Skip directly to content

Dear SPAN Website Users: We try to make our website as accessible as possible for parents and others with special accessibility needs.  Please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing our website information and resources and we will do our best to accommodate you!  Reach out to us at apelham@spannj.org  Thanks, and happy browsing through our website!

News

Campaign for Presidential Youth Council

The movement to increase the voice of young people in federal policy got a significant boost today with the announcement of a congressional bill to create a Presidential Youth Council. Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.) announced that he plans to re-introduce a House resolution (H.J.Res 115) to create the council, which would advise the president on the perspectives of young people, offer suggestions on how to make federally-funded youth policies more effective and make recommendations on long-term national issues. Its members would be ages 16 to 24.

"The perspectives of our youth should be an

NJ Special Education Code Changes Vacated

On June 21, in a special session of the NJ State Board of Education meeting, the NJSBOE voted to vacate the vote they took in April approving proposed changes to New Jersey's Special Education Code.  In addition, they voted to readopt 6A:14 (Special Education Code) with only technical amendments, which reflected changes in the statute, misspellings, etc.
In the months preceding this rare retrenchment, many parents and advocates voiced their experiences and opinions about the changes, the lack of inclusion in the Education Transformation Task Force's work which suggested many of the changes,

NJ Special Education Coalition Shares Action Steps on Code Changes

On April 22, 2013,  more than 1300 participants joined  the N.J. Special Education Stakeholder Coalition on conference call to review its positions on several changes to N.J. Administrative Code in the area of Special Education.  The call was hosted by Marie Blistan, from the New Jersey Education Association; Peg Kinsell, from the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; and Jennifer Halper, representing Disability Rights New Jersey.

Police In Schools Is Not The Answer

In response to the National Rifle Association's release of a set of proposals to increase the number of armed personnel in schools, as a response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year, a grassroots organization are imploring schools and districts to implement positive approaches in response to gun violence and address the impact of school safety policies on young people.  In their Joint Issue Brief, "Police in Schools Is Not The Answer," the Alliance for Educational Justice, the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

SPAN's Myriam Alizo on Univision Education Special

On March 23, SPAN's own Myriam Alizo joined Primer Impacto’s co-anchor Barbara Bermudo and her husband, Univision 23 news anchor Mario Andres Moreno, for the next education special: Estudiante Unico.  On this one-hour special the hosts shared some of their own experiences as parents as well as interviewed expert guests on how parents can leverage each student’s uniqueness.  The show highlighted various ways parents can help recognize a child’s needs and strengths and better communicate this information with school personnel in order to help ensure their children’s academic success.

Make Your Voices Heard: Changes to NJ Special Education Code

On February 27, Peg Kinsell, SPAN Public Policy Director, Jennifer Halper, Senior Staff Attorney and Legislative Coordinator of Disability Rights New Jersey were joined by more than 150 parents and advocates as they discussed the proposed changes to the state special education code and how they will impact that will impact parents and students rights, as well as the quality of programs and related services for students with disabilities.  For details on the proposed changes, see the white paper developed by a coalition of parents, educators and advocates and also additional information from

New USDE Rules on Schools Billing Medicaid for IEP Services

What's Happened?  New regulations from the US Department of Education now make it easier for schools to bill Medicaid for related services provided at school as part of a child's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).  These regulations now only require parental consent the first time that the school plans to bill Medicaid, and at any time that there are changes in the amount or type of related services that could impact Medicaid billing.  They also require that the school provide notice at least annually to the parent that they have provided this consent.  You can find the new regulations, a

Statewide Parent to Parent Support

The DCF Commissioner recently announced support for a Mom 2 Mom Program, a call center for families of children with disabilities experiencing stress and mental health concerns.  The role of Mom 2 Mom is to assess mental health risks and then connect families of children with developmental disabilities to mental health and other service providers.  This will meet an important need of families who have children with disabilities.  The services available through Mom 2 Mom will not include advocacy to help families access the services and supports their child and family need.

USDE Resources on ESEA Flex Waivers

The US DOE has developed a set of materials that provide an overview of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility process, also known as ESEA waivers, by which 34 states (including NJ) and DC have applied for and received flexibility on certain provisions of ESEA.  These materials, a brochure and five companion fact sheets, try to explain the rationale and intent of ESEA flexibility, as well as address key components and highlight plan elements for a number of states approved for flexibility. The brochure and fact sheets can be found on the Department's updated ESEA

When Violence Strikes

We are very saddened to hear of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and send our sincere thoughts and condolences. Tragic events such as this one are very challenging for families, schools and entire communities. As we try to help our children find some comfort and sense of safety in the face of such tragey, these excellent resources from The Center for School Mental Health  related to school crisis response are free and readily available:  Resources for Dealing with Traumatic Events at Schools.  You can also get useful information from the Substance

Pages