January 24, 2022
SmartBrief on Special Education
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Curriculum & Instruction
STEM school supports students with autism
Students with autism learn STEM skills such as coding and programming in an environment tailored to their needs at the Science Prep Academy in Arizona. The school, considered to be the first of its kind, is intended to nurture neurodiverse students and help them leverage their skills in fields such as physics, says educator and founder Kenneth Mims.
Full Story: The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (tiered subscription model) (1/23) 
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Kickstart or Enhance Your Data-Driven MTSS
Help your team more confidently navigate essential MTSS processes, such as identifying students in need of additional supports, tracking interventions, and evaluating effectiveness at all levels. 13 templates will help guide data-driven decisions throughout the year. Get the toolkit.
Educational Leadership
Principal recounts daily pandemic routine
Greg Moffitt, principal of Fairmont Charter Elementary School in California, shares a typical day leading a school during the coronavirus pandemic. In this commentary, Moffitt writes that his day begins at 5:15 a.m. and is spent testing students for the virus, working to fill vacancies due to staff absences and personally filling in for teachers.
Full Story: EdSurge (1/21) 
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Hot Topics
Making Hybrid Learning Accessible and Equitable
The pandemic has forced K-12 schools across the US to include more permanent online education options. Changes that started as an emergency shift to online learning, quickly showed potential for long-term opportunities. Learn how K-12 school districts continue to narrow disparities in access to hybrid learning. Download the infographic.
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Technology Trends
Educators share how to make the most of films in class
Watching documentaries, films or other types of videos are best used in class to support lessons while enhancing student engagement, says Karen Beerer, senior vice president of teaching and learning at Discovery Education. Beerer and other teachers share their ideas about using films in class, including middle-school social studies teacher Britton Barnes, who sticks with short videos and sometimes uses an app that pauses videos to pose questions to viewers.
Full Story: Tech & Learning (1/24) 
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Combating Digital Fatigue & Maximizing Focus
Is your school technology set up with student comfort, stamina, and mental wellness in mind? As schools prepare for students return to classrooms Read the SmartFocus to learn best practices on student workplaces and focus while using tech.
Policy News
Helping young adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities is the focus of a new mentorship program at Tennessee State University. The nondegree-certificate program will pair students with disabilities with peers who are majoring in special education and aims to better prepare students with disabilities for the workforce.
Full Story: The Associated Press (1/24) 
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Eye on Exceptionalities
Research published in JAMA Network Open found children born to mothers with eating disorders may have a higher risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Researchers said there was a fourfold greater risk of ASD among children born to mothers with ongoing anorexia and an 80% increased risk for children whose mothers had previous anorexia.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/20) 
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Research published in JAMA Network Open found that myopia progressed more rapidly in children during COVID-19-related lockdowns. Researchers observed that defocus incorporated multiple segments lens treatment was associated with a 12-month progression of axial elongation and myopic progression at 34% and 46%, respectively, compared with single vision lens treatment during lockdown.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/21) 
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