January 15, 2021
SmartBrief on Special Education
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Curriculum & Instruction
NYC to alter gifted, talented admissions
New York City will do away with a high-stakes exam for four-year-olds to determine enrollment in gifted and talented programs after the exam is administered in April. Officials say they will spend the next year determining what type of programming to offer going forward that is more inclusive.
Full Story: Spectrum News (1/12) 
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Data: More districts adopt remote instruction
(Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
The surge in coronavirus cases nationwide prompted a spike in the number of school districts adopting remote instruction -- 21.2% in November, compared with 31.7% in December -- according to data from the Center on Reinventing Public Education. The findings come as President-elect Joe Biden pursues a return to in-person instruction for most K-8 schools during his first 100 days in office.
Full Story: Education Week (1/14) 
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Educational Leadership
5 ways teachers can be inclusive of all students
Making diverse language choices in lessons -- such as the singular "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun and capitalizing Black in relation to race -- is one way teachers can be more inclusive of all students' cultures and experiences, writes Randi Bender, the chief content officer at Reading Plus. Among Bender's other suggestions include ensuring texts and lessons mirror student identities and offer a window into the experiences of others.
Full Story: District Administration magazine online (1/12) 
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Technology Trends
Researchers consider teachers' on-screen presence
The science behind engaging students via instructional videos is complicated, according to findings by researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Their findings show that when these visuals are used effectively, it can drive student engagement, but in some cases it could be distracting.
Full Story: EdSurge (1/14) 
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Policy News
Biden's proposal includes $130B for K-12
Biden (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
An economic relief plan announced Thursday by President-elect Joe Biden will steer $130 billion toward public K-12 schools. The funding is intended to help schools return to in-person learning, including by reducing class sizes, hiring more nurses and counselors, and providing protective gear.
Full Story: U.S. News & World Report (1/14) 
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Eye on Exceptionalities
Researchers examined sperm epigenetics in 26 men and found 805 different DNA methylation regions that could be biomarkers to identify those at risk of having children with autism spectrum disorder. The study in Clinical Epigenetics showed the biomarkers were 90% accurate, and a larger study is underway.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/14) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Jan. 18
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief on Special Education will not publish Monday, Jan. 18. Publication will resume Wednesday, Jan. 20.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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