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November 2008 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

New Projects


Coalition for Community Schools Announces a New “Community Agenda”
The Community Agenda promotes partnerships that address complex social problems such as poverty, violence, substance abuse, and family instability that negatively impact student performance. In schools, community leaders, institutions and citizens can bring together resources to support student learning and engage students as active learners and contributors to their community. “The Community Agenda is a workable set of solutions that are already being implemented in communities across the country,” said Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, Marty Blank. “Communities matter, whether urban, suburban or rural, and everyone in the community has a role to play in helping young people to thrive. Every student will benefit from a united effort to provide our young people and their families with more connections, more opportunities, and more learning time.”

Legislative Announcements


U.S. Secretary Of Education Margaret Spellings Announces Final Regulations To Strengthen NCLB and Encourages Use of New Tools to Build Upon the Successes of NCLB
On October 28 U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced final regulations to strengthen and clarify No Child Left Behind (NCLB), focusing on improved accountability and transparency, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates and improved parental notification for Supplemental Education Services and public school choice. Information about the final regulations, the Secretary’s full remarks, fact sheets, and a webcast of the announcement are available.

Calls to Participate


Bill of Rights Institute’s “Being an American” Essay Contest
High school students nationwide are invited to participate in the Bill of Rights Institute’s “Being an American” essay contest, which explores the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. Maximum award: $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to Washington, DC. Eligibility: U.S. students grades 9-12. Teachers must submit students’ essays. Deadline: Dec. 1, 2008.


Language Differences and Special Education: Seeking Best Practices PDF document
Project LASER and NCCRESt need submissions of examples of best practices that teachers are currently using to serve students who are both struggling academically and behaviorally and who use African American English (AAE) or who are English Language Learners (ELLs). Project LASER and NCCRESt are collaborating in the creation of a Web site that will host multimedia resources aimed at promoting teacher learning and enhancing the quality of education offered to African American students and ELLs. Credit will be given to the authors of the accepted works. This Web site will be available for free use beginning in December of 2008. The call for submissions is available in pdf (4 pages, 273 KB).


Making A Difference Exhibitor Award
The 4th Annual Reaching At-Promise Students National conference calls for nominations to recognize organizations or products that create a positive impact in the lives of at-risk youth. The conference, in San Diego, February 20-22, 2009, focuses on the education of at-promise students. The deadline for nominations is November 21, 2008.


Sharing Celebration Plans for the December 1-5 Inclusive Schools Week
The Inclusive Schools Network is hosting the 8th Annual Inclusive Schools Week, December 1-5, 2008, celebrating the theme, “Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children.” The Network invites participants to share their 2008 Celebration Plans with the Network and with other educators, families, and communities around the world by sending a short description of their planned Inclusive Schools Week activities/events to ISN’s e-mail: In November, Inclusive Schools Network will begin posting Celebration Plans from selected schools, districts and communities on its Web site.


Society For Disabilities Studies – Call for Proposals
The Society For Disabilities Studies invites proposals for its conference June 17-20, 2009, in Tucson, Arizona: “It’s ‘Our’ Time: Pathways To and From Disabilities Studies – Past, Present and Future.” Time, in all its forms, conceptualizations, and manifestations, will be the focus of the conference, though proposals on any topic relevant to Disability Studies are welcomed, in such formats as individual presentations panels, didactic/short courses, poster sessions, artistic/performance events, town halls/debates. Deadline for proposals: January 15, 2009.

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The Resource Zone

Other National Resources


A Guide to Assessing and Increasing School Engagement  (October 2008) PDF document
Students who are disengaged from school are at risk for many poor outcomes beyond poor academic achievement. They are at risk of skipping classes, sexual activity, substance use, and ultimately dropping out of school. A new Child Trends brief, Assessing School Engagement: A Guide for Out-Of-School Time Programs, provides information on why school engagement matters, how out-of-school time programs can affect school engagement, and how to measure engagement. The brief includes specific measures of school engagement from three surveys and a list of additional resources. Available in pdf (5 pages, 185 KB).


Closing the Graduation Gap: A Superintendent's Guide for Planning Multiple Pathways to Graduation  (October 2008) PDF document
District leaders in cities such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), and Chicago are creating strategies to re-engage students who are slipping off-track to graduation and get them on their way to a diploma. The approach is referred to collectively as Multiple Pathways to Graduation. This framework represents a new way of envisioning the path towards graduation. Instead of prescribing a linear process proceeding step by step towards graduation, Multiple Pathways to Graduation assumes that districts must focus on early indicators, offering increased responsiveness, flexibility and differentiated levels of support to help all students graduate. This guide, prepared for Youth Transition Funders Group by MetisNet, is built upon the emerging lessons from successful districts and designed to help districts plan a comprehensive reform process to increase graduation rates for all students. Available in pdf (44 pages, 444 KB).


