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May 2008 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

New Projects


AT&T Aspire
AT&T announced the launch April 17 of AT&T Aspire, a four-year, $100 million program to help strengthen student success and workforce readiness. The program is the largest education initiative in AT&T’s history. By pairing AT&T employees with students in grades 9-12, the program will allow students to see firsthand the kinds of skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. The initiative will also: provide grants to schools and nonprofit organizations on helping students graduate and prepare for college and work; provide support for the community dropout prevention summits being organized by America’s Promise Alliance (information on the summits is available at; and support research on why students drop out and what barriers interfere with keeping students engaged and on track to graduate.


Collaborating with Families, On-line Interactive Module from IRIS Center
The IRIS Center, in collaboration with PACER Center, has created an interactive, on-line module to support educators in diversifying and improving family participation, especially families of students with disabilities. The IRIS Center provides resources about students with disabilities to college and university faculty and professional development providers, translating research about education into practice. Module participants join Claire Morgan (principal of M. T. Watkins Middle School) and her staff as they work through learning about the families of their students to develop ideas to engage all families and increase parental/familial involvement.


College Navigator in English and now en Español
The U.S. Department of Education announces the release of a new Spanish language version of its college search tool, College Navigator. College Navigator is a free consumer information tool designed to help students, parents, high school counselors, and others get information about nearly 7,000 postsecondary institutions in the United States. It provides a wide range of information – such as programs offered, retention and graduation rates, prices, aid available, degrees awarded, campus safety, athletics, and accreditation. The English Web address is below, and the Spanish address is and is listed with separate Español entry as well.


RSA State Liaisons List
The Rehabilitation Services Administration's Web site now includes a list of State Liaisons and their contact information. You can contact the State Liaison for your state for questions or concerns related to the following programs under the Rehabilitation Act: the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, established under Title I; the supported employment (SE) program, established under Title VI, part B; the independent living (IL) program, authorized under Title VII, part B; and the independent living services program for older individuals who are blind (OIB), established under Title VII, Chapter 2.

Legislative Announcements


Proposed National Graduation Rate Formula
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced in April that the Department of Education will propose new rules requiring states to use a uniform formula when calculating graduation rates, and that the department will publish data on the graduation rates of students of various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic categories.

Calls to Participate


Free Online Course Available on Improving Education Data
The National Forum on Education Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics recently released a free online course for Local Education Agencies to improve the collection and use of education data.


No Child Left Behind Call for Comments
On April 23 U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced proposed changes to regulations for Title I under No Child Left Behind. A copy of the proposed regulations (NPRM) is available on the Web site, which also has a questionnaire to survey people’s reactions to the NPRM. The Department is accepting public comments on the NPRM through June 23, 2008. Comments must be submitted in writing to the Department in accordance with the instructions in the NPRM. Individuals who wish to present comments on the proposed regulations during a public meeting should register at , at least one week before the meeting. These meetings will be held: Wednesday, May 14, 2008: Boston, Massachusetts; Thursday, May 15, 2008: Dunwoody, Georgia; Monday, May 19, 2008: Kansas City, Missouri; and Thursday, May 22, 2008: Seattle, WA. Over the next several months, the Secretary will pose various questions related to the state of education in the U.S. on the Web page and encourages all to periodically log onto the site and respond to the questions.


PSA Contest for Youth
The By Kids For Kids youth empowerment company and announce the Advertise Your Cause Media Challenge, which encourages young people to discover what cause matters most to them and then “Do Something” to propel their cause into the public eye. The competition will reward the cleverest and powerful new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign idea that will also have the broadest impact. Maximum Award: $10,000 and national media exposure for the winning PSA. Eligibility: U.S. residents ages 5 to 19, not graduated from high school at the time of competition. Deadline: June 30, 2008.


Self-Advocates Invited to Lead Workshops at National Self-Advocacy Conference
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) invites self-advocates to lead workshops at the National Self Advocacy Conference, September 4-7, 2008, Indianapolis IN, on topics they choose. Any number of topics can be submitted. Presentations should be 60 minutes in length and may have multiple presenters. Presentations must identify with one or more of six objectives: (1)eliminating institutions through Money Follows the Person legislation and mentorship by self-advocacy organizations to individuals to assist in choosing support they need in the community; (2) importance of educating people with disabilities and having them educate others about issues that affect their lives; (3) SABE as a political power house to work on legislation affecting people with disabilities; (4) equal employment opportunities for equal pay for all people; (5) having self-advocacy at all stages of their lives for people with disabilities, with funding to support state, local and national self-advocacy organizations; and (6) SABE’s support for affordable and accessible housing for all people in the community. Submission deadline is Thursday, May 15, 2008.


