February 2020 - Special Educator e-Journal




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Special Education Legal Alert

By Perry A. Zirkel

© January 2020

This month’s update concerns issues that were subject to recent, unpublished federal court decisions of general significance: (a) liability for money damages under the IDEA, and (b) the reverse effect of general education interventions on IDEA child find and eligibility.  For further examination of both of these issues, see Publications section at perryzirkel.com.

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  • Active Listening and Effective Questioning
  • Become a Better Listener: Active Listening
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • School-Age Family Engagement | Online Module
  • We Have to Talk: A Step-By-Step Checklist for Difficult Conversations

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Have You Ever Flown?—A Personal Essay

By Charlie Strecker

Have you ever flown? I have, but I don't remember it. It's funny: I remember the sensation of the handlebars, riding the brakes, and barreling down the hill, but I can't seem to recall the important part. You would think that I would remember a thing like that but no. I have no recollection because after I flew, I fell hard. That's what they told me. They say I fell so hard that I don't remember flying. Everything must have went dark after that because I don't remember much directly after the fall either. I'm sure it felt like I was asleep-- except, not in a relaxing sort of way. Probably in more of a "dreamless void" sort of way, one that you just exist in for a while. Yes, that sounds right.

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Graduation Rates Are Increasing, but Students with Special Education Needs Are Still in Peril

By Christine Powell

At face value, the state of American education is on an upswing; 2014 was a landmark year, with the highest graduation rate on record in American high schools. An increase in the number of students that earn a diploma has been a reliable indicator of the preparedness of our youth to pursue college and career opportunities. The upward trend in graduation rates has some scratching their heads about the trustworthiness of these numbers. The argument made, is that the uptick has been realized by a lowering of the standards, making the value of a diploma seemingly less than it once was. But until there is another way to benchmark student achievement, the diploma is the standard, and it is better to have one than not. 

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Leading School Change: How to Overcome Resistance, Increase Buy-In, and Accomplish Your Goals

By Marisol Lorenzo

Whitaker, Todd. (2018). Leading School Change: How to Overcome Resistance, Increase Buy-In, and Accomplish Your Goals (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. 155 p. $27.61

Author and Context

Change seems to be the operative word in education (and the world) today” (1).  With these words Todd Whitaker, author of over 50 books related with the field of education – which is his passion more than his career – develops the thesis of his book. The content of this book is based on the challenges faced by leaders to foster change in the school culture today, and also about the strategies they can implement to “move our entire organization and all of its members forward with a myriad of required and desired changes” (1).  The author enhances the need of change and of inclusion of all leaders in this era of school change. 

Todd is a professor of educational leadership at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He is also a professor emeritus at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. One of his books, What Great Teachers Do Differently, is considered a national bestseller. Todd Whitaker has been recognized as a leading presenter in the field of education, and as a thorough researcher of effective strategies to create great teachers and principals.

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If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students

By Samantha Groover

Teacher attrition is a becoming a big problem all over the county. Teachers are leaving the profession due to a variety of issues; low income, dissatisfaction with the profession, challenges within the school, culture, climate, leadership, etc. In schools, leaders play a big role. They are the visionaries that can help build up students, teachers, and the school culture. Neila A. Connors, the author of If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students, shares this belief. She states that successful administrators feed their teacher continuously to make sure the students are not eaten. Great administrators provide a positive school climate where teachers are encouraged to take risk and guide students to success.

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Urban School Discipline: Comparing the Impact of Punitive and Restorative Discipline for Minority Students

By Sharde Z.I. Theodore

Introduction

Public schools are responsible for building childrens’ academic competence, as well as, developing their social and independent skills needed to become productive members of society, yet the history of intense disciplinary policies have disrupted the success of many minority students in urban settings. School disciplinary procedures are essential in maintaining a productive and safe school environment that is conducive for learning and such procedures involve methods aimed to promote students’ prosocial behaviors and eliminate problematic behaviors that impede learning. Contradictorily, the relationship between zero tolerance policies and exclusionary discipline procedures have resulted in adverse consequences for students of color (Okilwa & Robert, 2017; Triplett, Allen, & Lewis, 2014; Payne & Welch, 2010). School disciplinary policies that involve aggressive and prison-like practices have historically resulted in disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates based on students’ race, gender, and disability (Okilwa & Robert, 2017).

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Leading in a Culture of Change: A Review of Literature

By Marissa Desiree Pardo

Abstract

In the book, “Leading in a Culture of Change” author Michael Fullan describes how anyone can lead in a societal culture that is forever changing in many ways by exhibiting enthusiasm, energy, and hope, among other positive personal traits. He describes administrative change as being difficult to accomplish in a manner in which its impact is long lasting and positive. Using a framework of leadership, Fullan describes five essential leadership qualities including moral purpose, an understanding of change, coherence-making, relationship building skills, and knowledge creation and sharing. By applying these ethical qualities and personality traits, members under a leader’s guidance are motivated to commit to the changes a leader is implementing in the hopes that more positive results, or less negative outcomes, manifest under that leadership. The overarching theme of the book is that good leadership can create the conditions in which the opinions and contributions of the individual are just as valued as those of the collective groups, and that isolation is an enemy to improvement.

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Action Research Report: Effects of ClassWide Peer Tutoring on Phonics and Decoding Skills among Mixed-Age Students with Disabilities

By Sharde Z. I. Theodore

Abstract

Mixed age multigrade classrooms have boomed throughout the nation for many reasons including logistical and pedagogical practices. In order to maximize learning opportunities for students learning at different levels and on different standards, educators must implement strategies that yield collaboration. The hardest challenge is to find strategies that align to both curriculums within the given timeframe. To solve this problem, Andrew Gillum (1954) proposed the strategy of classwide peer tutoring, a form of peer assisted instruction that allows students to collaborate on learning in a meaningful way. In peer assisted learning strategies, students work in pairs or small groups with one student acting as a tutor. In this way, students are teaching each other and providing immediate feedback on skills learned. This is especially useful in a multigrade setting, in which older students can be beneficial as tutors for younger students.

Keywords: multigrade, classwide peer tutoring, peer-mediated instruction, resource classroom

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Disproportionality and Minorities

By Buruuj I. Tunsill

Abstract

The literature review explores the reason as to why there is a disproportionate representation of minorities in special education. The findings reveal that across the nation there is a high rate of minorities who are diagnosed with learning disabilities and emotional behavioral disabilities, but a low rate of minorities who are placed in special education under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. The studies indicate that socioeconomic status plays a major role in the type of resources that are allocated for CLD and/or minority students and suggest that lack of resources contributes to the regression of minority students. Hence, disproportionality is linked to widening the achievement gap and the pipeline that leads students of color from school to prison due to inequitable education and labeling. Disproportionate representation of minorities in special education results from subjective assessments and a cultural mismatch between teachers and students.

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Acknowledgements

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


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