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December 2007 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

Calls to Participate


High School Students: Enter the U.S. Institute of Peace National Essay Contest
The U.S. Institute of Peace is seeking entries for its 2007-08 National Peace Essay Contest. Its topic is “Natural Resources and Conflict.” Youth in grades 9-12 are asked to write a 1,500-word essay stating what they believe are the necessary elements for the development of fair, peaceful, or effective use of natural resources after a conflict. State-level winners receive $1,000 each. National awards include one first-place award of $10,000; one second-place award of $5,000; and one third-place award of $2,500. State winners also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for the awards program. Entry deadline: February 1, 2007.


K-12 Schools and Libraries: Apply to Receive the “We the People Bookshelf”
As part of its We the People initiative, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association present the We the People Bookshelf, a program that encourages young people to read classic books and explore themes in American history, culture, and ideas. K-12 schools and public libraries are invited to apply to receive a set of 17 thematically related books which embody the theme of “Created Equal.” In return for receiving a Bookshelf, libraries are must organize programs that introduce the books and the “Created Equal” theme to the library’s students, patrons, or intergenerational audiences. Application deadline: January 25, 2008.


Nominate Champions of Inclusive Education to be Featured in EquiNews
The National Center for Culturally Responsive Education Systems (NCCRESt) and the National Institute for Urban School Improvement (NIUSI) want to recognize champions for inclusive education in EquiNews, their joint monthly newsletter. They seek nominations from readers describing a person whose work they feel should be acknowledged, including what this person is doing or has done related to equity and excellence in education. Nominations should be approximately 500 words in length and include a photo. Send nominations to or


Students in Grades 6-12: Enter C-SPAN’s StudentCam Competition
C-SPAN StudentCam is an annual documentary competition that invites students to identify a current political topic of interest and produce a short (up to 10 minute) video documentary which creatively explores that topic while integrating C-SPAN programming. Videos must be in VHS or DVD formats. Students can enter individually or in teams of up to 3 students. A Grand Prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the best overall entry. Multiple prizes of $250, $750, $1,000, and $3,000 will be awarded in both middle and high school categories. Entry deadline: December 31, 2007.


Submit Comments: Proposed Center on Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
To improve postsecondary education and other outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities and focus attention on an area of national need, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education have jointly proposed a priority and definitions for a center on postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. This priority may be used for competitions beginning in fiscal year 2008. The public is invited to submit comments regarding the proposed priority by January 10, 2008.


Submit Poetry or Prose to Literary Review Special Issue on “Abilities and Disabilities”
The Bellevue Literary Review, “a journal of humanity and human experience,” is seeking previously unpublished poetry and prose (both fiction and non-fiction) of the highest caliber focusing on experience and representations of disability for a special issue entitled “Abilities and Disabilities: The Range of Human Function.” Up to three poems or up to 5,000 words of prose can be submitted. Please indicate that your submission is for this special issue. Submission deadline: February 1, 2008.


Suggest New Topics for the What Works Clearinghouse to Study
The U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse is soliciting ideas for topics that could be studied in the future. It currently studies beginning reading, elementary and middle school math, early childhood education, dropout prevention, English language learning, and character education. Should tackle other academic subjects like adolescent literacy, high school math, science, history and social studies, or writing? Should it expand to include postsecondary or adult education? Should it tackle topics in special education? Should it examine approaches to the professional development of teachers and principals, or school-level issues such as how to turn around low-performing schools?


Youth with Disabilities Ages 15-28: Apply to the Governing Board of the National Youth Leadership Network Word document
The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN; is looking for new leaders for its Governing Board. NYLN is a non-profit organization run by young people with disabilities. It empowers all young people to reach their maximum potential. Applicants to the Governing Board must be between 15 and 28 years old, have a disability, and have exceptional leadership and advocacy skills. For more information, call 1-866-480-6565 or e-mail Application deadline: December 7, 2007. Application available in Word (4 pages, 96 KB).

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The Resource Zone

Other National Resources


Adobe Accessibility Resource Center
Adobe’s Accessibility Resource Center provides guides that tell readers how to incorporate accessibility into their documents and Web pages. It describes the Section 508 requirements, which mandate Web site accessibility for people with disabilities; defines accessibility and explains assistive devices and how they are used; and provides an overview of steps to building accessible Web sites, as well as case studies, examples, and more.


Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Interventions  (October 2007) PDF document
This report from the National High School Center outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary supports and interventions to help them obtain a high school diploma. It also discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, describes best practice approaches undertaken by high-performing high schools, and presents effective programs currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem. Available in PDF (33 pages, 1.5 MB).


APR/SPP Indicator Summaries
These indicator documents posted on the CADRE Web site are drawn from analyses of SPPs (2004-05) and APRs (2005-06) done by OSEP-funded Technical Assistance and Dissemination projects. They cover APR Indicators B16-B19 and C10-C13, and SPP Indicators B16-B19 and C10-C13.


