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Do you have a headache?
So what gives you a headache? This week's polling question asks that question. We need to know that answer so CASE can, if possible, help you find the right resources to either eliminate or at least ameliorate the pain! If you don't see your headache producer listed, would you take the time to either email me or go on Facebook and start a discussion about it? We try to address as many of those "headache" producers by making sure you have the most up-to-date information as possible. We get that information to you through this email, our Facebook page, our website, our quarterly newsletter and our bi-annual Journal. We also get this content to your through our conferences and other professional development opportunities! Over the years, the headache producers change. One that is maybe not as quite as big as in the early years but still one we all would most likely put in the top 10 is legal! CASE has had an attorney article in our quarterly newsletter for 12 years and our very first webinar years ago was by an attorney and our most successful webinars were always on a legal issue. The CASE spotlight session at the CEC convention has been by Julie Weatherly, Esq. for the last 8 years at least and is always one of the most well attended session of all the CEC sessions each year. So often the best way to stay out of legal trouble is by taking preventative steps and the very best one is to make sure everyone understands the legal requirements! For that reason, we are devoting an entire day to legal issues at our 4th Annual Hybrid Conference. Julie Weatherly will be joined by Denise Lowell-Britt (AZ). Julie will start the day with a 90 minute update and then we will have a time of questions and conversation. Then Denise will address LRE, Transition, Dispute Resolution and then Julie will discuss Student discipline (suspension/expulsion), Parent involvement, and Child Find. Surely these six topics are ones everyone at the school and district level need to hear! So often the very persons who need to get a refresher course are the ones who can't get away. By being a virtual site, your assistant principals and others will be much more likely to get the information they need! Hopefully decreasing your likelihood of one more headache!

Speaking of the weekly Poll... This past week the poll question was, "What do you know about your state's SSIP?" First, I hope everyone knows that SSIP stands for State Systematic Improvement Plan. Forty percent of those answering the question said they knew nothing about their own SSIP and another 20 percent said they knew very little — that is 60 percent! Only 7 percent said they were actually on the state planning team and another 27 percent said they were very knowledgeable about the SSIP. This is an important part of the federal and state reporting local directors will be doing in the next 5 years! According to the OSEP website, "the Office of Special Education Programs has revised its accountability system to shift the balance from a system focused primarily on compliance to one that puts more emphasis on results. RDA has three components:
  • State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Reports, which measures results and compliance. States are currently developing State Systematic Improvement Plans, designed to improve outcomes in targeted areas.
  • Determinations, which reflect state performance on results, as well as compliance.
  • Differentiated monitoring and support for all states, but especially low performing states."
There are seven core principles for RDA. You can click here for the full version of those principles.

This topic will be a major focus of our 4th Annual Hybrid conference. Seems like many of us need to be making plans to participate in this conference either in Phoenix or as a virtual site! For more information, go to the CASE website or look at the article below!

Today is the last day for the CEC early bird registration! Will you be attending the CEC Conference in San Diego, California, April 8-12? Have you registered? If not, the early bird rate is still available but only until Jan. 26. And remember to be sure you plan your trip to arrive in time to attend the CASE membership meeting starting with breakfast, sponsored by Scholastic, on Wednesday, April 8! Also, we are so excited about the amazing CASE Night we have planned this year — Dinner at the world famous San Diego Zoo! Sponsors, Star Autism, C8 Sciences and VizZle, have outdone themselves with this great event. We believe this event will sell out so be sure to mark your calendar for Feb. 1 when the ticket go on sale on the CASE website! Julie Weatherly will be doing our spotlight session again this year. Watch for all the great CASE events at CEC in the weeks ahead!


Luann Purcell
Executive Director
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Legal Issues, RDA and Leading by Convening ... Who wants to go to Phoenix, Arizona, in mid-February?! With the brutally cold temperatures so many of you are experiencing — and even those of us in the south are having cold days we aren't used to for even this time of year — Phoenix is sounding pretty good! The 4th Annual CASE Hybrid Conference, Feb. 19-20 will be held in Phoenix this year! The theme is RESULTS DRIVEN ACCOUNTABILITY: Actualizing the Promise through Practice with the daily themes being:
    Legal Issues: Actualizing the Promise — Thursday Feb.19
    Leading by Convening: Actualizing the Practice — Friday Feb. 20
The two main speakers are long time CASE friends, Julie Weatherly, Esq. and Dr. Joanne Cashman. There will be other great speakers including Denise Lowell-Britt, Esq, Ruth Ryder, Deputy Director, OSEP; State Special Education Directors, Angela Denning (AZ) and Debbie Gay (GA) as well as others. It is critical that we get the information presented out to general education — especially principals and assistant principals — special education administrators, teachers — especial those just starting on their career ladder — as well as to community/business people and parents! Click here for a flyer on the conference. For more information and to register, go to the CASE website or the registration website. Remember, for just $25 more on your full registration, you can have the DVD of the complete conference to use over and over and over!

