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November 2005 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

Legislative Announcements


Supreme Court Decides Schaffer v. Weast
In this November 14, 2005 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the burden of persuasion in an administrative hearing challenging an IEP is properly placed upon the party seeking relief, whether that is the child with disabilities or the school district. Opinion available in PDF (26 pages, 240 KB).


U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Announces New Freedom Initiative Awards
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently announced that one individual, three non-profit organizations, and three businesses have been selected to receive the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award for outstanding support of employment for people with disabilities. The award recognizes exemplary and innovative efforts to train, recruit, and hire people with disabilities and to incorporate into workplaces the principles of the New Freedom Initiative, which was introduced by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Calls to Participate


Help Your School Participate in National Inclusive Schools Week: December 5-9, 2005
The 5th Annual National Inclusive Schools Week, sponsored by the National Institute for Urban School Improvement, will be celebrated in classrooms, schools, and communities throughout the country from December 5-9, 2005. The Week recognizes the nation's progress and promotes action towards increasing the capacity of schools and communities to provide a quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, particularly students with disabilities. It is the ultimate goal of the Week to assist schools and communities across the nation to make sustainable changes in the system to better support the principles of inclusive education.


Mentors: Share Ethical Challenges You Have Faced in Mentoring
Professors Jean Rhodes (University of Massachusetts), Belle Liang (Boston College), and Renee Spencer (Boston University) are writing a book entitled First Do No Harm: A Call for Ethical Guidelines in Youth Mentoring, to be published by Harvard University Press. The book will address ethical challenges mentors face and provide a road map for navigating these challenges. You can make an important contribution to this book by sharing the story of an ethical dilemma you (or another mentor you know) have encountered and how you handled it.


Parents of Transition-Age Youth: Participate in an Online Survey
Matthew H. Wagner, a graduate student, is looking for parents of transition-age youth to take a short online survey that will provide data for his thesis on the transition process from the parents' perspective. All responses will be kept confidential. For more information, contact

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The Resource Zone

NCSET Resources


Career Planning Begins with Assessment  (October 2005)
NCSET Teleconference Transcript
This transcript from the NCSET teleconference “Career Planning Begins with Assessment,” which was held October 25, 2005 includes information on the domains of assessment, formal testing instruments, the organizational perspective, infrastructure issues, and the importance of accommodations and assistive technology in the assessment process. During this teleconference, presenters from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) discussed the needs of transitioning youth (with and without disabilities) and the importance of comprehensive assessment to plan effectively for transition.


Parent/Professional Collaboration  (2005)
NCSET Web Topic
This NCSET Web Topic explores how teachers, families, and schools can collaborate to help families become and stay involved in helping their children succeed in school and transition to jobs or postsecondary education. Like all NCSET Web topics, it includes an introduction, frequently asked questions, related research, emerging practices, Web sites, and additional resources.


What Algebra and Biology Students Have to Say About Universal Design for Learning  (October 2005)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief  • Volume  4 ,  Issue  2
This brief outlines the findings of a study of whether universal design for learning (UDL) improves how students with mild disabilities perform in general education. The study's findings illustrate how students perceive individual interventions anchored by three key UDL principles--multiple ways of representing course content, multiple options for student expression and control, and multiple options for engagement and motivation. These individual interventions were used in standard-track high school algebra and biology classes.


Yes, Youth with Disabilities Can Travel to Study Abroad  (September 2005)
NCSET Teleconference Transcript
During this September 29, 2005 NCSET teleconference, presenters from Mobility International USA discussed frequently asked questions about international exchange programs and provided background on how international exchange relates to youth with disabilities. They also discussed steps for incorporating global education into U.S. student plans, a school's responsibilities regarding foreign exchange students with disabilities, and international resources and activities.

