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August 2005 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

New Projects


National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
NCSER officially opened in July 2005, capping off the successful transfer of special education research activities from the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NCSER, one of four centers within IES, supports a comprehensive research program to promote the highest quality and rigor in research on special education and related services, and to address the full range of issues facing children with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, school personnel, and others.

Legislative Announcements


25th Annual Report to Congress on IDEA
This two-volume publication from the U.S. Department of Education reports the results of a national assessment of activities carried out under the reauthorized IDEA 1997. It discusses student performance results, student characteristics, and some of the programs and services available within schools for children with disabilities and their families. Free copies available by request from ED Pubs.


GAO Report: Most Students with Disabilities Participated in Statewide Assessments, but Inclusion Could Be Improved
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the participation of students with disabilities in statewide assessments in 2002. The No Child Left Behind Act requires yearly progress assessment of all students; Students with disabilities are eligible for alternative testing approaches, but states often struggle to create and use these alternatives. GAO determined 1) the extent to which students with disabilities were included in statewide assessments; 2) what issues selected states faced in implementing alternate assessments; and 3) how the U.S. Department of Education supported states in their efforts to assess students with disabilities. Available in PDF (42 pages, 676 KB).


Governors and Education Leaders Sign Agreement on Graduation Rate
On July 17, 2005 the National Governors Association (NGA) announced that, for the first time in the nation's history, states agreed upon a common definition of the high school graduation rate. Forty-seven governors and 12 national organizations signed on to Graduation Counts: A Compact on State High School Graduation Data during the NGA Annual Meeting, thereby agreeing to begin implementing a standard four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Deduction Guidance on Special Education Expenses PDF document
In March 2005, the IRS issued a new ruling that may help families with the costs which may be incurred for their child’s special needs in education. The private-letter written determination clarifies areas when special education costs may qualify as medical expense deductions. Although the private-letter ruling applies only to the taxpayers who requested it and should not be cited as precedent, tax advisers say it is a useful illustration of the IRS’s thinking. Available in PDF (3 pages, 18 KB).


New Definitions of Family-Centered Care and Cultural Competence from Maternal and Child Health Bureau Word document
The Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau, has developed new definitions and principles of both family-centered care and cultural/linguistic competence. The definitions are preceded by a letter from Merle McPherson of the Department of Health and Human Services. Available in Word (3 pages, 52 KB).


U.S. Department of Education Announces New Study Finds Students with Disabilities Making Great Strides
According to a report released by the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, students with disabilities have made significant progress in their transition to adulthood during the past 25 years with lower dropout rates, an increase in postsecondary enrollment, and a higher rate of gainful employment after leaving high school. The report, entitled Changes Over Time in the Early Postschool Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities, is available in PDF (113 pages, 1.1 MB) at


U.S. Department of Education to Calculate New Graduation Rate
Deputy Secretary of Education Ray Simon recently announced that the U.S. Department of Education will begin calculating an "Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate" for all states that will be used to compare state reported rates under the No Child Left Behind Act. This announcement follows the recognition that several national organizations have been "justifiably clamoring for a more accurate, consistent, and transparent method of calculating high school graduation rates."


U.S. Surgeon General Issues First Call to Action on Disability Health
On July 26, the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona released “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities.” Developed in collaboration with the Office on Disability, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Call to Action describes the particular challenges to health and wellbeing faced by persons with disabilities of all ages and identifies four goals that, together, can help people with disabilities to experience full, rewarding, and, above all, healthy lives as contributing members of their communities.


White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth
This fall (2005), First Lady Laura Bush will convene the first-ever White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth to promote public awareness of the various problems facing at-risk youth. The conference will bring together policymakers, research experts, foundations, faith-based and volunteer organizations, educators, coaches, and parents to share examples of what makes a difference in the lives of youth and to generate new ideas that can be used across the country.

Calls to Participate


Blog About Strategies and Tips for Students with Special Needs
This blog was created by ASCD as a follow-up to their 2005 Summer Conference. It contains tips and strategies from Marcia Imbeau and Barbara Gartin offered at the conference for classroom teachers to use to scaffold learning for special needs students. Instructional strategies include adjusting RAFTs, tiered assignments, centers, and cubing to provide appropriate challenges for students with special needs. This blog lists the strategies, as well as prompting questions for teachers to respond to in the blog.


Comment on the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research’s (NIDRR) Proposed Long-Range Plan
People with disabilities, their families and advocates, and researchers and service providers are invited to review and comment on a draft long-range plan for disability and rehabilitation research which has been prepared by NIDRR. The proposed plan is currently available in the Federal Register. Deadline for submission of comments: August 26, 2005.


