the second grade, he was diagnosed with ADHD, conduct disorder and severe learning disabilities. His behavior at home often was unmanageable. His parents were overwhelmed and unable to meet his needs. Despite these challenges, Christian found the motivation to keep going and was able to answer the question, "Why Try in Life?" He identified several key lessons that he believed helped him reach his goals. After earning a master's degree in social work, Christian began working with at-risk youth as a school counselor. He recognized that kids primarily are visual learners, so just talking to them would not get the intended results. To read more, click here
Bill Gates: Education Budget Cuts Don't Have to Hurt Learning
Even in the midst of large spending cuts, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said Monday that schools can improve the performance of students if they put more emphasis on rewarding excellent teaching and less emphasis on paying teachers based on seniority and graduate degrees. Gates spoke to the nation's governors mindful of the severe financial woes that many of them face as they try to bridge deficits totaling about $125 billion in the coming fiscal year. He said there are some clear do's and don'ts. Among the do's: Lift caps on class sizes and get more students in front of the very best teachers. Those teachers would get paid more with the savings generated from having fewer personnel overall. "There are people in the field who think class size is the only thing," Gates said in an interview with The Associated Press prior to his speech. "But in fact, the dominant factor is having a great teacher in front of the classroom." To read more, click here
New Summit Breaking the Mold
Mark Twain once said that he never let his schooling interfere with his education. Twain would have fit in perfectly at New Summit School. Founded in 1991 by executive director Nancy New, the school began as New Learning Resources, a one-on-one learning laboratory with five students. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, New Summit has grown to nearly 200 students and has expanded operations with a location in City of Greenwood. . Unlike traditional public and parochial schools in Mississippi, the Jackson private school eschews a cookie-cutter approach to education. Open enrollment, life skill classes, online courses and character education programs are some of the features that distinguish New Summit from other schools, said New, a former public school educator and administrator. "I kept seeing the same needs for individual assistance when I began New Summit as a learning lab," she said. "I've always been fascinated and interested in students who have what I call 'learning differences.' I love what I do and coming to work every day is a joy." To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
Special educators need to manage their stress appropriately. The percentage of special educators who leave special education each year is almost double the rate of educators in general.
Dear Lucy: A Child's Exploration of Her Autism
Parents of children with autism learn early that they have to be their child's greatest advocate. They research therapies and schools. They learn special education law and cobble together support groups. In many ways, these parents become their children's voices. As they grow, however, many of these children grow into their own voices, at which time it is important to teach them to self-advocate and to explain their thoughts, feelings and way of being for themselves. Lucy, whose parents prefer that her last name stay private, is one such child, aware of her autism diagnosis and growing into her voice. She is a 10-year-old girl who lives in Indiana with her parents, Dara and Barry. Lucy's parents first became concerned about her development when she failed to hit some major milestones at appropriate ages. Lucy crawled at age 1, walked at 2 and a half and didn't speak clearly until age 4. Initially brushed off by doctors, Dara and Barry finally found a diagnosis when Lucy was 6. Lucy has two typical siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. She has attended both private and public school, but is now homeschooled. To read more, click here
New Charter School Aims to Narrow Achievement Gap
A new charter school scheduled to open this fall plans to combine online learning and face-to-face instruction - plus, a splash of adventure - to create a model for middle school success. Rather than a school that is exclusively on the Web or in a traditional classroom, Alianza Academy is testing a hybrid, the first of its kind in Utah. Every student will have access to a computer or digital tablet, but all instruction will take place during a regular school day on four separate campuses with the assistance of learning coaches and certified teachers. Students also will collaborate on projects and participate in an "art and adventure" program that will include visits to Tracy Aviary, the Wasatch Mountains and other outdoor spots. Alianza hopes the hybrid model will help diminish the persistent achievement gaps between affluent and economically disadvantaged students and whites and minorities. The charter school, serving grades 4-7 (eighth grade will be added eventually), will operate from on campuses in West Valley City, Magna, South Salt Lake and Salt Lake City's Rose Park neighborhood. To read more, click here
TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Guess the answer to this week's trivia question and we'll recognize you in next week's Week in Review.
