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SPAN Testimony Supporting NJ's HCBS Transition Plan

On Thursday, February 19, there is a public hearing about the state's proposed Home and Community-Based Services Transition Plan.  The plan is a serious attempt to move NJ into compliance with the new federal rules and to help make NJ a more inclusive state for people with disabilities.

PARCC Testing and Students with Disabilities

There is an ongoing debate in our state and across the country about the new Common Core State Standards and Assessments and whether they are the right approach for our nation's education accountability system.  Parents, educators and advocates may have a variety of opinions about the importance, usefulness, or appropriateness of the new assessments such as the PARCC assessment in NJ.  While some of these arguments may have merit as to the validity, reliability and use of the assessments, it is important to note that whatever assessment is used by the state in its acccountability systems,

Action Needed on Congressional version of ESEA Reauthorization

SOURCE:  National Down Syndrome Congress.  February 10, 2015

Action Needed!  Chairman Kline of the Education and Workforce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita recently introduced the Student Success Act. Please contact your Representative if he or she is on the Education and Workforce Committee. We just heard that this Committee is meeting tomorrow at 10am to debate and amend the bill, so NOW is when you can make a difference.  A phone call is best with the short time frame we have.

Supports in Post-Secondary Education: Join the Conversation!

National Online Dialogue on Families, Disability and Postsecondary Success - January 26 - February 6, 2015

Are you a family member of a young adult with a disability who's currently or recently enrolled in a postsecondary education program (e.g., certificate, apprenticeship, community college, college or university)?  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) wants your input, and requests your participation in an upcoming online dialogue, “Connecting Families: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities.” Through this "virtual town

New Child Developmental Milestones Brochure Now Available from SPAN!

SPAN has partnered with CNNH and the Centers for Disease Control on personalizing the CDC's "Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones" brochure for New Jersey!  Access the brochure, which contains a birth-four years old milestones chart and contact information for NJ resources, here.

ESEA Reauthorization is on the Move

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander's 400-page draft legislation for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was released on Jan. 12.  Below you will find other news about the reauthorization process and how your voices can be heard.  Stay tuned for information on public hearings in Congress.  Alexander has solicited feedback on his staff discussion draft and there were almost 8,000 commenters. Information on Senate HELP Committee hearings (Testing & Accountability-1/21/2015; Supporting Teachers & School Leaders-1/27/2013; Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students-

Going to College? Time to Complete the FAFSA!

Source:  U.S. Department of Education

On January 1, the 2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available.  Completing the FAFSA is critical to getting access to more than $134 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds.  Moreover, it is free, quick (on average, taking about 20 minutes!), and easy.

To make sure that students do not leave money on the table, the Department has prepared a number of blog posts:

·         5 Reasons You Should Complete the FAFSA

·         7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the FAFSA

·         6 Steps to Filling Out the FAFSA

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Inclusion Campaign Launched by SPAN and Partners

SPAN, in concert with Disability Rights New Jersey, Education Law Center, the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education, the ARC of New Jersey and other advocates have launched “The Inclusion Campaign” (www.inclusioncampaign.org) website. The website is a resource for families, educators and other advocates regarding the landmark 2013 legal settlement with the New Jersey Department of Education to educate more of the state’s students with disabilities in an inclusive environment.

“New Jersey’s record on inclusive education to date has been dismal,” said Ruth Lowenkron, Senior Attorney at

Transportation Survey for People with Autism and their Families!

The Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) and Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) are conducting a joint research study for the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Governor's Council for the Medical Research and Treatment of Autism. This study is intended to provide a broader, more comprehensive understanding of the transportation needs of New Jersey adults on the autism spectrum, and to identify the barriers that routinely prevent these needs from being successfully met.

The CAIT/VTC study, in the form of a confidential

Guidance on Effective Communication for Students with Disabilities

This guidance addresses the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to effective communication. Issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice, the guidance is intended to help schools understand and comply with federal legal requirements on meeting the communication needs of students with disabilities. The guidance is issued in the form of a letter to educators (available in Spanish) and includes a Frequently Asked Questions document and a fact sheet for parents (also available in Spanish).

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