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June 2008 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

New Projects Free this Month
Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and action ideas and share jobs and volunteer opportunities. This month, nonprofits and consultants can use the tools Idealist offers for free (the usual cost for posting is $60 per month).


Indiana University Help with Chemistry Homework
Indiana University has recently set up a free web-based learning tool that allows high-school students to get instant feedback on chemistry questions. Indiana teachers participating in the program have praised the experience, especially the quick feedback. This partnership is an example of the benefits of having the higher education world and communities work together.

Legislative Announcements


Social Security Administration Extends Youth Transition Demonstration
The Social Security Administration (SSA) intends to extend and alter the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD). YTD began in 2003 with seven sites in six states. The project demonstrates and evaluates the effectiveness of altering Supplemental Security Income Rules (SSI) and providing employment services to youth who were receiving SSA benefits or at risk of receiving benefits. Three of the original seven sites will be extended, and three additional sites will be included in the study until 2012. The final evaluation will include the seven original sites and the three additional sites.

Calls to Participate


MTV Contest Promotes High School Journalism
MTV and are sponsoring the Why My School Should Have a Paper Contest. Students are invited to submit a short essay about why their school should have a newspaper. Three winners will receive $500 and an iPod, and their schools will receive $3000 to start a school newspaper. Deadline: June 2, 2008.


Opening Doors: Adventure, Connection, Solutions: Call for papers
Opening Doors: Adventure, Connection, Solutions is a State of the Science conference for practitioners and researchers in rehabilitation, health, education, and public policy, community-based organizations, families, and youth on accessing services for children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs from traditionally underserved communities November 10-11, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, MD. Topics include early screening for disabilities and special health care needs, inclusive recreation, and adolescent transition. Deadline to submit paper proposals is June 30, 2008.


PSA Contest for Youth: Advertise Your Cause Media Challenge
Sponsored by the By Kids For Kids youth empowerment company and, this competition will reward the cleverest and most powerful new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign idea that will also have the broadest impact. Open to U.S. residents who are K-12 students. Deadline: June 30, 2008.


Request for Comments on NIDRR Funding Priorities
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has proposed two funding priorities for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR): a priority for a DRRP for a Research and Technical Assistance Center on Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management, and a priority for a DRRP entitled Center on the Effective Delivery of Rehabilitation Technology by State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies To Improve Employment Outcomes. The Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. RSA proposed these priorities to focus research attention on areas of national need and to improve rehabilitation services and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.


RSA's Strategic Performance Plan Goals and Objectives: Request for Comments
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is developing a Vocational Rehabilitation Strategic Performance Plan for the vocational rehabilitation program to ensure a long-term strategic focus on program performance, performance improvement, and outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. Previously, RSA invited comments on the Plan's draft goals and objectives. RSA is now inviting comments on the draft measures corresponding to the Plan's goals and objectives.


U.S. Department of Education Seeks Grant Competition Reviewers
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, is seeking secondary school teachers in core content subject areas, assistant principals, principals, state administrators, and other school leaders to review applications for funding under the FY 2008 Advanced Placement Incentive program competition. The review process will take place online for two weeks from late July to early August. Upon completion of required duties, reviewers will be paid an honorarium of $1,400. Interested individuals should e-mail their resume or curriculum vitae to by Friday, June 6, 2008, with “API Peer Review” as the subject line of the e-mail.

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The Resource Zone

Other National Resources


AISR: Beating the Odds: How Thirteen NYC Schools Bring Low-Performing Ninth-Graders to Timely Graduation and College Enrollment  (December 2007)
This report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform describes a qualitative study of a small group of New York City high schools that are “beating the odds” by producing higher than predicted graduation and college-going rates for ninth-graders who entered with far below-average eighth-grade reading and math scores. The study identified four key strategies: academic rigor, networks of timely supports, college expectations and access, and effective use of data.


AISR: Voices in Urban Education Issue on Learning Environments  (May 2008)
Learning takes place in a context, and for effective learning students need an effective environment, one that is safe and welcoming for students, expects high quality, and provides necessary supports. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform’s Spring issue of Voices in Urban Education examines learning environments from a variety of perspectives. The articles look at various ways that schools and their partners make effective learning possible – or impede it.


Child Trends Study: High-Risk Families Limit Participation in Out-of-School Activities  (February 2008) PDF document
Research shows participation in out-of-school programs is related to better outcomes for children, but research to date has examined family and neighborhood risks as if they operate separately. Child Trends’ study combined the two, analyzing data for children ages 6-17 from the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health. Available in PDF (2 pages, 160 KB).


Culture: Tools for High School-Postsecondary Partnerships  (May 2008)
NCSET Essential Tool
This Jobs for the Future Toolkit examines ways for schools to create, broaden, and deepen their postsecondary partnerships to encourage students to go on to college.


