April 2018 - Special Educator e-Journal

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Special Education Legal Alert

By Perry A. Zirkel

© March 2018

This monthly legal alert focuses on two recent cases with costly consequences, one arising from a student’s concussion and the other the failure to have the IEP ready at the start of the school year. For automatic e-mailing of future legal alerts, sign up at perryzirkel.com; this website also provides free downloads of various related articles, including those specific to the complaint procedures avenue under the IDEA.

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    Disproportionate Representation in Special Education

    William E. Woods

    University of Nevada Las Vegas

    Teachers entering the field of special education tend to do so with the expectation of having a long and fruitful career. Once in the field, many may experience unexpected events that may cause them to re-evaluate their decision to remain in the field. Some of the issues may come from mental fatigue, undue stress, classroom management as it relates to unruly behavior and leading to attrition. The purpose of this review is to examine this phenomenon to determine if the teachers entering the field are aptly prepared to handle the mental, emotional and social rigors associated with the profession. This paper is written based on the hypothesis stating teachers entering the teaching arena are leaving in large margins based due to feeling lack of support from the administration, the community and even peers. This paper also examines the support systems available for these professionals as they start their careers.

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      Book Review: The Moral Imperative of School Leadership

      Erica Williams-Sanders


      This book conveys the message that in order for the school system to change, there must be a whole system transformation, with the principal as the main change agent. As the school leader, the principal must take the lead in creating a trusting school culture. Encouraging teachers to be leaders and building relationships with all school employees will build a positive morale in the school.  The principal must have the moral imperative to want to produce school leaders in order for the change to come.

      Fullan, Michael. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership. Thousands Oak, CA: Corwin Press, Inc., 2003. 80 pp. $22.88.

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          Cultural Influences to Collaboration between Special Education Teachers and Parents in Saudi Arabia

          Manal Alsheef

          Duquesne University

          Collaboration between special education teachers and parents is an important area that schools have to deal with. Effective collaboration is influenced by many factors such as cultural competency among school personnel. Many special education teachers lack cultural awareness and understanding of students diverse cultural backgrounds. Given the importance of effective collaboration among special education teachers and families of students with disabilities, it is necessary to explore cultural factors that may influence effective collaboration. This paper, explores cultural factors that influence effective collaboration between special education professionals and families of children with disabilities in Saudi Arabia

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              Book Review: Effective Supervision: Supporting the Art and Science of Teaching

              Amy Marie Combs

              Florida International University

              “The ultimate criterion for expert performance in the classroom is student achievement.  Anything else misses the point”  (Marzano, Frontier, and Livingston, 2011).  Robert J. Marzano, Tony Frontier, and David Livingston combined their knowledge in the field of educational leadership to write the highly- acclaimed book, “Effective Supervision:  Supporting the Art and Science of Teaching.”  Marzano is the cofounder and CEO of Marzano Research Library and the author of more than 30 books and 150 articles on the topics of instruction, assessment, writing and implementing standards, cognition, effective leadership, and school intervention. Tony Frontier is a professor of doctoral leadership studies and director of teacher education at Cardinal Stritch University.  His areas of specialization include:  curriculum development, organizational learning, research methods, and statistics.  David Livingston is an associate at Marzano Research Library and specializes in school and district level leadership and school improvement.

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                Literature Review: Action Research Plan for How Reader’s Theater Can Improve Fluency in Reading

                Melissa Bedasie-DeClaire

                Florida International University

                How can Reader’s Theater improve students’ fluency in reading? For struggling readers fluency may be an area of concern and it can be instrumental in the learning and teaching process. When students have difficulty reading smoothly and identifying words accurately, they can experience a variety of issues which may prevent them from fully benefiting from the curriculum. As students advance in age and grade level the specific skills needed to become fluent readers can become increasingly difficult if not addressed in the early stages of learning. It is fundamental for students to have a firm understanding of the basic skills needed to achieve success with reading fluency. For struggling readers, fluency can affect their ability to engage in social interactions, effectively understand the curriculum, and have good self-confidence.  It is important to recognize the role of reading word units in connection with how this affects reading fluency and automaticity when students are developing many of the skills needed to become proficient readers (LaBerge & Samuels, 1974).  As a result of the deficiencies in these areas, students can become disengaged in the lesson, have difficulty making necessary academic learning gains, making meaningful relationships in social settings, and exhibit low self-esteem. Many aspects of a student’s education can ultimately be reliant on each other. If these deficiencies are not detected and addressed as soon as possible, it can create a snowball effect which creates additional challenges for students.  It is imperative to have a thorough understanding of each student’s abilities and their needs, as a preliminary starting point in order to implement the most appropriate and effective interventions. Rasinski, Homan, and Biggs (2009) explained how the impacting roles of a teacher can affect the reading fluency of students. These roles include modeling fluent reading,  fluency coaching, facilitating reading, collecting materials, and providing a setting for performance, and encouraging celebration (Rasinski et al., 2009). Thoughtfully selecting an engaging, meaningful, and evidenced based method may make the needed difference in the teaching and learning process to assist struggling readers with the challenges they face with fluency in reading.