But, wait ... If you can't travel, why not have your own mini conference. You pay one registration fee and then have as many people as you wish to participate with you — what a really great way to connect face to face and build teams for sustainable change?! We have even made up a set of HINTS for you to use to get you started. Click here for a tentative schedule but remember this one is in Eastern Time, if you are in other time zones, change the times accordingly. We will be providing schedules by time zones on the website in the next week to make it easier for you. We will also provide a flyer for you to customize to publicize your event. As part of the CASE strategic plan, our goal is to get the best information out to the most people. Go to the CASE website for more information, or contact Will Gordillo, CASE Professional Development chair at


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Upcoming webinar
On Jan. 29 from 3:00-4:15 p.m. ET, the National Center on Intensive Intervention in collaboration with the National Center on Systemic Improvement will host a free webinar, Making Fractions Make Sense: Considerations for Secondary and Intensive Intervention. This webinar presented by Drs. Russell Gersten, Sarah Powell and Robin Finelli Schumacher, will discuss the importance of fractions instruction and typical challenges faced by students, share recommendations for fractions instruction, and provide considerations for supporting students within secondary or Tier 2 and intensive intervention. Content for this webinar will draw on the Institute of Education Sciences practice guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for K-8, research on Tier 2 fractions instruction from the IES funded Center for Improving Learning of Fractions, and the National Center on Intensive Intervention's data-based individualization approach. Click here to register for the upcoming webinar. If you are unable to attend the live event, an archived version of the webinar will be posted on our website following the event.
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50 Ways to Test: A look at state summative assessments for 2014-2015
Education Commission of the States
Has the frenzy around Common Core State Standards impacted decisions on which state summative assessments are being administered this year? That's the question on many minds as we approach spring testing time. As many states began adopting college and career ready standards, such as the Common Core State Standards, there became a subsequent need to develop new summative assessments — tests that measure the new skills and knowledge outlined in the new standards.
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Teacher Educators and Accomplished teachers
Pearson is in need of educators to score edTPA! edTPA is designed for the profession by the profession, edTPA was developed by teachers and teacher educators from across the nation, in collaboration with faculty and staff from Stanford University, to support candidate learning and preparation program growth and renewal. Aligned with the Common Core State Standards and InTASC Standards, edTPA assesses teaching that promotes student learning in diverse contexts.
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Request for proposals: 20th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Proposals are now being accepted for the 20th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health to be held Nov. 5-7 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. The theme of the conference is Getting Jazzed about School Mental Health — Celebrating 20 Years of Advancing School Mental Health. The annual conference will offer attendees numerous opportunities to advance knowledge and skills related to school mental health practice, research, training and policy. The conference emphasizes a shared school-family-community agenda to bring high quality and evidence-based mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention to students and families. The intended audience for the conference includes clinicians, educators, administrators, youth and family members, researchers, primary care providers, advocates and other youth-serving professionals. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 20 — all proposals must be submitted online,

The conference is hosted by the Center for School Mental Health and the IDEA Partnership (funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education).

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Midwest Symposium Conference
Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders
On Feb, 26-28 the 33rd annual Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders will be held at the Sheraton Crown Center, in Kansas City, MO. The keynote will be Dr. John W. Maag who will speak on "Resistance to change: Overcoming limitations toward addressing student's challenging behaviors." There will also be 45 other workshops and session on topics including: Tantrums and meltdowns; Escape and avoidance behavior; Trauma informed intervention; Preschool for young children with behavioral needs; Culture, behavior and disproportionality; Violence against teachers; bullying prevention and intervention; Legal issues related to behavior; and many others. Detailed information and registration is available at:
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A Principal's Guide to Special Education, Third Edition now available
Council for Exceptional Children
A Principal's Guide to Special Education has provided guidance to school administrators seeking to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The third edition of this invaluable reference, incorporating the perspectives of both teachers and principals, addresses such current issues as teacher accountability and evaluation, instructional leadership, collaborative teaching and learning communities, discipline procedures for students with disabilities and responding to students' special education needs within a standards-based environment. Get your copy today! Enter code PRCASE at checkout.
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Things You Cannot Do With an iPad
The LOGAN® PROXTALKER® communication device is ideal for any picture exchange system user, of any age and is being used for communication or as a classroom tool.
A web-based system that addresses the challenge of intervention scheduling in the schools. It's designed for anyone who needs to schedule and document interventions. MORE

Have you filled all your vacancies yet?
If you haven't visited the CASE interactive job board at the CASE Career Center, now is a good time to do so! With its focus on special education administrators and professionals, the CASE Career Center offers members, and school districts, a highly targeted resource for online recruitment. Both members and nonmembers can use the CASE Career Center to reach qualified candidates. Employers can post jobs online, search for qualified candidates based on specific job criteria, and create an online resume agent to email qualified candidates daily. They also benefit from online reporting providing job activity statistics to track each job posting's return on investment.

