IEP Summary Letter Can Help You Win a Special Education Dispute With Your School District!

As a parent and special educational advocate for over 20 years I get frustrated by the treatment of parents by school personnel. This frustration becomes acute at individual educational plan (IEP) meetings when I experience the intimidation and retaliation that many parents also experience. I was recently advocating in a southern Illinois town for a young man with Autism when my frustration began to bubble over. After I calmed myself down after the meeting, I began writing a letter to the special education personnel in the school district where I attended the IEP meeting, for the parents. I documented things that were said, the nasty attitudes of the special education personnel, and the federal special education laws that I found were not complied with. I was pleasantly surprised when the next meeting seemed to be less contentious and more productive.

I realized that IEP summary letters could be used by all parents to document things that happen at meetings. You could document comments made by a special education person, you could document denials for needed services, or violations of IDEA 2004. Documentation is critical to win any dispute between yourself and special education personnel. This type of letter can be used at a due process hearing or a complaint to win a dispute with your school district.

Below are 9 things to include in your summary letter:

1. Name and address of your school districts special education director.

2. Date of the letter.

3. Begin your letter with “This letter is to clarify and discuss what happened at the IEP meeting of ___________(Date).

4. Use quotes as much as possible; “Mr. R. stated that ESY can only be given to a child that has regressed after a break or summer vacation.” This is not consistent with IDEA 2004, and the summary letter allows you to document what was said and the noncompliance with federal special education law.

5. Any important discussions that were not included in the IEP notes; such as your child’s behavior or specific related or special education services that you believe your child needs. Readdress your position on services that your child needs that the school refuses to provide.

6. Discuss what services and placement that you agreed upon, and also any services or placement that you did not agree upon.

7. Ask for PWN (prior written notice) on any service or placement that the school wants to give your child that you disagree with, or any service or placement that you believe your child needs and the school refuses to give them.

8. As much as possible quote IDEA 2004 or State Special Education Law to document any violations that the school personnel committed during the IEP meeting.

9. Type your name and address and below this place your child’s name, birth date, grade and school of attendance. Include this statement: Please keep a copy of this letter in my child’s educational record per FERPA (FERPA is the federal educational records law).

At the beginning of the meeting set a blank piece of paper next to you. Use this paper to put anything that is said or done, that you would like to put in your letter. Add an IEP summary letter to your other advocacy skills, and you may begin to see positive changes in your child’s IEP meetings. I have said for many years that schools get away with the horrible treatment of parents because of lack of accountability; this letter could force accountability on your school district, and change all that for you! Good Luck.



Source by JoAnn Collins

The Importance of Dental Continuing Education

The pursuit of lifelong learning-whether to enrich our lives, follow a new dream, or simply challenge ourselves, is certainly something that appeals to many of us. For some professionals, however, ongoing training in their fields of expertise is more important than for others. Individuals working in the medical and dental fields are entrusted with the safety and comfort of others on a daily basis. Should they choose to rely upon their initial training indefinitely, ignoring ongoing developments and technological advances, they would be putting their practices at legal risk and jeopardizing the health and welfare of their patients. In these fields, it’s simply not an option to assume that there is nothing more to learn.

Dental continuing education is essential for anyone working within the dental field. As in the medical field, technological advances in the field come at a rapid-fire pace, and staying abreast of the latest research, tools and treatment methods is crucial. Ongoing training for dental professionals is so important that most states require that dentists and hygienists complete a certain number of dental continuing education activities each year in order to remain licensed to practice. These requirements vary from state to state, and in some cases also apply to dental assistants.

Pursuing continued education in the dental field can be beneficial in several ways. For a dentist who is currently in practice, ongoing continuing education ensures that his or her patients have access to the latest diagnostic, preventative and treatment methods. For an individual just beginning a career in the dental field, dental continuing education can open new career pathways, provide opportunities for advancement and improve earning power.

A wide variety of dental continuing education activities are available for both working and non-working individuals. If your goal is simply to stay informed about new research findings and updated industry best practices, there are plenty of low-cost, self-paced online courses that can help you to meet your state’s continuing education requirements and enhance your ability to perform your current job role. If you are interested in furthering your formal education, however, in order to advance your career in the dental field, you may wish to pursue a degree or certificate program. For example, a dental assistant may discover that she is interested in pursuing a career as a hygienist-whether to earn a higher salary or simply to experience more personal fulfillment in her job role. In this case, she would need a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school in order to obtain her license.

