Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills — from npr.org by Cory Turner

The fact that a district could struggle so mightily with special education staffing that students are missing school – that’s not just a Del Norte problem. A recent federal survey of school districts across the U.S. found special education jobs were among the hardest to staff – and vacancies were widespread. But what’s happening in Del Norte is extreme. Which is why the Lenovers and five other families are suing the school district, as well as state education leadership, with help from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The district sits hidden away like a secret between Oregon, the frigid Pacific and some of the largest redwood trees in the world. It’s too isolated and the pay is not competitive enough, Harris says, to attract workers from outside Del Norte. Locally, these aides – like the one Emma requires – earn about as much as they would working at McDonald’s.

 

From DSC:
My wife does a lot of work with foster families and CASA kids, and she recommends these resources for helping children who have experienced adversity, early harm, toxic stress, and/or trauma. 


TBRI: Trust Based Relational Intervention — from child.tcu.edu by Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.

The Connected Child by Karen Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you:

  • Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child
  • Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders
  • Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened
 

The US is experiencing a boom in microschools. What are they? — from  thehill.com by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech; via GSV

Story at a glance (emphasis DSC)

  • There has been a surge in new microschools in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The National Microschooling Network estimates there are about 95,000 microschools in the country. The median microschool serves 16 students.
  • There is no regulatory body solely responsible for tracking microschools, so it is difficult to determine just how much their popularity has grown.

Advocates for microschools say they offer some students — especially those who are gifted or have learning disabilities — a greater chance to thrive academically and socially than traditional schools do.   

At Sphinx Academy, a micro-school based in Lexington, Ky., almost all 24 students are “twice exceptional,” meaning they are gifted in one academic area but have one or more learning disabilities like ADHD or dyslexia, according to the school’s director Jennifer Lincoln.   


Student Apathy Is a Big Classroom Challenge, Teachers Say. Cellphones Aren’t Helping — from edweek.org by Madeline Will

The stakes are high: Students have a lot of academic ground to make up following the pandemic. Yet they’re not fully engaged in the classroom, teachers report in a new national survey.


 

 

Making your campus neurodivergent friendly — from timeshighereducation.com
How to create a university where neurodivergent staff and students feel welcome and thrive in the classroom, in the lab and throughout campus

Neurodivergent students and staff think about, interact with and see the world differently from their neurotypical peers and colleagues. Universities that adopt inclusive practices to welcome people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other disabilities to campus also foster their distinct strengths and talents in the classroom, labs, boardrooms and social spaces. This collection of resources offers advice for teachers, researchers, PhD supervisors and administrators for supporting neurodiversity in higher education.


Some Colleges Will Soon Charge $100,000 a Year. How Did This Happen? — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber; via Ryan Craig
Some Vanderbilt students will have $100,000 in total expenses for the 2024-25 school year. The school doesn’t really want to talk about it.

It was only a matter of time before a college would have the nerve to quote its cost of attendance at nearly $100,000 a year. This spring, we’re catching our first glimpse of it.

One letter to a newly admitted Vanderbilt University engineering student showed an all-in price — room, board, personal expenses, a high-octane laptop — of $98,426. A student making three trips home to Los Angeles or London from the Nashville campus during the year could hit six figures.

This eye-popping sum is an anomaly. Only a tiny fraction of college-going students will pay anything close to this anytime soon, and about 35 percent of Vanderbilt students — those who get neither need-based nor merit aid — pay the full list price.

But a few dozen other colleges and universities that reject the vast majority of applicants will probably arrive at this threshold within a few years. Their willingness to cross it raises two questions for anyone shopping for college: How did this happen, and can it possibly be worth it?


‘Running Out of Road’ for FAFSA Completion — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
The number of students who filled out the federal aid form is down nearly 30 percent. The ramifications for access and enrollment could be devastating.

And that’s probably an optimistic estimate, said Bill DeBaun, NCAN’s senior director of data and strategic initiatives; if the pace of completion doesn’t pick up, the decline could be closer to 700,000 students. That could translate to up to a 4 percent drop in college-goers come fall, DeBaun said, which would be the largest enrollment drop since the COVID-19 pandemic—and one that’s likely to be made up primarily of low-income and first-generation students.