For job seekers, CASE Career Center is a free service providing access to employers and jobs in education. In addition to posting their resumes, job seekers can browse or view jobs based on the criteria they find matches their goals best. Job seekers can also post confidentially with confidence or search anonymously by creating a Job Agent. Job Agents notify job seekers via email when jobs matching their criteria are posted eliminating the need to visit their online accounts daily to track new postings. Click here to go to the main site to either learn of new jobs, post your resume, or post your positions. There is a modest fee for posting positions on the site but we believe you will have a greater reach with this dedicated career center on our website — click here to become a job poster.

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Recruiting nominations for DLD Fleischner & Outstanding Educator awards at CEC
It's that time of year again! The Division for Learning Disabilities is recruiting nominees for the Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award and for the Outstanding Educator of the Year award. Please see below for descriptions of each award and note that both include a travel stipend to help ensure the winners can attend the DLD business meeting at CEC to receive their award in person. We have extended the deadline for these nominations to Feb. 10.

Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award
The Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award honors those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research or organizational leadership throughout their career. Up to three awards may be given annually to recognize a variety of contributions. The award consists of (a) a $500 stipend, (b) up to $500 in travel expenses for presentation of the award at the DLD business meeting held during CEC's annual convention, and (c) a commemorative plaque. Nominations for this award are due 25 January annually. Extended to Feb. 10.

Outstanding Educator of the Year Award
Outstanding Educator-of-the-Year Awards are designed to recognize outstanding professionals who serve students with learning disabilities. Nominees may be special educators, general educators, administrators, or other educators who have spent at least 5 years serving students with learning disabilities at any grade level. The award consists of, (a) a $200 stipend, (b) up to $500 in travel expenses for presentation of the award at the DLD business meeting, held during CEC's annual convention, and (c) a commemorative plaque. Nominations are due 25 January annually. Extended to Feb. 10.

Please visit to download the application and feel free to contact Dr. Rebecca Zumeta ( if you have any questions.

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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Learning disabilities: An easy way to avoid homework's pitfalls (By: Howard Margolis)
PARCC prep: A better way to teach compare and contrast (MiddleWeb)
Obama to seek limits on student data mining (Politico)
Strategies for getting and keeping the brain's attention (Edutopia)
Can schools cultivate a student's ability to think differently? (MindShift)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

CEC Policy Insider

State of the Union highlights improvements in education: Present and future
CEC Policy Insider
During the State of the Union, President Barack Obama made note of important improvements at the start of his address, "Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years."
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ESEA reauthorization is on the move in the Senate
CEC Policy Insider
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing, "Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability." Last week Senate HELP Chairman Alexander released his 387 page ESEA reauthorization discussion draft, entitled "Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015."
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State personnel development grant competition: Extension of the application period
CEC Policy Insider
On Dec. 15, 2014, The Federal Register published a notice inviting applications for new awards under the SPDG competition. The purpose of this program, which was authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is to assist State educational agencies in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.
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A New Solution for Creating Effective Behavior Interventions

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    Hot Topics

    Making the grade: Reading becomes a joy for special needs students
    Atlanta Journal Constitution
    For many readers, nothing compares with getting lost in a good book. But despite their desire to do so, many special needs students face challenges that make reading a pain instead of a pleasure. Not only are they locked out of the world of Harry Potter; they're also apt to be behind in their classes. "Most of school is reading, so many students with comprehension or expression problems — particularly those with dyslexia — are locked out," said Jennifer Topple, director of assistive technology at the Howard School on Atlanta's Westside. "The decoding part — sounding words out — is very difficult because their systems are not set up to do that smoothly."
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    Warning signs for a learning disability: Short attention span, plus 7 others
    Medical Daily
    Nearly one in 10 American children under the age of 18 has some type of learning disability — a disorder that affects a child's ability to understand or use language, make mathematical calculations, maintain attention, and even coordinate body movements. Learning disabilities arise from neurological differences in brain structure and function. These differences, which often run in families, affect a person's ability to receive, store, process, retrieve or communicate information.
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    How special educators can handle testing season
    By: Pamela Hill
    In numerous schools, testing season is just beginning. Countless public schools administer districtwide assessments three times a year, and they administer federally-mandated yearly statewide testing during the spring season. Consequently, beginning in January and continuing until May, many students will engage in two districtwide assessments and one statewide assessment. For students with learning disabilities, this can be a time of frustration or a time of confidence.
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    In practice, IDEA remedies may not be available to all
    Disability Scoop
    Family income appears to be a major factor influencing whether parents will seek mediation or due process in special education disputes with their child's school district. A nationwide survey of over 500 parents with children on the autism spectrum finds that families earning more than $100,000 a year are significantly more likely to pursue litigation compared to those with incomes that are half that level. The findings published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders may point to fundamental inequities in the special education process, researchers said.
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    Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evaluations
    The Washington Post
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading. Duncan spoke at Seaton Elementary, a high-poverty school in the District's Shaw neighborhood. He was supposed to visit a classroom, but school was delayed by freezing rain and none of the mostly Latino and African American students were present.
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    In the News

