October 18, 2021
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Curriculum & Instruction
Bus driver shortage affects students with disabilities
(Freeimages)
Students with special needs in Nevada's Clark County School District who have transportation to and from school written into their individualized education plans are being affected by bus driver shortages. The district says it is working on solutions to the shortage, but some parents are considering filing complaints.
Full Story: Las Vegas Sun (10/17) 
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The Washington State School for the Blind marked White Cane Day last week with walks and demonstrations across Vancouver. "We encourage our students to get experience with multiple different kinds of transportation. That's really empowering for them," says Ashley Woodruff, who specializes in orientation and mobility at the school.
Full Story: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Wash.) (tiered subscription model) (10/17) 
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Download: Forest Sensory Path Activity
Engaging learners with changing tastes & short attention spans is a constant challenge. Designed for Primary & Special Education students, this lesson plan booklet brings focus through movement & includes story cards, worksheets, and printable cutouts to bring learning to life. Download Now
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Educational Leadership
This school year will be another challenging one for teachers, who also must support the social and emotional well-being of students -- and of themselves -- writes Beth Pandolpho, instructional coach and former high-school English teacher. In this commentary, Pandolpho says state departments of education, school districts and parent groups must step up to support teachers.
Full Story: Education Week (10/15) 
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How to Improve Attitudes Towards Math Learning
Many students begin developing negative attitudes towards mathematics at a young age, with past studies documenting a decline in attitude toward science and math in the late elementary years. This SmartFocus looks at some of the ways math engagement can improve.
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Hot Topics
The Proven Learning Benefits of Purposeful Play
As many schools head back to hybrid and traditional classroom settings, teachers and faculty members should look for new and innovative ways to improve learning outcomes for their students and make engagement in learning a priority. Here's how incorporating purposeful play gives teachers the necessary tools to improve learning outcomes. Read the SmartFocus
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Technology Trends
Telemedicine kiosks connect students with health help
(Pixabay)
Bay District Schools in Panama City, Fla., installed 63 telehealth kiosks after Hurricane Michael hit more than two years ago to connect students via free video calls to mental health and other health experts, and they've continued to be useful during the coronavirus pandemic, Kara Mulkusky, director of student services, says. Parker Elementary School Principal Chris Coan says that parents don't have to take off work to get students to appointments but can join in via video if they choose.
Full Story: News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) (10/18) 
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SmartBrief Education STEM Pathways Summit
Join us on October 28 for our annual SmartBrief Education STEM Pathways Summit when we explore the intersection of STEM and social-emotional learning. Don't miss this opportunity to get fresh ideas, hear about new programs and talk with your peers in STEM education. Register today.
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Policy News
Pfizer and partner BioNTech have announced that they have submitted documentation to the European Medicines Agency on their COVID-19 vaccine to support its use in children between ages 5 to 11. The vaccine has only received authorization in the US and EU for children ages 12 and older.
Full Story: Reuters (10/15) 
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Connecting to Tech Industry Professionals Matters.
Students with STEM career knowledge are more likely to choose a STEM career, according to the International Journal of STEM Education (2018). Amazon Future Engineer offers virtual career talks and panel events with Amazon engineers, designers, interns and more.
LEARN MORE.
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Eye on Exceptionalities
Morgan's Wonderland Camp in San Antonio, Texas, is being touted as one of "the world's greatest places for inclusive, barrier-free recreation" by its creator Gordon Hartman, who found inspiration for such destinations in his daughter Morgan Hartman. The $34 million facility includes climbing walls, zip lines, a pool and wheelchair-accessible bunk beds.
Full Story: Disability Scoop (10/18) 
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About the editor
Katharine Haber
Hello, readers! I'm your editor for SmartBrief on Special Education. Thanks so much for reading and subscribing. I'm always on the lookout for the most relevant and timely stories in special education, so please drop me a note and let me know what topics you are most interested in reading about, or send any other suggestions or feedback my way. And if you enjoy this newsletter, please share this link to subscribe with colleagues or friends.
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That's all it took to solve problems -- just sense.
Gary Paulsen,
writer
1939-2021
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