Get Involved in Disability Mentoring Day 2005 in Your Community
Disability Mentoring Day, a national effort to promote the employment of students with disabilities through personal mentoring, will be October 19, 2005. Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through job shadowing and hands-on career exploration. The Disability Mentoring Day Web site includes contact information for local coordinators, promotional materials, and a toolkit to help you implement Disability Mentoring Day in your community.


Participate in Covering Kids and Families (CFK) Back-to-School Campaign Activities in Your State
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s CFK initiative seeks to increase the number of children and families who benefit from existing public health care coverage programs. During August and September 2005, CFK coalitions from coast to coast will host outreach and enrollment events to inform families about low-cost and free health care coverage programs for children.


Provide Comments to RSA on Monitoring of Vocational Rehabilitation
The U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has announced a public meeting August 24-25 in Washington, DC to seek comments and suggestions about its vocational rehabilitation monitoring process. RSA is in the process of restructuring and this public meeting will be an opportunity for stakeholders in the vocational rehabilitation process to provide RSA with input on the monitoring process that will be implemented by the State Monitoring and Program Improvement Division under the new structure.


Take Part in the Spina Bifida Sibling Research Project
Volunteers 11-18 years of age with a brother or sister with spina bifida and their parent are invited to take part in a study conducted through Virginia Commonwealth University. The study’s purpose is to increase understanding of siblings’ thoughts, attitudes, and experiences. Volunteers accepted until mid-September 2005.

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The Resource Zone

NCSET Resources


2005 National Leadership Summit on Improving Results for Youth
Event Materials
Over 500 state leaders and policymakers representing secondary education, transition, workforce development, vocational rehabilitation, youth, families, and others, came together in Washington, DC, in June 2005 for the second NCSET-hosted National Leadership Summit on Improving Results for Youth. These online proceedings include notes from the Summit’s general sessions, presentations from the concurrent sessions available for download in PDF, presenter biographies, and more. Sessions included an opening session featuring Harold Hodgkinson of the Institute for Educational Leadership and a panel discussion featuring five youth with disabilities.


Accessible Transportation: A Key to Independence for Youth with Disabilities  (May 2005)
NCSET Teleconference Transcript
For the past 16 years, Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible Community Transportation In Our Nation) has been working to improve the availability and use of accessible transportation by people with disabilities of all ages. This teleconference, presented by Dr. Al Abeson, Director at Project ACTION and Karen Wolf-Branigin, Training and Technical Assistance Manager at Project ACTION, emphasized the fundamental lifelong importance of transportation to independent living outcomes for people with disabilities, applicable public policy, typical transportation alternatives, transportation limitations for people with disabilities and how to overcome them, and resources for helping young people with disabilities access public transportation.


Communities of Practice: A Strategy for Program Improvement  (August 2005)
NCSET Information Brief  • Volume  4 ,  Issue  3
This Information Brief defines Communities of Practice, outlines seven principles essential for development of vibrant Communities of Practice, and offers examples. Further resources are also suggested.


Live Demonstration of  (July 2005)
NCSET Webcast Archive
View the archive of a Web conference demonstration of The Youthhood Web site ( given July 14, 2005. is NCSET’s new interactive Web-based curriculum developed to help young adults plan for life after high school. NCSET personnel leading the development of this site revealed the power of this interactive and dynamic Web site using Web conferencing software (you may need to test your computer prior to accessing the archive). Archive is 1 hour and 10 minutes in length.


The Student Leadership Initiative: How New Jersey is Developing Tomorrow's Leaders  (April 2005)
NCSET Teleconference Transcript
When LeDerick Horne entered college in 1996, he had some serious doubts about his ability to survive the coursework. Diagnosed with learning disabilities that affected his spelling, reading, and math abilities, LeDerick had come to know school as a place where he felt awkward, inferior, and unwanted. Today, LeDerick is a college graduate, businessman, and accomplished advocate and public speaker. In this teleconference, presented on April 27, 2005 by LeDerick and Jan Carr Jones from the New Jersey Department of Education, participants gained insights into what made a difference for LeDerick, what supports work, and how the Student Leadership Initiative and other New Jersey Department of Education programs make a difference for students like LeDerick. NCSET’s New Interactive Curriculum for Youth  (June 2005)
NCSET Teleconference Transcript
Transcript of teleconference call describing the Youthhood Web site (, NCSET’s interactive Web-based curriculum developed to help young adults plan for life after high school. Presenters of this teleconference provided background information on the development of the site, an overview of its contents and features, and information on how to utilize the site to help all youth plan for life after high school.