Study: Nearly 40 Percent of Students Started, Never Finished College — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
Federal researchers followed the post-secondary outcomes of 23,000 students for 12 years. 

Only 60 percent of students who enrolled in college earned a degree or credential within eight years of graduating high school.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new report the National Center for Education Statistics released Monday that analyzed the enrollment, completion and financial aid outcomes of students.

The researchers tracked the postsecondary educational outcomes of roughly 23,000 students beginning in 2009 when they were freshman in high school through 2021, when the cohort was eight years out from graduating high school.


Race to the Finish | The rise of faster bachelor’s degrees raises the question: What is college for? — from chronicle.com by Kelly Field; from Jeff Selingo

Taken together, the two recent decisions illustrate a blurring of the lines between the two- and four-year sectors that is taking place not just in Idaho, but nationwide, as colleges struggle to overcome enrollment declines and skepticism about the value of a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s pretty clear that higher education is in a funk,” said Robert M. Zemsky, a University of Pennsylvania professor, who has been advocating for three-year programs for more than 15 years. “There’s a sense that we have to do something to make the product better, more relevant, and less costly to students.”


Excerpt from Next — from/by Jeff Selingo

Bottom line: While critics of a shorter degree see it as a lesser replacement for the four-year baccalaureate degree, advocates see it as another option for students who might not be interested in college at a time when enrollment is falling.

  • “We need to use this opportunity to redesign and do things better,” Carrell said. “That means that we all need to stay curious. We need to be a learning enterprise…and learn from the evidence we produce.”

Job-Ready on Day One — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain

The U.S. faces a serious shortage of workers in the skilled trades—fields like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, solar, and construction. And those labor gaps are likely to widen as the federal government spends billions on infrastructure projects.

Employers in these industries are desperate for hires, says Doug Donovan, the founder and CEO of Interplay Learning. Yet the “challenge is not employer demand for workers,” he says, “but rather ensuring that learners learn about skilled trades careers and pursue them.”

The Austin-based Interplay offers online and VR training for workers in the skilled trades. The company was founded in 2016 with a focus on upskilling the hands-on worker. Even before the pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, Donovan says companies in these trades needed to hire workers who didn’t have all the skills required for jobs.

Interplay’s online courses and 3D, interactive simulations get close to what a learner is going to see on the job, says Donovan. “We aren’t trying to replace hands-on, instructor-led training,” he says. “We are trying to deliver tools that enhance that hands-on time or make it more efficient.”


 

 

Student perceptions of American higher education — from usprogram.gatesfoundation.org by Edge Research & HCM Strategists
Continued research exploring college enrollment declines

Overview of 2023 Findings
Despite our understanding of the value of higher education, perceptions among these audiences make it clear that institutions need to prove their value to them. In particular, why does the value of a 2-year or 4-year degree outweigh the value of credentials and job training programs? Both High Schoolers and Non-Enrollees see and select other paths that are shorter, cheaper, and/or more directly linked to specific job opportunities.

As part of that effort, these audiences want and need supports throughout their college journeys to reach the destination of acquiring a degree. These audiences feel anxious about making the wrong choices when it comes to college, and that those choices will impact the rest of their lives. Finally, it is also important to understand that the information received by these audiences differs by cohort. High Schoolers are at the epicenter of the college information network. Non-Enrollees, on the other hand, are forced to seek information about colleges, and the information they find tends to be less positive compared to what High Schoolers receive and consume about higher education.

Higher Education Must Prove Value to Potential Students, Who are Currently More Attracted to Immediate, Lower-Cost Options


Many Students Don’t Inform Their Colleges About Their Disability. That Needs to Change. — from edsurge.com by Stephanie A.N. Levin

After engaging in a policy review and coding a set of policy documents from disability service offices at colleges and universities across the U.S., it became clear to me that I wasn’t alone in my reluctance to seek accommodations at my college. It turns out that many higher education students with disabilities are hesitant to self-identify and pursue accommodations that could support them in their studies.

According to the most recent data published by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 20 percent of undergraduate students and nearly 11 percent of graduate students have a disability. There’s a discrepancy though, between the rate of students reporting having a disability, and those who are actually registering with their campus disability center. It turns out many students don’t inform their colleges of their disability and that has led to a support gap.The truth is, too many college and university students with disabilities decide to forgo a request for the accommodations that they may need to be successful.


