Special Education Department

Proud to Teach Amazing Kids

May 13, 2016 Volume 3 Issue 32

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Mark your Calendar


Better Speech and Hearing Month

Mental Health Month

5/18 Davies Special Education Meeting

5/20 Budget sheets due to special ed chairpersons

5/30 Memorial Day

6/14 Last Day of School


Big News:

READ 180 National Award

See below. Laura Uccellini has won a national award for her progress in the READ 180 program. Congratulations to Laura! Many thanks to Amy Carter for nominating Laura!

School Nutrition Review

Our Food Services Department was recently monitored by the state and received an exemplary review. Congratulations to Bill Trackman and his staff!

I want to take time to thank my awesome staff, especially Hess "A Team" for a great review from the USDA! My secretary, Mary, also deserves applause for an exemplary review as determining official. It takes a great team, who has tremendous pride in what they do, to get such high commendations from the State. I also want to thank the Board, Administrators, and Staff who support our efforts. It is a true pleasure to work in Hamilton Township!

-Bill Trackman, Food Service Director

Sad News:

Karen Santora lost her father this week. Our thoughts are with her at this most difficult time.


We are always looking for teacher, nurse and paraprofessional substitutes. If you know anyone who is interested, please have that person call the personnel office at 476-6247.

180 Awards- Press Release

Local middle school student receives national award for achieving huge reading literacy gains

Laura Uccellini of William Davies Middle School is celebrated for increasing her average reading Lexile scores by an incredible 913 points

Mays Landing, New Jersey – May 10, 2016 – Laura Uccellini, an 8th grade student at William Davies Middle School, has been named one of only 15 recipients of the prestigious 2016 180 Student Awards. The awards, now in their tenth year, honor students across the United States for turning their lives around by achieving reading and math literacy using intensive intervention programs READ 180, MATH 180 and System 44. Laura stood out in the application process for her determination and positive attitude that has resulted in incredible academic gains with Lexile growth of 913 points. She now sees reading as an enjoyment and not just as a required skill that she feared and dreaded.

“Laura sets goals for herself and each time she met a goal the fire that was under her was ignited,” said Amy Carter, 7th and 8th grade READ 180 Special Education teacher. “With her newfound confidence and willingness to work hard, Laura set her sights on another goal and has been accepted into one of the area high schools’ magnet programs. Laura’s hard work, determination and belief in herself will now be tied together to create opportunities for a career and her future.”

Laura will receive a $1,000 prize to be used toward her education, while the Hamilton Township School District will receive $1,000 worth of HMH educational materials for use in classrooms.

“As I have grown, I have learned that with reading you can learn more with every flip of a page,” said Laura. “My writing skills have increased immensely in the last two years, letting me move toward my goals.”

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Better Speech and Hearing Month

Vocal Hygiene Tips for Teachers shared by Lindsay Laielli

This Information was found at the following website: http://www.nyee.edu/patient-care/otolaryngology/voice-swallowing/at-risk/teachers

Did you know that teaching is one of the most vocally-demanding professions? It demands long periods of speaking, speaking in competition with background noise (including students), few opportunities for resting your voice, and extra vocal burdens such as lunch duty, tutoring, and parent/teacher conferences. As a result, teachers are among the highest risk group for voice problems.

Here are some additional suggestions for teachers:

  1. Hydrate: People are more dehydrated than they think. Make an effort to carry water with you throughout the day. Try to sip a small amount frequently rather than gulping down a large amount at once. Replace coffee, tea, sodas with water.
  2. Vocal Warm-Up: Your voice should be warmed up before teaching. Just as a singer or actor warms up their voice before a performance to maintain a healthy voice, the teacher should similarly get his or her voice ready for the classroom "performance" demands. Read about many types of exercises that you can perform from our Vocal Warm Ups page.
  3. Vocal Rest: Balance the vocal demands of teaching with vocal rest. You would not expect yourself to be able to participate in a sport every day without some rest periods in between. So too, your voice production system needs rest. If possible, schedule one to two hours of complete voice rest after you finish teaching for the day. Limit extraneous voice use on those days when your voice is feeling particularly tired. That means no singing to the radio, limiting telephone calls, avoiding noisy social environments, and generally concentrating more on listening than speaking during conversations.
  4. Limit Background Noise: Quiet the class environment as much as possible. Speaking against background noise is quite difficult, and puts a significant added strain on your voice production system. We know, of course, that many aspects about the physical classroom and location are beyond your control - noisy ventilation systems, street noise, and the challenge of managing students, to name just a few of the factors. Get together with other teachers in your school to brainstorm ideas for managing environmental noise.
  5. Non-Vocal Strategies: Use non-vocal signals to gain attention of the students, whenever possible. Flashing room lights, clapping hands or ringing a bell are easy alternatives to yelling for attention. Sometimes even standing quietly is enough to get a few of the students' attention and then those students will quiet the rest of the class.