Transition Coalition Short Courses
The Transition Coalition offers five online transition short courses for education professionals, as well as parents, adult service personnel, and consultants, on the tools and collaboration necessary to improve transition planning and services for students with disabilities. Topics and dates are: Interagency Collaboration during Transition Planning, April 28-May 25, 2008; Introduction to Transition Education and Services, June 2-29, 2008; Family Involvement and Student Involvement in Transition, June 2-29, 2008; Transition Assessment, July 7 - August 3, 2008; and Preparing Students for Employment/Postsecondary Education, July 7 - August 3, 2008. Courses can be taken for graduate or undergraduate credit, continuing education, or noncredit.

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The Resource Zone

NCSET Resources


Dropout and Graduation  (2008)
NCSET Web Topic
This NCSET Web topic explores the causes of dropping out among students with disabilities and describes strategies for improving graduation rates. Like all NCSET Web topics, it includes an introduction, frequently asked questions, related research, emerging practices, Web sites, and additional resources.

Other National Resources


Beating the Odds: Urban Students’ Achievement Increases  (April)
Students who attend public school in the United States’ major urban school districts continue to advance in math and reading on federal and state tests. According to Beating the Odds VIII: An Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gaps on State Assessments, a new report from the Council on the Great City Schools, state test trends coincide with the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress gains made by urban students.


Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 2004–05 PDF document
A new annual report from the Common Core of Data provides insights into the nation’s largest public school districts. The data range widely, from the number of high school completers and averaged freshman graduation rate to revenues and expenditures. The 100 largest districts enrolled 23% of all public school students and employed 20% of all public school teachers in 2004-05. Available in PDF (82 p, 711 KB).


Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)  (December 2007) PDF document
CASEL’s newsletters stress the importance of learning outside of school. Emotional, social, nutritional, and physical factors must be supported all day long so that students are in environments that provide both safety and stimulation. The summary of their forthcoming meta-analysis of the benefits of Social and Emotional Learning programs is on-line. Available in PDF (3 p, 37 KB).


Current-Generation Youth Programs: What Works, What Doesn't, and At What Cost?  (April 2008)
A new RAND report looks at the costs and benefits of youth programs offered during out-of-school time. The strongest evaluation results for at-risk youth come from programs that are costlier and provide more intensive services for youth.


Empowering Students: How Georgia College Early College Changes Student Aspirations  (January 2008) PDF document
Case Study
Early college high schools combine a regular high school with college courses in a rigorous but supportive program, compressing the amount of time it takes to complete both a high school diploma and the first two years of college. Academic rigor combined with the opportunity to save time and money in postsecondary education can be a powerful motivator for students. Typically, these schools are intended for low-income youths, to increase the college attendance rates of underrepresented populations. This case study from Jobs for the Future (JFF) examines the Georgia College Early College (GCEC), which deliberately recruits students from the community who perform below grade level. The college-going culture, small class sizes and other support structures enable students to believe in themselves and raise their aspirations. The JFF case study examines how GCEC achieves its mission of college success for all. Available in PDF (16 p, 434 KB).


Engaged for Success: Service-Learning as a Tool for High School Dropout Prevention PDF document
This April report from Civic Enterprises argues that service learning programs have the potential to make classroom learning more relevant, increase student engagement, and therefore keep students in school longer. Available in PDF (36 p, 1 MB).


Guidance and Career Counselors’ Toolkit: Advising High School Students with Disabilities on Postsecondary Options PDF document
This on-line toolkit from the HEATH Resource Center, contains answers to counselors’ most frequently asked questions about postsecondary opportunities for students with disabilities. Students and their families are encouraged to use the toolkit to help guide their transition planning for college and career. Available in PDF (192 p, 1.3 MB).


ICARE Schools Projects: ICARE Transition Protocol & Kids with Cameras  (April 2008)
The ICARE Schools study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, focuses on families of students with disabilities and their connections with their adolescents’ schools. ICARE presented two new tools at the 2008 Council for Exceptional Children’s Annual Convention: Talking about Transition to High School: A Focus Group Protocol for Families of Students with Disabilities in Transition is a protocol to encourage discussion of transition to high school, and can be used by either parent groups or school staff to discuss the unique issues of transition to high school that students with disabilities and their families face; and Kids with Cameras: An Activity for Assessing Students’ Connections to their School Connectedness studies the attachment of students to their school, obtaining information about what students connect with in school.


