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Happy New Year!
I hope you have had at least some time to rest and relax (yeah, right) during this winter break! Holidays can be a very stressful time for many — even fun and family can be stressful, right! But, how dull would our life be without the excitement family, friends, and parties bring? Due to deadlines and work schedules, I am actually writing this article before Christmas so I am trying to wrap my head around NEW YEARS! I really love New Year's Eve and all the southern food traditions of New Year's day, too! I love the quiet of the day while my husband and anyone else around is watching all the football games, I can spend some time in reflection. I don't hurry to put all the decorations away but I do get my thank you notes written and my calendar marked. We have friends over for the black-eyed peas (the kind you eat not listen to), the turnip greens, and all the fixings. What are your traditions. It doesn't really matter what they are, just that we have them — why? I think it all goes back to connections, doesn't it? Connections to our past, our family, our region, to our friends — connections are important!

I believe that is why during the economic troubles so many school districts experienced in the last couple of years, CASE membership did not have the significant drop so many associations did. Local Directors need that connection to their state and national/international organizations. They need the connection to other associations and partnerships the CASE membership brings to them. They need the connection to those resources and the information that would be hard to find without the CASE connection! And we have need for different kind of connections — we need the cyber/print but we also need the personal — the actual face to face connections, too! Those face to face opportunities include the onsite version of the Hybrid, Feb. 19-20 — who won't be ready for Phoenix AZ in February, right! And then there is the wonderful opportunity to be face to face with so many colleagues at CEC in San Diego, California, April 8-11. One of those opportunities to connect at the CEC convention is by attending CASE Night — this year it will be a night at the world famous San Diego Zoo! Watch for the tickets to go on sell February 1 on the CASE website — it is going to be a sell out for sure! One of the best face to face connections is the July CASE Educational Legislative Leadership Summit (July 12-15) where we connect with our partner associations and most importantly our congressional leaders! Those legislative connections are critical to our success! The annual fall Board of Directors Meeting — Oct. 28-29 and the 26th Annual Fall Conference — Oct. 29-31 in Atlanta will also be great opportunities for building those outstanding professional connections we all need to do our job well.

I imagine you have spent some time in the last few days thinking about your family, friends, work and your life in general. Maybe you have thought of them in light of the term connections. If not, spend a bit a time thinking about all the people you connect with through your various spheres of influence!

CASE can help you stay connected. Connecting with your colleagues on issues and situations is a great way to maximize your effectiveness. Let CASE be your "go to" problem solver! Make sure you send us your ideas on better ways we can help you be the best you can be at your job! Don't forget one of the best ways to stay up on what is important is to attend the CASE professional development events. Doesn't sunny, warm, Phoenix, Arizona, sound like the place you want to be Feb. 19-20? Or if you can't travel to Arizona, why not get connected with your local colleagues and host your own PD by being a virtual site for the 2015 CASE Hybrid Conference? Either way, you can register by clicking here. As a virtual site we will send you hints, an editable flyer and other support help!

Let us know how we can make 2015 the best year ever for you and your connections!

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." — Herman Melville


Luann Purcell
Executive Director
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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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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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  Are your struggling readers prepared for college and career?

READ 180 Next Generation is the leasing blended learning solution that prepare your students for the rigorous expectations of College & Career. Only READ 180 delivers a personalized learning path, daily practice in argument writing, hundreds of content-rich texts, and an individualized staircase of text complexity. Learn more

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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CMS Issues Letter on Medicaid Payment for Services Provided Without Charge (Free Care)
CMS is withdrawing its prior guidance on the "free care" policy as expressed in the School-Based Administrative Claiming Guide and other CMS guidance. As indicated by the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB), the free care policy as previously applied effectively prevented the use of Medicaid funds to pay for covered services furnished to Medicaid eligible beneficiaries when the provider did not bill the beneficiary or any other individuals for the services. The goal of this new guidance is to facilitate and improve access to quality healthcare services and improve the health of communities. Click here to download the Dec. 15, 2014 letter (SMD #14-006) from CMS.

CASE is working with the National Alliance of Medicaid in Education (NAME) to get further clarification.