    Top 5 education trends for 2015
    By: Archita Datta Majumdar
    2015 is going to be an exciting year for learning, across all segments. Experts predict this will primarily be due to the mind-blowing convergence between learning habits and technology use. Changes and development in technology will define the way we learn in future as the "ed tech" market is steadily growing — it's slated to become a $19 billion industry by 2018. A look at some key trends in the news will perhaps show where we are headed and how we should prepare our students for the future.
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    Link between sleep quality and grades of school-aged children in math and languages
    Medical News Today
    Making sure school-aged kids get to sleep at a regular hour is often a struggle for parents. But a study by researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal suggests it's well worth the effort: the researchers found that a good night's sleep is linked to better performance in math and languages — subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success. In findings published recently in the journal Sleep Medicine, the researchers reported that "sleep efficiency" is associated with higher academic performance in those key subjects. Sleep efficiency is a gauge of sleep quality that compares the amount of actual sleep time with the total time spent in bed.
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    Energy and calm: Brain breaks and focused-attention practices
    When presented with new material, standards and complicated topics, we need to be focused and calm as we approach our assignments. We can use brain breaks and focused-attention practices to positively impact our emotional states and learning. They refocus our neural circuitry with either stimulating or quieting practices that generate increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where problem solving and emotional regulation occur.
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    A new kind of social anxiety in the classroom
    The Atlantic
    Stress about a meeting that is still a week away, handwringing before talking to the cashier in the grocery line, worrying about seeing an acquaintance on the street — for people with social anxiety disorder, even the simplest task can prove challenging. The symptoms of social anxiety often set in around adolescence, when people place a new emphasis on social interactions and their place in their peer groups. But some academics fear that greater access to technology could exacerbate social anxiety among teens, particularly as smartphones, tablets and computers become omnipresent in and out of the classroom.
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    How integrating arts into other subjects makes learning come alive
    Art has long been recognized as an important part of a well-rounded education — but when it comes down to setting budget priorities, the arts rarely rise to the top. Many public schools saw their visual, performing and musical arts programs cut completely during the last recession, despite the many studies showing that exposure to the arts can help with academics too. A few schools are taking the research to heart, weaving the arts into everything they do and finding that the approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride.
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    Longer school days, school years: Somewhat helpful to boosting student learning, but amped-up teaching does more
    The Oregonian
    The Obama administration required low-performing schools that got federal money intended to spur a turnaround to add time to their school day or school year. Years into the effort, however, school leaders who accepted federal millions say the added teaching time was only moderately helpful. Stepped up teaching, often resulting from teachers being given more time to collaborate, yields a much bigger payoff, they report.
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    Federal Announcements

    Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP):

    The following Notice of Applications for New Awards; Training and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities — Parent Training and Information Centers was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Dec. 11.

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.328M.

    Applications Available: Dec. 11.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: Feb. 9.

    The following Notice of Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) Program was published in the Federal Register on Monday, December 15, 2014.

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.323A.

    Applications Available: Dec. 15.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: Jan. 29.

    Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP): (2 notices)

    The following Notice of Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities — Television Access was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.327C.

    Applications Available: Jan. 14.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 16.

    The following Notice of Applications for New Awards

    State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) Program was published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 16, 2015.

    Applications for New Awards; extension of the application period. Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.323A.

    On Dec. 15, 2014, we published in the Federal Register a notice inviting applications for new awards under the SPDG competition. That notice established a Jan. 29 deadline for the submission of applications, and a deadline of March 30 for intergovernmental review. We are extending both deadlines by fifteen (15) days.

    Dates: Applications Available: Dec. 15, 2014.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: Feb. 13.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: April 14

    CASE Weekly Update
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