Special Education Department

Proud to Teach Amazing Kids

March 18, 2016 Volume 3 Issue 26

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Mark your Calendar

March is:

National Social Work Month

Read Across America Month

Developmental Disabilities Month

Music in Our Schools Month

Student Art Month

Women's History Month

  • 3/19/16 EdCamp South Jersey
  • 3/24-3/29 Spring Break
  • 4/6 Reading Disabilities Advisory Committee Meeting
  • 4/8 Progress Reports completed by Davies Staff
  • 4/11 Hess Special Education Meeting
  • 4/12 Shaner Special Education Meeting
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Lite Rock Teacher of the Month

"Congratulations to Kelly Filoon, the Lite Rock Teacher of the Month for March. Ms. Filoon is a Special Ed teacher at Hess School in Mays Landing. She was nominated by her student Samantha Hassa for helping to make her a better reader and inspiring her to be successful in school. Kelly wins a membership to Island Gym and a Lite Rock pizza party for her class from Capri Pizza in Northfield. For submitting the nomination,Samantha Hassa is now qualified for a $2000 scholarship from Lite Rock." -Eddie Davis

Listen to Kelly's interview with Eddie Davis.

Sad News

Dr. Banks and Judy Testa both lost their mothers last weekend. Our thoughts are with them at this most difficult time.

The Great Bike Giveaway

Our former student, Dylan T, is trying to win an adaptive bike. Please click on the link to vote for Dylan. https://www.friendshipcircle.org/bikes/2016/02/dylan-t/

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National Social Work Month

Thank you to our fabulous Social Workers, Ann Bucknam and Revaé Burton! Many of you may not yet have met Revaé as she just took over for Ellen Wetzel in February. Here is a picture of Revaé so you can welcome her when you see her!
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PARCC Accommodations

On March 8th, the NJDOE sent the following letter about a newly released PARCC Accommodations PowerPoint which provides educators and parents with guidance and information on the selection and use of accommodations and accessibility features for the PARCC assessment- PARCC Accommodations: A New Resource for Educators and Parents.

This is actually a brief webinar (just over 26 minutes) which does help to clarify the options available to all students and to students with special needs.

Straight from the Code

In an effort to provide both general and special education teachers with more knowledge of special education, there will be an excerpt from the code each week to help clarify our processes.

This section addresses what occurs once it is determined that an evaluation is warranted.

6A:14-3.4 Evaluation

(e) After parental consent for initial evaluation of a preschool age or school age student has been received, the evaluation, determination of eligibility for services under this chapter, and, if eligible, development and implementation of the IEP for the student shall be completed within 90 calendar days.

(f) An initial evaluation shall consist of a multi-disciplinary assessment in all areas of suspected disability. Such evaluation shall include at least two assessments and shall be conducted by at least two members of the child study team in those areas in which they have appropriate training or are qualified through their professional licensure or 63 educational certification and other specialists in the area of disability as required or as determined necessary.


Autism Awareness Month is just around the corner and the events have already started. If you know an older student with autism, you may want to look into the Autism Family Services of NJ Scholarship.

Many thanks to Barb Barresi for organizing the Piece by Piece 5K Walk. We had a great time walking around and around and around the Hess School while raising money and awareness for autism!

"Thank you all so much for your participation in our Piece By Piece 5K Walk to benefit Autism Speaks. I have attached a few pictures of those of us who were able to complete the walk yesterday. I have delivered all medals and race bibs. I will be submitting one photo and our group time for our event. Virtual Strides has raised $21,000 for Autism Speaks. This is the most they have ever raised for any cause. Obviously, the importance of autism awareness and research resonates with many people. "Until all the pieces fit..."

-Barb Barresi

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Not Pictured: Dana Kozak, Jenn Padula, Sandra Liguori, Kelley Fera, Kelly King, Nick Gabriel, Katie Dooner Photographer: Eileen O'Sullivan

The Davies Self-Contained teachers are selling Autism Awareness T-shirts. If you are interested, see the order form below.

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Open eBooks

Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of popular and award-winning titles that are free for children from in-need households. Since our schools are Title 1 Schoolwide, all our students are eligible for this FREE program.

Thank you to Jessica Ward for trying this out and compiling a list of directions.

