February Newsletter

Upper Moreland Township School District Special Education

Happy February!

It may be the shortest month of the year, but you can still pack a lot of instruction into February!

Sometimes, in education, lecture format can't be avoided to convey important, need-to-know information. Carmine Gallo, author of, Talk Like Ted, analyzed hundreds of Ted Talks and found that the most successful presentations shared three common characteristics:

1. Emotion- the presentation touches your heart

2. Novel- the presentation teaches you something

3. Memorable- the content is presented in a way that you will never forget.

During the sweetest month of the year, I challenge you to create presentations in your classroom that hit all three of these characteristics. You just might find a re-energized audience hanging on your every word!

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Important Reminders

Specially Designed Instruction

Sometimes, the SDI page seems to be an "everything under the sun" blanket group of statements. But it shouldn't be! Specially Designed Instruction should be individualized for each student to reflect their unique and current needs. When determining what SDI's to include on the IEP, ask yourself:

1. What does this child need to be successful in their classroom?

2. How could the environment or assignment be modified to help them achieve?

3. What can I or the general education teacher do to help this child be more successful?

Here are some examples:

Suzy has focusing issues and often stares into space. She frequently doesn't complete her assignments and never writes down her homework. In addition, she struggles with her math facts. Appropriate SDI's for Suzy include:

  • use of a calculator to complete math assignments
  • teaching prompting during individual and group assignments
  • daily teacher signature on assignment book to ensure that homework is copied
  • seating away from distractions in the classroom
  • small group reteaching opportunities for new math concepts

Dan struggles with reading and writing. He has a difficult time sounding out words when reading aloud and cannot write full sentences. Appropriate SDI's for Dan include:

  • use of a research based reading curriculum
  • extended time to complete writing assignments
  • scribe spoken thoughts during writing activities
  • Small group reteaching opportunities for new reading words
  • repetition of new words and concepts
  • favor quality over quantity in written assignments

Make sure that your SDI's match the information about a child. For example, a student that rushes through tests and always finishes first should not have extended time as an SDI. Also, ensure that the SDI's are for today's student, not what the student may need in the future. (i.e. Student doesn't need or use extended time, but they might want it for the SAT test, 4 years from now.) Focus on the here and now, not some undetermined date in the future!

And remember, whatever you put as an SDI, we are legally obligated to provide. So make sure that you, as the case manager, can offer and monitor all of the SDI's that are included on the IEP.

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Food Bank Information

Know a family that has food insecurities? Here are the major food banks in the nearby area that may be able to help!

Beth Sholom Congregation Mitzvah Food Pantry

215-887-1342 x107

8231 Old York Road Elkins Park, PA 19027

Wednesday, 1- 3 pm

Bucks County Housing Group Doylestown Food Pantry


470 Old Dublin Pike Doylestown, PA 18901

Sunday 10:30am-1pm Wednesday 5:30-8pm Thursday 10:30am-1:30pm

Calvary Assembly of God


7910 Washington Lane Wyncote, PA 19095

2nd Tuesday, 9 am - 11 am

Coordinating Council of Health and Welfare Emergency Food Cupboard


75 Downey Drive, Warminster, PA 18974

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m

Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church


2086 Parkview Avenue Abington, PA 19001

Monday – Friday 11:00am – 1:00pm

Jenkintown United Methodist


328 Summit Avenue Jenkintown, PA 19046

Thursday 12 pm - 2 pm

Jesus Focus Ministry


1150 Bristol Road Southampton, PA 18966

Monday through Friday 9:00 am - 11:30pm

Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard


150 N. Main Street Ambler, PA 19002

Monday & Wednesday, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

New Britain Baptist Church Food Larder


22 East Butler Avenue New Britain, PA 18901

Monday and Wednesday 9:00 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

North Hills Food Cupboard


212 Girard Ave. North Hills. PA 19038

Thursday, 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Seeds of Hope Community Pantry


1601 North Limekiln Pike, Dresher PA 19025

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesday 7 – 9 p.m. Friday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. John Bosco Catholic Parish Center


215 E. County Line Road Hatboro, PA 19040

Mondays 9am-12pm Thursdays 1pm-3pm

The Food Pantry at St. John’s Lutheran


505 N York Rd, Hatboro, PA 19040

1st and 3rd Monday of the Month – 4pm – 6pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – 10:30am – 2:30pm

Willow Grove SDA Church


1556 Fairview Avenue Willow Grove, PA 19090

3rd Thursday, 11 am - 2 pm

YWCA of Bucks County Bucks Landing Family Center Food Pantry – Apt. L4-4


120 E. Street Road, Warminster, PA 18974

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m

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"It takes a big heart to help shape little minds." -Unknown

The Re-Evaluation Process

Are you in the process of completing a re-evaluation for one of your students? Here are some tips to help you stay compliant:

  1. Determine whether to review records or request additional testing (consult with your building psychologist)
  2. Issue a Permission to Re-Evaluate (consult your building psychologist for specific wording, don't forget that N/A is not acceptable--see above)
  3. Complete all boxes on the re-evaluation form, include IEP testing (i.e. KTEA results, transition surveys, Reading probes, attendance data, grades, PSSA or Keystone scores, parent input etc.)
  4. Send home the re-evaluation report along with a copy of the procedural safeguards for the parent to read over.
  5. Schedule an IEP meeting within 30 days of the date of the re-evaluation report to update and change the IEP based on the most current evaluation report.

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Tips and Tricks

Checklist for Engaging Students in Lectures

Many teachers feel that the lecture method of instruction cannot result in student engagement at a high level. Although teachers shouldn't use any method of teaching exclusively, you can make a lecture or mini-lecture more engaging for students.

As you plan a lesson in which you will deliver a portion in a lecture-based format, incorporate the following characteristics into your lecture. Check off each item as you embed it in your planning.

  • Present the lecture topic and the learning goals before the beginning of the lecture.
  • Invite students to self-assess what they already know about the topic and elicit a few of these responses.
  • During the lecture, require everyone to take notes. For younger students, supply a partial outline that they complete during the lecture.
  • Use visual aids, such as pictures, media and graphic organizers, to complement the lecture.
  • At various points in the lecture, ask a question that requires students to refer back to their notes to respond.
  • When asking questions during the lecture, call on non-volunteers.
  • Midway through the lecture, ask a reflection question. Have students either write a response to it or share their thinking with an elbow partner.
  • At the conclusion of the lecture, ask students to reflect in silence for a few moments to think, formulate a question, make a suggestion, or record their thoughts on the topic.

Source: Implementing the Framework for Teaching, ASCD

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