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

    What does the Common Core mean for special education? (District Administration Magazine)
Inclusion Corner: The art of co-teaching (By: Savanna Flakes)
Dyslexia: A potential cause of your child's educational difficulties (Psych Central)
No Child Left Behind gets renewed focus (The Associated Press via Yahoo News)
Parents, legislators push back against Common Core (CNBC)

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

Things You Cannot Do With an iPad
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Hot Topics

How can we help children with ADHD control their aggression?
Healthline News
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children in the United States. In fact, about 11 percent, or 6.4 million children, ages 4 to 7, have ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with ADHD have trouble sustaining attention. They are overly active and they may act impulsively. What's more, they may act aggressive, angry, and defiant. But parents and teachers can manage this aggression without relying solely on medications.
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Why active listening should be an integral part of the daily lesson plan
By: Shirley Veldhuis
Seeing students remain at Tier II interventions for a long period of time was once a big concern of mine. The students could read words fluently but could not comprehend proficiently. The reading gap never closed. What was the cause? Was something missing from Tier I core instruction? The answer came a year after I retired when I began to volunteer with a group of third-grade girls at a children's summer program in northwest Detroit.
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Gifted and dyslexic: Twice exceptional
Reading Today Online
Kelli Sandman-Hurley, a contributor for Reading Today Online, writes: "I would like to introduce you to Jennifer. Jennifer is in the eighth grade and earning good grades — no, she is getting great grades. According to her teachers she is a nice, compliant, intelligent student who is just a little on the quiet side. Her ideas are complex and interesting and she always wants to do her best."
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    Student reading practices lag far behind national goals
    The Journal
    As new learning standards put more emphasis on getting students to be able to read and analyze non-fiction text, this year's annual "What Kids Are Reading and Why It Matters" report from Renaissance Learning suggests that classrooms have a long way to go. Renaissance produces Accelerated Reader, an integrated reading program that delivers online quizzes to students on the books they've read, both fiction and nonfiction.
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    In the News

    Big drop in students being held back, but why?
    The question of when or whether it's appropriate to hold a child back in school is a heated one among teachers, parents and even politicians. And a new study is adding some kindling to the debate. Researchers found that the rate at which kids are held back — in education circles it's called "grade retention" — has dropped dramatically. From 1995 to 2005, the overall retention rate hovered near 3 percent. But, from 2005 to 2010 it fell to 1.5 percent.
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    Connecting SEL and the Common Core
    Maurice Elias, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "In the November 2014 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, I wrote an article on how social-emotional skills can boost implementation of the Common Core. I want to share two key points from that article in this blog post and also in my next one. In this post, I focus on how the Common Core has an implicit dependence on SEL-related pedagogy. In the next blog post, I will focus on the key area of emotion vocabulary and its role in academic and interpersonal success."
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    Common sense for the Common Core
    Scholastic Administrator
    Regie Routman, an author for Scholastic Administrator, writes: "As a mentor teacher, leader and coach who has been working in diverse classrooms and schools for more than four decades, I've learned that no matter what reforms, standards, or new programs come along, literacy achievement gains tend to be fleeting. Here's what I've observed over and over: Without administrators who have a solid knowledge of effective literacy instruction, schools wind up focusing on implementation of isolated skills and/or standards with the hope that all the parts will add up to something meaningful."
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    Does Common Core really mean teachers should teach differently?
    The Hechinger Report
    The Common Core wasn't necessarily supposed to change how math is taught, but in many schools that's exactly what's happening. Many — some might argue most — American math teachers once followed a simple format: Explain a formula to the class, show an example on the board, then let students practice on worksheets.
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    How 'deprogramming' kids from how to 'do school' could improve learning
    One day, Adam Holman decided he was fed up with trying to cram knowledge into the brains of the high school students he taught. They weren't grasping the physics he was teaching at the level he knew they were capable of, so he decided to change up his teaching style. It wasn't that his students didn't care about achieving — he taught at high performing, affluent schools where students knew they needed high grades to get into good colleges. They argued for every point to make sure their grades were as high as possible, but were they learning?
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    Even in our digital age, early parental writing support is key to children's literacy
    American Friends of Tel Aviv University via Science Daily
    Children of the information age are inundated with written words streaming across smartphone, tablet and laptop screens. A new study says that preschoolers should be encouraged to write at a young age — even before they make their first step into a classroom.
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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.

    CASE Weekly Update
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