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A new way of doing our work!
This past week I did a workshop on Leading by Convening for an amazing group of district support professions! They are actually regional service folks but their purpose is to support the local district. They are tasked with what sometimes seems to be impossible goals but they pick up the work and do it. As I prepared for this day of actually continued guidance on Leading by Convening that started in July and then continued in September, I ran across a couple of quotes I use from time to time. I think we all need to be inspired to keep on keeping on. I hope at least one of these will resonate with you today.
  • "We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems." Margaret Mead
  • "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." Anatole France
  • "Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage." Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "The difficult we can do right now. The impossible will take a little while." Rod Stewart
Speaking of Leading by Convening ... Leading by Convening is truly a new way to do our work. It is one that makes us step into the role of leader/learner and truly involve others in the work in a deeper more meaningful way. We have all tried to do the impossible and most of the time alone. We have all had the courage to map out a course of action and follow it — again often alone. In our world today, we have got to realize we can not do this work alone, we have to have partners who are true allies! I hope you will take a moment to go to the IDEAPartnership website and explore Leading by Convening. You can download a free copy or you can purchase the book with the CD. This "blueprint" for doing work in a new way will be invaluable to you in so many different applications but especially as you move with your state and OSEP towards Results Driven Accountability!

Speaking of 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 too and it is critical that we get the information presented out to general education — especially principals and assistant principals, special education administrators and 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

Breaking news — CEC has extended their early bird registration until Jan. 26 ... 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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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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  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

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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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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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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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

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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CEC Policy Insider

Chairman Alexander releases ESEA reauthorization discussion draft
CEC Policy Insider
Recently, Senate HELP Chairman Alexander released his 387 page ESEA reauthorization discussion draft, entitled "Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015." Alexander is soliciting feedback on his staff discussion draft by Monday, Feb. 2, at: Alexander will also be sponsoring a hearing, "Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability," on Wednesday, Jan. 21.
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Secretary Arne Duncan's vision for the future of ESEA
CEC Policy Insider
Secretary Arne Duncan laid out an idea for the nation's well-known education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in a speech on Jan. 12, 2015. On the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the ESEA bill, he called for a new law that will work to ensure strong opportunities for all students, and protect the most vulnerable.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Nine strategies for students with disabilities (Scholastic Administration Magazine)
4 common dyslexia myths debunked using neuroscience (The Huffington Post)
Are you considering a 4-day school week in your district? (By: Dr. Sheri Williams)
Arne Duncan bringing in key players as 'senior advisers' (Education Week)
What will sink and what will survive as states test Common Core? (PBS Newshour)

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

Hot Topics

Learning disabilities: An easy way to avoid homework's pitfalls
By: Howard Margolis
Homework creates anxiety, frustration and failure for untold numbers of children with learning disabilities. Conflict ensues among children, parents and teachers. Children's motivation for schoolwork plummets. Confidence disappears as resistance emerges. So, is there a way to assign 15 minutes of homework, four times a week, that can help strengthen struggling readers' word recognition, reading fluency, comprehension, motivation and sense of satisfaction? No miracle solutions exist, but good solutions do.
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PARCC prep: A better way to teach compare and contrast
Sarah Tantillo, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "In the PARCC literary analysis task, students must closely analyze two literary texts — often focusing on their themes or points of view — and compare and contrast these texts. In previous posts, I've proposed a lesson series to tackle this task and a tool for teaching students how to infer theme, which is a common requirement since Common Core Reading Anchor Standard #2 is 'Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.'"
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A New Solution for Creating Effective Behavior Interventions

Using the tool’s guided-process, quickly create accurate, effective Proactive Strategies, Replacement Behaviors, and Reactive Strategies to help meet IEP goals.

  • Assess Problem Behaviors
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  • Achieving Mobility and Having Fun!

    Every child deserves the chance for growth. Mobility can be difficult to achieve for children with special needs, even after years of rigorous therapy. While children are simply enjoying a nifty, exciting new toy, parents are amazed at the continuous improvement of motor skills, coordination, balance and more.
    Voyager Passport
    Voyager Passport® gives you a dynamic blend of print instruction and technology to help more of your struggling learners master priority skills and strategies to reach grade-level performance. A Teacher's Resource Kit includes everything you need to accommodate diverse learners, including instructional support for English learners and flexible grouping strategies.


    Obama to seek limits on student data mining
    President Barack Obama is expected to call for tough legislation to protect student privacy, adding his voice to a sizzling debate about the best way to bring the benefits of technology into the classroom without exposing students to commercial data mining. Obama is expected to urge Congress to impose a bevy of restrictions on companies that operate websites, apps and cloud-computing services aimed at the K-12 market, according to sources briefed on the announcement.
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    Quality education reform starts in the states
    The Hill (commentary)
    Conservatives and liberals alike may rejoice at the notion that 2015 brings with it a chance to revamp the controversial 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) will be the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and has said that his top priority is a revision of NCLB. Alexander is on the right track. The top issue facing our country is the education of our children, and it's clear that however well intentioned NCLB was, it's not producing the desired effects. To improve America's schools we need to first work on the people issues: teaching, leadership and governance. But we need to do so at the statehouse, not in Washington, D.C.
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    In the News

    Strategies for getting and keeping the brain's attention
    The human brain has an amazing capacity to wield a potent cognitive strategy: selective attention. When we consciously focus our attention on something, we bring the power of the prefrontal cortex to this endeavor. By honing our ability to focus attention at will, we can more effectively screen out two types of distractions: input through our sensory organs and our emotional responses.
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    Can schools cultivate a student's ability to think differently?
    Entrepreneurship is often associated with people who assume the risk of starting a business venture for financial gain. However, entrepreneurs exist in many forms: They may be writers, carpenters, computer programmers, school principals or fundraisers, to name just a few examples. What they have in common is an "entrepreneurial mindset" that enables them to see opportunities for improvement, take initiative and collaborate with others to turn their ideas into action. Everyone is born with some propensity for entrepreneurship, which at its core is about solving problems creatively, according to Yong Zhao, a professor at the University of Oregon's College of Education.
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    Study finds reading to children of all ages grooms them to read more on their own
    The New York Times
    Cue the hand-wringing about digital distraction: Fewer children are reading books frequently for fun, according to a new report by Scholastic, the children's book publisher. In a 2014 survey of just over 1,000 children ages 6 to 17, only 31 percent said they read a book for fun almost daily, down from 37 percent four years ago. There were some consistent patterns among the heavier readers: For the younger children — ages 6 to 11 — being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading; for the older children — ages 12 to 17 — one of the largest predictors was whether they had time to read on their own during the school day.
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    What schools could use instead of standardized tests
    Close your eyes for a minute and daydream about a world without bubble tests. Education Week recently reported that some Republican Senate aides are doing more than dreaming — they're drafting a bill that would eliminate the federal mandate on standardized testing. Annual tests for every child in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, plus one in high school, have been a centerpiece of federal education law since 2002. No Child Left Behind, the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, requires them.
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    Disruptive children benefit from tailored classroom intervention
    New York University via Science Daily
    Kindergartners and first graders with high maintenance temperaments showed less disruptive behavior and more active engagement and on-task behavior in the classroom, thanks to a program that helps teachers, parents and students recognize and adapt to individual differences.
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    Bullies and their victims may be at higher risk of suicide
    HealthDay News
    A new analysis of research from around the world suggests that kids involved in bullying are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. Kids who bullied others and were victims themselves were the most troubled of all, the report found. "Our study highlights the significant impact bullying involvement can have on mental health for some youth," said study lead author Melissa Holt, an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Boston University.
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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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