Dropout Prevention Summit Planning Guide (May 2008)  (May 2008)
guide to summitplanning
The America's Promise Alliance is supporting 50 states and at least 50 cities in hosting Dropout Prevention Summits by 2010. Together with its Ready by 21 partners, the Forum for Youth Investment offers this guide for cities and states. Available in PDF (16 pages, 571 KB).


Kids Count 2008 Data Book Shows Good and Bad News  (June 2008)
Data Book{AD7773E9-4971-4A1C-B227-D04AB9D79065}
National trends in child well-being have improved slightly since 2000, according to the 19th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, but these trends are not on par with the improvements that were seen at the end of the 1990s. The Data Book is a national and state-by-state profile of the status of America’s children. In addition to tracking 10 indicators of child well-being, this year’s Data Book features an essay highlighting the urgent need to reform America's juvenile justice system.


Optional IDEA Alternative Dispute Resolution  (May 2008) PDF document
Policy Analysis
Project Forum’s In-Depth Policy Analysis is the result of findings based on a survey sent to all special education units of state education agencies. The survey requested information about the use of 10 alternative dispute resolution processes not specifically required under IDEA: conflict resolution skills training, stakeholder management or oversight council, parent-to-parent assistance, dispute resolution case managers, telephone intermediary, IEP facilitation, third-party opinion or consultation processes, early complaint resolution, and resolution meeting facilitation. Factors that affect the use of these processes are discussed and conclusions are drawn. Additional copies are available from NASDSE; there are no restrictions on copying because this document was produced with federal funds. Available in PDF (18 pages, 202 KB).


Pathways to College Network: Community Engagement Key to College-Going  (May 2008) PDF document
Information Brief
This Pathways to College Network brief provides information on how best to target the various community audiences of a college access marketing campaign. Community involvement is vital in any college access marketing campaign, yet many campaigns neglect it. Outreach and engagement within a community change the college-going behaviors of students. All events, presentations, outreach, partnerships and publications should be strategized and leveraged into a comprehensive community engagement plan. Available in PDF (6 pages, 103 KB).


Pew Internet and American Life Project: Blogging Improves Teenage Writing  (April 2008)
Survey Report
The Pew Internet and American Life Project survey measuring the impact of technology on teenage writing skills found that teen bloggers write more both online and offline. The study also found that teens who blog are more likely to believe writing is essential to later success in life. A report on the survey is available at the eSchool News website.


Rethinking High Schools: Supporting All Students to be College-Ready in Math  (2008) PDF document
“Rethinking High Schools: Supporting All Students to be College-Ready in Math,” a new report by WestEd, highlights three high schools (all supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) that have successfully implemented programs to prepare all of their students for college mathematics. The report found that many students start high school unprepared for college preparatory math. High-level math courses and supports, continual improvement of teachers’ skills and math content knowledge, and use of student information to drive instruction should be part of any strong math program. With programs that incorporate these elements, all three schools featured – Interlake High School in Bellevue, WA; Granby High School in Norfolk, VA; and Fenway High School in Boston – have posted gains in advanced course taking, SAT scores, and/or state assessment scores. Available in PDF (36 pages, 3 MB).

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What's Happening

Other National Events


Diplomas Count 2008: School to College: Can State P-16 Councils Ease the Transition?

June 24, 2008
This year’s installment of Education Week's annual report, produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explores the rapid growth of state-level P-16 councils. By bringing together key representatives from all levels of education, state government, business, and the community, the councils seek to better align educational institutions. High on the agenda for many of these panels are efforts to create a more seamless schooling continuum that prepares high school students for life, work, and further education. Also discussed will be the updated analysis of graduation rates for the United States, the states, Congressional districts, and the nation’s 50 largest school systems. This event is free but registration is required.

Talent Development High Schools National Conference
July 9, 2008 - July 12, 2008
Baltimore, MD
July 9-12, 2008 , MD (Conference) Johns Hopkins University is sponsoring this conference at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center, providing the opportunity to learn more about one of the leading high school reform models. Robert Balfanz, researcher, advocate and co-author of Locating the Dropout Crisis, will talk about eliminating “dropout factories” and keeping all students on the path to graduation.

The Mid-America Super Conference on Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome 2008 and Webcast
July 17, 2008 - July 18, 2008
On-line Conference
Dixon, IL
Sponsored by Future Horizons and EP LiveOnLine, the conference talks include “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome” with Dr. Tony Attwood, “The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s” with Dr. Temple Grandin, “Effective Behavior Strategies” with Maria Wheeler, and “Inclusion: Making it Work in Today’s Schools” with Sheila Wagner.

2008 NCIL Annual Conference “Time for Change: Use Your Power!”
July 21, 2008 - July 24, 2008
Washington, DC
The National Council for Independent Living’s 2008 Conference, “Time for Change: Use Your Power!” will be a call to action for Independent Living (IL) advocates and people with disabilities everywhere. This event is an opportunity for the IL community to organize grassroots and national plans of action and call on Washington to restore IL civil and human rights.