Other National Resources


“Elements of Effective Practice” Mentoring Toolkit  (2005)
MENTOR has just released the online version of its publication “How to Build a Successful Mentoring Program Using the Elements of Effective Practice.” The tool kit includes materials and elements you need to start or maintain a quality mentoring program, including tools for designing and planning, tools to manage a program for success, tools to structure effective program operations, and tools to establish evaluation criteria and methods.


A Parent’s Guide to Special Education: Insider Advice on How to Navigate the System and Help Your Child Succeed  (June 2005)
This book offers guidance to parents and their children—as well as to teachers, counselors, and administrators—on issues including diagnosis and awareness, special education laws, eligibility issues and requirements, programs, parenting issues, communication between parents and schools, and much more. Cost: $16.95.


America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2005  (July 2005)
A biennial report on the condition of children in America, sponsored by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Describes the changing population, family, and environmental context in which children are living, and 25 indicators depict the wellbeing of children in the areas of economic security, health, behavior and social environment, and education. Special features include children with asthma, children with specified blood lead levels, parental reports of children’s emotional and behavioral difficulties, and more.


Building, Developing, and Going to Scale: Grant-Funded Programs for Youth in Transition: Module 1: Collaboration and Relationship Building  (January 2005) PDF document
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth has released the first of its Web-based Technical Assistance Tools to offer guidance in the design and implementation of programs in the field of workforce, disability, and youth. This tool on grant-funded programs for youth in transition includes six modules: collaboration and relationship building; the critical choice—pilot vs. prototype; leadership, communications, and outreach; the fundamentals of system building, developing, and going to scale; the practical tools for system building, developing, and going to scale; and sustaining and expanding effective practices. These modules are each available in Word and PDF.


Disability and American Families: 2000 (Census 2000 Special Report)  (July 2005) PDF document
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a report on the demographic and economic characteristics of families with members who have a disability. The report provides information on disability prevalence in families at the national, regional, and state levels, and presents data on these families’ income, employment status of the family householder, and poverty status of the families. It also includes information on families who raise children with disabilities. Available in PDF (20 pages, 695 KB).


Envisioning My Future: A Young Person’s Guide to Health Care Transition  (2005) PDF document
This guide from Children’s Medical Services, Florida’s Department of Health helps youth and families start thinking about health care transition and making a health care transition plan. It teaches readers about the health care choices and new ways of getting health care services that transition-aged youth need to consider. Available in PDF (24 pages, 1 MB)


Internship Programs  (July 2004)
Web Page
This Web page from the WorkAbility IV Program at California State University, Northridge provides tips for preparing for and seeking internship opportunities, describes how internships relate to employment, and provides information on understanding disability-related employment issues.


It Takes a Village (or At Least Several Partners) to Transition a Student from School to Work  (March 2005)
This publication from the University of Montana’s Rural Institute describes how various schools, agencies, and families are collaborating toward successful transitions for young adults with disabilities. Numerous real life stories are offered to help readers envision the creative possibilities for transition.


Kids Count 2005 Data Book Online  (July 2005)
The 16th annual Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, released July 27, 2005, reports that national trends in child well-being are no longer improving in the rapid and sustained way they did in the late 1990s. The state-by-state data contained in the 2005 Data Book are also part of an interactive Web database.


Meeting the Literacy Development Needs of Adolescent English Language Learners Through Content Area Learning, Part One: Focus on Motivation and Engagement  (2004) PDF document
This research report examines instructional principles related to the connection between students’ motivation and engagement and their literacy development. These principles are supported by research in two areas of educational research: adolescent academic literacy development and English language learners in secondary schools. These principles include making connections to students’ lives, creating responsive classrooms, and having students interact with each other and with text. Published by the Education Alliance. Available in PDF (68 pages, 474 KB).

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What's Happening

NCSET Events


Review of the 2005 National Leadership Summit
Teleconference Call
August 23, 2005
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM   (Central)
Over 500 state leaders and policymakers representing secondary education, transition, workforce development, vocational rehabilitation, youth, families, and others, came together in Washington, DC, in June for the second NCSET-hosted National Leadership Summit on Improving Results for Youth. This teleconference call, presented by David R. Johnson, NCSET Director, and selected state team representatives, will briefly outline the purpose and format of the Summit; highlight the findings from the data; share perspectives from two states on how the Summit has instituted change for them,; and communicate Summit follow-up technical assistance strategies. To participate, dial 703-639-1365 a few minutes before the call begins, and refer to the “NCSET Teleconference Call” if asked by the operator.