5 ways to support today’s online learner — from insidetrack.org

  1. Make online learning learner-centered, demand-driven and career-advancing
  2. Help cultivate a sense of belonging
  3. Reduce barriers to online learning
  4. Encourage investment in planning and support structures
  5. Build up online learner confidence

 

Recap: Supporting Neurodivergent Students with Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia — from umcetl.substack.com by Liz Norell
Greater awareness of neurodivergent types can lead to more inclusive and equitable teaching. In this recap, we provide an overview of four different neurotypes and strategies to support them.

At last week’s event, we continued our focus on supporting neurodivergent students by taking a closer look at four specific conditions that could impact student behaviors and academic work. By spreading greater awareness and understanding, we hope to interrupt potentially harmful assumptions and foster greater curiosity and empathy for our students. Doing so can help us create environments that support learning, mental health, and academic success.

The slides from that presentation are available here, and below are some key takeaways and resources. Also be sure to check out the recap and resources from last fall’s session, where we covered ADHD and autism, along with several other foundational concepts around neurodivergence.


Also see:

Understanding dyscalculia — from understood.org

Dyscalculia is a learning disability in math. It makes it hard to work with and make sense of numbers. Learn more about dyscalculia and why people have trouble with math. Discover ways to help.


 

What is executive function?

What is executive function? — from understood.org by Gail Belsky

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

Snapshot: What executive function is
Some people describe executive function as “the management system of the brain.” That’s because the skills involved let us set goals, plan, and get things done. When people struggle with executive function, it impacts them at home, in school, and in life.

There are three main areas of executive function. They are…

 

From DSC:
Let’s celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st! The theme is “End The Stereotypes.”

And for me, there is no “normal” anymore. That’s a word that has increasingly been pushed out of my vocabulary. I don’t believe in it anymore.

Along these lines, here’s one of the quotes from the website:

Some people think that people with Down syndrome can’t live ‘normal’ lives. That’s wrong! And what is ‘normal’ anyway?

My life is similar to lots of my family and friends. I went to my local school, I’m involved in a local orchestra and the scouts. I am training to be a teaching assistant.

All of this for me is ‘normal’, just like everyone else.
.

World Down Syndrome Day for 2024 -- with the theme being End The Stereotypes


Also see:

Let’s Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 2024 on March 21st!!! — from charityfootprints.com

Let's Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 2024 on March 21st!


Also see:

Mosaic Down Syndrome

 

Nursing Career Guide for People With Disabilities — from nursingeducation.org by Abby McCoy, RN, BSN; with thanks to Sarah Breckon for this resource

As Sarah mentioned to me, this article includes a comparison of some of the benefits and challenges of a nursing career, tips on choosing an accessible nursing school, and examines different nursing career paths, their demands, and accommodations available. It also includes practical advice on job interviews, disclosing disabilities to employers, and understanding legal protections.

The need for caring and skilled nurses is higher than ever. For people with disabilities, getting into nursing might seem like a tough road with a lot of unknowns. Luckily, it isn’t just doable, people with different abilities can find the career extremely fulfilling. Plenty of opportunities and resources exist for those who want to make a mark in healthcare, no matter the challenges they might face.

 

It’s Time to Launch a National Initiative to Create the New American High School — from the74million.org by Robin Lake; via GSV
Robin Lake: We must start thinking, talking and acting bigger when it comes to preparing teens for both college and career.

The blueprint design of a chair that you would often see in a high school classroom


One State Rolled Out a Promising Child Care Model. Now Others Are Replicating It. — from edsurge.com by Emily Tate Sullivan

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Last month, business leaders and child care advocates from a handful of states convened on Zoom. Representing Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia, they had come together to discuss a new child care model, called “Tri-Share,” that has gained traction across the country, including in their respective regions.

The cost-sharing model, in which the state government, the employer and the employee each pay for one-third of the cost of child care, first launched in 2021 in Michigan, where it is furthest along. But it has become so popular that other states, including New York, North Carolina and Kentucky, have already secured funding for their own adaptations of the program.

Also relevant/see:


Road Scholars: When These Families Travel, School Comes Along for the Ride — from the74million.org by Linda Jacobson; via Matthew Tower
‘It’s not just a pandemic thing,’ one industry expert said about the growing number of families ‘roadschooling’ across the country.