Two Worlds – One Planet: Understanding the World of Asperger’s Syndrome
July 21, 2008 - July 23, 2008
Phoenix, AZ
This conference is for people representing, working or living with, or interested in children with Asperger's Syndrome. It is sponsored by the Gateway Academy and AZ State University. Topics will include media influence, transition, Asperger’s strengths and possibilities, self regulation, social and pragmatic deficits, co-morbid disorders, education and environmental needs, and strategies for home, school, and community.

Check & Connect Training

August 14, 2008 - August 15, 2008
Minneapolis, MN
This training on the Check & Connect model will provide you with practical tools for helping students reconnect to school and get on track to graduation. Of 13 dropout prevention programs rated by the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, Check & Connect was the only program found to have strong evidence of positive effects for staying in school. Check & Connect is data-driven and grounded in research on resiliency and home-school collaboration.

DCDT 2008: Brewing Best Practices in Transition
October 16, 2008 - October 17, 2008
Milwaukee, WI
The Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) is sponsoring “Brewing Best Practices in Transition” in Milwaukee. The conference features sessions on writing transition IEP’s, Indicator 13, effective transition curriculum, self-determination, transition assessment and other topics. More information or an electronic copy of the brochure and registration form are available at the DCDT’s Web site.

Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs (NATTAP) Conference
November 18, 2008 - November 21, 2008
Columbus, OH
The 2nd annual NATTAP Conference will gather educators, service providers and parents from across the United States and from around the globe to: review current systems models for addressing the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), promote use of best practice in research and intervention, and provide methods for capacity building – all of which contribute to improving outcomes for individuals ages 3-21. Applications are being accepted for trainees and family members to volunteer at the Conference. Volunteers agree to work one full day (7:00 am - 6:00 pm) of the conference and receive complimentary registration for the other two days. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis with preference given to parents and family members and undergraduate and graduate students. To register or volunteer, see the conference website for further information. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


New Website for RTI from NCLD
The National Center for Learning Disabilities has recently launched a new Web site as part of its initiative on Response to Intervention, the RTI Action Network. The Web site features content on implementation of RTI from preschool to postsecondary education, as well as information for educators and families.



Ellen’s Newsletter
Ellen Notbohm’s monthly e-newsletter is available to anyone who shares an interest in kids with autism. New subscribers can sign up at her website.


NYLC: Service-Learning Resource
The National Youth Council’s e-newsletter features information on events, programs, services, awards, and resources of interest to those who work with youth.


Working for Health
Jobs to Careers: Promoting Work-Based Learning for Quality Care has launched a new e-newsletter, Working for Health available through their Web site.

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


OJJDP Seeks Applicants for Latino Youth Mentoring Program
The Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJDP) invites applicants for its Latino Youth Mentoring Program, developing and supporting a peer mentoring program to reach youth before they are recruited by gangs and to develop and strengthen protective factors against gang involvement and other problem behaviors. Eligible applicants are limited to private organizations, nonprofits (including community and faith-based organizations), and public agencies (including schools, colleges, universities, and units of local governments). Groups applying should include local school districts with a demonstrable Latino gang problem that are committed to or already working with nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and other community partners to provide mentoring services to at-risk youth. Targeted programs will feature schools with large populations of non-native, Hispanic youth. Application deadline: June 20, 2008.


Systemic Interventions and Policies for Special Education
The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) within the Institute of Education Sciences has created a new research grant program, Systemic Interventions and Policies for Special Education, called Systems. It supports research related to systems-level practices and policies for kindergarten through grade 12. Previously, NCSER offered three focused research topics related to systems-level practices in special education: Assessment for Accountability, Response to Intervention, and Individualized Education Programs. Applicants may continue to propose projects in these areas under the Systems program. However, the Systems program will also accept proposals relevant to other special education systems-level programs and policies, such as recruitment or retention of special educators and related service providers, systems-level strategies for improving inclusion, and access to the general curriculum.

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


Athletics Grants for Disadvantaged Youth
The Finish Line Youth Foundation Grants Program funds organizations that provide opportunities for youth participation in athletic programs that promote an active lifestyle and team-building skills, and established camps that emphasize sports and an active lifestyle, especially those serving disadvantaged youth and youth with special needs. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: 501c(3) organizations that serve youth 18 years and younger. Deadline: June 30, 2008.