How to register for Open eBooks and purchase libraries:

1. Go to www.openebooks.net

2. Click Get Started

3. Click “I am a teacher at a Title I school”.

4. Fill out your information.

5. Percentage of low income students: 54% via free/reduced lunch data

6. Number of students in each grade is from the 2013-2014 NJ Performance Report (we’re only doing our school):

a. Pre-k: 184

b. 1st-3rd: 711

c. 4th-5th: 673

d. 6th-8th: 1,006

7. To “purchase” libraries, go to www.fbmarketplace.org and log in

8. Go to Nonbook items.

9. Click on open ebooks and add whichever collection you want to your cart (elementary, middle school, or high school). 1 collection=1 code so you need to “purchase” multiple libraries. Ex: if you have 24 students you would need to “purchase” 24 libraries and you’ll receive 24 codes.

10. Click View Cart to check out

11. You’ll get an email with the codes/pins and a parent letter to send home.

12. Download the openebook app, log in with the code/pin, and browse hundreds of books!

Thank you to Anne Nelson and Joe Gorgo for trouble shooting some issues with the iPads.

  • FAQs
  • Why am I having trouble downloading the Open eBooks app, logging in, or downloading ebooks?
    • First, check that your Wi-Fi connection is strong. It is also possible that your school has set up a firewall on their computers and devices to prevent certain types of downloads. Check with the school administration or IT team about changing those settings, or have them contact us.
  • Can I use Open eBooks on my Kindle, Nook, or desktop computer?
    • Unfortunately, no. Open eBooks is only compatible with Apple or Android mobile devices since it works with the iOS or Android operating system.
  • How do I report issues I come across in the app?
    • To report an issue while using the app, click on the "More" icon on the bottom right of the app's home screen. Next, click on "Help", and then on "Report an issue", which should appear in red font.
  • I just requested my free codes from the First Book Marketplace. When will I receive confirmation and my codes?
    • When you place a Marketplace order you will receive a confirmation email immediately. Due to a high volume of requests, it may take up to 24 hours for your additional Open eBooks confirmation email to arrive. This message will include your codes and PINs, as well as the parent letter to share with families.
  • Can I request more codes so that I can give one to each of my students?
    • Of course! Open eBooks is designed for educators and program staff to assign one unique code to each child they serve. You may request as many free codes as you need, and up to 500 codes per order.

    Professional Development

    Free, Fabulous PD!

    EdCamp South Jersey 2016 @ William Davies Middle School Saturday, March 19

    Free WebBriefs:

    Differentiated Instruction: What NOT to Do (Grades 3-12)

    March 30, 2016 4:00-4:30 PM

    Developing Content Knowledge with Literacy Centers (Grades 4-8)

    April 19, 2016 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

    Free Webinars:

    NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) recorded webinars

    Success for Every Learner: From At-Risk to Successful

    Paid Workshops:

    At this time the district is unable to approve any workshops that involve a cost including those for ETTC hours unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    Here is the information about an upcoming dyslexia workshop that is on a Saturday. If you are interested, you would have to pay to attend.

    Facets of Dyslexia: Third Annual Dyslexia Conference Saturday, April 16

    sponsored by Cooper Learning Center

    Grants and Contests

    Be a Backyard Superhero Contest

    Nominate your school secretary for Administrative Professionals Day!

    Nominate a K-6 teacher for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Awardees are recognized as leaders in improving mathematics and science education. They will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation, as well as attend special events and professional development opportunities. Deadline for nominations is April 1, and applications must be submitted by May 1, 2016.

    Dollar General Literacy Grants

    Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes

    NJCIE’s 7th Annual INCLUSION WORKS! Poster Contest

    From the Department of Education

    Student Services Snippets

    Critical Information for ALL staff is contained in these short screencasts. They run from 4.5 to 8 minutes. Please refer to them as needed. Two new screencasts have been added.

    Accessing IEPs and 504 Plans


    Learning Ally

    Working with Paraprofessionals NEW!

    Critical Information for Paraprofessionals NEW!

    If there is other information you feel it would be helpful for us to share via screencast, please let us know.

    Learning Ally

    Learning Ally provides audiobooks for students with a print disability, visual impairment or medical issue. All three of our schools have received a FREE subscription to Learning Ally this year. If you have a student who might benefit from access to audiobooks and textbooks, click on the link for a brief screencast (7 minutes) about Learning Ally. https://youtu.be/6nyj0ZL_xRs