Using Technology for Students in Special Education: What the Feds Want Schools to Know — from edweek.org by Alyson Klein

But this is the first time the department has released guidance on how assistive technology relates to the special education law. That’s partly because schools have come to rely so much more on technology for teaching and learning, Wright-Gallo said.

The guidance, released last month, is aimed at parents, specialists who provide services to babies and toddlers at risk of developmental delays, special educators, general educators, school and district leaders, technology specialists and directors, and state education officials, Wright-Gallo said.


Guiding and Connecting the Homeschooling Community — from michaelbhorn.substack.com by Michael B. Horn
How ‘Teach Your Kids’ is Empowering Parents to Take Charge of their Students’ Educations

More and more parents are taking charge of their children’s education through homeschooling.  Manisha Snoyer’s podcast and online homeschooling community, Teach Your Kids, is seeking to empower parents with the guidance, tools, and network they need to thrive as educators for their children. She joined the Future of Education to discuss her work, dispel misconceptions about homeschooling, and consider the future of this growing trend. I was intrigued to explore her observations that, through modularity, families can pull apart socialization, childcare, and the learning itself to make the benefits of homeschooling much more accessible. As always, subscribers can listen to the audio, watch the video, or read the transcript.


Can Career Learning Bring America’s Young People Back to School? — from realcleareducation.com by Taylor Maag

School absenteeism sky-rocketed post-pandemic: 6.5 million more students missed at least 10% or more of the 2021-22 school year than in 2017-18. This means 14.7 million students were chronically absent even after schools reopened from the pandemic. While preliminary data shows that absentee rates slightly decreased in the 2022-23 school year, truancy remains a serious concern for our nation’s K-12 system.

If we want to get students back in the classroom and avoid poor outcomes for our nation’s young people, U.S. leaders must rethink how we operate K-12 education. One potential solution is reinventing high school to ensure every young person is exposed to the world of work through career-oriented education and learning. An analysis of international cross-section data found that nations enrolling a large proportion of students in vocational or career-focused programs have significantly higher school attendance rates and higher completion rates than those that don’t.


My child with ADHD is being disciplined at school for things they can’t control. What can I do? — from understood.org by Julian Saavedra, MA
Is your child with ADHD being disciplined at school more and more? Get expert advice on how to manage school discipline. Learn the steps to better advocate for your child.

Also relevant/see:

  • What can I do if my child’s teacher takes recess away? — from understood.org By Kristin J. Carothers, PhD
    School can be extra hard for kids with ADHD when teachers take recess away. An expert weighs in on how you can work with teachers to find a solution.
  • For teachers: What to expect in an IEP meeting — from understood.org by Amanda Morin
    You’re not alone in having questions about IEP meetings. If you’re not a special education teacher, you may not have a lot of training around the IEP process.  Here are some of the basics:
 

Healthcare High Schools — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain
Bloomberg and hospitals back dual-enrollment path from K-12 to high-demand jobs.

More career exploration in high school is needed to help Americans make better-informed choices about their education and job options, experts agree. And serious, employer-backed efforts to tighten connections between school and work are likely to emerge first in healthcare, given the industry’s severe staffing woes.

A new $250M investment by Bloomberg Philanthropies could be an important step in this direction. The money will seed the creation of healthcare-focused high schools in 10 U.S. locations, with a plan to enroll 6K students who will graduate directly from the early-college high schools into high-demand healthcare jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.


Microschools Take Center Stage with New Opportunities for Learning for 2024 — from the74million.org by Andrew Campanella
Campanella: More than 27,000 schools and organizations are celebrating National School Choice Week. Yours can, too

Last year, the landscape of K-12 education transformed as a record-breaking 20 states expanded school choice options. However, that is not the only school choice story to come out of 2023. As the nation steps into 2024, a fresh emphasis on innovation has emerged, along with new options for families. This is particularly true within the realm of microschooling.

Microschooling is an education model that is small by design — typically with 15 or fewer students of varying ages per class. It fosters a personalized and community-centric approach to learning that is especially effective in addressing the unique educational needs of diverse student populations. Programs like Education Savings Accounts are helping to fuel these microschools.


