Benicia High’s special education department to undergo changes – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia High School is in the process of changing its special education model to allow students with disabilities to have greater access to general education courses, according to a letter sent out by Dr. Carolyn Patton, the director of special services for the Benicia Unified School District.Patton said a number of things influenced the district’s decision to move away from Benicia High’s current model, including the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District which stipulated that Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) should give students higher standards in education. Another was the California Department of Education, which requires districts to increase the percentage of students who spend 80 percent of their day in the general education environment.

Patton said the district had also been looking into laws provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990.“There’s always been an emphasis for kids to be in the general ed environment with correct support,” she said in an interview with the Herald. “Districts are supposed to start with that premise that if a student can be educated in general ed with support from the special education department, then that’s where they’re supposed to be.”

Source: Benicia High’s special education department to undergo changes

Special Olympics front and center in Assembly – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Assemblyman Jim Frazier on Monday passed a special resolution declaring May 22 as Special Olympics Day, then presented proclamations recognizing two affiliated organizations.

“It’s beyond amazing that 96,000 Californians have the opportunity each year to participate in the sports they love while developing lifelong friendships and skills,” Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement released by his office.

“When I was in high school, I helped a dear friend who had a disability of his own play a game on the football team and from that moment I knew how much it meant for him to feel included, and how great it was for the whole team. I see that same fulfillment in everyone involved with the Special Olympics,” Frazier said.

Source: Special Olympics front and center in Assembly

Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

They stomped and danced and threw beach balls in the air Friday morning all while clad for comfort and celebration.

Must have been the 25th annual prom for students with adapted physical education needs.

Bus after bus arrived from the Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun school districts, each carrying students of all ages who were ready to party.

The celebrants gathered in the Armijo High School gym, passing through entrances strewn with glittery silver stars.

Source: Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo

Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Friday marked Kid’s Day at the Dixon May Fair, but the fun started even earlier for students in special education classes from across Solano County.

The Jest in Time Circus on the Family Fun Stage was a favorite for students visiting from Tremont Elementary School in Dixon.

Laughter pealed from under the big top as “Topper Todd” and “Li Li Zucchini” exhibited their antics for the kids, parents and teachers with juggling pins, toilet paper and Lucky the little white dog.

Then it was on to the Butler Amusements Carnival for some thrills.

Source: Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening

Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.

Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.

And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.

The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.

Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Special day for special children at Armijo High School – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

The Armijo High School gym was filled to capacity Thursday with plenty of cheering as a show of support for the Special Olympics Track and Field competition.

Originally planned for the track outside, rain chased everyone into the gym where special education students from the Fairfield-Suisun School District were paired with partners from Armijo High.

“This is the first year we have hosted this,” said Carly Perales, athletic director for Armijo.

It was standing room only in the gym – one side had students from classes and the other side had guests from special education classes from across the district.

Source: Special day for special children at Armijo High School

Special Olympics high school athletes have first track event – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Thursday’s downpour couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Special Olympics at Armijo High School.

Stacie Moore, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District assistant director of special education, arrived at the school early Thursday for the district’s first collaborative high school track and field event for its adapted physical education students.

It could have been terrible for the outdoor event, Moore said, but then she watched as the school’s leadership team, teachers, students and other volunteers pulled together to move everything inside the gym.

Source: Special Olympics high school athletes have first track event

Travis park proponents ask supporters to nominate project for $20K grant – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

A Travis nonprofit trying to build a park designed for special needs children could use your vote.

Friends of Family Services is asking people to nominate their project for a $20,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association program called Meet Me At The Park by going onto the association’s website at NRPA.org/BeInspired and nominate the proposed park project between now and April 30.

The NRPA is collaborating with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, to revitalize parks across the U.S. for a third year. The city that receives the most nominations will receive a $20,000 grant to improve a local park.