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                  Book Review: Leadership: Key Competencies for Whole-system Change (How Education Leaders Can Develop Creative, Productive School Cultures)

                  Melissa Bedasie-DeClaire

                  Florida International University

                  The author Lyle Kirtman, he is an experienced executive coach in which he was employed by the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency, the governor’s office as the Manager of Boston’s Public Schools.

                  Throughout his professional career, author Michael Fullan has influences which have an international reach. His professional focuses were consultation, educational reform, and change. He was an honored individual for his ability to bring innovative ideas to world. For these impressive accomplishments he was awarded the Order of Canada, which is considered a high honor. Along with these successes his is also an established author of several impacting books.

                  Purpose of this book is to provide a tool for leaders in education regardless of the specific stage you are in. Also, this book examines shared experiences and practices of many different educational leaders. Throughout this book the authors explore the issues related to the staggering multitude of initiatives and new practices, but detail simple and impacting methodologies. More is not always better.

                  Thesis of this book is that with simplicity, diversity, risks, and organization, a comprehensive plan to improve student performance and develop a knowledgeable team will improve the educational system as a whole no matter the size of the specific population.

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                    Information Brief: Everett Public Schools Preferred Provider School Counseling Model: Cost Savings with Increased Service to Students and Families

                    Michael R. Baldassarre, Ed.D.

                    Whether pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, many students require and benefit from school-based mental health counseling services.  Students in need who receive social-emotional and mental health support improve both behaviorally and academically.   On a larger scale, these programs serve to decrease school suspensions and dropouts while improving school attendance rates.

                    While school based mental health counseling programs are implemented with the best intentions for the well being of students, services are often delayed or out-of-reach for many.  The special education process calls upon school officials to retrieve parental consent for evaluation; then evaluate; present findings in a scheduled IEP team meeting; and await parental consent for a proposed IEP service to be implemented.  By regulation, this process can take up to 45 school days.

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                      Buzz from the Hub

                      8 articles can be accessed through the link (Login):

                      • How to Keep Students with Disabilities Safe in Lockdowns, Evacuations, and Other School Crises
                      • Bullying Laws: Your Child’s Rights at School
                      • Resource Collection on Positive Behavior Supports, Functional Behavioral Assessment, and School Discipline
                      • Supporting vs. Enabling
                      • Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities
                      • Public Comments, Please: Implementation Dates for Disproportionality Regs
                      • ED’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
                      • Read the proposed new rule and see where to submit your public comments.

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                        Latest Employment Opportunities Posted on NASET

                        * Assistant Principal / BCBA - We are currently seeking a qualified and enthusiastic Assistant Principal / BCBA for our school in Sherman Oaks. This is an exciting hybrid role that will work directly with our current Assistant Principal, as well as serve as the BCBA. To learn more - Click here

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                        * Early Intervention Teacher - Requires graduation from a four-year college or university with a bachelors and/or master’s degree in early childhood special education, early childhood education, child and family studies, early intervention, deaf education, visual impairments, special education K-12, elementary education or communication disorders and speech language pathology. To learn more - Click here

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                        *Special Education Teacher - Jewish Child & Family Services (JCFS) provides vital, individualized, results-driven, therapeutic and supportive services for thousands of children, adults and families of all backgrounds each year. JCFS is currently seeking a Special Education Teacher to work with individuals and small groups of children (K - 12) with emotional and behavior disorders in a therapeutic special education classroom. The Therapeutic Day School is located in West Rogers Park, Chicago, IL. To Learn More - Click here

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                        *Special Education Teacher - Various - $50,000/school year (185 days), summers off with year round pay and year round appreciation.  Special Education Teachers needed in Arizona (Phoenix and surrounding cities). Needs are in the self-contained and resource settings serving students with emotional disabilities (ED), Autism (A), Severe/Profound (S/P), and Intellectual Disabilities (ID).  STARS is the largest school contract agency in AZ. STARS is owned and operated by Occupational Therapists.  You will be an employee and receive full benefits. To learn more - Click here

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                        Portions of this or previous month’s NASET’s Special Educator e-Journal were excerpted from:

                        • Center for Parent Information and Resources
                        • Committee on Education and the Workforce
                        • FirstGov.gov-The Official U.S. Government Web Portal
                        • Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP)
                        • National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth
                        • National Institute of Health
                        • National Organization on Disability
                        • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
                        • U.S. Department of Education
                        • U.S. Department of Education-The Achiever
                        • U.S. Department of Education-The Education Innovator
                        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
                        • U.S. Department of Labor
                        • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
                        • U.S. Office of Special Education

                          The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) thanks all of the above for the information provided for this or prior editions of the Special Educator e-Journal

                          Download a PDF Version of This e-Journal

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