Each week, LD OnLine gathers interesting news headlines about learning disabilities and ADHD issues. Please note that LD OnLine does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.
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Loudoun Times-Mirror (VA)
Parents and advocates for special education students in Loudoun County are protesting proposed state regulations, saying they would be a step backward for Virginia. Comments on the changes must be received by the Virginia Department of Education by June 30.
A year after pledging to spend more than half a million dollars to identify and help dyslexic students, the Houston, Texas Independent School District has diagnosed just 70 additional children, according to HISD records. Only 326 children in the 200,000-student school district are considered dyslexic several thousand below the number experts say they would anticipate.
Nashoba Publishing (MA)
As part of the process of hiring a new special education director for Harvard, Massachusetts Public Schools, the top four candidates participated in a public forum. Candidate Steven Kaplan said one of his priorities is keeping special education students in the district. According to Mr. Kaplan, "It starts with holding classes for potential special education teachers."
Community Press and Recorder (OH)
The EdChoice program, introduced in 2006, gives Ohio students whose public schools have been on Academic Watch for at least three years the opportunity to improve their educational environment by providing funding for them to transfer to a private school. While this and other programs are helpful to those students with general education needs, the fact remains that students with disabilities require special attention and should benefit from the same freedom of choice.
Jason Cunningham and his wife, Tracy initially resisted the thought of medicating Jason's two sons, Christopher and Patrick, for their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Once they tried it and saw the difference it made, they were sold. But occasionally, it was like the medication was taking a day off. Patrick had been sick with a cold, and to help relieve his symptoms he had been given a cold medication that contained pseudoephedrine. As it turns out, pseudoephedrine is a medication that cancels out the effects of the ADHD medication that Christopher and Patrick take.
Daily Sentinel (CO)
Karoline Fry, Delta High class of 2008, always tried harder because she thought she wasn't all that smart. Because she worked really hard, Karoline always had a B average, she said, so she wasn't tested for learning disabilities. But school just kept getting harder, so after a heart-to-heart talk with her mom, at the beginning of her senior year, Karoline asked to be tested for learning disabilities. The results of several weeks of testing showed Karoline was both dyslexic and had an auditory learning disability.
Pasadena Star-News (CA)
California state legislators advanced a bill Thursday aimed at exempting special education students from having to pass the high school exit exam to receive high school diplomas. It would provide a two-year exemption for disabled students who complete all of the requirements for graduation but do not pass one or both sections of the California High School Exit Exam.
Nashoba Publishing (MA)
As part of the process of hiring a new special education director for Harvard Public Schools, the top four candidates participated in a public forum. Candidate Pamela DeGregorio said a major tool in special education is learning what the disabilities are and educating the teachers as well as the parents.
The Lake Wales News (FL)
Communication, cooperation, trust, and fun are the keys to leadership. Teacher Jock Willers uses a ball as a metaphor to help children practice these skills. He recently used his techniques — a combination of Exceptional Student Education and gifted education teaching strategies — at Vanguard School, which specializes in teaching students who learn differently.
Pensacola News Journal (FL)
The traveling exhibit "Destination Anywhere" opens at Pensacola Junior College. The exhibit, presented by VSA arts and Volkswagen of America Inc., showcases the works of 15 artists with disabilities, ages 16 to 25, living in the United States.
Statesman Journal (OR)
A school counselor answers a question from parents about how to best help their daughter achieve school success in the special education system. She notes that developing a good relationship with teachers and specialists is key.
After tangling in litigation for close to a decade, the District of Columbia school system agreed in 2006 to work quickly to pare down a backlog of cases related to special education services it had failed to provide to students with disabilities. Two years after the decision in the class action, the backlog of cases is still large, and growing. But school officials and lawyers representing the plaintiffs are renewing efforts to work together to fix the mess.
Alexandria Gazette Packet (VA)
A newspaper investigation of standardized test scores found that none of the schools in Alexandria met the federal standard for special-education students last year. Yet because a class size of 50 students is required to calculate adequate yearly progress, none of these schools were punished for failing to achieve the annual measurable objective of a 73 percent pass rate for students with disabilities.
Medill Reports (IL)
Parents have an absolute right to participate in the IEP process from start to finish. With annual reviews taking place this time of year, Medill Reports — a news outlet of Northwestern University's graduate school of journalism — spoke with Mary Mulae, special education litigation attorney and parent of a child with learning disabilities.
Hemel Gazette (U.K.)
Reg Stickings book about soul music in the North of England in the 60's sold out its first print run before publishers had even advertised it. The 54-year-old says he has always had trouble with literacy, but was determined to finish the book. "Apparently people who can't read and write well have really good memories to compensate, which I think is why I have been able to recall everything for the book. And because I had to dictate it, it's written how I speak."
Author Rick Riordan is on the road to promote his popular children’s book The Battle of the Labyrinth, the fourth novel in his best-selling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. In all, the first three titles have sold 1.6 million copies in 15 countries. Riordan's ability to appeal to preteen boys a demographic frequently identified as "reluctant readers" is especially unusual. While his main character Percy may be a son of the Greek god Poseidon, he also has dyslexia and attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder. So does one of Riordan's two sons.
Next year, more Cape Girardeau, Missouri students with disabilities will be placed in traditional classrooms, under the expansion of a pilot program aimed at "mainstreaming." Students who previously were educated in a "self-contained" classroom have been attending class with traditional students this year in certain classes at Central Junior High and Central High School. The model, known as CWC, for class within a class, has been in place for years at several surrounding districts, including Jackson.
New Haven Register (CT)
If New Haven, Connecticut residents don't appropriate $250,000 to cover a pending deficit in the special education budget, there will be immediate layoffs and program eliminations in the schools, Superintendent SaraJane R. Querfeld says. Querfeld said the money, which would be tapped from the unappropriated fund balance, will cover educational costs for nine special education students who have been placed by the state Department of Children and Families, the court system or a hospital.
The Modesto Bee (CA)
Walter Woodley worked for the city of Modesto, California for 33 years, rising to become the chief groundskeeper at John Thurman Field. The secret to his success, however, couldn't possibly match the secret he kept from most of his coworkers and even his children for decades: He could not read. Now, after masking his deficiency for so many years, Woodley, 59, is willing to tell his story, to write it and read it, too.
Daily News Record (VA)
This year, more than 200 Harrisonburg students are taking the Virginia Grade Level Alternative, an alternative form of the Standards of Learning test. It's a better assessment for some students who are unable to participate in the traditional SOL testing because of a disability or limited English proficiency. But it also costs more and creates more work for teachers.