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May 2007 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

Calls to Participate


Nominate a Business, Organization, or Individual for the New Freedom Initiative Award
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao invites nominations for the 2007 Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Awards. Businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals who have made exemplary and innovative efforts to enhance employment opportunities for workers with disabilities are eligible. Self-nominations are encouraged. The nomination deadline has been extended to May 31, 2007.


People with Vision Loss: Share Your Cell-Phone Related Difficulties

Tara Annis, an intern with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), is compiling a list of persons with vision loss who have had difficulty obtaining and using cell phones. AFB is considering filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about lack of upholding Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, which requires that cell phone manufacturers and service providers do all that is readily achievable to make each product or service accessible. If you have an experience to share, contact Tara at 1-888-824-2184 or


Submit a Proposal for the National Center for Education Statistics Data Conference
The National Center for Education Statistics’ annual Data Conference is an opportunity for professional networking, updates on federal and national activities affecting data collection and reporting, and information about the best new approaches in collecting, reporting, and using education statistics. The Conference will provide information about changes in how the U.S. Department of Education collects and uses data, and developments in electronic data standards for schools, districts, and states. Presentation proposals on the following topics are sought: statewide longitudinal data systems, encouraging data use for instructional improvement, quality assurance strategies, and interoperability. Proposal submission deadline: May 18, 2007.


Young Artists with Disabilities Ages 16-25: Enter National Juried Exhibition
U.S. artists ages 16-25 with physical, cognitive, or mental disabilities are invited to enter a national juried exhibition, sponsored by VSA arts and Volkswagen of America. Fifteen prizes ranging in value from $2,000-$20,000 will be awarded. Both representational and abstract work is welcome. This year’s theme is: “What moves you to create? Can you pinpoint a force that motivates you to express your artistic vision? Is there a particular catalyst or compulsion that sustains your creative energy?” Entry deadline: July 6, 2007.


Young Disability Activists: Complete a Survey on Future Directions for the Disability Rights Movement
A group of young disability activists is working on a presentation for the National Council on Independent Living conference, where they will share youths’ ideas for future directions for the Disability Rights Movement. To gather those ideas, they’ve created a brief (10-25 minutes) Web survey for young disability activists. E-mail if you have any questions about the survey or if you want to be part of an upcoming conference call to talk more about disability culture and disability community. Survey completion deadline: May 20, 2007.


Youth Ages 12-20: Apply for Support for Your Social Venture
The YSA Youth Venture Program is seeking applications from youth nationwide who are interested in starting their own sustainable social Ventures. Ventures must be youth-led and designed to be a lasting, sustainable asset to the community. Youth Venture teams are required to plan a National & Global Youth Service Day project every year that their Venture is operational. The Youth Venture Program provides a variety of resources, including a national network of like-minded youth, media opportunities, technical support, helpful toolkits and workshops, and seed funding of up to $1,000. Application deadline: May 14, 2007.


Youth: Participate in The Sense of Wonder: Rachel Carson Intergenerational Photo, Essay, and Poetry Contest
To honor the late preservationist and ecologist Rachel Carson, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Generations United, and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., announce a photo, essay, and poetry contest “that best expresses the sense of wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes.” Winners’ work will be published on the Web sites of the EPA, Aging Initiative, Generations United, and Rachel Carson Council, Inc. Entries must be joint projects involving a person under age 18 and a person age 50 or older. Entry deadline: June 15, 2007.

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The Resource Zone

Other National Resources


District Graduation Rate Map Online Tool  (May 2007)
Online Tool
The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center and ESRI have launched the Beta version of an online mapping tool to help the public, policymakers, and educational leaders combat the graduation crisis. This Web-based application allows users to easily map graduation rates by zooming in on any of the nation’s individual school districts and downloading a report for the district, including detailed information on graduation rates and an analysis of where students are lost from the high school pipeline. The reports also compare district results with state and national figures.


Event Dropout Rates for Public School Students in Grades 9-12: 2002-03 and 2003-04  (May 2007)
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics summarizes and compares event dropout rates for public high school students, by state, for 2002-03 and 2003-04. The event dropout rate measures the percentage of high school students who drop out in a given year. A dropout is a student who was enrolled at the beginning of the year, not enrolled at the beginning of the next year, and who did not graduate from high school or complete some other district- or state-approved educational program.