Ross Jones, Monica Lourenco, Merril Bruce, Chaya Tabor, Angie Firestone, Pam Fults, Lois Nembhard, Jessica L. Ulmer, Sharon Drumm, Pat Crandon, Julia Godfrey, Deanna Krieg, Christie Miller, Shilpa Sanghavi, Brad Hubbard, Brenda Nickelson, Francine McDermott, Suzanne Taffetwho all knew that: Piaget's 4 Stages of Cognitive Development are: Sensorimotor, PreOperational, Concrete, and Formal Operations.
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
FILL IN THE BLANK:
______ means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.
If you know the answer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
All answers must be submitted no later than Monday, March 7, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
FDA Extends ADHD Drug Indication
The FDA approved the non-stimulant guanfacine (Intuniv) for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in combination with other therapies, including stimulants. The drug was initially approved as monotherapy in 2009 for patients ages six to 17. Approval for use with stimulants was based on the results of a nine-week, placebo-controlled trial that compared 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, and 4 mg doses of guanfacine against placebo in 455 patients who were also being treated with a stimulant. Patients in the active-drug group were started on 1 mg of guanfacine and gradually given larger doses to a maximum of 4 mg over a five week period, where the maximum dose was maintained for three weeks, then tapered off over the final week. To read more, click here
Yale Medical Student with Dyslexia wins Disability Lawsuit
A Yale School of Medicine student affected by dyslexia will receive special testing accommodations for the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination after he was denied them twice. Frederick Romberg MED '12 will receive double the standard testing time and a separate testing area to take the examination as a result of a settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Board of Medical Examiners Feb. 22. in accordance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The settlement requires the board to provide reasonable testing accommodations to persons with disabilities who seek to take the test, a press release issued by the DOJ on February 22, 2011 stated. Romberg's case, which was initially filed in January 2008 when the board refused Romberg's request, has national implications for medical students with disabilities because it has introduced new guidelines for the administration of standardized exams. "The settlement will change my life because I am confident that I will be able to do well on the exam now," Romberg said. "I'm not the only one who's had these problems across the country. It gives me great pleasure to know that other people in my situation will receive similar accommodations." To read more, click here
Seeking Integration, Whatever the Path
For decades, the Wake County Public School System - the nation's 18th largest - has been known as a strong academic district committed to integration. From the 1970s to the 1990s, that meant racial integration. In 2000, after courts ruled against using race-based criteria, Wake became one of the first districts in the nation to adopt a system of socioeconomic integration. The idea was that every school in the county (163 at present) would have a mix of children from poor to rich. The target for schools was a 60-40 mix - 60 percent of students who did not require subsidized lunches and 40 percent who did. Then in 2009, a new conservative majority was elected to the Wake school board, and last spring it voted to dismantle the integration plan. Instead, families would be assigned to a school nearer their neighborhood. This meant a child who lived in a poor, black section of Raleigh would be more likely to go to a school full of poor black children, and a child living in a white, upper-middle-class suburb would be more likely go to a school full of upper-middle-class white children. To read more, click here
Autism and Sex
I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday and overheard a little girl of about 4 ask her mother this question: "If you have the egg in your tummy, how does Daddy help it hatch? Does he have to sit on you?" Ah, the early days of "the talk". I remember them well. The questions sneak up on you when you least expect them and you need to be ready introduce the topic without falling apart. Helping a child with autism comprehend the topic of sex is especially tricky,(at least in my experience), so much so that many parents hope it will never become "an issue". Today, a young woman with autism, shares her perspective about love, sex and autism. Her story was recently featured on ABC. To read more, click here
Many Amendments Expected to Voucher Bill
The Senate Education Committee is expected to vote today on a hot button issue: publicly funded vouchers to send low-income children to nonpublic schools. Before voting on the bill, the committee will consider about a dozen amendments aimed at adding accountability, shifting financial responsibility from school districts to the state, clarifying language and other items. The first Senate bill introduced after Republicans took power in January, the bill calls for "Opportunity Scholarships" to low-income students from poorly performing public schools so they can switch to other public or private schools. The other schools do not have to accept them. The scholarships would apply to students in more than 140 poorly performing schools the first year. In the second year, all low-income students living in the attendance area of a persistently lowest-achieving school would be eligible whether they attended that school or not. In the third year, all low-income students would be eligible no matter where they went. To read more, click here
NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT -
Board Certification in Special Education Available to NASET Members
As Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals(AASEP), NASET members now have the opportunity to achieve AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) at a reduced fee. AASEP Board Certification in Special Education - (B.C.S.E.) is a voluntary choice on the part of the candidate. The candidate for Board Certification wishes to demonstrate a commitment to excellence to employers, peers, administrators, other professionals, and parents. From the standpoint of the Academy, board certification will demonstrate the highest professional competency in the area of special education. Board Certification in Special Educationestablishes a much needed standard for professionals, across disciplines, who work with exceptional children.
