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April 2004 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

Legislative Announcements


Medicaid Infrastructure Grants PDF document
On March 2, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the award of $15.7 million in grants to 28 states and the District of Columbia to help people with disabilities find and keep work without losing their health benefits. The grants advance the goals of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, a law passed by Congress to encourage people with disabilities to work without fear of losing their eligibility under Medicare, Medicaid, or similar health benefits. The grant program will achieve this goal by providing money to states to develop and implement the core elements of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, so as to successfully modify their health care delivery systems to meet the needs of people with disabilities who want to work.


New Freedom Initiative Award Nominations Open
U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao has opened nominations for the New Freedom Initiative Award. This award will recognize nonprofits, small businesses, corporations, and people who have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment of and improving the workplace environment for people with disabilities. Nominations are due May 21.


New Policy for Calculating Participation Rates Under No Child Left Behind
The Bush administration is easing the restrictions of its “No Child Left Behind” education law in the area of testing. The 2001 law requires schools to get participation from at least 95% of students in math and reading testing, as well as at least 95% participation from all major subgroups of students, such as minority students or students with disabilities. Under the new policy, as long as schools average a 95% participation rate among students over two or three years, they'll meet the law. A school that tested only 94% of students one year, for example, could make the mark if it tested 96% of students the year before. The option would apply both to a school's overall population and to any of its major groups of students.


The 2004 Progress Report: The President's New Freedom Initiative for People with Disabilities
Announced in February 2001, the New Freedom Initiative is President George W. Bush’s plan to remove the barriers to full integration into American life that many of this nation’s 54 million citizens with disabilities still face. This Progress Report highlights Initiative accomplishments since the 2002 Progress Report.

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The Resource Zone

NCSET Resources


Social Activities of Youth with Disabilities  (March 2004)
NCSET NLTS2 Data Brief  • Volume  3 ,  Issue  1
This brief provides highlights of the results of the National Longitudinal Study-2 in regard to social activities of youth with disabilities. Researchers asked parents how often youth interact with friends by getting together outside of school, receiving telephone calls from them, and being invited to other youths' social activities. They also asked whether youth had taken part in various extracurricular activities during the previous year.


State Transition Resources  (2004)
Web Page
Select state transition offices have generously volunteered to share links to their most valuable transition resources with visitors to the NCSET Web site. On the new State Transition Resources page of the NCSET Web site, you will find manuals, toolkits, curricula, Web sites and more for everyone involved in supporting the successful transition of youth with disabilities to adult life.

Other National Resources


A Policymaker’s Primer on Education Research  (2004)
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) have launched a new online tool to help policymakers, education leaders, reporters, and others better understand and evaluate education research. The interactive, online document is a first-of-its kind effort. The primer helps policymakers and other interested individuals answer three questions: (1) What does the research say? (2) Is the research trustworthy? And (3) How can the research be used to guide policy? It was written by McREL Principal Researcher Patricia Lauer and funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.


Beating the Odds IV: A City-By-City Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gap on State Assessments  (March 2004)
The Council of the Great City Schools has prepared this fourth edition of the Beating the Odds report to give the nation another look at how inner-city schools are performing on the academic goals and standards set by the states for our children. The report examines student achievement in math and reading through spring 2003; measures achievement gaps between cities and states, African Americans and Whites, and Hispanics and Whites; includes new data on language proficiency, disability, and income; and looks at progress.


Job Accommodation Network  (2004)
Web Page
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) facilitates the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing information on job accommodations, self-employment, and small business opportunities. This web page discusses JAN's approach to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. JAN is a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.


Resiliency: What We Have Learned  (January 2004)
Research studies over the past decade substantiate the impact of policies and practices that recognize and support young people's innate drive, no matter what their challenges, for self-righting, normal human development. An understanding of this “developmental wisdom,” or resiliency, must be integrated into adults’ vision for the youth they work with and communicated to young people themselves, argues Bonnie Benard in her new book. What appears to be crucial for these young people are caring relationships, high expectations, and opportunities to participate and contribute, whether in their families, schools, or communities.


Summer Pre-College Programs for Students with Disabilities  (July 2004) PDF document
Web Page
The George Washington University HEATH Resource Center researches summer campus programs for students with disabilities annually. A list of resources has been compiled for students with disabilities who are interested in exploring ways to prepare for college and enhance college performance. Available in PDF (6 pages).


Working Together for Successful Transition: Washington State Adolescent Transition Resource Notebook  (2004)
Web Page
This make-your-own notebook is a tool for transition from adolescence to adulthood for young adults with special health care needs and disabilities. This page includes instructions for creating the notebook, as well as links to Microsoft Word documents for the various sections.

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What's Happening

NCSET Events


School-Based Strategies for Supporting Student Development of Self-Determination Skills in the Context of Leadership and Standards-Based Reform
Capacity Building Institute
April 13, 2004
New Orleans, LA
This NCSET Institute is being held in conjunction with the Council for Exceptional Children 2004 Convention and Expo. The purpose of this institute is to share practical strategies and plans for increasing student self-determination. Special education teachers, state and district transition coordinators, researchers, general educators, family members, and other interested stakeholders are invited to attend this exciting event. Online registration is available. Registration deadline: March 19.

