Houston ISD considering $17 million increase in special education spending

Houston ISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan is asking the district’s school board Thursday to authorize $17 million in additional spending for special education, a request that comes a week after her administration dismissed a state investigation sharply critical of HISD’s support of students with disabilities.

HISD administrators said they plan to use the money to hire more speech language pathologists, mental health specialists, occupational and physical therapists, and assistive technology specialists, among others.

District officials have offered scant details on the request, other than listing the job titles in a press release. HISD administrators did not respond to questions Wednesday about the proposal, including how many employees would be hired and why they are needed.

HISD administrators listed the $17 million request as a line item in a budget document posted last week, but they offered no explanation of the request. Board members did not ask about the request during

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New Haven to reopen classrooms for some special education students

NEW HAVEN — The school district will reopen 11 special education classrooms for in-person learning despite the rest of the buildings remaining closed for the first 10 weeks of the semester.

The Board of Education’s vote to allow schools to reopen for 11 special education classrooms is a step toward loosening its directive to keep schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Director of Student Services Typhanie Jackson appealed to the board for the change as the state mandates specific evaluations for special education students and the state Department of Education has not granted waivers, so

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England’s Buttler expects double ton Crawley to serve up ‘special career’

Jos Buttler is convinced Zak Crawley’s double century against Pakistan will be the curtain-raiser “to a very special career” after sharing a huge stand with his England team-mate during the third Test at Southampton on Saturday.

Crawley converted an overnight 171 not out, his maiden Test century, into an innings of 267.

Together with Buttler, whose 152 was just his second hundred at this level, he put on 359 — an England record for the fifth wicket — as the hosts piled up a mammoth 583-8 declared in their first innings on the second day at the Ageas Bowl.

And there was still time for England, eyeing a first series victory over Pakistan in a decade at 1-0 up in a three-Test campaign, to strengthen their grip still further, with veteran paceman James Anderson reducing Pakistan to 24-3 at stumps.

At the age of just 22, Crawley has now posted

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Titans’ Nick Dzubnar brings ‘hair on fire’ approach to special teams

The Tennessee Titans inked inside linebacker Nick Dzubnar to a one-year contract earlier this offseason to assume the role of special teams ace, and he’s ready to bring the same approach that worked so well for him as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.

So, what’s Dzubnar’s (pronounced duh-ZOOB-nar) approach exactly?

Well, it’s simple really: the 29-year-old likes to play with nonstop effort and at “100 miles an hour with my hair on fire,” according to Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.

“I feel like that’s why the Tennessee Titans brought me here,” he said. “I can’t tell you if there’s a certain trick, all I know is to go 100 miles an hour with my hair on fire — 100% effort, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop until I get to the ball carrier or whatever it is, whoever is returning. I think it’s more of a mindset and attitude that I

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How to adapt special education to the remote-learning reality

Erin Honeycutt, a school principal in Meridian, Miss., sets up an online class in March. <span class="copyright">(Paula Merritt / Meridian Star via Associated Press)</span>
Erin Honeycutt, a school principal in Meridian, Miss., sets up an online class in March. (Paula Merritt / Meridian Star via Associated Press)

When the pandemic forced schools to transition to remote learning in the spring, some families struggled more than others. Families of students in special education programs were suddenly expected to adapt to an online learning environment that was often inaccessible to children with a variety of physical, emotional or developmental needs.

As another period of distance learning dawns, we asked parents, educators and service providers for recommendations and advice about special education. Here’s what they said.

Know your rights

Although it may seem obvious, parents should know that schools must still provide their students with special education. Denise Stile Marshall, chief executive of the national Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, which protects the civil rights of students with disabilities, said she received an outpouring of calls

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Six trailblazing women to share personal stories in special event

Visionaries. Iconoclasts. Founders.

On Aug. 18, the USA TODAY Network will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment with a storytelling event featuring six powerful women, from national leaders to hometown sheroes.

The USA TODAY Network assembled expert panels representing the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the five permanently inhabited territories, to select more than 500 women who’ve made a major difference in American life since the amendment passed. From those, a national panel of experts selected 100 who best exemplify the progress, grit and courage that have advanced women’s lives for the past 100 years. 

WATCH: Americans tell entertaining and illuminating personal stories

“I hope that this project exposes people to women they didn’t read about in their history books or see on television,” project director and one of USA TODAY’s managing editors Philana Patterson told Nicole Carroll, editor in chief of USA TODAY. “We’ve

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As Baltimore County schools prep for a virtual return, parents of special education students wonder if they’ll be left further behind

Emily Mullinix, a mother of two, worried that her 11-year-old daughter would have a tough time at Arbutus Middle School.

Having a student who relies on in-person communication with a speech language pathologist, Mullinix is worried how her daughter’s relationship with the specialist will translate online.

For most students the start of middle school brings about a variety of new experiences — new classes, new peers, new teachers. For Mullinix’s daughter, it also brings the possibility of a new Individualized Education Program (IEP), a customized instructional plan with specialized services for students who have a disability.

Mullinix’s daughter and 9-year-old son are two of roughly 16,000 students, or 14% of Baltimore County Public Schools’ population, who rely on IEPs to succeed..

Parents of students with IEPs say the sudden shift to remote learning in March amid state orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus disrupted more than just their

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How to salvage special back-to-school moments amid a pandemic

If you thought one semester of remote learning was unbearable, get ready for round two.

As coronavirus cases continue to spike throughout the U.S., many schools and universities are taking the precaution of continuing virtual learning throughout the fall in order to ensure social distancing and limit the number of students on campus. The rules for each school vary as some schools are completely online, while others are adopting a hybrid model that consists of both in-person and online coursework. Some universities are allowing only first-year students to return, while others are eliminating on-campus housing completely for the fall.

High school and college seniors face losing their last school years to COVID-19, and 5-year-olds are missing the exciting first day of kindergarten. So with many students starting the school year from home, parents might be wondering: “How can I make it better for them?”

USA TODAY has consulted with two

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Baltimore County school board to vote on reopening plan during special meeting Tuesday

The Baltimore County Board of Education is scheduled to vote on its reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year Tuesday evening and is expected to approve a virtual return to the classrooms.

Last week, Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent Darryl L. Williams said during a virtual school board meeting that he supported keeping remote learning in place for the start of the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing the safety of students and faculty.

The meeting will stream at 5:05 p.m. and can be viewed online at BCPS TV.

The Baltimore County teachers union and four other unions representing county school system employees said they do not want to return to school buildings until they feel it’s safe. Several school board members also have voiced their support for the remote learning option.

The Maryland State Education Association, Baltimore Teachers Union and the Maryland Parent Teacher Association called on state

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What Are Special Education’s Remote Learning Challenges?

There’s already a reported achievement gap for K-12 students with disabilities, and the coronavirus pandemic may be widening it.

“For some, in particular younger students, students learning English, students with learning differences and disabilities, and those who were struggling before school facilities were closed, there may be a lifelong impact if they are not back in school sometime soon,” Austin Beutner, superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, recently remarked.

Under federal law, K-12 students with disabilities who qualify are required to receive a public education and related services equal to their peers for free. Seven million young people receive special instruction in public schools nationwide.

Some parents acknowledge remote learning has been tough.

“It just adds more to the picture,” said Sarah King, whose child has special needs. “Am I giving him the special education that he needs? Am I giving him the speech therapy that he needs? Or

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