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Learn where the laws are made
Learn where the laws are made
Photo by Lisa Lake

Did you ever wonder where the PA Special Education Laws come from and what goes behind it? Often, a parent or student is so involved in their own circumstance that they forget that there are people and reasons behind why schools do what they do and why. If you want to know some inside stuff, check these out!
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is pleased to announce the live streaming of three important sessions from the annual conference, "Making a Difference: Educational Practices that Work!" These sessions can be watched from any computer connected to the internet. If you are interested in key issues in special education law, instruction and intervention improving algebra preparation skills, or progress monitoring at the secondary level, then you will want to attend these webcasts being broadcast live! There is no fee to view these webcasts and no need to preregister; simply go to the link listed below.

Please consider joining the PDE Conference via the internet for one or more of the following sessions:

Key Issues in Special Education Law: Present and Future
Perry Zirkel, Ph.D., J.D.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This session will provide an analysis for various current and emerging issues under the IDEA and interrelated laws. The issues include response to intervention (RtI), "child find"/eligibility (e.g., misidentification), autism, FAPE litigation (e.g., bullying), Section 504 overlay (e.g., retaliation), and congressional action or inaction (e.g., seclusion/restraint). Dr. Zirkel will identify specific examples in the present and will speculate about possible examples for the future.

Arithmetic to Algebra Gap Interventions
Bradley Witzel, Ph.D.
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Algebra is considered a gateway to formal mathematics, quantitative work skills, and graduation. However, the abstractness of algebra makes learning difficult, especially for students who have not mastered elementary level mathematics. To exacerbate this difficulty, formal instruction of algebra has crept into early middle school. In this session, Dr. Witzel will demonstrate both instruction and intervention means for improving algebra preparation skills, such as rational numbers and equations.

Frequent Basic Skills Progress Monitoring for IEP Goals with Students at the Secondary Level
Mark Shinn, Ph.D.
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Frequent formative assessment of basic skills is one of the most powerful tools in the teacher's toolbox, especially for those students who have significant achievement discrepancies. The most scientifically sound way of doing this is with Curriculum-Based Measurement. Dr. Shinn will demonstrate how to write IEP goals by determining the Present Level of Performance and writing goals and a Criterion for Acceptable Performance using a standards-based approach, which is different from the goal setting approach used with elementary students.

If you are interested in participating in these webcast sessions, log onto the following site: Please be aware that there are no credit hours being offered for the webcast sessions.

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