Source: Travis park proponents ask supporters to nominate project for $20K grant

Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

The “skinny” budget blueprint released by the Trump administration Thursday would maintain current spending levels for special education—about $13 billion, most of which is money sent directly to states.

The budget blueprint is just the beginning of a long process. While this document shows the administration’s priorities, it is Congress that ultimately passes spending legislation. And lawmakers have their own ideas about what programs should be cut, and which should be kept.

But, if these funding amounts were to stay in place, the federal contribution for special education and related services would be about 16 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with a disability, compared to a general education student.

In 1975, when the federal government passed the law that was to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress authorized paying states up to 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures. But in the 40-plus years of the law’s existence, the federal government has never gotten close to meeting that goal. The Trump administration is not different from other administrations in that regard.

Source: Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – On Special Education – Education Week

Solano Office of Education offers “transition fair” – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Parents with students who have disabilities or are in special education programs, and who are enrolled in middle school, high school or a transition program are invited to attend the Transition Information Fair from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Solano County Office of Education.

More than 40 agencies from Solano County and the surrounding area will be there to provide information about their services. The event is hosted by the Workforce Development Department of the county Office of Education.

Source: Solano Office of Education offers “transition fair” – Daily Republic

My visit to Mary Bird School an education – Daily Republic

By Murray Bass

Last year I had breakfast and conversation at Huckleberry’s and then a visit to Mary Bird School with Fairfield-Suisun School District Superintendent Kris Corey.

We share an interest in the education – development – of children. Her interest is professional, mine is more amateur.

Kris invited me to join her to look at what was going on at Mary Bird School. Mary Bird is a school for young children with special needs, kids 3 and 4 years old.

Source: My visit to Mary Bird School an education

How to Make IEP Meetings More Effective | Edutopia

By Ben Johnson

The law requires that students classified as special education have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Everything must be documented, and the responsibility for providing special education services specified in the IEP is in the hands of the school staff.

Each child who has an IEP also has an IEP team. The team includes the child and his or her parents, the child’s teachers, a counselor, an administrator, and a special education coordinator or teacher. I recently attended an IEP team meeting for a student at the high school where I teach Spanish. I listened attentively to the special education coordinator, who sat behind a laptop reviewing evaluations, the student’s progress in the core classes, and the appropriateness of the interventions prescribed for her learning disability. One by one, the elements required in an IEP meeting were completed.

Source: How to Make IEP Meetings More Effective | Edutopia

Special-needs children celebrate special day at Silveyville tree farm – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

A handful of mothers with special needs children traveled 25 years ago to Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm for a Happy Holidays celebration.

The tradition continued Friday with nearly 300 children representing Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Travis Air Force Base and Dixon.

For two hours, the special-needs children, their parents and classroom aides were able to walk through the Christmas trees, take a sleigh ride, sip on hot cider, nibble on popcorn and be themselves.

Kerry Purcell was one of the original moms. Today, her grandchildren help out at the event.

“It’s an opportunity for families, who don’t get a lot of opportunities, to do things as a family,” she said. “No one here is going to judge them.”

Source: Special-needs children celebrate special day at Silveyville tree farm

Child Haven officially opens testing, evaluation clinic – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

To place a troubled child on path to success “really does take a village,” the director of the Desert Mountain Children’s Center said at the official opening Thursday of a new county testing and evaluation program for children suffering from ongoing developmental, social, emotional, behavioral and communication challenges.

Speaking to a group of 40, mostly school district superintendents, educators and behavior specialists, Linda Llamas called the “partners” who helped to open the Solano Comprehensive Assessment Research and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic in Fairfield “agents of change” for troubled youngsters and their families who seek services at the clinic, which is housed in a building behind Child Haven, at 801 Empire St., Fairfield.

Source: Child Haven officially opens testing, evaluation clinic

Using Technology to Empower Students With Special Needs | Edutopia

By Kathryn Nieves

One of the biggest problems I encounter as a resource room teacher is the self-esteem of the students in my classes. After years of disappointing academic experiences, their confidence is low and their motivation has declined. Combine those points with the peer pressure, bullying, and stresses of middle school, and the students do not have a positive outlook on their education.