McREL Leadership Insights: Principal Autonomy: How Much is Too Much?  (January 2008) PDF document
The best school leaders are often visionaries. However, sometimes they become frustrated when they lack the authority to carry out their visions. The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning focused on “Principal Autonomy: How Much is Too Much?” The article reports that effective superintendents provide principals with “defined autonomy”: superintendents in high-performing districts set clear, non-negotiable goals for learning and instruction while providing school leaders with the responsibility and authority for determining how to meet those goals. The article includes guidance on how district leaders can strike a balance between micro-managing and stifling school innovation on one hand with granting too much latitude and allowing uneven school performance on the other. Available in PDF (3 p, 228 KB).


Measuring and Improving the Effectiveness of High School Teachers  (March 2008)
Information Brief
This brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education defines teacher effectiveness at the high school level, explores different ways of measuring teacher effectiveness, and discusses how to use these measures to improve teaching and learning.

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What's Happening

Other National Events


Response to Intervention in a Secondary School Setting: Riverbank High School Story
Web-based Event
May 28, 2008
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM   (Pacific)
Since implementing the Content Literacy Continuum (CLC), a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework designed to address school-wide literacy needs of secondary school students, Riverbank High School has grown over 100 points on California’s Academic Performance Index (API) and exceeded growth targets for Latino students, students with disabilities, and English learners. In this free online webinar, a high school administrator, a central office administrator, and a project lead/instructional coach will share their experiences from four years of implementing the CLC in a high poverty, high minority, suburban/semi-rural high school identified for improvement. This session will provide an overview of the CLC, which is based upon a set of Content Enhancement Routines and Learning Strategies developed by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.

A Summit on Disability Employment Policy: Transforming the American Workplace: A 21st Century Vision
Policy Summit
June 3, 2008 - June 4, 2008
Washington, DC
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy Summit will hold a Summit on Disability Employment Policy at Gallaudet University.

No Health Without Mental Health: Mental Health America 2008 Conference
June 4, 2008 - June 7, 2008
Washington, DC
The Mental Health America Conference draws leaders and advocates, including executives and staff from its state and local affiliates, mental health consumers, family members, policymakers, advocates, providers, and academic, government and business leaders to Washington, D.C. to learn about critical issues in the behavioral health field and strategies for collective action. The 2008 Conference adds a Promotion and Prevention Summit, June 6-7, on driving down the high rates and profound impact of mental illnesses in the United States.

National Workshop: Personal Assistance Services for Students with Severe Physical Disabilities
June 5, 2008 - June 6, 2008
Urbana-Champaign, IL
This Workshop, hosted by Midwest Alliance in Science, Tech., Engineering, and Mathematics, in Urbana-Champaign IL, is intended for members of the NFS, ED, and NIH, Vocational Rehab, Veterans Administration, and independent Living Centers. The Workshop objectives are to assess the state of personal assistance services (PAS) for students with severe disabilities, review strategies, identify barriers, and develop recommendations to increase opportunities for PAS. Available in PDF (3 p, 126 KB).

Summer Institute on Autism Spectrum Disorders: Educating and Supporting Individuals Across the Autism Spectrum
June 16, 2008 - June 20, 2008
Bloomington, IN
The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community/Indiana Resource Center for Autism is sponsoring a summer institute on autism disorders. Topics include: introduction to autism spectrum disorders, the role of movement disorders, person-centered planning, functional behavioral assessments, communication programming, visual supports, social skills assessment and programming, instructional strategies, and structured teaching. All sessions will be held in Bloomington at the Indiana Institute.

Society for Disability Studies 21st Annual Conference
June 18, 2008 - June 22, 2008
New York, NY
The Society for Disability Studies for its 21st Annual Conference invites proposals from any field that examine the ways in which disability and urban issues intersect; engage the mobility of metaphor and the refiguration of space; and/or explore the ways in which Disability Studies shifts and translates in application to specific sites and communities.

The International Center for Leadership in Education 16th Annual Model Schools Conference
June 22, 2008 - June 25, 2008
Orlando, FL
The Annual Model Schools Conference will showcase student engagement strategies used by high performing schools, as well as effective instructional practices and leadership approaches, research on best practices, and measurable learning criteria for evaluation of instructional practices.