Counting On Graduation: Ed Trust Report Examines State Policies on Graduation Rates  (October 2008)
A new report from The Education Trust, “Counting on Graduation,” by Anna Habash, argues that most state accountability systems still exhibit a “surprising indifference” toward improving high school graduation rates. Graduation rate goals states set under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) range from a low of 50% (Nevada) to a high of 95% (Indiana). To help states graduate more of their students, the report lists specific actions that a state’s elected and education leaders can take to increase graduation rates and recommends that state leaders set more rigorous graduation rate goals and improvement targets and establish as a priority the goal of improving high school graduation rates. Available in pdf (10 pages, 353 KB).


Creating Postsecondary Pathways to Good Jobs for Young High School Dropouts  (October 2008) PDF document
This Center for Law and Social Policy paper advocates expansion and better integration of efforts to connect high school dropouts ages 16-24 to postsecondary credentials that truly matter in the labor market. It includes examples of innovation and federal and state policy recommendations. Available in pdf (36 pages, 1.55 MB).


Digital Directions  (October 2008)
new issue
The Fall 2008 issue of Education Week’s Digital Directions is now available online. Viewers have access to the entire issue and can subscribe to the print edition for free. The issue’s main feature is “Dollars & Sense: Ed-tech Leaders Employ Creative Tactics to Cut IT Costs and Save Programs,” on how some ed-tech leaders are getting creative and saving thousands of dollars.


Expanding Options: State Financing of Education Pathways for Struggling Students and Out-of-School Youth  (2008)
The National Youth Employment Coalition’s (NYEC) newest publication explores how Indiana, Massachusetts, and North Carolina have created polices and funding streams to support a variety of secondary education options for young people.


Health Resources for Transitioning Youth, The 2008 Fact Sheet On Health Care Access and Utilization: Adolescents and Youth Adults  (2008) PDF document
Fact Sheet
This fact sheet contains the most recent available data on health insurance coverage, preventive and other health services, and unmet need among adolescents and young adults ages 12-24, including those with special health care needs. The fact sheet, produced by the National Adolescent Health Information Center at the University of California, San Francisco, with support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, highlights trends and presents data by age, gender, income level, and race and ethnicity. The fact sheet is available in pdf (6 pages, 640 KB).


Juvenile Justice, Fall 2008: The Future of Children  (October 2008)
This volume examines juvenile justice policies and practices with the goal of promoting reforms that are based on solid evidence and acknowledge that adolescents differ from adults in ways that policy ought to take into account. Young people who come into contact with the juvenile justice system often have other problems, many of which the juvenile justice system is ill-equipped to address alone. More information, and pdf links to the complete issue, an Executive Summary, and Policy Brief, are on the Web site.


New Child Trends Brief Examines How Schools Affect All Aspects of Adolescent Development  (November 2008) PDF document
Schools affect more than their students’ academic development, affecting physical and mental health, safety, civic engagement, and social development, as well. A new Child Trends research brief, “The School Environment and Adolescent Well-Being: Beyond Academics,” presents national estimates on the effects of school environments on adolescents in health, safety, social support, academics, and civic engagement. The brief is a product of a partnership between Child Trends and the National Adolescent Health Information Center at the University of California, San Francisco, to create resources and provide assistance to improve the health of young people and their families. Available in pdf (11 pages, 475 KB).


New NCCRESt Professional Learning Module: Culturally Responsive Response to Intervention (RTI)  (2008)
learning module
Culturally responsive educational systems facilitate learning by culturally and linguistically diverse students by valuing their cultures, languages, and experiences and using them in the educational program. NCCRESt's newest professional learning module presents Response to Intervention (RTI) as a culturally responsive framework for ensuring inclusive settings for all students, including those who are culturally and linguistically diverse. The module presents research-grounded practices for effectively implementing RTI.

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What's Happening

Other National Events


Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute Webinar on the 2007 Disability Status Report
Web-based Event
November 12, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM   (Eastern)
Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) will host an online webinar to present the findings of the 2007 Disability Status Report. The free webinar will explore recently released 2007 American Community Survey data related to disability and employment, education, poverty, household income and labor earnings. Cornell Research found that in 2007, 36.9% of working-age (21-64) people with disabilities were employed, compared with the 79.7% of people without disabilities; 24.7% of working-age Americans with disabilities lived in poverty, compared to 9.0% of those without disabilities. These dramatic discrepancies are longstanding and continue to separate Americans with disabilities from their peers without disabilities. To register for this free webinar, please go to the website.

Inclusive Schools Week: “Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children”
December 1, 2008 - December 5, 2008
Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) at Education Development Center, Inc., which is held each year during the first week in December. Individuals, families, schools, and communities can get involved and support the 2008 Week by visiting the Inclusive Schools Week Web site, participating in ISN webinars, or buying ISN products.