Other National Resources


“No Child” Closes the Gap; Harder for Special Needs, Low-Income Students to be Left Behind  (October 2005)
This Washington Post article describes Ricki Sabia’s battle to include her son Stephen, who has Down syndrome, in regular classes, and how the No Child Left Behind Act has become an “unexpected ally” in promoting inclusion and improved achievement for children with disabilities.


A Profile of the American High School Senior in 2004: A First Look. Initial Results From the First Follow-up of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002)  (October 2005)
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics summarizes the demographic and educational characteristics of the high school senior class of 2004. It also reports on the class's mathematics achievement, their expectations for eventual educational attainment, the importance to them of various institutional characteristics in choosing a college, and their values and plans.


A World Awaits You  (October 2005)
Mobility International USA and the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) announce that two issues of A World Awaits You (AWAY), their Web-based journal describing the successful experiences of individuals with disabilities in volunteer, internship, cultural and educational programs abroad, have been posted to NCDE's Web site. The focus of these issues are U.S. Teens with Disabilities Abroad! and International Teens with Disabilities, Study in the U.S.!, respectively.


Advancing High School Reform in the States: Policies and Programs  (2005)
This report from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation highlights current and ongoing high school reform policies and programs in various states. Each section of the report identifies examples of state policies or state-financed programs that address the reform strategies outlined by NASSP in its previous publication, Breaking Ranks II.


Beyond Mediation: Strategies for Early Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education Dialogue Guide  (October 2002)
Using CADRE's existing work on early and innovative dispute resolution processes, the IDEA Partnership has developed a Dialogue Guide for Dispute Resolution. Dialogue Guides are models for conducting interactive discussions among stakeholders in states and districts. Dialogue Guides are comprised of a common set of source materials and suggested procedures for involving various audiences in states and districts.


Creating a Culture of Literacy: A Guide for Middle and High School Principals  (2005)
This guide for school leaders from the National Association of Secondary School Principals discusses the importance of implementing literacy strategies across the curriculum and gives examples of ways to confront the deficit in literacy skills in secondary schools. The guide also includes practical, specific action steps; profiles of successful schools; additional research-based expertise; and tips to remember when building a literacy program at the school-building level.


Cultivating Leadership: Mentoring Youth with Disabilities  (August 2005)
This brief from the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor describes various forms of mentoring, benefits of mentoring, and characteristics of successful mentoring relationships.


Disability Awareness Human Resources Management Online Seminar
Online Seminar
This online seminar from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention covers diversity training specific to disability awareness for h resources professionals. Users of this self-guided seminar will learn about topics related to employing individuals with disabilities such as the history of the disability rights movement, myths and facts about disabilities, research on disabilities, communicating with people with disabilities, interviewing people with disabilities, and disability accommodations.


Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education: Measuring the Problem  (October 2004)
This Practitioner Brief from the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems details history of legal action undertaken to reduce disproportionality; language in the 1997 Amendments to IDEA which addresses disproportionality; measures of disproportionality that have been used, including the composition index and relative risk ratios; and the difficulty of defining disproportionality.


Identifying and Interpreting Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: A User-Friendly Guide  (December 2003)
This guide from the U.S. Department of Education seeks to help educational practitioners distinguish practices that are supported by rigorous evidence from those that are not. It includes a description of randomized controlled trials and information on how to evaluate whether an intervention is backed by ”strong“ or “possible” evidence of effectiveness.

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What's Happening

Other National Events


8th Annual Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media, Web, and Technology Conference
November 8, 2005 - November 11, 2005
Boulder, CO
The annual Accessing Higher Ground conference, hosted by Disability Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder, focuses on the implementation and benefits of assistive technology in the university and college setting for students with sensory, physical, and learning disabilities. Other topics to be addressed at the conference include legal and policy issues—including ADA and 508 compliance—and making campus media and information resources—including Web pages and library resources—accessible.