In my classroom, technology is a tool for empowerment—it creates a collaborative and innovative space for all students. Along with over 50 million educators and students, I am primarily using Google’s G Suite for Education. The suite is a bundle of Google’s key products, such as Drive, Docs, Slides, and Forms, along with new tools like Google Classroom. While I used these applications in a middle school classroom, the following strategies are appropriate for any age from upper elementary students to high school seniors.

Source: Using Technology to Empower Students With Special Needs | Edutopia

Changes to admission preferences, update on special ed on Kairos agenda tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Revisions to admission preferences and an update on special programs are on the agenda when Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders meeting tonight in Vacaville.

Directors at the Elm Street independent charter school will be asked to consider several amendments to the school’s charter, in accord with state law, as they relate to admission preferences.

Among the changes, as noted by board secretary Anna Rivera in agenda documents, are preferences given to current students; siblings of current students; children or grandchildren of Kairos employees or members of the board of directors; the students of other Kairos programs; and students on the waitlist from the previous year (who submitted an application during the open application period for current-year enrollment).

Source: Changes to admission preferences, update on special ed on Kairos agenda tonight

Child Haven to open testing, evaluation clinic for special ed children – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano County families and parents with special education children will get a little more help with the opening of a new early assessment and intervention program for youngsters suffering from ongoing developmental, social, emotional, behavioral and communication challenges.

The Solano Comprehensive Assessment Research and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic will open Thursday at Child Haven, 801 Empire St., Fairfield.

There, children ages 2 years, 9 months to 5 years, 6 months (and their caregivers) can experience an intensive, early assessment and intervention program, Jodie Phan, director of Personnel Development and Consultation Services for the Solano County Office of Education’s Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), wrote in a press release issued Monday.

Source:  Child Haven to open testing, evaluation clinic for special ed children – The Reporter

Fairfield High School hosts Special Olympics soccer event – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

More than 400 Fairfield students of all abilities gathered Thursday for a Special Olympics soccer event.

Schaefer Stadium at Fairfield High School was packed with K-5 students from Anna Kyle, Center, Crescent, Dan O. Root, K. I. Jones, Laurel Creek, Nelda Mundy, Oakbrook and David Weir.

The event opened with a Special Olympics torch rally. A student from each school’s special education program ran to pass the plastic torch to the next, guided by officers from the Fairfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol.

Source: Fairfield High School hosts Special Olympics soccer event

Helping Troubled Students, One Relationship at a Time | Edutopia

By David Bulley

When Jimmy, a 6th grader with significant social and emotional disabilities, was sent out of English class every day one week, he devised a plan. On Friday, he smuggled a pair of handcuffs into school, and upon arriving at English class, instead of grabbing his “do now” and sitting down, he ran straight to the teacher’s desk and handcuffed himself to it.

The teacher, a kind and in many ways excellent instructor, was shocked. The teacher and I unlocked Jimmy soon enough, but later, when we had a quiet moment to reflect, I said, “You teach English. Can you see the symbolism here?” Jimmy desperately wanted to stay in class but did not know how. And to compound this tiny tragedy, it seemed obvious he had no one to ask.

Source: Helping Troubled Students, One Relationship at a Time | Edutopia

Law helps with Solano special education center project – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano County Office of Education is one step closer to building a new special education campus at the site of Irene Larsen Educational Center in Vacaville.

“The current plan is to tear down the current buildings and build a new building at the (site),” said Tommy Welch, associate superintendent of administrative services and operations for the county agency.

All the special education classrooms will be placed in a single building with one entry point for added security, Welch said. The plans will be submitted to the Division of the State Architect for review, after which a pre-bid budget for the project will be established.

Source: Law helps with Solano special education center project