Yes, Youth with Disabilities Can Travel to Study Abroad
Teleconference Call
September 29, 2005
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM   (Central)
During this teleconference, presenters will discuss frequently asked questions about international exchange programs and provide background on how international exchange relates to youth with disabilities. The presenters will also discuss steps for incorporating global education into U.S. student plans, a school's responsibilities regarding foreign exchange students with disabilities, and international resources and activities. Presented by Michele Scheib, Project Specialist, and Melissa Mitchell, Outreach and Training Coordinator, of Mobility International USA. To participate, dial 703-639-1162 a few minutes before the call begins, and refer to the "NCSET Teleconference Call" if asked by the operator.

Other National Events


Making Abstract Core Curriculum Accessible to Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
Web-based Event
September 7, 2005
During this Webinar, Dr. June Downing from California State University, Northridge will identify ways to make abstract core curriculum relevant and meaningful to those students with labels of significant and multiple impairments. Samples of adaptations will be used to highlight points made across K-12 curriculum. Hosted by the Access Center and the National Technical Assistance Consortium for Children and Young Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind in collaboration with the LRE Part B Community of Practice.

Positive Behavior Supports Implementation Forum
October 20, 2005 - October 21, 2005
Rosemont, IL
The National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports will host the School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Implementing at Scale State/District Leadership Team Forum for state/district leadership teams who are developing and implementing school-wide Positive Behavior Support (PBS) efforts. Teams will learn how to evaluate, revise, and/or develop their SW-PBS action plan, including strengths of their current action plan; additions to and deletions from their current action plan; and new strategies to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance of their action planning.

Reshaping the Social Compact: Independent Sector 2005 Annual Conference
October 23, 2005 - October 25, 2005
Washington, DC
This conference provides an opportunity for participants to join 1,000 CEOs and senior-level executives of America’s foundations, corporations, and national, regional, and local nonprofit organizations in focusing on the social compact, particularly the charitable community’s role in its definition and fulfillment. Conference theme tracks will include: Engaging the Community, Shaping Public Sector Responsibilities, and Embracing Ethics and Excellence.

A Meaningful Place for All: A National Conference on Disability Inclusion and National Service
December 8, 2005 - December 10, 2005
Alexandria, VA
This conference will bring the disability and national service communities together to celebrate 10 years of disability inclusion in national service; reflect upon the successes and challenges of the past ten years; identify, share, and strategize about innovative practices that improve the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in national service; and build practices and procedures that ensure ongoing progress. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


College Access Marketing
The Pathways to College Network has launched the College Access Marketing Web site. The site is designed to help schools, programs, community groups, organizations, and states use marketing techniques to help increase college participation. It includes a multimedia gallery of examples of marketing products and campaign planning materials.


Financial Aid Center from Career OneStop
The Financial Aid Center from the Department of Labor’s Career OneStop site can help you find out how to finance your lifelong learning and training to advance in your career. The site offers national resources and provides links to help users answer the following questions: What Are My Education/Training Goals? How Much Will It Cost? and Where Can I Find Money?


National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC)
NAPSEC is a non-profit association whose mission is to represent private special education centers and their leaders. Its Web site includes information about the Association and its services; programs, resources, and services for its members; resources for parents; and the Association’s annual conference.


Supports Intensity Scale
This Web site is the virtual home of the Supports Intensity Scale, an assessment tool that evaluates practical support requirements of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability to be a participating member in his/her community. The site provides information about the Scale, ordering information for both paper and computer-based versions of the Scale, news and press releases about the Scale, reviews of the Scale, information about Training in use of the Scale, and an online discussion board. Information, resources, and research about work and disability issues
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention at Virginia Commonwealth University has launched a redesigned Web site. The site is a resource for individuals with disabilities seeking and maintaining employment, and businesses recruiting and hiring qualified employees with disabilities. It includes information about the Center, including the Center’s projects and training and research activities; resources; news; an online store selling publications and CDs; information for businesses; and a search feature.

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Funding Forecast

Funding Resources


Finding Federal Funding
This article from the Finance Project includes links to federal funding guides and an up-to-date, online tool that enables leaders to search for federal funding sources relevant to their specific needs.
Web Site helps educators and other stakeholders at the K-12 level find resources to benefit students and schools. The Web site monitors federal, state, private, foundation, and corporate Web sites across the country to find announcements for funding opportunities. New listings are posted each day, and all information is provided free to the public.


Show Me the Money: Tips & Resources for Successful Grant Writing
This article from Education World includes practical tips to help educators who are first-time grant writers get the grants they need. It also includes links to grant-writing and grant-finding resources as well as granting agencies.