Regardless of the pathway you choose, as a dental professional you should consider your pursuit of education to be a lifelong endeavor. Doing so will not only better position you to advance within your chosen field; it will also ensure that you’re able to provide the best possible care for your patients.



Source by Gust Lenglet

10 Interactive Science Education Websites For Grades K-12

As science teachers prepare to go back to school for the next school year, some have already returned, they are always searching for good online resources to supplement their lessons. It is always nice when someone helps them by previewing science websites and make recommendations.

The best science education websites are interactive, allowing students to make changes to or manipulate variables to observe what happens and share with others. This falls within the boundaries of inquiry-based teaching and learning. Students are developing their own experiments, observing the results, and reporting their findings.

The following websites have been previewed and meet the criteria of interactive and inquiry-based:

FOSS Web – is designed to support Full Option Science System (FOSS) Science K-8 science kits, but anyone can use the interactive activities for grades K – 8.

Volcano Cams – provides real-time views of volcanoes around the world. Students can observe volcanoes and develop their own experiments using these virtual cams for grades 5 – 12.

Explore eLearning – provides simulators for all science concept areas for grades 3 – 12.

Real-time Stream Flow Data across the Nation – by the US Geological Survey (USGS) provides real-time data typically are recorded at 15- to 60-minte intervals and transmitted to the U.S. Geological Survey offices every four hours. Data can be selected by state and county for grades 8 – 12.

Real-time Water Quality Data across the Nation-by the US Geological Survey (USGS) provides real-time water quality data are returned directly field instruments. Data are updated at five minute to one-hour intervals. Data can be selected by state and county for grades 8 -12.

Design a Roller Coaster – allows students to design their own roller coaster. They are building a conceptual coaster using the same physics concepts that are used to design real coasters for grades 6 – 12.

Human Anatomy Online – allows students to explore the Human Anatomy. Each topic has animations, 100’s of graphics, and thousands of descriptive links, for grades 4 – 12.

Earth and Atmospheric Kids Crossing – allows students explore water, atmosphere, and weather for grades 3 – 8.

Recycle City – lets students explore plenty of ways to see how a city’s residents recycle, reduce, and reuse waste for grades 3 – 8.

MBG Net – allows students to explore Biomes, Freshwater Systems, and Marine Systems of the World for grades 6 – 12.



Source by David Wetzel

Best Financial Education Online Resources

Financial literacy is the key to a brighter future. This is why it’s incredibly unfortunate that few Americans truly understand how to manage their finances. More than 50% of Americans do not have basic grasp of financial literacy; this simply means that people lack vital information that should help them budget, save, and invest their money properly.

Without financial knowledge, people will simply go from pay check to pay check, unable to save for a rainy day or plan ahead for their retirement. It’s an altogether unfortunate scenario that can be altered only if financial education becomes a crucial part of the country’s education system.

For adults who want to catch up, self-education is always an option. Apart from reading books and articles, the Internet now also offers a lot of very useful information and it could help you improve your financial knowledge at your own pace. These websites are regularly updated, have expert writers, and offer relevant insight that could definitely sustain your financial education.

Here are five online resources to help increase your financial knowledge:

iGrad

For students and recent graduates, there simply is no better online resource than iGrad. Though the other resources are informative and range from practical to academic, iGrad was designed specifically by financial aid professionals to assist college students who are trying to make sense of their financial independence – and responsibilities – for the first time. The website covers not just personal finance, but also helps students make sense of their student loans (they offer entrance and exit loan counseling), find scholarships, handle credit and find jobs.

Yahoo Finance Experts

Yahoo! Finance offers a wide range of articles on personal finance, investments, and financial news. The articles are interesting, easy to read, and very informative. More importantly, the articles contain practical advice that can be easily applied by even the greenest of financial rookies. What’s more, the website has so many articles that you can find multiple opinions and perspectives no matter what topic you choose to read about.

Morningstar’s Investment Classroom

What’s the difference between investing in stocks and investing in mutual funds? Is there a difference? Morningstar’s Investment Classroom will teach you about these and more. It covers all the topics concerning investments in short, ten-minute courses that you can study at your own pace. For experienced investors, it’s possible to go straight to the advanced topics for tips; newbies can start from the very first and most basic course before moving up.