Benefiting from Inclusion  (October 2007)
In this essay, Mara Sapon-Shevin, a professor of education at Syracuse University, encourages educators to reflect on the benefits of inclusion for children with and without disabilities. It includes reflection prompts for professional development.


Beyond City Limits: Cross-System Collaboration to Reengage Disconnected Youth  (July 2007) PDF document
This report from the National League of Cities’ Institute on Youth, Education, and Families highlights eight cities (Albany, NY; Baltimore; Boston; Corpus Christi, TX; Philadelphia; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose) in which municipal leaders are collaborating across public systems on behalf of “disconnected youth”—young people ages 16-25 who are high school dropouts, unemployed, transitioning from foster care, involved in the justice system, or lacking connections to family or other caring adults. It describes broad-based local efforts to reconnect these youth to education, employment, and supports and services. Available in PDF (72 pages, 748 KB).


Building a System of Excellent High Schools: A Framework and Tool for Discussion and Action  (December 2007) PDF document
This tool from the Academy for Educational Development and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform provides guidelines for district leaders, community stakeholders, educators, administrators, parents, and students to map out the process of transforming their high schools to meet the needs of all students. It was originally developed for the seven districts who participated in the Schools for a New Society Initiative. Available in PDF (46 pages, 3.9 MB).


Engaging Youth . . . On Their Turf: Creative Approaches to Connecting Youth Through Community  (2007)
This publication from Healthy Teen Network focuses on how adolescent health professionals can utilize creative approaches to engaging youth in positive youth development. It describes six programs that reach out to youth in non-traditional communities through parental engagement, athletics, service-learning, art, mentoring, and youth empowerment approaches. It also provides some next steps for professionals to develop or adapt approaches like those it describes. Available in PDF (20 pages, 2 MB).


Implementing Evidence-Based Practices: Six “Drivers” of Success  (October 2007) PDF document
The implementation of a new program or practice can be a major challenge for program providers. This brief from Child Trends highlights why the effective implementation of evidence-based practices is critical to achieving outcomes, and outlines six core components or “drivers” of successful program implementation. Available in PDF (8 pages, 180 KB).


Links for Academic Learning: An Alignment Protocol for Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards  (November 2007) PDF document
This manual from the National Alternate Assessment Center aims to help professionals conduct alignment studies of academic content standards and extended standards, achievement standards, instruction, and professional development. Available in PDF (159 pages, 788 KB).


Meeting the High School Challenge: Making After-School Work for Older Students  (July 2007) PDF document
This report from The After-School Corporation (TASC) examines the challenges of engaging teens in after-school programs and describes three programmatic approaches. It reflects the wisdom of TASC and its many partners in engaging older students and creating programs that can be replicated on a large scale. Available in PDF (20 pages, 340 KB).

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What's Happening

Other National Events


Ideas in Action: Baldwin Academy
Web-based Event
December 5, 2007
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM   (Eastern)
Baldwin Academy is an elementary school in La Puente, California with a high poverty, high minority student population that performs well above its peers. In this interactive presentation from WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp initiative, school and district leaders interested in honing their instructional programs will learn from principal Bonnie Wilson about successful strategies at Baldwin. Topics will include Baldwin’s focus on shared decision-making and collaboration, providing professional learning opportunities, conducting ongoing analysis of data, and creating a culture of high expectations and extensive family involvement. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Understanding Section 508 and Web Site Accessibility
Web-based Event
December 11, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM   (Eastern)
In this Webconference, Jeff Coburn, Web Specialist at the Institute for Community Inclusion, will introduce Web site accessibility for individuals with little experience with Web technology and Web developers in the national service field. He will cover Section 508, Web site standards, and universal access. He will also describe practical guidelines and tests. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions. Participation is free, but registration is required: RSVP by noon EST on Friday, December 7 by emailing with the following info: Name, Organization, Email, and Phone, and indicate if you require CART to participate.

Research and Dissemination in Indian Country: Indianonish, Email, and Other Surprises
Web-based Event
December 14, 2007
This Webcast from the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research in collaboration with the Independent Living Research Utilization program will describe false assumptions and cultural differences that prevent effective research and dissemination on Indian reservations, discuss modifications to typical research designs to effectively work on Indian reservations, and summarize the research by Spirit Lake Consulting on how individuals with disabilities and their families obtain information. Presented by Dr. AnnMaria De Mars and Dr. Erich Longie of Spirit Lake Consulting. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Disability Law & Policy, Present & Future
Teleconference Call
December 18, 2007
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM   (Eastern)
Reviewing previous research efforts, this teleconference will set out a blueprint for the role of research, policy, and law in advancing the civic, economic, and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society. It will review past public policy efforts and research findings regarding workers with disabilities and discuss current and future research initiatives on the cutting edge of promoting successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. It will present promising research methodologies in multidisciplinary-field disability and employment research. Finally, it will put forth challenges and opportunities for research, policy, and legal initiatives, setting the agenda for the next quarter century. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