Check & Connect: Implementing with Fidelity
Web-based Event
December 3, 2008
For the past 18 years, the U of M has researched the effectiveness of Check & Connect: A comprehensive student engagement intervention, and the intervention has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse as the only dropout prevention program to have strong evidence of positive effects for staying in school. In late November 2008, Check & Connect launched a new manual designed to help school districts, after school programs, school professionals, youth workers and others implement Check & Connect in their home sites.

21st Annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute

June 2, 2009 - June 6, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA
The objective of this Training Institute is to assist professionals to meet the needs of college students with disabilities. Participants can select from a variety of Strands, Single Sessions, and Saturday Post-Sessions taught by experts in the field, which provide participants with in-depth information and adequate time for questions and follow-up discussions. Participants also have opportunities to share information and network with each other at various activities throughout the Institute. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


BrainLine – The New Web site Is Here
Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), their families, friends, and teachers will find useful timely information and resources at this new site, a comprehensive Web site for anyone whose life has been affected by TBI. It includes links to specific sections for people with TBI, their families and friends, and professionals.


National Center for RTI
The National Center for Response to Intervention (RTI) Web site contains information on the practice and research of RTI models of instruction. The “Library” section of the website includes briefs, fact sheets, articles, and numerous other types of sources all related to research on RTI composed by a variety of authors and organizations. Resources are catalogued by topic area such as "What is RTI?" and "Early Intervention Services" for ease of use.


National Charter School Research Project
The National Charter School Research Project aims to bring rigor, evidence, and balance to the national charter school debate. Their goals are to facilitate the fair assessment of the value-added effects of U.S. charter schools, and to provide the charter school and broader public education communities with research and information for ongoing improvement. The Project is an initiative of the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education.

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Funding Forecast

Federal Grant Opportunities


FY 2007-2008 Discretionary Grant Application Packages
This site, from the Department of Education, provides information on grant competitions that are currently open.

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


College Board: Grants for the Teaching of Writing
The College Board’s Bob Costas Grants for the Teaching of Writing, named for the Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and author, recognize exceptional teachers for the innovative methods they use to develop their students' writing skills. Maximum award: $3,000. Eligibility: teachers of grades 6-12. Deadline: Nov. 21, 2008.


Do Something and Grammy Foundation Invite Young People to Use Music to Improve Communities
Awards of $3,000 plus an all-expenses-paid trip to the Grammy Awards will be given to U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 years of age and younger who are working use music to solve problems and create change in their communities. Projects must be youth-led and -driven, and creative, demonstrating an original idea for solving problems and creating change. Projects must also strive toward tangible results and measurable impact, focus on problems in communities, and, whether one-time event or ongoing program, promote diversity and seek to make lasting change in the target community. Deadline: December 15, 2008


Entries Invited for Intel Schools of Distinction Awards in Math and Science
Grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to eighteen elementary and secondary education schools working to improve educational outcomes in the areas of math and science. The awards program is open to K-12 public, private, charter, and parochial schools in the United States, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Home schools are not eligible. The applicant school’s program must have at least three years of results data, whether NCES or other comparable data. Deadline: February 17, 2009.


National Organization on Disability Invites Entries for Accessible America Award Program
Awards of $25,000 will be given to a city, town, county, or sovereign tribal government in the United States working to encourage citizens with disabilities to become involved in community life. American mayors and chief elected officials are invited to enter their communities in the competition. The cash award will be presented to the chief elected official in the winning city, town, or county. The funds should be used to further the community's efforts in closing the participation gaps for citizens with disabilities. Deadline: December 31, 2008.


Plum Grants
Individuals who have recently created a sustainable community action project, program or organization and need $500 to further the growth and success of the program are eligible to apply for a Plum Youth Grant. Plum grants are given out weekly. Deadline: None.


VSA arts and MetLife Foundation Announce Arts Connect All Grant Opportunity
VSA arts and MetLife Foundation have announced their fifth annual “Arts Connect All” grant opportunity for arts organizations to create or enhance inclusive educational programs by strengthening partnerships with local public schools. A maximum of ten grants of up to $15,000 each will be awarded to selected programs. Application Deadline: December 12, 2008.

Scholarships and Awards


Entries Invited for National School Library Media Program of the Year Awards
Established in 1963, the National School Library Media Program of the Year Award honors school library media programs working to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. The award recognizes exemplary library media programs that are fully integrated into the host school's curriculum. Three winning programs will receive $10,000 each from by Follett Library Resources. Deadline: January 2, 2009.


Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation: Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Inclusion Champion Award honors individuals who have made significant efforts to promote the full inclusion of youth with disabilities in society. The focus of the efforts may include, but is not limited to, helping to create a culture of inclusion within an organization or community, or developing innovative strategies for inclusive programming in school activities, after-school programs, community service, and leadership development. Maximum award: $1,000 for the charity of the recipient's choice. Deadline: Dec. 1, 2008.

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End of Issue

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