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April 2, 2010
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News for special education professionals

  Curriculum & Instruction 
  • Texas district uses RTI to reduce special-education referrals
    Schools in a Texas district have begun using a Response to Intervention program to help ensure students are not being incorrectly identified as needing special education. The RTI program applies three tiers of help for struggling students and has resulted in about 200 fewer referrals to special education in its first year at nine of the district's schools. "Interventions are helping these children," one principal said. "We can see the difference. Kids are getting help." Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas) (4/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students benefit from culture of compassion at Kansas school
    Fifth-grade students in general education at a Kansas elementary school are taking the initiative to help students with special needs. Teachers say the students have demonstrated kindness and compassion for their peers -- many of whom have significant disabilities. Students say their efforts to help by assisting with schoolwork and accompanying their friends to class developed naturally. "A lot of times, even adults are afraid, they don't know what to do if a student has special needs. We stand back [thinking] 'What do we do?' These kids don't," one teacher said. Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Chieftain (Kan.) (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Gifted-education teacher challenges students with chess
    North Carolina gifted-education teacher Melissa Sanders formed a chess club to help challenge her elementary-school students and is incorporating elements of the game into lessons in math, language arts, social studies and 21st-century skills. "Chess forces the students to face immediate consequences in response to their actions. They learn to strategically plan their moves in a way that will protect themselves but also will enable them to win or succeed in the game," Sanders says. The Mount Airy News (North Carolina) (3/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Seeking Excellent Special Education Teachers
The NYC Department of Education is seeking excellent teachers who are or will be certified in special education for the September 2010-2011 school year. We offer competitive salaries and benefits, opportunities to grow as a professional, and the choice of 1,600 unique schools. Click here for information.
  Educational Leadership 
  • Special-education teacher shares frustration over Florida legislation
    Dawn Gibbens, who teaches a second-grade inclusion class in Florida, is among those upset about a bill being considered by state lawmakers that would tie teacher salaries to student test scores. "I teach children that are autistic and language-impaired, and you know they are making progress, they are making great gains, but according to district standards, they're not going to make that progress in a year, they might not make it in two years, so to base my paycheck on whatever else is going on is ridiculous," she said. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Educator: How to fix a broken teacher-seniority system
    California teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron uses this column to question the effectiveness of teacher-seniority systems that protect higher-paid veteran teachers who are ineffective and eliminate the positions of young teachers who may have great potential as educators. She states that there is a place for tenure but suggests revised policies that better serve students. These include using multiple measures to evaluate teachers in a more meaningful way and providing more opportunities for teachers to take on hybrid roles and avoid burnout. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (3/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology Trends 
  • New technology could offer full-text Braille displays on wireless devices
    Researchers at North Carolina State University are working on technology to allow people with visual impairments to read full screens of Braille text on such devices as cell phones, PDAs and GPS systems. The technology, which takes advantage of hydraulics to create the raised dots for Braille readers, would replace a more costly mechanism that is only capable of producing single lines of Braille text. Lab blog (3/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy News 
  • Research: Some students suspended from U.K. schools may have autism
    Many children who are suspended from schools in the UK because of disruptive behavior may actually be demonstrating signs of autism disorders, a new study found. "Teachers should be supported to identify these children before they are unfairly excluded from school and miss out on the education and learning opportunities they deserve," the study's lead researcher said. The Guardian (London) (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

How can you get your middle & high school students to want to read? Convince them of the importance of reading in their lives. Reading Reasons supports teachers with 40 classroom-tested mini-lessons that will foster enthusiasm for reading throughout the school year. Click here to read Chapter 1 online!

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

  Eye on Exceptionalities 
  • Program challenges students with disabilities through sports
    About 100 children with disabilities participate in the Physically Challenged Sports and Recreation Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Founded by Gwena and Gerry Herman in 1989, the program trains athletes with special needs in more than a dozen sports, challenging the students to be independent, active and goal-oriented, and the program has won numerous championships. The Sun (Baltimore) (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • HBO marks World Autism Awareness Day with documentary
    A documentary film depicting one mother's struggle to find treatments for her son who has autism is set to premiere on HBO today, World Autism Awareness Day. "A Mother's Courage: Talking Back To Autism" looks at autism from a mother's perspective, and its makers say it attempts to present a wider, more realistic view of the disorder by touching on both its heartbreaking and humorous aspects. Reuters (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  CEC Spotlight 
  • Supporting Positive Behavior: A collection of articles from TEACHING Exceptional Children
    These journal articles cover principles and procedures on positive behavior, intervention and supports that can be used to cooperatively plan the educational experiences of students vulnerable to academic and behavioral difficulties. Learn more about positive-behavior interventions. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CEC seeks program chairperson for 2012 and 2013 conventions
    CEC is looking for a program chairperson for its annual Convention & Expo, the premier professional-development event in special education. This person is responsible for developing a convention program of high interest to educators of individuals with exceptionalities. Applications are due May 12. Find out more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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