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Jackson Clarion Ledger (MS)
When she was in second grade, Vallye Russell and her brother rode their bikes to the top of a hill in their neighborhood and had a picnic under a cherry blossom tree. Russell, now 13, recreated that day using a shredded green scarf for grass. The work has earned the Brandon Middle School sixth-grader a trip to Washington, D.C., where she will represent Mississippi at an event hosted by Very Special Arts, the International Organization on Arts and Disability.
WestLinn Tidings (OR)
New students at Park Academy, a private school on the Marylhurst University campus, can be easy to pick out. Their hood is down over their face. Their posture is slouched over. Their negative attitude toward school is easy to spot. But their transformation has yet to begin.
San Francisco Chronicle
Parents of a child with learning disabilities can sue a school district for ignoring the problems and failing to arrange tutoring or other educational help, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a case from Compton (Los Angeles County) is one of the first in the nation on a parent's ability to enforce a federal law that requires schools to identify all children with disabilities and provide them with an appropriate education.
Critics of charter schools often complain they get higher-than-average test scores because they don't take a fair share of special education students. More than 16 percent of New York City public school students receive special education services, compared to about 11 percent of those in charters. But one charter is going out of its way to prove it can educate the neediest pupils alongside their non-disabled peers.
The cafeteria at Urbana Middle School outside Frederick, Md., is a happy, sunny place, redolent of corn chips and pizza, the daily special. A group of sixth-grade boys look up from their food. Question: Do you guys all feel like at some point in your lives, somebody has bullied you? Answer: a chorus of "yeah!" Principal Frank Vetter says it doesn't have to be that way. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, employed at Urbana, tries to turn anti-bullying efforts into part of the school culture, rather than just the topic of an occasional assembly.
Winston Salem Journal (NC)
In the course of making a documentary about dyslexia, Harvey Hubbell V has asked a lot of people what they think dyslexia is. "We've heard people say it's an eating disorder -- it's a sleeping disorder," Hubbell said. Hubbell, who is dyslexic, will be in Winston-Salem today to participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the North Carolina branch of the International Dyslexia Association and the Triad Academy, a private, nonprofit school in Winston-Salem that works with students with dyslexia. Triad Academy was invited to submit profiles of some students for a companion book to Dislecksia: The Movie, which Hubbell expects to finish in June.
Monday's announcement that federal oversight of Baltimore City's special education programs will be ending within two years was rightly hailed by civic and educational leaders as a major milestone. It is a testament to how far the city school system has come recently and a reminder of how dysfunctional it was for most of the 26 years the lawsuit has been in effect.
On the same day that the Obama administration announced its intentions to beef up the enforcement of civil rights in the nation's schools, the head of the office for civil rights during the Bush years said its track record isn't lackluster as claimed. But in a conference call before a speech on students' civil rights last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said: "In the last decade, the office for civil rights has not been as vigilant as it should have been in combating gender and racial discrimination and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities."
Two years ago, with great fanfare, then-Gov. Jon Corzine and the Legislature came up with a new way to fund New Jersey's public schools. The new formula is simple: Fund schools based on the cost of educating each student to meet core standards; add money to provide extra help to students with disabilities, those in poverty, and those needing English language instruction. Last May, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the formula was "thorough and efficient." But and this is a big one the justices ordered the governor and Legislature to fully fund the formula in the annual state budget.
SLCC Global Link (UT)
Talent is echoing through the halls on campus. Former Salt Lake Community College student Terrell Williams, a pop/rock singer and songwriter is one main reason. His talent is waiting to be heard by many. Although he seems well on his way, his path has been all but easy. While taking piano lessons for two years as a child he noticed reading the music seemed extra difficult. Doctors found out that Williams suffers with dyslexia, a disorder that jumbles words and symbols around, making it nearly impossible to read sheet music.
Over the objection of officials at the statistical wing of the U.S. Department of Education, the independent body that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress has approved a policy that will limit school officials' ability to exclude students with disabilities and English-language learners from the national exams.
Chronicle of Higher Education
For as long as he can remember, Robert T. Calloway has had a fascination with engineering and all things mechanical. He wanted to pursue an engineering career despite a diagnosis of dyslexia, which challenged both his confidence and his ability in the classroom. He enrolled in the Community College of Allegheny County, in Pittsburgh, where professors and the college's academic-support staff helped him work around his dyslexia. Now, a program being developed by a two-year college in Vermont aims to assess the successful practices of Allegheny and other colleges to help more students, like Mr. Calloway, succeed academically in math and the sciences.
The Faster Times
When it came to school, help was needed for our son Andrew in a big way. Diagnosed with severe ADHD in middle school, formal education was torture for him, except for the socialization part at which he excelled. Approximately six weeks before he was to report to college, Andrew dropped the bomb that he would not be going. Harold and I had a decision to make and we had a split second in which to make it. We could register devastation and disappointment and push him one more time to at least give college a try, or we could accept his decision with full hearts, and by accepting that, we could finally accept him for the smart, funny, loving young man he is. We chose the latter.
A program designed to help the Middlesex County College community and the general public learn about individuals with disabilities is being held at Middlesex County College, in Edison, NJ Monday, March 29. "This annual program is designed to raise the consciousness of the college community that students with disabilities are part of the fabric of the institution," said Elaine Daidone, counselor for students with disabilities.
New York Times
More than 6 percent of school-age children almost three million students are receiving special education services because of learning disabilities, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America. The cost of such special services can easily total thousands of dollars a year per child. But the Learning Disabilities Association suggests that when learning disabilities are left untreated, the overall cost to society may be far higher.
Ana can sit on the couch for only about five minutes before it's time to move. The fifth-grader has sensory processing disorder - her brain doesn't process information from her five senses in a typical way - leaving her unable to sit still (her muscles just have to move), wear socks (they're too irritating), concentrate in a busy classroom (so much to look at and hear), or be in the same room with a hot pizza (the aroma is overpowering).
Virginia officials are moving to sharply limit an alternative testing program that many schools in the Washington, DC suburbs use to measure the abilities of special education students who traditionally have fared poorly on the state's Standards of Learning exams.
An independent review of special-education programs at Pittsburgh Public Schools contains 59 recommendations for the district, including revising the criteria of who is eligible. The Council of Great City Schools, a Washington-based group representing the nation's largest urban public school districts, advised the local district to review the way it addresses learning problems among special-education students.
Coastal Courier (GA)
The Council for Exceptional Children initiated Exceptional Children's Week as a means to educate the public about children with disabilities and garner support for them and special education.
New York Times
The first sign may be that your bright child is having trouble reading, or organizing school assignments, or concentrating on homework. If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, and you've ruled out distractions like bad chemistry with the teacher or a social issue, your best recourse is to have the child tested.