Foundation for Rural Education and Development Invites Applications for Technology Grants for Rural Schools Program
Technology grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded to rural public schools in areas served by the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunication Companies. The grants are intended to help public K-12 schools in rural areas served by OPASTCO bring modern computers to every classroom, connect schools to the information superhighway, and make sure that effective and engaging software and online resources are an integral part of the school curriculum. To be eligible for this grant program, schools must be in an OPASTCO member’s service area. (Schools that are served by large telephone carriers such as Verizon, BellSouth, Frontier, AT&T, Sprint, Qwest, etc. are not eligible to apply. If a school is served by an independent carrier, the school should call the telephone company first before contacting FRED). Deadline: September 13, 2008.


Grants Available for Families Struggling with Child Health-Related Costs
The United Health Care Children’s foundation has announced that grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to parents and legal guardians of disabled children for health care services and medical equipment inadequately covered by insurance. UHCCF provides grants to families to help pay for services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy sessions, prescriptions, and medical equipment such as wheelchairs, orthotics, and eyeglasses. Parents and legal guardians may apply for grants of up to $5,000 each for child medical services and equipment by completing an online application at the UHCCF Web site. To be eligible for grants, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States, and be covered by a commercial health benefit plan. Deadline: Open


Grants for Projects Led by and Benefiting Women and Girls
The Open Meadows Foundation funds projects that are led by and benefit women and girls; reflect the diversity of the community served by the project in both its leadership and organization; promote community-building; promote racial, social, economic and environmental justice; and have limited financial access or have encountered obstacles in their search for funding. Maximum Award: $2000. Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations with an organizational budget no larger than $150,000. Projects must be designed and implemented by women and girls. Deadline: August 15, 2008.


Nomination Process Open for Math Hero Awards Honoring Educators
Nominations are invited for the Raytheon Company’s 2008 Math Hero Awards through the MathMovesU Web site. The annual awards celebrate educators promoting math achievement to students in a fun and challenging learning environment. Awards of $2,500 will be given to teachers, tutors, and volunteers helping middle and high school students improve math skills; an additional $2,500 will be given to the recipient's school or organization. Parents, students, or other teachers are invited to nominate their Math Hero. Deadline: July 15, 2008.


Samsung Hope for Education Technology Program Invites Essay Entries
Grants worth up to $200,000 in cash, software, technology, and television programming will be awarded to K-12 schools in the United States. Essay nominations about technology and the environment are welcome from all members of a school’s community. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members can enter the contest by going to the program’s Web site and submitting a 100-word essay about their school, answering the question: “How has technology educated you on helping the environment, and how or why has it changed your behavior to be more environmentally friendly?” Essay entries may be written in either Spanish or English. Deadline: August 31, 2008.


The Broad Superintendents Academy
The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems Superintendents Academy seeks leaders from business, the military, government, education and nonprofit organizations to make an immediate impact as CEOs and senior executives in urban school districts. Maximum Award: N/A. Eligibility: those with significant leadership and management experience at the central office level or the equivalent in another field. Deadline for resume submission: July 20, 2008; Application deadline: August 15, 2008.


The Joshua O’Neill and Zeshan Tabani Enrichment Fund
The Joshua O’Neill and Zeshan Tabani Enrichment Fund seeks to offer financial assistance to young adults with Down syndrome who wish to enrich their lives by enrolling in postsecondary programs or taking classes that will help them gain employment, independent living skills, life skills, or others. Up to five grants will be awarded, each grant not to exceed $1000, and the grant may be used to pay for the tuition for a course or postsecondary program at a local college, educational institution, learning center or employment training program. For more information, contact Erin Geller at or visit the National Down Syndrome Society’s website. Deadline: July 18, 2008.


Toshiba America Foundation Accepting Science and Math Education Proposals
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to public and private schools working to improve instruction and learning in science and mathematics for grades 7-12. The foundation focuses on inquiry-based projects designed by individual teachers or small teams of teachers for use in their own classrooms. The foundation is currently accepting applications for projects for grades 7-12. (Toshiba America Foundation offers a separate program for grades K-6. See the foundation’s Web site.) The grants program is national in scope. Proposals are welcome from public and private (nonprofit) schools throughout the United States. Decisions about grants of under $5,000 each are made on a rolling basis and applications are accepted throughout the year. For grants larger than $5,000 each, the Board of Directors approves grant requests twice a year. Applicants should submit their large grant proposals no later than either August 1 or February 1 annually. Upcoming deadline: August 1, 2008 (Large Grants).


VSA arts Invites Entries From Young Artists With Disabilities for Green Light Awards
Awards of up to $20,000 to American artists who have a physical, cognitive, or mental disability and are between the ages of 16 and 25 will be given in recognition of artwork they have created within the past three years. This year the program also welcomes entries of sculpture and time-based media. Sponsored by VSA arts with support from Volkswagen of America, Inc., the program invites entries of both representational and abstract work. Artwork may illustrate actual aspects of what signals the artist's creative motivations such as the physical world or personal discoveries. Work might also reflect the artist’s experience of living with a disability and its role in shaping or transforming their work. Deadline: July 11, 2008.

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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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