January Newsletter

Upper Moreland Township School District Special Education

Happy New Year!

January is a great time to make a resolution to increase or keep up your communication with parents. Send a monthly newsletter, make at least 5 phone calls per week or have your student's next writing project focus on creating a class newsletter.

To use Smore (where this newsletter is created) head to SMORE.com. There is a free version or a paid version to choose from. Also, Google docs can be utilized to create and edit newsletters. Consider using Google sheets to create a phone log to track your phone calls.

Whatever you decide, communication between home and school is a proven best practice for increasing student achievement scores. If you have any questions or would like more specific examples, feel free to email me. (mlutz@umtsd.org)

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Special Education Updates

IEP Team Waiver Procedures

As you prepare to hold an IEP meeting, make sure that the entire team is assembled. Remember, you must have the special education teacher, regular education teacher, LEA and parent at all meetings (including phone meetings)! However, if related service providers will not be present at the meeting, a waiver must be issued to the parents. In an attempt to make this process as smooth and legally compliant as possible, follow these steps:

1. Call the parent and let them know that a related service provider will not be present at the meeting. Let them know that the related service provider will contact them via email or phone to provide input.

2. Issue an Invitation to Participate that lists the waived members of the team with the waiver parent signature line.

3. Ask the parent to sign both the invitation and the waiver and return it to school with the child.

4. If the parent does not return the form, make sure to start the IEP meeting by explaining the waiver and asking the parent to sign. (Note: If the parent does not sign the waiver, the meeting stops and it must be rescheduled for when everyone on the team can be present.)

5. Remember, the special education teacher, regular education teacher, LEA and parent can NEVER be waived from attending the meeting.

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Reduced Price Museums

Pass this info along to your students and their families:

The following museums offer admission for an ACCESS Card (Medical Assistance) holder and three family members for $2.00 per person:

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

American Swedish Historical Museum

The Barnes Foundation

Betsy Ross House

Chanticleer Garden

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

The Franklin Institute

Franklin Square- Parx Liberty Carousel

Franklin Square- Philly Mini Golf


Historic Christ Church and Christ Church Burial Ground

Independence Seaport Museam

James A. Michener Art Museum

Liberty 360

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

National Constitutional Center

National Liberty Museum

National Museum of American Jewish History

Penn Museum

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Physick House

Please Touch Museum

Powel House

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden


Woodmere Art Museum

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"We are like snowflakes, all different in our own beautiful way." -Unknown

Waiving the Re-Evaluation

Is it time for the 2 or 3 year re-evaluation already? Are you thinking of issuing a waiver? If you are, take the time to answer these important questions:

1. Is the child continuing to make adequate progress?

2. Have you used specific tests to show the child's growth?

3. Have you consulted with the school psychologist?

If you and the school psychologist are comfortable with issuing a waiver, make sure that you include the following:

  • specific tests completed with the child (i.e. Key Math III, Bader)
  • specific information about progress that has been made (i.e. John has increased his math level from a 1.2 grade level to a 4.5 grade level during the last 3 academic school years.)
  • specific information about the child's disability category and why the child continues to be eligible as a student with special education needs (i.e. John continues to present as an eligible student for special education services. John was initially diagnosed with a specific learning disability in math. John has made slow and steady progress over the past 3 years with learning support services. However, he continues to show a discrepancy between his average intelligence scores and his low average to borderline math achievement scores.)

Testing Survey

Thank you to everyone that provided input on the Testing Survey. Your answers will help us plan to meet next year's needs!
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Tips and Tricks

Communicating with Students

One of the hallmarks of good teaching is in how you communicate with your students. Danielson's framework focuses on communication in Domain 3a. In order to improve your ability to communicate clearly with your students, check out some of these strategies:

-Post whats students will be learning in your class that day, not what they will be doing.

-Verbalize to students what they will be learning and why it is important.

-Give real life examples of the content you are teacher.

-Anticipate and plan for possible misunderstandings.

-Tell students where the lesson fits in with the big picture, what prior knowledge they will use and when students will need this in the future.

-Use metaphors and analogies to explain content so students can make connections.

-Ask students to re-explain directions and/or concepts.

-When distributing/posting written directions, make sure students are able to read and understand them.

-Ask students to explain what the topic of the lesson is and where it fits into the larger context of what they are learning.

-Speak clearly so that students can understand and hear you.

-When using informal speech, make a clear distinction between "home" language and "school" language.

-Use content specific and rich vocabulary for students to model.

-Model the process to be followed in the task.

-Describe specific strategies students might use. Invite students to interpret them in the context of what they are doing.

-Identify and clearly explain academic vocabulary.

-Use vocabulary that is age/developmentally appropriate.

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