White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
December 8, 2005
Nashville, TN
The White House and the Departments of Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Health & Human Services, Housing & Urban Development, and Education, the Agency for International Development, and the Small Business Administration will host this conference to help faith-based and community organizations learn more about President Bush’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative. The event is geared toward representatives from social service groups that have experience with the government grants process but are interested in producing more competitive applications. The conference is free, but pre-registration is required. Registration deadline: December 2, 2005.

Supported Employment Web-Based Certificate Series

January 16, 2006 - April 17, 2006
Online Training
This online course will provide an overview of supported employment and how to facilitate competitive jobs for individuals with significant disabilities. It includes six lessons that will be posted at two-week intervals. Lessons will include information on the following employment strategies: assistive technology, career development, compensatory strategies, customer choice, developing business partnerships, instruction in the workplace, job restructuring, marketing and job development, person-centered planning, positive behavior supports, self-employment, social security work incentives, and workplace/coworker supports. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply. Offered by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention.

Supported Competitive Employment for Individuals with Mental Illness Web-Based Certificate Series

January 30, 2006 - May 1, 2006
Online Training
This online course will provide an overview of supported competitive employment for individuals with mental illness. It includes six lessons that will be posted at two-week intervals. Lessons will include information on the following topics: career development, cultural competency, customer choice, developing business partnerships, evidence-based practice and research base, funding, interagency collaboration, marketing and job development, self-employment, social security work incentives, and workplace supports / coworker supports. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply. Offered by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Educators National Science Standards and Lesson Bank
The Space Foundation has developed a bank of free, downloadable science lesson plans for grades preK-12. The lesson plans, which were designed by practicing teachers, meet national science standards.


National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition (NASET)
NASET, a voluntary coalition of 40 national organizations, now has a Web site! NASET was established to identify what youth need in order to achieve successful participation in postsecondary education and training, civic engagement, meaningful employment and adult life. NASET's first task was to develop National Standards and Quality Indicators to help school systems and communities identify what all youth need. Users will also find supporting evidence and research for the standards and indicators as well a Self-Assessment Tool and a Priority-Setting Tool for program improvement.


Newton’s Castle
Middle and high school students can learn about Earth's rotation, optical illusions, logic puzzles, color, and more at this interactive Web site dedicated to the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton. The site, which also offers thought-provoking questions for teachers to use to foster further discussion, was created by students at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, in collaboration with students at Thomas Hepburn School in England.


Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving: Building Support for America's Caregivers
Through research, education, and training, the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving “promotes the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and professional caregivers; teaches effective caregiving practices; builds public awareness of caregiving needs; and advances public and social policies that enhance caring communities.” The Institute’s Web site includes many resources for professional caregivers, including downloadable publications., a new Schwab Learning resource designed for teachers of students ages 8-12 with learning difficulties, offers tools and ideas for educators to help these children build their self-esteem. The site offers free downloads, activities on developing leadership and problem-solving skills in a supportive environment, links on topics such as test-taking strategies and adapting a classroom to fit the needs of students with learning disabilities, a free newsletter, and more.



News and Notes (Family Center on Technology and Disability)
The Family Center on Technology and Disability's News and Notes has been redesigned. Each issue can be read online. Past issues are available as far back as February 2002. The Family Center on Technology and Disability supports organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities by providing a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies.

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Funding Forecast

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


Accent on Architecture Community Grants Program
The American Architectural Foundation's Accent on Architecture Community Grants program supports local nonprofit design and civic organizations’ innovative public education programming. The 2006 grants competition is open to 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) organizations whose projects are specifically targeted to teaching children about architecture and design. Projects should illustrate an increased awareness, appreciation, and understanding of architecture and design among K-12 students. The AAF is especially interested in programs targeting underserved populations. Application deadline: December 15, 2005.


Olympus and Tool Factory Classroom Grants
Five grants sponsored by Olympus America Inc. and Tool Factory Inc. are available for K-12 educators who demonstrate creative use of digital cameras and software. Each grant recipient will win $3,500 in prizes, which include digital cameras, software, and a $500 cash award. Application deadline: December 30, 2005.