High School Diplomas for Youth with Disabilities: Options and Alternate Routes
Teleconference Call
April 27, 2004
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM   (Central)
NCSET teleconference call held on April 27, 2004 to discuss alternatives to the high school diploma for youth with disabilities. Public criticism during the past two decades about the lack of knowledge and skills among students leaving schools with high school diplomas has led states to implement graduation policies and requirements that call for raised academic standards for all students, state and local district testing, development of exit exams linked to a student¹s eligibility for a diploma, and a focus on increasing student graduation rates. Within this context, there has been a new emphasis on the inclusion of all students in an educational system with high expectations and the same standards for all students. Thus, one of the major challenges in implementing more rigorous high school graduation policies has been to determine how best to include students with disabilities. Presenters highlighted findings from a national study on Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Youth with Disabilities, as well as a recent study of alternate routes for obtaining standard diplomas in states with graduation exams. The transcript of this call is now available.

Other National Events


Health Promotion for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: The State of Scientific Evidence
June 1, 2004
Philadelphia, PA
This national conference will address the state of the scientific evidence concerning health promotion topics as they relate to the population of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Topics to be presented include physical activity and mobility, obesity and overweight/nutrition, access to health care, hypertension, alternative and complementary medicine, case management/care coordination, mental health, health risk assessment tools, epilepsy, safety/injury and violence, reproductive health, respiratory health, tobacco use/substance abuse, and conceptual health promotion models.

The 2004 Work-Life Conference
June 15, 2004 - June 16, 2004
New York, NY
The 2004 Work-Life Conference will examine how to increase the engagement and resilience of the workforce. Participants will hear expert overviews on global trends affecting life on and off the job that are moving engagement and resilience to center stage. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Center for Self-Determination
The Center for Self-Determination is a highly interactive working collaborative of individuals and organizations committed to the principles of self-determination. The purpose of the collaborative is to change the nature of the support and service system for individuals with disabilities, using the principles of self-determination to help all persons create the lives they want, connected to and with their communities.


Committee on Research in Education (CORE)
The Committee on Research in Education (CORE) is an interdisciplinary panel of scholars and educators who sponsored a five-part workshop series in 2003 that engaged leading national and international experts on issues pertinent to the quality of scientific education research and its use in improving schools. On this Web site you can access speaker bios and presentations as well as transcripts of formal remarks, moderated discussions, and Q&A sessions with audience members.


Disability Studies for Teachers
This Web site, from the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University, contains lesson plans and materials designed to help teachers integrate disability studies into social studies, history, literature, and related subjects in grades 6-12. The lesson plans and materials also can be adapted for use in postsecondary education. Lesson plans and essays on "disability studies" examine disability as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. Among the topics: a history of deaf education, efforts to reform poorhouses in the 1840s and 1850s, P.T. Barnum and "freak shows," conscientious objectors during World War II who exposed horrific conditions at state institutions, and an introduction to disability studies.


Transition Coalition
The mission of the Transition Coalition at the University of Kansas is to maximize professional development in secondary school reform and transition at the national, state, and local levels. The Coalition supports best practices and creates professional development forums using face-to-face and online training and technical assistance.


Youth Venture: Building a global movement of young changemakers
Youth Venture a national non-profit organization that empowers young people ages 12-20 by providing them the tools necessary to create civic-minded organizations, clubs, or businesses. It provides access to a variety of resources, including a national network of like-minded young people, media opportunities, and up to $1,000 in seed capital to launch their organizations. Youth Venture believes that youth have the inherent creativity and determination needed to create genuine change within their communities.



School Funding Newsletter from The School Funding Center
The School Funding Newsletter is sent monthly and filled with information on grant sources, tips on grant writing, best sources for programs and materials, and top Web sites.


Teacher Quality and Improvement E-Newsletter from CCSSO
This bi-weekly e-newsletter from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) focuses on efforts at the state and district level to strengthen teacher quality and school leadership, particularly in high-poverty, low-performing schools. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide links to recent reports, studies, legislative action, and news articles related to teacher quality and improvement efforts. Published by the CCSSO Teacher Quality Network. To subscribe or unsubscribe, contact Cindy Prince,

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Funding Forecast

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


Gannett Foundation
The Gannett Foundation, a corporate foundation sponsored by Gannett Co., Inc., serves local organizations in those communities in which Gannett Co., Inc. has a local daily newspaper or television station. (To find out if your community is one of these, see The program makes contributions through grants and a matching gifts program to qualified nonprofit organizations to improve the education, health, and advancement of the people who live in Gannett communities. The Foundation values projects which take a creative approach to such fundamental issues as education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Next application deadlines: May 15 and August 15, 2004.


National Council for Community and Education Partnerships
The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) and the SBC [Communications, Inc.] Foundation are pleased to announce a new competitive special grants program to supplement GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) projects and enhance non-GEAR UP education collaboratives. Under this program, the SBC Foundation is working in conjunction with NCCEP to support community education partnerships and improve student academic achievement and success in K-16 education. During the 2004 calendar year, NCCEP, on behalf of the SBC Foundation, will award approximately $5 million to communities in the SBC 13-state service areas (AR, CA, CT, IL, IN, KS, MI, MS, NV, OH, OK, TX, and WI) to support development in four distinct program areas: instructional technology, academic enrichment programs, data-driven decision making, and developing high-performance K-16 partnerships in non-GEAR UP communities. Application deadline: May 14, 2004.

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End of Issue

Excerpting E-News
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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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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.

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