2008 Transition Summer Institute: Transition Assessment: What's It All About? How Do We Make it Happen?
June 23, 2008 - June 28, 2008
Lawrence, KS
The University of Kansas, Department of Special Education & the Transition Coalition present the 2008 Transition Summer Institute: Transition Assessment June 23-27, 2008 Lawrence KS, with Dr. Mary E. Morningstar, on Transition Planning Inventory, Life Skills Assessments, Self-Determination Assessments, Vocational Assessments, Building Statewide and Local Transition Toolkits, Student Involvement in Transition Assessment and Planning, Federal Perspectives on the Summary of Performance, State Policies and Perspectives on Assessments and SOPs, Overview of IDEA 2004 and Effective Practices in Transition Planning and Services, and Understanding Formal and Informal Assessments The week-long conference is geared toward professionals and family members involved with secondary transition programs and services for students with disabilities.

IES Research Training Institute: Cluster-Randomized Trials
July 6, 2008 - July 18, 2008
Evanston, IL
The National Center for Education Research (NCER) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, announces its second Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster-Randomized Trials to increase the national capacity of researchers to develop and conduct rigorous evaluations of the impact of education interventions.

2008 Georgetown Training Institutes: Developing Local Systems of Care for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Needs and Their Families: New Directions to Improve Care
July 16, 2008 - July 20, 2008
Washington, DC
This institute will offer in-depth, practical information on how to develop and operate systems of care and how to provide high-quality, effective, clinical interventions and supports within them, with special focus on three “new directions” to strengthen systems of care and improve outcomes, each comprising a distinct track: Implementing a Public Health Approach, Partnering With Schools, and Partnering With Child Welfare.

National Institute of Justice Annual Conference
July 21, 2008 - July 23, 2008
Arlington, VA
The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice will hold its annual conference which brings together criminal justice scholars, policymakers, and practitioners at the local, state, and federal levels to share the latest research findings and technology. This year’s conference includes a panel on youth gang research and best practices organized by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and panels on commercial sexual exploitation of children, school-based prevention programs, and bullying. Conference registration is free, and early registration is recommended. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Career Voyages
Career Voyages, collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, provides information on high-growth, in-demand occupations and identifies the skills and education needed for those jobs, with basic labor market information such as wage and employment trends as well as occupation descriptions and career videos for in-demand occupations. In addition, Career Voyages works directly with industry associations, providing direct access to their career exploration information, videos, education opportunities, scholarships, and other industry-specific resources.


CCSSO Secondary School Redesign Web Portal
The Council of Chief State School Officers launched the Secondary School Redesign Web Portal in 2008. The Web site provides a collection of existing resources, tools, and practices produced by state education agencies and others to bolster and inform secondary school redesign initiatives.


Child Trends Data Bank
The Child Trends Data Bank is a one-stop-shop for the latest national trends and research on over 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being, with new indicators added each month. Its data briefs and newsletters examine broad topics and special populations of greatest concern to policy makers, service providers, the media, and the general public.


Leading Change: Resources for Principal Preparation and professional Development
The Coalition for Community Schools offers a new one-stop shop for research, tools and ideas to help principals and staff effectively engage communities and families. (Free registration required.)


Trace Center: Information Resources
The Trace Research & Development Center is a part of the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1971, Trace has been a pioneer in the field of technology and disability. The Trace Center is currently working on ways to make standard information technologies and telecommunications systems more accessible and usable by people with disabilities.

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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.


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

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


AILF Offers K-12 Education Grants
The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) will award grants to teachers for the 2008-09 school year of $100 to $500 each to fund a limited number of K-12 grade-level projects that provide education about immigrants and immigration. The foundation seeks to fund classroom-based activities that are innovative and supportive of AILF's mission of promoting the benefits of immigrants to the United States. Applications are limited to educators teaching in public or private primary, intermediate, and secondary-level schools. The 2008 program focuses on proposals that relate to: innovative use of technology; underrepresented minorities; community outreach and partnerships with community based organizations; and math and science. Deadlines: June 1, 2008 and November 28, 2008


Betterment of All Children Grants
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation accepts proposals from non-profit organizations that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare of children by disseminating knowledge so that it can be more adequately used by society: either (1) knowledge about new and innovative organizations and/or their programs designed to benefit youth; or (2) knowledge already possessed by well-established organizations. Program Areas: General Education, All Other. Grants range from $1,500.00-$70,000.00. Deadline for proposals: 7/15/2008.