CNN Money 101

The best thing about CNN Money 101 is that it really is a thoroughly planned class that takes its “students” through easy all the way to advanced financial lessons. The website focuses on the practical application of financial knowledge. Though it doesn’t delve into theoretical or academic discussions of investments and personal finance, the lessons are very useful and can definitely help readers increase their financial knowledge as well as apply these lessons in real life.

Investopedia University

The website is a valuable resource; it works for both newcomers and advanced investors alike. For those who already have a working understanding of investing, they can move forward and take advantage of the more advanced tutorials on Investopedia University. The site covers in-depth topics such as trading stocks, bonds, Forex and more. The site also has very helpful and easy to understand tutorials for newcomers. In fact, one of the most invaluable tutorials on Investopedia would be its introduction to financial literacy for kids and teens.



Source by Kris Alban

Navigating the Special Education Maze

As a school psychologist, as well as the mother of a child with a chronic health condition, I understand all too well the intimidation that accompanies entering the “bargaining” sessions of IEP meetings. There are ways, however, to stack the proverbial cards in your favor. Read on…

To begin with, be prepared for anything. Keep accurate documentation and note the dates and times that everything occurs. I am not exaggerating – EVERYTHING. Every phone call, every progress report, etc. Nothing is more intimidating to IEP teams than a parent who has prepared for their meeting. A parent with a Plan of their own is scary for us, because what if we look like idiots, or offend you? You have to come into meetings prepared for anything, almost as if you’re documenting for a Due Process hearing. You never know, you might have to “go there.”

Second, know your rights. Ask for a copy of your State’s Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE) for your review before you attend any meeting at all. You can find the PRISE for your State by entering a search on Google.

Third, know you are an active participant and that no one can force a program on you or your child. For example, some schools will hand you an IEP that they’ve already devised before you got there, with hopes that the meeting will go quickly and you will just sign and leave. But that is like going to an Italian restaurant and all that’s on the menu is spaghetti. Your child is unique and to truly devise an individualized plan, all of those involved should plan on spending at least one hour talking through the parts of the plan that are going to affect the child academically and socio-emotionally.

Know what you want before you go in there. Have a Mission in mind, know your goals, and outline your strategies before you even step foot in that room. For example, you will need goals for your child. Make sure you’ve broken them down to the smallest components before you ask for them – you will be surprised how much more you get out of your request.

I.e., Goal: I want my child to be able to get – and hold – a job when they graduate.

Well, that is plain, isn’t it? If you broke it down, however, you would have:

I want my child to learn:

How to respect authority;

How to type;

How to honor time commitments;

How to respectfully interact with peers;

Etc.

Now, doesn’t that look more like what you were thinking?

You may not get all of them, but you will get some – and that is way more specific than “get a job,” so there will be a bit more work required of your Team. Good.

Third, know you will run into snags. There will be red tape you will have to circumvent; you will meet people whose goal it is to keep children from receiving services (yes, after all of those years of education, you would think we’re all in this for the children. Yet some of our colleagues are actually naysayers); you will hear all about how “this is not how we operate” when you present documentation proving otherwise; etc. You will certainly learn a lesson in frustration tolerance.

If you are lucky, you won’t have to deal with any of the above. But I doubt it.

Fourth, learn from the negatives and appreciate the positives. You will also learn some positive things, such as knowing when to give up. By this I don’t mean walking out on your plan, but knowing when to compromise.

Fifth, know your child is entitled to individuality. If you look at evaluations, they might all seem the same. You don’t want your child’s IEP to be just like everyone else’s, or they will be ignored. Trust me on this one. I have seen 1,000’s of IEPs and rarely does the school hold itself responsible for child failure. It is always “Johnny X” or “Johnny’s mom Y.” Make sure your child’s IEP delineates what has NOT been done for him – not just what has been.

“You just want us to fix what you’ve done wrong.”

Did that statement infuriate you? It is what most school staff thinks when you demand fair treatment.

My advice? Listen more than you speak and ask very specific questions – questions that merit elaboration on the part of your Team. Most of all, remain respectful. No one likes a bully, or someone who blames everything on everyone else.

Oh, and smile graciously as you lay your tape recorder on the conference table… 😉



Source by Nadine OReilly