State Personnel Development Grants Web Site
This is the official Web site of the State Improvement Grants (SIG) and State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.


Successful School Grants: Fulfilling the Promise of School Improvement
“Successful School Grants” is a step-by-step grant-writing manual for both new and experienced grant writers. The author, Dr. Deborah Porter, is a nationally-known grant writer and federal grant reader. She has achieved a grant approval rate of over 90%. Cost: $38, shipping included.

Federal Grant Opportunities


Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPC)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks to stimulate innovative community-based programs that employ prevention strategies to promote access to health care for children and their families nationwide. To that end, its HTPC program supports direct service projects, not research projects, with grants of up to $50,000. Application deadline: September 12, 2005.

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


Back-to-School Grants from Dollar General
School Award
The Dollar General Back-to-School grant program will award grants of $5,000 to assist public schools in meeting some of the financial challenges they face in implementing new programs or purchasing new equipment, materials, or software for their school library or literacy program. Application deadline: August 12, 2005.


disABLEDperson Inc. College Scholarship Award
Youth Award
disABLEDperson, Inc. will award a $500 scholarship to a college student with a disability who attends a 2- or 4-year accredited college or university. Applicants must write a 500-word essay answering the question: “How has my disability impacted my life in a positive way?” Responses must be sent in a body of an e-mail no later than August 15, 2005 to Along with the essay, the email must contain the following information: Name, Address, Phone number, E-mail address, GPA, Current School, Major.


Mattel Children's Foundation Grants to Benefit Children's Health, Education, Girls’ Empowerment
Program Funding
The Mattel Children's Foundation awards grants of $5,000-$25,000 to U.S. charitable organizations that directly serve children in need. Applicant organizations must have 501(c)(3) public charity status. Funding priority will be given to organizations or programs that creatively address a locally-defined need directly impacting children in need (particularly children ages 0-13) and that align with Mattel’s philanthropic priorities: health, education, and girls’ empowerment. Two types of grants will be considered: program-specific grants (for the launch of new programs or expansion of existing programs); and core operating support (for the support of organizations to sustain their programs). Application deadline: September 30, 2005.


Mini-Grant Program for Service-Learning
Program Funding
The Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Robinson Mini-Grant Program gives grants of up to $500 for service-learning projects designed to address serious community issues such as poverty, hunger, the environment, mentoring, crime and safety, and aging. Elementary and secondary schools and community agencies that work with K-12 youth may apply. Application deadline: October 14, 2005.


Service-Learning Grants for Youth Service Day Projects
With support from the State Farm Companies Foundation, Youth Service America is offering one hundred $1,000 grants for teachers, youth, and school-based service-learning coordinators to implement service-learning projects for National Youth Service Day, April 21-23, 2006 ( Applicants must be a certified teacher or professor who currently teaches in a public, private, faith-based, charter, or higher education institution; or be a school-based service-learning coordinator whose primary role is to coordinate service-learning projects in a school or university; or be a youth between the ages of five and twenty-five. Application date: October 17, 2005.


te@ch: Best Buy School Technology Program
School Award
Best Buy’s te@ch program rewards K-12 schools that are using interactive technology to make learning fun for kids. Te@ch awards are not based on the sophistication of the technology, but rather reward programs that use all levels of interactive technology in ways that genuinely engage students in the process of learning. Up to 1,200 Best Buy gift cards valued at $2,500 will be awarded, and up to 36 schools will receive additional awards valued at $15,000 each based on the creativity of their programs. All accredited, public and private nonprofit elementary, middle, and secondary schools located within 25 miles of a Best Buy store are eligible to apply. Application deadline: September 30, 2005.


Thomson Gale TEAMS Award for Teams of Teachers and Media Specialists
Teacher Award
The Thomson Gale TEAMS Award recognizes collaboration between teachers and media specialists. Three winners will each receive a $2,500 cash award and a selection of professional resources. Nominations will be evaluated on demonstrated collaboration between media specialists and teachers during the 2004-05 school year; effective techniques that promote student learning and increase student achievement; support received from school leadership; and the ability of others to replicate this best practice. All K-12 public and private schools in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to enter. Nominations may be submitted by library media specialists, teachers, principals, students, or parents. Nomination/application deadline: September 9, 2005.

Scholarships and Awards


Paul G. Hearne/American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Leadership Awards
AAPD seeks applications for its Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards. Up to two people with disabilities, who are emerging as leaders in their respective fields, will each receive $10,000 to help them continue their progress as leaders. Application deadline: September 9, 2005.

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End of Issue

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