Braitmayer Foundation Education Grants
The Braitmayer Foundation grants money to assist K-12 U.S. public schools in the areas of: (1) curricular and school reform initiatives, (2) preparation of and professional development opportunities for teachers, particularly those which encourage people of high ability and diverse background to enter and remain in K-12 teaching. These grants may be used as seed money, challenge grants, or matches to other grants to the recipient organizations. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals, multi-year grants, nor grants for endowment purposes or building programs. Unless as a small percentage of the total amount requested, normally the Foundation does not make grants for childcare, pre-kindergarten, or after school programs nor for equipment including hardware, software, and books. Program Areas: Professional Development, All Other. Grants range from $500.00-$35,000.00. Deadline for proposals: 6/1/2008.


CVS Community Grants
CVS Pharmacy Community Grants will accept proposals for programs targeting children under age 18 with disabilities that address: health and rehabilitation services; a greater level of inclusion in student activities and extracurricular programs; opportunities or facilities that give greater access to physical movement; and play. Maximum Award: varies. Eligibility: Public schools with programs for children under age 18 with disabilities. Deadline: applications accepted through October 31, 2008.


Live Monarch Educator Outreach Program
The Live Monarch Foundation Educator Outreach Program provides funding for U.S. teachers to enroll in the National Campaign to bring monarch butterflies into the classroom. This program provides education and materials to strengthen the monarch’s 3,000-mile migratory route within North America by creating self-sustaining butterfly gardens and refuges. Materials will be provided for each participant to raise a virtual butterfly and start a real butterfly garden with professional instruction on each level of its maintenance and care. Maximum Award: n/a. Eligibility: teachers and classrooms in areas on the monarch migratory route. Deadline: rolling.


Mattel Grant Program to Benefit Children Continuation
Mattel’s funds programs that directly and effectively impact children with demonstrated needs (physical, financial, emotional, and health-related), preferring programs with demonstrated results and organizations that use creative and innovative methods to address a locally defined need directly impacting children. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity organizations (or have a fiscal sponsor with tax-exempt status) and must directly serve children in communities within the U.S. Grants range from $5,000-$25,000 each for one fiscal year. Funds may be applied to programs or general operating costs. Deadline: July 15, 2008


Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Accepting Concept Papers for youth with Disabilities Grants
The Mitsubishi Electric American Foundation awards grants to nonprofits working to provide inclusiveness-oriented services to disabled young people; organizations whose concept papers are approved can submit a full proposal for next-year funding. Deadline for Concept Papers: June 1, 2008.


Mr. Holland's Opus Melody Program Musical Instruments for Existing K-12 Music Programs
Mr. Holland's Opus Melody Program provides musical instruments and instrument repairs to existing K-12 school music programs that have no other source of financing additional musical instruments and materials. Eligibility: music programs that take place during the regular school day. Schools must have an established instrumental music program (i.e., concert band, marching band, jazz band and/or orchestra) that is at least three years old. Maximum Award: $8,000. Deadline: August 1, 2008.


NEA Grants for Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants for Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth are given to advance arts education for children and youth in school-based or community-based settings. The program supports in-depth, curriculum-based arts education experiences that occur over an extended period. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art. Maximum Award: varies. Eligibility: 501(c)(3) organizations that administer school-based projects for children and youth between kindergarten and grade 12, are directly connected to the school curriculum and instructional program and ensure the application of national or state arts education standard; or community-based projects for children and youth between ages five and 18. Deadline: June 9, 2008.


Newspaper Association of America Foundation to Support Middle and High School Student Newspaper Projects
Two-year grants of up to $5,000 in Year One, plus an additional $2,500 in Year Two, will be awarded to twelve middle and high schools who are partnering with professionals to produce student newspapers. Grant funds may be used for equipment, software, adviser training, and printing. Deadline: May 16, 2008

Scholarships and Awards


Award for Emerging Education Leaders
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is seeking nominations for its Outstanding Young Educator Award, which recognizes a teacher under the age of 40 who demonstrates excellence in his or her profession, a positive impact on students, creativity in the classroom, and leadership in his or her school or district. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: K-12 teachers under age 40; no self-nominations accepted. Deadline: August 1, 2008.

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End of Issue

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