Government Eyes Special Ed Requirements  (May 2007)
Many children in special education classes may not belong there, the government says. A new policy is aimed at intervening early with intensive teaching to give struggling students a chance to succeed in regular classrooms and escape the “special ed” label. There are nearly seven million special education students in the U.S., and roughly half have learning disabilities. The Bush administration, following passage of a broad special education law, issued rules in October that rewrote the way schools determine if a child has a learning disability.


Health Care Transition Assessment Tools
The Jacksonville Health and Transition Services program has developed two assessment tools, one for youth and one for caregivers, that can be used to rate health care transition related skills and behaviors. They are available on the Health Care Transition Initiative’s Web site.


Job Accommodation Network Web Site Portal for Individuals with Disabilities
Web Page
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) seeks to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing information on topics such as job accommodations, self-employment, and small business opportunities. This section of the JAN Web site includes links to resources for individuals with disabilities, including two documents—Employees' Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Finding a Job that is Right for You: A Practical Approach to Looking for a Job as a Person with Disability—and links to resources and information on topics including job seeking, maintaining employment, and legal assistance.


Leveling the Path to Participation: Volunteering and Civic Engagement Among Youth From Disadvantaged Circumstances  (March 2007) PDF document
A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service has found that volunteering produces many positive benefits for teens from low-income backgrounds—they become empowered, are more likely to volunteer and become politically engaged, and believe they will graduate from college and make a difference in their communities. But the study also found a disturbing “class gap” in teen volunteer rates. Youth from disadvantaged circumstances are significantly less likely to volunteer than other youth and are also much less likely than other youth to take part in service-learning or school civic clubs. Available in PDF (32 pages, 2.8 MB).


Promoting Health Care Transition for Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities  (2007)
This book seeks to smooth the transition from pediatric care to adult medical care for youth with special health care needs. It helps readers improve their collaboration with other professionals to ensure coordinated care and services for youth, skillfully assess individual medical and health care needs, develop workable health care transition plans, ensure that transition outcomes match the goals and desires of the individual, help families locate and select adult medical and health care providers, and help youth secure health-related accommodations in school and at work.


Research Update: Highlights From the Out-of-School Time Database #1  (April 2007) PDF document
This Research Update synthesizes findings from the profiles of 15 research and evaluation reports added to the Harvard Family Research Project’s Out-of-School Time Program Research and Evaluation Database in December 2006. It highlights strategies for assessing program processes as well as key outcomes and features of programs that promote positive outcomes. Available in PDF (7 pages, 161 KB).


Review from What Works Clearinghouse: Dropout Prevention: High School Redirection  (April 2007)
Research Review
The What Works Clearinghouse of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has published a review of a dropout prevention intervention: High School Redirection, an alternative high school program for at-risk youth. The program emphasizes basic skills development and offers limited extracurricular activities. High School Redirection schools operate in economically disadvantaged areas and serve students who have dropped out in the past, who are parents, who have poor test scores, or who are over-age for their grade. To foster a sense of community, the schools are small and teachers are encouraged to act as mentors as well as instructors.


Study Points to Gap Between U.S. High School Curriculum and College Expectations  (April 2007)
Press Release
A study by ACT describes a gap between what high schools are teaching in their core college preparatory courses and what colleges want incoming students to know in order for them to succeed in first-year courses. The findings of the study—a national curriculum survey completed by thousands of high school and college instructors across the country—suggest that colleges generally want all incoming students to attain in-depth understanding of a selected number of fundamental skills and knowledge in their high school courses, while high schools tend to provide less in-depth instruction of a broader range of skills and topics.

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What's Happening

Other National Events


Overview of Secondary Conditions Associated with Spina Bifida and a Special Look into the Role of Assistive Technology
Web-based Event
May 10, 2007
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM   (Eastern)
This Webinar, presented by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, will share the results of studies on 1) the prevalence of secondary conditions such as obesity, social isolation, depression, and lack of independence among youth with spina bifida in relation to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors; and 2) the role of assistive technology in promoting health and reducing secondary conditions. The researchers will also present transition issues and challenges identified by the youth with spina bifida who participated in the studies. Participation is free, but registration is required.

