Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey
Having their first Virtual Conference August 11th
Life in High School and Beyond Conference
**FYI: am a presenter for Person Centered Instructional Practices for this conference.
FREE for LDA Members & $40 for others: Online Course: Tutoring with the Orton-Gillingham Reading Technique https://app.getresponse.com/view.html?x=a62b&m=qcfqI&mc=JE&s=2uwUJ0&u=SU8vP&z=EtHrtuB&
Updates, Policies and Trends
Topic: NJ Spotlight Virtual Roundtable: “School’s Out: What’s Working in Remote Learning” www.NJTV.com
Civil Rights Coalition Letter on Federal Policing Priorities (signed by several national disability organizations) www.civilrights.org
Updates from Special Education Advisory Council
NJ Dept of Special Education (May, 2020)
Dr. Kim Buxenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Education, and Dominic Rota, Director of the Office of Special Education Policy and Dispute Resolution provided updates regarding the Offices responses to COVID-19. Both Offices are operating business as usual and are being as responsive as possible to all stakeholders. The Offices want to hear from parents, school districts, and all other partners.
Some actions that have taken place:
Virtual meetings with Special Education Directors across the state (divided into counties
to manage the number) have been conducted, and continue to be conducted, to discuss the
issues that school districts are encountering.
Town hall meeting with SPAN.
Call with DD Council to hear from families and students.
Call with board members to gain an understanding from their perspective.
Call with Approved Private School Districts to discuss virtual learning.
Meeting with service providers to discuss challenges about the provisions of related services.
The adoption of emergency regulations to allow for related services to be delivered remotely was a huge win in ensuring students continue to receive what is outlined in their IEP. It was brought to the attention of the Offices that certain school districts were requiring parents to sign waiver forms. Those districts were informed that the practice is not permitted.
Summer ESY program guidelines are actively being worked on and the Offices will be disseminating the information out to the school districts once it is available.
The Directors stressed the importance of communication between parents
and the school districts.
The Offices are working to be proactive regarding compensatory education in order to reduce the number of due process hearing filings. How can districts find ways to make up for the services lost?
The Offices are also currently reviewing re-opening plans for the Fall. School districts will have to follow CDC and medical professional recommendations and guidelines. Some of the current guidelines will be difficult for some of the special education population.
Final Broadcast Letter from Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” – President Barack Obama
Today’s Broadcast includes a memo regarding the adoption of revised New Jersey Student Learning Standards. It’s fitting that the standards were approved this week, because we’re reminded that the standards aren’t crafted solely to improve academic excellence, but they are also designed to develop young minds to be caring thinkers, good citizens, and change-makers.
Yet, like so many of you, I’ve spent the last two weeks watching, reading and reflecting on the protests around the country as a result of the murder of George Floyd and so many other African Americans. Inequities that exist within our nation plague citizens from the time they are born and follow them as they mature in a society that all too often perceives them as being less than. These citizens are our families, friends, neighbors and, most importantly, our students.
This is why the work we do is so important. When I began my role as Commissioner, I knew we had to direct our work to improve educational equity for all students. We quickly shifted to support schools, educators and districts to ensure all of New Jersey’s 1.4 million students have equitable access to a high-quality education and achieve academic excellence. This is not a simple goal and cannot be achieved without allies, but we must do what we can to change institutionalized racism.
Years of oppression do not miraculously disappear because legal slavery and segregation have been abolished. All too often, we continue to function in a system that predicates and promotes inequities among our most vulnerable populations. We must defend the rights to equal education for our students, all of them, regardless of race, religion, gender, or ability. For one, that means breaking down systems that put African American students at a disadvantage.
I encourage you to take the standards we set, infuse the concepts of care, citizenship and change-making into classroom instruction, and help students understand they truly can be the change we seek.
Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Education
NJ Student Learning Standards Adopted https://www.nj.gov/education/cccs/2020/