K-12 and Beyond: The Importance of Internships to Student with Disabilities and Businesses, Featuring Booz Allen Hamilton Emerging Leaders Internship Program as a Best Practice
Web-based Event
January 8, 2008
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM   (Eastern)
This JAN/U.S. BLN Webinar will feature Barbara Haight from Booz Allen Hamilton, who helped to create and implement Booz Allen’s Emerging Leaders internship and leadership development program for college students with disabilities. Barbara will speak about the importance and value of internships to students with disabilities’ career development as well as to meeting businesses’ recruitment needs. The Emerging Leaders program will be discussed as one model for businesses to access students with disabilities. She will also offer best practices for internship placements and other examples of business-focused programs. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

Evidence-Based Practices in Secondary Transition
Teleconference Call
January 9, 2008
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM   (Eastern)
In this free teleconference, co-sponsored by the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) and OSEP’s Exiting Community of Practice, Dr. David Test of NSTTAC will present findings from a literature review of evidence-based practices in secondary transition (see to review the findings prior to the teleconference). He will also respond to audience questions regarding the resources NSTTAC is developing from these findings. To participate, dial (866)593-4318 and enter the conference ID #27138234.

Project ACTION Audio Conference on ADA Paratransit Eligibility
Teleconference Call
January 10, 2008
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM   (Eastern)
In this Easter Seals Project ACTION teleconference, Kristi Ross will address the basics about paratransit eligibility, including alternative eligibility determination processes, appeals of eligibility determinations, and how to involve people with disabilities in the eligibility process. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Engaging Students with School: The Essential Dimension of Dropout Prevention Programs
Web-based Event
January 22, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM   (Eastern)
NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FROM 12/11/2007. In this National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities Webseminar, Dr. Sandy Christenson will describe universal and individualized dropout prevention interventions for students with and without disabilities. She will explain the ideal heuristic to achieve an assessment-to-intervention link, as well as data-based interventions that maximize the person-environment fit. She will discuss effective interventions with a focus on attendance and academic skills, and indicators of students’ commitment to learning, perceptions of academic and social competence, and sense of belonging. Registration is required, and is free for the first 150 registrants.

14th Joint National Conference on Alternatives to Expulsion, Suspension, & Dropping Out of School
January 31, 2008 - February 2, 2008
Lake Buena Vista, FL
This conference is presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in partnership with the National Alternative Education Association, the Coalition for Safe & Effective Schools, and the National Charter School Clearinghouse. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Creature Discomforts: Changing the Way People See Disability
This “claymation” ad campaign from Leonard Cheshire Disability aims to change the way people think about, and respond to, disability. It’s a series of animations based on the experiences of real disabled people.


DisabilityNation: An Audio Magazine by and for People with Disabilities
DisabilityNation is an audio magazine by and for people with disabilities. It highlights people working, participating in sports and recreation, and other activities, including married couples, singles, children and adults, politicians, and couch potatoes who happen to be people with disabilities. You will hear conversations about life, not necessarily about disability.


State Education Reforms (SER)
The State Education Reforms Web site, which draws primarily on data collected by organizations other than the National Center for Education Statistics, compiles and disseminates data on state-level education reform efforts in four areas: 1) standards, assessment, and accountability; 2) school finance reforms; 3) resources for learning; and 4) state support for school choice options. Specific reform areas include student and teacher assessments, adequate yearly progress, statewide exit exams, highly qualified teachers, open enrollment laws, and charter schools.


Thinkfinity: Literacy, Education, and Technology Site from the Verizon Foundation
Thinkfinity is a free, comprehensive digital learning platform from the Verizon Foundation. It is designed to improve learning in traditional settings and beyond the classroom by providing the high-caliber content and professional development needed to improve student achievement anytime, anywhere, at no cost. It contains more than 55,000 authoritative educational and literacy resources for teachers, students, and community programs, including standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools, and Web sites. Thinkfinity also includes best-in-class evidence-based literacy resources.



National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness eNews
The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for children and youth who are deaf-blind funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Its e-mail newsletter, which comes out every two months, includes NCDB Highlights, News & Events, and Products & Publications.

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Funding Forecast

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


Allstate Foundation Grants for Safe and Vital Communities; Economic Empowerment; and Tolerance, Inclusion, and Diversity
The Allstate Foundation supports national and local programs regarding Safe and Vital Communities (including youth anti-violence); Economic Empowerment (including financial and economic literacy); and Tolerance, Inclusion, and Diversity (including teaching tolerance to youth, and alleviating discrimination). Nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible to apply. The Foundation has no deadlines for submission; proposals may be submitted throughout the calendar year.