New Tools to Make Benchmark Analysis Free and Painless
Web-based Event
May 23, 2007
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM   (Pacific)
This Web-based event from WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp Initiative will: 1) review research on using benchmark assessments to improve student achievement, 2) demonstrate free online sites that provide sample benchmark exams aligned to standards in California and other states, 3) demonstrate a free Excel template downloadable that facilitates a standards-based analysis of data from the benchmark exams, and 4) discuss how teachers might use this data to personalize instruction to improve students’ mastery of state standards. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Building on Family Strengths Conference: Effective Services for ALL: Strategies to Promote Mental Health and Thriving for Underserved Children and Families
May 31, 2007 - June 2, 2007
Portland, OR
The 2007 Building on Family Strengths Conference will provide state of the science and best practice information addressing the question, “How can we best provide effective, culturally appropriate services and reduce access and quality disparities for underserved and/or poorly served children and youth with emotional and mental health challenges and their families?” It will also address programs and practices to increase family and youth participation and empowerment; family-centered, youth-guided, and culturally competent services; and building the capacity of communities to support children and families. Presented by the Research & Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health.

Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging, and Technology
June 16, 2007 - June 19, 2007
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology (FICCDAT) brings together five conferences all focused on enhancing the lives of seniors, persons with disabilities, and family caregivers. Rehabilitation, social, and health services providers; policymakers; researchers; family caregivers; students; seniors; and persons with disabilities from around the world will gather to explore issues facing aging populations, the implications for healthcare systems and service providers, the roles and responsibilities of family caregivers and policy, and how new research findings and technologies are leading to practical solutions.

Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 for Research and Policy Discussion

July 9, 2007 - July 11, 2007
Washington, DC
The National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education will sponsor a 2.5-day advanced studies seminar on the use of two longitudinal education databases—the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88)—for research and policy studies. The design of both studies permits examination of education, work, and the socialization of youth in the U.S. and the influences of schools, teachers, community, and family in promoting growth and positive outcomes.

National Forum on Education Policy

July 10, 2007 - July 13, 2007
Philadelphia, PA
The Education Commission of the States’ National Forum on Education Policy provides an opportunity for policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders at all levels of public education to share information, ideas, and lessons learned, and to reflect on current practices and promising emerging strategies. It brings together governors and their education policy advisors; legislative leaders; state superintendents and state school board members; and college and university system heads. Discussions will be informed by researchers and experts who are guiding national and state-level analyses and programs on education finance, workforce development, technology and data systems development, curriculum, human resources, and other topics.

Together a Brighter Tomorrow (2007 ASA National Conference)
July 11, 2007 - July 14, 2007
Scottsdale, AZ
This Autism Society of America conference will bring together experts from various disciplines with the creative ideas and energy to address the diverse challenges individuals with autism and their families face. Its goal is to provide attendees the opportunity to learn from innovators and access critical information to improve their lives and those of the people they love, treat, and inspire.

Using the National Household Education Surveys Program Database for Research and Policy Analyses

July 11, 2007 - July 13, 2007
Washington, DC
The National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education will sponsor a three-day advanced studies seminar on the use of the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) databases for research and policy analyses. NHES is a series of surveys designed to address a wide range of education-related issues. It provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population, from early childhood to adult education, and offers policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the U.S.

2007 National Conference on Volunteering and Service
July 16, 2007 - July 18, 2007
Philadelphia, PA
This conference will offer several sessions regarding people with disabilities and service: Collaborating for Success: The Key to Inclusion (presenter: Paula Sotnik), Project Impact: Engaging Youth with Disabilities in Volunteering and Service (presenter: Paul Martell), and Broadening Your Volunteer Pool: Finding and Including People with Disabilities in Your Organization (presenters: Chet Cooper, Judi Pennella, and Susan Desmond).

Building and Leading a Data-Driven School Improvement Process at Your School: A Summer Institute for School Leaders
July 17, 2007 - July 19, 2007
Philadelphia, PA
Principals and teacher leaders who want to learn how to design and run a data-driven school improvement plan and process are encouraged to attend this Summer Institute. Participants will learn 1) how to use data to build better school improvement plans, and 2) how to convert their plans into daily, weekly, and monthly actions. Each day of the Institute, participants will engage in a hands-on workshop to apply their learning.

Crosswalks National Institute: Infusing Cultural, Linguistic, and Ability Diversity in Preservice Education
July 25, 2007 - July 28, 2007
Asheville, NC
The Crosswalks National Institute will provide the latest information on field experiences, coursework, and programs that prepare personnel to work with culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse children and their families. Among the topics to be discussed are how to prepare your students to support young English language learners; collaborate with culturally and linguistically diverse family and community partners as part of coursework and practica; use instructional dilemmas to explore issues of culture; and use state and national standards as a framework for increasing the emphasis on diversity.