My Students Can’t Meet Academic Standards Because the School Model No Longer Fits Them — from edsurge.com by Sachin Pandya

Large classes create more distractions for students who struggle to focus, and they inevitably get less attention and support as there are more students for teachers to work with. High numbers of students make it more difficult to plan for individual needs and force teachers to teach to an imaginary middle. A rigid schedule makes it easy to schedule adults and services, but it is a challenge for kids who need time to get engaged and prefer to keep working at a challenge once they are locked in.

Now that I know what can engage and motivate these students, I can imagine creating more opportunities that allow them to harness their talents and grow their skills and knowledge. But we’re already a third of the way through the school year, and my curriculum requires me to teach certain topics for certain lengths of time, which doesn’t leave room for many of the types of experiences these kids need. Soon, June will come and I’ll pass them along to the next teacher, who won’t know what I know and will need another four months to learn it, wasting valuable time in these students’ educations.

From DSC:
We need teachers and professors to be able to contribute to learners’ records. Each student can review and decide whether they want to allow access to other teachers– or even to employers. Educators could insert what they’ve found to work with a particular student, what passions/interests that student has, or what to avoid (if possible). For example, has this student undergone some trauma, and therefore trauma-informed teaching should be employed. 

IEPs could be a part of learners’ records/profiles. The teams working on implementing these IEP’s could share important, searchable information.


The State of Washington Embraces AI for Public Schools — from synthedia.substack.com by Bret Kinsella; via Tom Barrett
Educational institutions may be warming up to generative AI

Washington state issued new guidelines for K-12 public schools last week based on the principle of “embracing a human-centered approach to AI,” which also embraces the use of AI in the education process. The state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, commented in a letter accompanying the new guidelines:

 

Vocational training programs for special education students teach work, life skills — from edsource.org by Lasherica Thornton
Programs also foster acceptance in the community

Through hands-on experience at the hotel, students gain skills to work in the housekeeping and hospitality industry – whether at El Capitan or elsewhere – after they graduate. And they develop life skills for adulthood.

This is not the case with Merced County’s program which, instead, integrates students into the housekeeping career, making it one of a few in California and across the nation to do so. The program now serves as a model for other districts aspiring to integrate students with disabilities into careers and society.

Fong said the year-long program is critical for the students “to be in the actual field,” get on-the-job training and be able to model employees’ behavior, which in turn provides them with real world experience while allowing them to interact with others.


From DSC:
This hits home for my family and me. We are entering a phase of our youngest daughter’s life where we need to help her build life skills. This type of program is excellent — highly relevant to many families out there.


 

Educational practices to identify and support students experiencing homelessness — from edresearchforaction.org by Alexandra Pavlakis, J. Kessa Roberts, Meredith Richards,  Kathryn Hill. &  Zitsi Mirakhur

The EdResearch for Action Overview Series summarizes the research on key topics to provide K-12 education decision makers and advocates with an evidence base to ground discussions about how to best serve students. Authors – leading experts from across the field of education research – are charged with highlighting key findings from research that provide concrete, strategic insight on persistent challenges sourced from district and state leaders.

 

Solving the early intervention staffing crisis — from hechingerreport.org by Sarah Carr

Eighty-seven percent of states lack enough speech language pathologists to reach all the infants and toddlers in need. Eighty-two percent suffer from physical therapist shortages. And among the service coordinators who organize critical therapies for America’s youngest children, the turnover rate is a stunning 42 percent, according to information compiled by the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association from a survey that had 45 state respondents. (The K-12 teacher turnover rate, by contrast, only reached a mere 10 percent during the pandemic.)

With all the attention recently to the teacher and child care worker shortages in communities across America, the sector facing the most severe crisis has received comparatively little notice from policy makers, the media or the general public: those providing critical early intervention therapies for children under age 3 with developmental delays.

 

What is assistive technology?— from understood.org by Andrew M.I. Lee, JD; expert reviewed by Shelley Haven
Assistive technology (AT) are tools that let people with differences work around challenges. They make tasks and activities accessible at school, work, and home. Learn how AT apps and software can help with reading, writing, math, and more.

What you’ll learn

  • Assistive technology devices
  • Assistive technology services
  • Myths about assistive technology
  • Selecting and using assistive technology
 
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