Special Education Department

Proud to Teach Amazing Kids

April 8, 2016 Volume 3 Issue 28

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Mark your Calendar

April is:

Autism Awareness Month

National Poetry Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • 4/8 Progress Reports completed by Davies Staff
  • 4/11 Hess Special Education Meeting
  • 4/11 #HTSDchat 8:00-8:30 PM
  • 4/12 Shaner Special Education Meeting
  • 4/14 Early Dismissal- Staff Professional Development
  • 4/15 No School for Students- Staff Professional Development
  • 4/20 Davies Special Education Meeting
  • 4/22 Paraprofessional of the Year Dinner
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Sad News

Kris Ellison recently lost her brother. Our thoughts are with her and her family at this most difficult time.

Happy News

Congratulations to Jackie Lautato on earning her BCBA certificate!

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*If you have news you would like to share, please let me know!


Remember: If the teacher is calm, the students will be calm! (mostly:)

What's Different This Year

PARCC Parent Checklist
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IEP Refresher

When writing an IEP for a student, remember the process (see below).

1- Consider all data.

2- Based on that data, determine the specific needs of the student.

3- Based on the needs of the student, develop goals and objectives to address the needs.

4- Based on all of the above information, determine the services needed for the student to achieve the goals and objectives.

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Mental Health First Aid Tip of the Week

Listening Nonjudgmentally

When you listen nonjudgmentally, you give someone in crisis a safe space to express or explore difficult feelings. Be mindful of:
1) Your attitudes: practice acceptance, genuineness and empathy.
2) Effective communication skills: asking questions, not interrupting and maintaining eye contact are all things that can help.

-National Council for Behavioral Health

Professional Development Day- EdCamp Style

On April 15th we will be having our first ever, district-wide, EdCamp style, Professional Development Day. In an EdCamp, anyone can lead or facilitate a session on any topic pertinent to education. Being the leader or facilitator simply means you start the conversation. There are no formal presentations. This is an opportunity to have discussions with your colleagues where you can dialogue about ideas, ask questions, share resources, etc. A frequent lament of school staff members is that we do not have enough time to talk with our peers about topics that are pertinent to us. Let's take full advantage of this opportunity. Perhaps you will choose to facilitate a session. Perhaps you will choose to be a participant. Either way, start thinking about topics you would like to see on the session board. Talk to your colleagues. Get excited! Plan to have an outstanding day!

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.

Once the Child Study Team has completed the testing, reports must be sent to the parents and an eligibility meeting must be scheduled. Parents must get the reports 10 days prior to the meeting. A student cannot be found eligible if the issue is caused by a lack of instruction in math or reading or if the primary issue is limited English proficiency. A student shall be found eligible if he/she meets ALL of the following 3 criteria:

1- The student has one or more of the 14 disabilities listed in the code;

2- the disability adversely affects the student's educational performance; AND

3- the student requires special education and related services.

6A:14-3.5 Determination of eligibility for special education and related services

(a) When an initial evaluation is completed for a student age three through 21, a meeting according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(k)1 shall be convened to determine whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. A copy of the evaluation report(s) and documentation and information that will be used for a determination of eligibility shall be given to the parent not less than 10 calendar days prior to the meeting. If eligible, the student shall be assigned the classification "eligible for special education and related services." Eligibility shall be determined collaboratively by the participants described in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(k)1.

(b) In making a determination of eligibility for special education and related services, a student shall not be determined eligible if the determinant factor is due to a lack of instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction, or math or due to limited English proficiency.

(c) A student shall be determined eligible and classified "eligible for special education and related services" under this chapter when it is determined that the student has one or more of the disabilities defined in (c)1 through 14 below; the disability adversely affects the student's educational performance and the student is in need of special education and related services. Classification shall be based on all assessments conducted including assessment by child study team members and assessment by other specialists as specified below.

The disabilities will be listed next week.

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and tomorrow is World Autism Day. Let's spread awareness of autism and share information about services for students with autism.


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  • Autism Ribbon Pretzel Sale for Staff on PD Day- $1/pretzel
  • Blow Bubbles for Autism

-April 28- Davies and Shaner Schools

-April 29- Hess School

Bulletin Boards and Displays

There are many beautiful autism awareness displays in the schools! One will be highlighted in the newsletter each week. This amazing display was done by the Davies staff.

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National Poetry Month Ideas

There are lots of great ideas for National Poetry Month on the Scholastic website. The Poetry Idea Engine is really cool. It explains and assists students in creating haikus, limericks and cinquains. There are good tips for How to Read a Poem. There is even information about Playing with Poetry in the Preschool Classroom.

Professional Development

Free WebBriefs:

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

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

Q & A: Exploring Solutions to Your Math Instructional Challenges (Grades 1-3)

April 27, 2016 4:00-4:30 PM

Diagnosing Struggling Student Math Errors (Grades 3-5)

April 28, 2016 4:00-4:30 PM

Free Webinars:

The Epic Guide to Student Engagement: Developing Student-Centered Activities with Choice and Inquiry

April 13, 2016 4:00-5:00 PM

The Impact of Oral Language on Reading Development

April 14, 2016 3:30-4:30 PM (or on demand)

Log in to Learning Ally for access

Engaging All Learners: 5 Steps to Creating More Inclusive Classrooms

Thursday, April 14, 2016 3:00 -4:00 PM

Assistive Technology Supports for Struggling Writers: Apps, software tools, and more!

April 20, 2016 3:00-4:00 PM (or on demand)

Log in to Learning Ally for access

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

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