NCES Summer Forum and Data Conference: STATS-DC 2007
July 25, 2007 - July 27, 2007
Washington, DC
The National Center for Education Statistics Data Conference is an opportunity for networking, updates on federal and national activities affecting data collection and reporting, and information about the best new approaches in collecting, reporting, and using education statistics. It will provide information about changes in how the U.S. Department of Education collects and uses data, and developments in electronic data standards for schools, school districts, and states. There will be training sessions for CCD Fiscal and Nonfiscal Data Coordinators, presentations on NCES’s survey and assessment programs, and overviews of developing statewide longitudinal data systems. Registration deadline: July 6, 2007.

Eighth National Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities Conference: Gateway to Employment: Partnerships for Success
July 30, 2007 - August 1, 2007
Minneapolis, MN
COSD’s Annual National Conference is the only conference that brings together professionals from higher education and major national employers for the purpose of learning and sharing best practices to help college students with disabilities attain the career of their choice. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Clearinghouse on Expanding and Sustaining Youth Programs and Policies
This online clearinghouse, a joint project of The Finance Project and the Forum for Youth Investment, contains information and resources for supporting and sustaining youth programs and initiatives. It is designed to help users learn about data, tools, policies, practices, financing strategies, coordination efforts, and technical assistance resources developed by organizations to improve the lives of youth.


Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (UCEDD)
The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) has enhanced its Web site. It now includes: an “In My Own Words” page of stories written by people with developmental disabilities from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and their families about their life experiences, available in both English and Spanish; a “Health Articles” page with downloadable fact sheets; a Legislative Updates page; and many new resources, publications, and links.


Interactive Autism Network
The Kennedy Krieger Institute has launched a national online autism registry, the Interactive Autism Network (IAN). IAN is designed to promote autism research by linking researchers and families. Anyone affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder can join IAN’s online community to stay informed about autism research, provide feedback, share information, and become part of a national research effort.


Silent Epidemic
This web site from MTV, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, Civic Enterprises, America’s Promise Alliance, and Time Magazine provides resources for parents, educators, students, and communities to help reduce the high school dropout rate.

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Funding Forecast

Federal Grant Opportunities


Special Education Research Request for Applications (FY 2008) - 84.324A and B
The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences invites applications for research projects that will contribute to its FY2008 Special Education Research Grants Programs on Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education and Assessment Research; Mathematics and Science Special Education Research; Reading, Writing, and Language Development Special Education Research; Serious Behavior Disorders Special Education Research; Individualized Education Programs and Individualized Family Service Plans Research; Secondary and Transition Services Research; Autism Spectrum Disorders Research; Response to Intervention Research; and Related Services Special Education Research. Application deadline: July 26, 2007 and November 1, 2007.

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


American Legion Child Welfare Foundation Grants
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation accepts grant proposals from nonprofit organizations for projects which meet one of the Foundation’s two basic purposes: 1. To contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare of children through the dissemination of knowledge about new and innovative organizations and/or their programs designed to benefit youth; and 2. To contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare of children through the dissemination of knowledge possessed by well-established organizations, to the end that such information can be more adequately used by society. Application deadline: July 15, 2007.


Grants to Help Principals Share the Dream and Create a Culture of Engagement in Their Schools PDF document
To support school principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals and MetLife Foundation will provide $3,000 grants and a toolkit of resources to develop programs committed to heightening community leadership, communication, ownership, and involvement in the school with the goal of improving achievement for all students to up to 30 schools. Projects will take place during the 2007-08 school year. Application deadline: June 8, 2007. Application form available in PDF (7 pages, 461 KB).


The Nature of Learning Grant Program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s The Nature of Learning grant program seeks to use National Wildlife Refuges as outdoor classrooms to promote a greater understanding of local conservation issues; encourage an interdisciplinary approach to learning to enhance student academic achievement; utilize field experiences and student-led stewardship projects to connect classroom lessons to real-world issues; and foster collaboration among local schools, community groups, natural resource professionals, and local businesses. Schools and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for $10,000 grants through the program. Application deadline: June 15, 2007.

Scholarships and Awards


Richard Riley Award
The KnowledgeWorks Foundation and The American Architectural Foundation seek submissions for the Richard Riley Award. This $10,000 award recognizes design and educational excellence in “schools as centers of community”—schools that provide an array of social, civic, recreational, and artistic opportunities to the broader community and to students, often clustering educational and municipal buildings together. If your school is a center of community that demonstrates innovative design ideas and helps promote student achievement, your school could win. All existing elementary and secondary public schools are eligible to enter. Entry deadline: July 9, 2007.

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End of Issue

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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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