Early intervention, instruction help student with autism succeed | Federal plan to boost the teaching profession has pros, cons | Hockey coach recognized for work with athletes who have disabilities
April 27, 2012
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SmartBreif on Special Education
News for special education professionals

Curriculum & Instruction
Calif. district prepares students for life after high school
A California school district has an award-winning transition program to prepare students who have intellectual disabilities for independent living. Students ages 18 to 22 in the Washington Unified School District learn and practice life skills in a rental home, and use public transportation to travel to a nearby community college for classes. "The goal is for them to live on their own in a supported environment, when appropriate," said Chad Hinton, the program's lead teacher. "We assess everything to help them become as independent as possible." The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (4/25)
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Early intervention, instruction help student with autism succeed
Second-grade student Cayden Poindexter, who has autism, has won numerous school awards and is a top reader at his Oklahoma elementary school. Poindexter's mother attributes his success to early intervention and effective instruction from his first teacher, Tari Blankenship, who she says developed strategies to meet his needs. "She adapted to him, instead of making him adapt to her," the mother, Tiffany Poindexter, said. Tulsa World (Okla.) (4/26)
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Vote for SmartBrief's Session at SXSWedu 2016
We're putting together a panel for SXSWedu and we could use your help. LMS: Extreme Makeover will explore how the term "learning management system" is changing and so, too, is the way we define it. The session will seek to build consensus around oft-ambiguous terminology and the advantages and challenges of evolving digital learning platforms. Click here to learn more and vote now! Voting ends September 4.

Educational Leadership
Federal plan to boost the teaching profession has pros, cons
There is much to like about Project RESPECT, a new federal grant program aimed at improving the teaching profession, Brooklyn, N.Y., social studies and English teacher Stephen Lazar writes in this blog post. The not-yet-public policy includes plans to provide increased compensation for career teachers who serve in various roles in both the classroom and as leaders, which Lazar said is welcome. He expresses concern, however, about new teacher-evaluation systems and their use in determining these roles. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/SchoolBook blog (4/26)
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Hockey coach recognized for work with athletes who have disabilities
Maryland hockey coach David Lucia recently was honored with the Montgomery County Civic Federation Community Hero award for his work with young athletes who have disabilities. Lucia coaches the Montgomery Cheetahs Special Hockey, a team with more than 60 athletes ages 4 to 22. "It provides a safe, accepting place where they can play, regardless of their abilities," Lucia said. "It's not about winning, it's about playing." The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/25)
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Other News
Technology Trends
App offers new feature for students with ADHD
An iPad application designed for students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder has a new feature aimed at helping users stay on task. The new "What's Up" feature allows users of Memory On Demand's Focus GPS software to transfer tasks from their action list to a personal Facebook page, accessible only to the student, parents, learning assistants and others designated by the student. T.H.E. Journal (4/26)
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New TED-Ed site offers video lessons for students
TED-Ed on Wednesday launched an educational website featuring lessons based on its original animated videos for grades K-12. Each lesson includes a three- to eight-minute video, multiple-choice quizzes, open-ended questions and links to related information. In addition, teachers can choose to "flip" the video and create customized lessons. TED-Ed's Lessons Worth Sharing beta version currently features video lessons on numerous topics. Forbes/Techonomy (4/25)
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Policy News
D.C. partnership aimed at innovation in special education
The District of Columbia is using $800,000 of its $75 million in federal Race to the Top money to fund a partnership with the American Institutes of Research to develop plans to improve special education. Work being done includes research on best practices being used in the district. Officials said they will be meeting with parents to develop ideas on what constitutes quality services, with the goals of taking the district to the "next level" of innovation. Education Week/On Special Education blog (4/26)
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Educators express concern about new Ohio school grades
A statewide plan to give letter grades to Ohio schools is being questioned by leaders in the Columbus school district. Columbus School Superintendent Gene Harris, speaking Thursday to a legislative panel, said the plan does not acknowledge improvements made by students, even if they do not pass state tests, and does not consider other factors such as graduation rates. Harris and other speakers also expressed concerns about the timetable for the plan, scheduled to take effect this fall. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (tiered subscription model) (4/27)
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Group seeks funds for services for developmental delays in children
Easter Seals is calling on Congress to approve a $100 million federal funding increase for services to young children with disabilities, particularly better and earlier identification of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays. Last month, the organization released a free screening questionnaire for parents that aims to help them determine whether they should seek medical guidance about their children's development. About 20% of children at risk for developmental delays currently receive early-intervention services, the group reports. Education Week/On Special Education blog (4/27)
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The Buzz
The most relevant research is your own. Living the Questions takes you step-by-step through designing and implementing teacher research projects that extend your everyday inquiry and solve pressing problems. See how to incorporate new tech tools and get extensive examples with teacher narratives. Preview the entire book online!
Eye on Exceptionalities
Ariz. community college hosts Special Olympics summer games
Nearly 1,200 students with intellectual disabilities are participating in the Special Olympics summer games, which kicked off Thursday at Mesa Community College in Arizona. Scheduled events include tennis, kayaking, weightlifting and volleyball, and wrap up Saturday night with a dance for participants. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (tiered subscription model) (4/26)
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CEC Spotlight
Head for the Gateway!
The Journal Gateway is CEC's online portal for reading articles and conducting research within CEC's outstanding journals, Exceptional Children and TEACHING Exceptional Children. You'll find 10 years of rich, downloadable information, and you can build a go-to library of articles that inform your practice. Access is free for CEC members. Enter the Gateway and subscribe today.
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DOE answers questions during CEC Twitter Town Hall
During CEC's Annual Convention, CEC members and Twitter followers from across the country came together to participate in a Twitter Town Hall with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Alexa Posny. If you were unable to participate in the Town Hall, you can read an archive of the conversation online.
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Teacher of the Visually Impaired/O&M Specialist
SPED Teachers
Assistant Professor
School Psychologist - WTU (Bilingual Candidates Preferred)
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
-- John Steinbeck,
American writer
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