Toyota TAPESTRY Mini-Grants
The Toyota TAPESTRY program will award 50 grants of up to $10,000 each and a minimum of 20 mini-grants of $2,500 each to K-12 science teachers. Grants will be awarded in three categories: Environmental Science Education, Physical Science Applications, and Literacy and Science Education. All K-12 teachers of science residing in the U.S. or its territories are eligible to apply, as are elementary teachers who teach science in a self-contained classroom setting or as teaching specialists. Application deadline: January 16, 2006.


Youth Leaders for Literacy Grants for Student-Led Projects
Youth Leaders for Literacy is an initiative of the National Education Association and Youth Service America to help youth direct their enthusiasm and creativity into reading-related service projects. Twenty $500 grants will be awarded to applicants who conduct literacy projects during a seven-week period starting March 2, 2006, continuing through “Read Across America Day,” culminating on “National Youth Service Day”, April 21-23. Applicants can be groups or individuals age 21 or younger. Applicants must include a scheduled activity (read-aloud session, trip to the library, bookmaking, etc.) each week of the project period as part of the proposed project. Application deadline: November 21, 2005.

Scholarships and Awards


Intel/Scholastic Schools of Distinction Awards Program
The Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction awards recognize K-12 schools in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in implementing innovative, replicable programs supporting positive educational outcomes. One elementary-level school and one secondary-level school winner are chosen in each of nine categories: academic achievement, literacy achievement, mathematics achievement, science achievement, technology excellence, technology innovation, leadership excellence, professional development, and collaboration and teamwork. Application deadline: January 5, 2006.


Morris K. Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship Program
The 2006 Native American Congressional Internship Program will provide approximately 12 Native Americans or Alaska Natives with 10-week internships in Washington, D.C. Interns may be placed in Congressional offices, committees, Cabinet departments, or the White House. Eligible applicants are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students with an interest in fields related to tribal public policy. Application deadline: January 31, 2006.


National School and Business Partnerships Award
Created by the Council for Corporate and School Partnerships, the National School and Business Partnerships Award recognizes exemplary partnerships between schools and businesses around the country. Partnerships between K-12 public schools and/or school districts and businesses are eligible to apply for the award. Six awards are presented per year. The schools/districts selected for the award receive national recognition and $10,000 to support partnership efforts. Application deadline: January 30, 2006.


Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice
The goals of Families USA's Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice are to improve access to health care for all Americans, especially for low-income and other vulnerable constituencies; to develop a network of young leaders who share a passion for social and health care justice; and to inspire Villers fellows to continue to work for health care justice throughout their lives. Fellows receive a competitive salary (approximately $35,000), health care benefits, and other employer-sponsored benefits for the duration of the 12-month fellowship. Application deadline: February 3, 2006.


Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice
Families USA's Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice is designed to foster the advancement of social justice through participation in health care advocacy work that focuses on the unique challenges facing many communities of color. Through this fellowship, Families USA hopes to expand the pool of talented social justice advocates from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly from the Black/African American, Latino, and American Indian communities. Fellows receive a competitive salary (approximately $35,000), health care benefits, and other employer-sponsored benefits for the duration of the 12-month fellowship. Application deadline: January 6, 2006.


William Diaz Impact Award
A program of the Disability Funders Network (DFN), the William Diaz Impact Award honors grantmakers who have a positive impact on the disability community and whose work encourages the foundation community to be more inclusive of disability. DFN created the award to identify and recognize grant-makers committed to disability funding, especially those whose work has a significant impact on people with disabilities who are also members of other minority groups. Eligible funders are those non-governmental entities/individuals that engage primarily in grantmaking. Award recipients will receive a monetary gift and plaque in recognition of their work. Nomination deadline: January 6, 2006.

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End of Issue

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E-News was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, (Cooperative Agreement No. H326J000005). However, the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, or any of the six partners of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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