May is Mental Health Month 2016

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Mental Health First Aid Tip of the Week

How to Communicate Effectively with Young People (cont.)

7. Do not ask the young person to justify or explain his/her behavior.

Young people often act without thinking about the consequences and later realize that they made a mistake. Asking "why" can put young people on the defensive. Asking why they rode down a hill in a shopping cart or threw a party without permission is not as useful as talking about how such behavior could be avoided next time.

6. Watch your body language.

This is always important, no matter who you are talking to. However, with a young person, body language needs extra attention because you may be silently communicating that you, as an adult, are the expert. Defensive or authoritarian body language (arms crossed, hands on hips, standing over the young person) will make it very hard to have a useful conversation. If the young person seems relaxed and open, try to match their body language. if the young person appears defensive, make your body language as open as possible by appearing relaxed, keeping your palms out, sitting alongside but angled toward the young person, and keeping your voice calm and low.

-Youth Mental Health First Aid

To be continued...


Check out PBIS World for information on many types of behaviors and strategies to address them.

Learning Ally- Summer Reading

"Ready, Set, Read!"

Get your students and parents READY for summer reading by sharing this printable letter explaining how to access audiobooks at home. Find more inspiration and learn what is coming soon, including twenty prizes for top readers, at LearningAlly.org/Summer.

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. If you would like to access the entire code, go to http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf

14 Disabilities defined in the code:

1. Auditorily Impaired

2. Autistic

3. Intellectually Disabled

6A:14-3.5(c)3 "Intellectually disabled" means a disability that is characterized by significantly below average general cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior; manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student's educational performance and is characterized by one of the following:

i. "Mild intellectual disability" means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior in home, school, and community settings that are mildly below age expectations with respect to all of the following:

(1) The quality and rate of learning;

(2) The use of symbols for the interpretation of information and the solution of problems; and

(3) Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls within a range of two to three standard deviations below the mean.

ii. "Moderate intellectual disability" means a level of cognitive development and adaptive behavior that is moderately below age expectations with respect to the following:

(1) The ability to use symbols in the solution of problems of low complexity;

(2) The ability to function socially without direct and close supervision in home, school and community settings; and

(3) Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that falls three standard deviations or more below the mean.

iii. "Severe intellectual disability" means a level of functioning severely below age expectations whereby in a consistent basis the student is incapable of giving evidence of understanding and responding in a positive manner to simple directions expressed in the child's primary mode of communication and cannot in some manner express basic wants and needs.

4. Communication Impaired

5. Emotionally Disturbed

6. Multiply Disabled

7. Deaf/blindness

8. Orthopedically Disabled

9. Other Health Impaired

10. Preschool Child with a Disability

11. Social Maladjustment

12. Specific Learning Disability

13. Traumatic Brain Injury

14. Visually Impaired

Over the next few weeks, each of these terms will be described.

2015 First Through Third Grade Implementation Guidelines

The New Jersey Department of Education, in partnership with Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education and the National Institute for Early Education Research, have developed First through Third Grade Implementation Guidelines with funding provided by the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant. The purpose of these guidelines is to outline best practices in the primary years of schooling and to assist educators with fusing practices that are both academically rigorous and developmentally appropriate. These guidelines are the product of a collaboration that spans local school districts, state and federal agencies, and higher education.

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.

Accessing IEPs and 504 Plans


Learning Ally

Working with Paraprofessionals

Critical Information for Paraprofessionals

Filling Out Requisition Forms

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