Brookdale Foundation Grants for Relatives as Parents Local and State Programs
The Brookdale Foundation’s Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) encourages and promotes the creation or expansion of services for grandparents and other relatives who have taken on the responsibility of surrogate parenting when the biological parents are unable to do so. The Foundation provides Local and State Seed Grants for RAPP. Deadline for submission of local proposals: January 10, 2008. Deadline for submission of state proposals: February 8, 2008.


William T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellows Program to Support Research on Youth Outcomes
The William T. Grant Foundation is seeking applicants for its Distinguished Fellows Program for mid-career researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. The Program aims to help researchers strengthen the ways in which their work reflects an understanding of policy and practice, and to help policymakers and practitioners enhance their capacities to recognize and use high-quality research. The program allows practitioners/policymakers to spend extended time working in a research setting or researchers to spend extended time working in a practitioner/policymaking setting. Each fellow receives up to $175,000 for the duration of the fellowship, which may range from six months to two years. Letters of Inquiry Submission Deadline: January 10, 2008.

Scholarships and Awards


Freida J. Riley Teacher Award
The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is seeking nominations for the Freida J. Riley Teacher Award, given annually to an American teacher who works with a physical disability, teaches in an especially challenging educational environment, or has performed a heroic act by making an exceptional personal or physical sacrifice on behalf of students. The award comes with a prize of $10,000. Nomination deadline: February 4, 2008.


Global Action Awards for High School Students who Fight Global Poverty
The Global Action Awards honor U.S. high school students who have led projects that have had a direct, positive impact on people in developing countries or that have raised awareness about global poverty. The Awards celebrate young people who have shown great leadership in areas such as preventing disease, alleviating hunger, protecting the environment, promoting human rights, and improving access to education. Honorees receive $5,000 for higher education or a charitable cause of their choice, and are honored at a ceremony in New York City. Application deadline: January 31, 2008.


John W. Gardner Leadership Award
The John W. Gardner Leadership Award honors an individual whose leadership in or with the nonprofit community has been transformative and who has mobilized and unified people, institutions, or causes that improve people’s lives. Award recipients are people who, apart from personal achievements, have raised the capacity of others to advance the common good. Their leadership has either had national or international impact or, if at the regional level, has attracted wide recognition and imitation. Their work has transformed their field and has served as a model for other fields. The aware comes with a prize of $10,000. Nomination deadline: January 31, 2008.


Leaders in Learning Awards
Cable in the Classroom’s Leaders In Learning Awards recognize teachers, administrators, and community leaders who are helping to improve and transform education for children both in and out of school, creating the 21st-century learning environments children need to succeed in the world that awaits them. Awards are given in five categories: General Excellence, Cable Partnerships for Learning, Pushing the Envelope, Policymaker Excellence, and Media Literacy Education. Winners receive a $3,000 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC in June 2008. Application deadline: January 16, 2008.


Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Achievement Awards
This $1,000 award recognizing the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and/or ADHD is awarded annually to a student age 19 or younger who has demonstrated initiative, talent, and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field—including art, music, science, math, athletics, or community service. Nomination deadline: January 31, 2008.


Verizon Tech Savvy Awards
The National Center for Family Literacy is seeking applications for the 2008 Verizon Tech Savvy Awards, which support sustainable programs that help parents bridge the widening gap between adults and children’s understanding of technology. Programs should create innovative, readily replicable ways to employ technology as an important component in family literacy. Organizations with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible to apply. Four $5,000 regional awards and one $25,000 national award will be presented. Application deadline: January 11, 2008.

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End of Issue

Excerpting E-News
You are welcome to copy and paste portions of this E-News issue into your own e-mail newsletter; however, please credit the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition E-News and link to as follows: “Excerpted from NCSET E-News, an electronic newsletter of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), available online at NCSET is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.”

Contributing to E-News
If you have information on new products, resources, funding opportunities, and conferences or training events and want to contribute these to a future E-News issue, please e-mail the information to or see Suggest an Item for E-News for more information.

Purpose of the Listserv
E-News features resources, activities, products, and funding information from around the country. E-News is dedicated to assisting youth, parents, educators, service providers, and administrators to stay connected and informed about secondary education and transition issues.

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E-News Disclaimer
The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition disseminates E-News to enhance public access to information about secondary education and transition activities. Our intention is to provide resources that are current and accurate. Although every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we can make no guarantees. We will, of course, make every effort to correct errors brought to our attention.

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.

Note: There are no copyright restrictions on this document. However, please credit the source and support of federal funds when copying all or part of this material.

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