For more information on Board Certification in Special Education, click here
Through a Dog's Eyes
Through a Dog's Eyes will change the way you feel about your own dog. The documentary follows a handful of people as they journey through the heartwarming and often challenging process of receiving their service dogs. Jennifer Arnold, founder of Canine Assistants, discusses her teaching methods and the life-changing impact these dogs have on the recipients and their families. She gives us a glimpse of puppy-rearing and training, and takes us inside the intense and sometimes nerve-wracking experience of matching people with their dogs. Ádám Miklósi, Ph.D., one of the world's foremost experts in dog cognition, also discusses the science behind Jennifer's training philosophy. To read more, click here
Debate Over Institutions Flares As Feds Seek Comment
A government agency's proposal to "eliminate congregate care" for people with disabilities is stirring strong reaction from advocates on both sides of the debate over institutions. The issue came to the forefront as the Administration on Developmental Disabilities works to finalize a five-year strategic plan. The federal agency plays an influential role over the state councils on developmental disabilities and the protection and advocacy organizations throughout the country in addition to other programs benefiting Americans with disabilities. After holding listening sessions in five cities, the agency drew up a list of priorities - touching on everything from access to competitive employment to strengthening family support - which will be used to establish the final plan. To read more, click here
Did You Know That....
One of the key criterion for providing an "appropriate" education to children is that is must provide evidence of "educational benefit".
Studies Show Stuttering Has Complex, Interrelated Roots
When the Academy Awards show aired on Sunday, Texas speech therapist Lana Dodgen was rooting for "The King's Speech," up for a dozen Oscars for its depiction of British King George VI's struggle with stuttering. Ms. Dodgen, who runs the Mesquite Independent School District's chapter of the National Stuttering Association's children's-support group, said she and other advocates hope the film will bring awareness to stuttering the way "Rain Man" did to autism. The movie has already drawn broad interest in the disorder, which affects about 5 percent of preschoolers at some point in their language development and leaves 1 percent, or more than 3 million Americans, permanently struggling to speak. Yet new findings discussed at a research symposium on stuttering, held in Washington on Sunday, Feb. 20, during the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, suggest educators are just beginning to understand the interconnected causes of the condition. To read more, click here
RTI: An Instructional Approach Expands Its Reach
Response to intervention burst onto the national scene thanks to two major efforts by the federal government. The $1 billion Reading First program ushered in with No Child Left Behind in 2002 gave a boost to the educational framework by encouraging schools to use it for their literacy programs. Two years later, the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act said that states must permit districts to use RTI as one tool for determining if a child has a specific learning disability. The process has been growing exponentially ever since, morphing along the way into new forms and educational uses. In 2010, a survey of district administrators found that 61 percent had implemented an RTI educational framework or were in the process of spreading RTI throughout their districts. In 2007, that proportion was only about a quarter. To read more, click here
Judge: Bullying Fears No Factor In School Placement Decisions
Concerns about potential bullying are not enough to prove that a proposed school placement is inappropriate for a student with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, a federal judge has ruled. In a Pennsylvania case pitting the parents of a teen with autism, known in court papers as J.E., against their school district, the parents argued that the district should pay for a private placement as opposed to the large public high school the officials recommended. Fear that J.E. would be bullied at the public school was among the reasons cited by the parents in arguing that the district proposal was inappropriate. Specifically, J.E.'s mom said that she heard students at the school talking about bullying and the parents said J.E. had been subject to bullying at a previous school. To read more, click here
NASET MEMBER'S BENEFIT -
Group Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual
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