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Keeping the Focus on the Positive

Edutopia – Nina Parrish

“As a special educator with seven years’ experience as a public school teacher and now seven more as a private tutor, I’ve worked with students with huge academic and behavioral challenges. Often the discrepancies between their current performance and what is expected have been so large that anyone could point them out.” (more)

Thriving special education programs have these 7 elements

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Focusing on inclusion, using data, and forming partnerships are among the practices that can help make special education programs successful in schools, according to a report. “Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion,” from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), details the special education program philosophy behind 10 California charter public schools, how they implement best practices on their campuses, and what policy arrangements have allowed them to succeed.”(more)

In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video)

The Christian Science Monitor – Patrick Reilly

“On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of two parents of an autistic son, finding that his Colorado school district had failed to provide him with a “free and appropriate public education.” School districts are required to provide such an education under the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But the exact meaning of an “appropriate” education has remained unclear. In January, The Christian Science Monitor’s Henry Gass explained that some federal appeals courts have “held that the district is only required to provide educational benefits that are more than minimal or trivial,” while others have instead ruled that “schools must supply a ‘meaningful educational benefit.’” As a result, “it is unclear whether school districts have to provide ‘meaningful’ or just ‘more than trivial’ educational benefits to students.” In their unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court’s eight justices came down decisively against the “more than trivial” camp, a ruling that could bring major benefits to students with disabilities – especially those with “individualized education programs,” or IEPs.”(more)

Working memory as key to preventing misdiagnoses, overrepresentation of minorities in special education

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Researchers have found a link to growth in working memory and growth in English-language reading among young English-language learning students. The findings suggest better assessment and education that considers second language acquirement, and not just curriculum, could help prevent misdiagnoses of learning disabilities in minority students.”(more)

The Benefits of Flipped Classrooms for Students with Learning Needs

Education World – Jim Paterson

“It’s been about 10 years since the idea of flipping classrooms first gained its soaring popularity and good reviews – and in that time it’s also apparently grown to help students with special needs. Greg Green, perhaps the best-known administrator advocating for flipped classrooms, discovered the process (providing students with lessons at home in videos and then homework and support in the classroom) as he began his career—working in special education.”(more)

Creative Ways To Manage Paperwork Load For Special Education Teachers

KQED News Mind/Shift – Beth Brubaker

“This time last year, Stephanie Johnson was miserable. She was in her third year teaching special education at a junior high school in Lindon, Utah, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. On the outside it looked like she was doing great. Her classes ran smoothly, students loved her, parents loved her, but like many special education teachers, inside she felt as though she was drowning. She said she thought about leaving all the time: “I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just so much work. I just feel like I cannot do it.” It’s a very different Johnson I find this year at her new school, the Renaissance Academy, a charter school in the nearby city of Lehi. On a Friday afternoon, her classroom, which she shares with one other special education teacher, is empty of kids.”(more)