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November 2, 2012
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News for special education professionals

  Curriculum & Instruction 
  • Pa. district addresses dropout rate of students in special education
    Educators and administrators in Altoona, Pa., are working to reduce the dropout rate of students in special education following a state audit last year. As part of an improvement plan filed with the state, the district is working to better planning for students transitioning from high school to college and the workplace, and recently held an event to introduce families to available services. The Altoona Mirror (Pa.) (10/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Implementing A District-Wide Science Success
Veteran education leader Mike Dillon has helped his school district continue on a steady path of success in science. The Smithsonian’s Science and Technology Concepts program and kits, available through Carolina Biological, have ensured that an entire district maintains a culture of high academic achievement. Read the case study.
  Educational Leadership 
  • Understanding the appeal of the "unconference"
    The popularity of Edcamps, a type of professional development for educators, originated from social media connections, writes Tom Whitby, an adjunct professor of education at St. Joseph's College in New York. The Edcamps, he writes in this blog post, are described as "unconferences" and do not follow a set format or schedule. Participants also can move on to a different session if they are not benefiting from the one they are in. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teacher evaluations shouldn't fully go high-tech
    The most effective teacher-evaluation methods include a combination of high-tech and low-tech techniques, says Kim Marshall, who works as a consultant to educators and coach for principals. Marshall recommends administrators use online documents from teachers to learn about the curriculum ahead of time and use technology to document findings. However, steps such as giving feedback and visiting the classroom are best done face-to-face without high-tech tools, Marshall writes. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (10/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology Trends 
  • College supports adaptive technology for those with disabilities
    The Disability Resource Center at Bellevue College provides adaptive technology and other services to students with disabilities. The center this week held an event to raise awareness about assistive technology in honor of the school's installation in a campus theater of a "hearing loop," which aims to help improve lectures and performances for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by minimizing ambient noise. The Bellevue Reporter (Wash.) (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy News 
  • Failure of Calif. ballot measures could further cut school funding
    Polling shows that less than half of the California's electorate support two of Tuesday's ballot measures that would increase taxes and prevent cuts to government spending, including in education. If one measure, known as Proposition 30, is unsuccessful, it is anticipated that about $6 billion in government cuts will be made -- most of which would be to education. "It's dire," said John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. CNBC/Reuters (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Va. adopts 6-year plan to close math achievement gap
    The Virginia Board of Education, facing an achievement gap in which African-American and Hispanic students as well as students with learning disorders are scoring below Caucasian students on math assessments, launched a six-year plan that seeks to have at least 73% of all students passing their state math tests. There was some disagreement about whether to have a statewide target or have specific achievement goals for each school district, but ultimately the statewide plan prevailed. Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) (10/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Eye on Exceptionalities 
  • Students with special needs learn to scuba dive
    Students with disabilities at Neuqua Valley High School in Illinois recently received lessons in scuba diving from instructors with the local nonprofit group Diveheart. The school also provided course credit to student mentors who helped with the lessons. "This is unique. Rather than being told what they can't do, this is showing capabilities and that the sky's the limit," adaptive physical-education teacher Joy Pierson said. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (10/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Kelly Gallagher's Write Like This guides teachers as they model writing for a variety of real-world purposes: inform & explain, evaluate & judge, analyze & interpret, take a stand, and more. Includes mentor texts throughout and a chapter on revision & editing. Preview Chapter 1: Moving Writing to the Front Burner.

Interested in learning more about advertising in CEC SmartBrief? Contact Joe Riddle at (202) 407-7857 or  

  CEC Spotlight 
  • Register today for CEC webinar on co-teaching
    "Leading in Co-Teaching: Observation and Data Collection for Co-Teaching" is a can't-miss webinar for all leaders interested in building and improving the co-teaching capabilities in their schools. In the last webinar in this series, which takes place on Nov. 13, Wendy Murawski and Lisa Dieker clarify the approaches to co-instruction and help school leaders identify potential problem areas and work with conflict situations. Register for the co-teaching webinar and receive a 10% discount on CEC's new publication "Leading the Co-Teaching Dance: Leadership Strategies to Enhance Team Outcomes." Enter the promo code COTEACH10 at checkout. Sign up today! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New autism spectrum disorder (ASD) publication available from CEC
    A must-have for all educators working with students with ASD, "A Guide to Teaching Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders" discusses strategies and teaching techniques that have shown great promise in helping students with ASD to succeed. Each chapter provides teachers with practical information about how to approach the tasks of determining what to teach and how to teach, with clearly defined steps for implementation. Get your copy today! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things."
--Ray Bradbury,
American writer

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