NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... December 2013

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

Special Education Updates

Graduation Cap and Diploma
Joyce Cattani, Special Education Specialist

Since New York State Education Department (NYSED) eliminated the IEP diploma, there have been different options for students with disabilities. There is a specific page on the website that provides information about some of these options, especially the Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential. It also includes six webinars and a question and answer sheet. For more information, click here.

NYSED is asking for written comment on changes regarding impartial hearings and to amend sections of the Commissioner’s regulations. Some of the changes are in the certification/appointment of impartial hearing officers as well as change to the timeline. Written public comment must be submitted on or before December 23, 2013. It will be on the Board of Regents agenda for the January 2014 meeting with an effective date of February 1, 2014. For more information, click here.

There is a memo on the NYSED website addressing the policies that both public/private schools must have in place to address, prevent and respond to special education students who wander or elope, especially students with cognitive disabilities. The memo can be read here.

A recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness has found that 37 states have increased their mental health budgets. States that cut programs for several years, such as Texas and South Carolina have increased mental health spending. New York is one of eight states that have kept their spending on an even level. To read the report and see how New York compares to the rest of the nation, click here.

As part of the Federal government mental health initiative, the National Association of Broadcasters is committed to providing information to educate Americans on mental health issues. There is a feature directed to young people. This can be found by clicking here.

Drug Facts Week January 27 – February 1

National Drug Facts Week
National Drug Facts Week is an opportunity to bring families, schools and communities together to learn about substance use and abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has developed a website with event and activity ideas and promotion tools. To go register your event or get ideas, go to: www.drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov.

Detergent Capsules Risk of Poison Concern for Young Children

Child Near Laundry
Poison Control Centers are reporting that there have been about 10,000 cases of young children putting single dose detergent capsules in their mouths because they look like candy. This has led to excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping. It can cause serious breathing issues and corneal abrasions (scratches to eyes).
To learn more about the dangers of these laundry packets, go to: www.aapcc.org/alerts/laundry-detergent-packets/ .

Drug Molly or Ecstasy Emergency Room Visits Rising

EmergencyAccording to the National Substance Abuse Services Administration (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Report, between 2005 and 2011, the number of young people to be brought to the emergency room due to the use of Molly or Ecstasy rose 128%. To learn more about the drug, click here.

Food and Drug Administration Reviewing Safety of E-Cigarettes

An article in Consumer Reports says the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing proposed rules on regulating electronic cigarettes. The use of these E-Cigarettes has tripled in the past year. There is concern regarding the targeting of these devices to minors and the lack of documentation to prove it is safe.

For more information, click here.

Mental Health Association in New York State Releases Report on Juvenile Justice, Mental Health and Family Engagement

According to the introduction of the report, the document, “proposes that family engagement, recovery and wellness strategies, and appropriate mental health screening and evaluation should be built into current ‘juvenile justice’ reform proposals and regarded more seriously as necessary components of broader reform initiatives.”

You can download the complete document by clicking here.
December 2013
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In the Spotlight

Staying Informed on the Common Core Learning Standards

Common Core
Robert Aloise, Education Coordinator

As Education Coordinator for NYS PTA, I recently worked on a video outlining the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), including definitions, the history behind them and the need for the CCLS as our pupils increasingly compete in an international marketplace. This video will be available to NYS PTA Region Directors when it has been finalized.

NYS PTA does support the CCLS while also recognizing some of the problems with implementation. NYS PTA has recently introduced a new campaign to inform our members about the CCLS. This campaign, entitled “Hear Our Voice”, contains five elements, the first letter of each spelling out the word “VOICE”:
  • Value input from parents
  • Order a one-year delay
  • Implement first, test second
  • Create improved, flexible testing
  • Expand professional development.
For more information on our new “Hear Our Voice” campaign, visit the NYS PTA website home page. For information on the CCLS in NYS, visit: www.engageny.org.

NYS PTA strongly believes that the better informed its members are, the more effective advocates they become, which is clearly in the best interest of all children.
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New Health Related Educational Materials Available

The National Institute of Health has released new AIDS information fact sheets on HIV related topics. These are downloadable and able to be replicated free of charge: aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/fact-sheets.

Know Your Family Health History Initiative

Family Health HistoryThe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a Family Health History Initiative.

The HHS has developed a My Family Health Portrait tool to help gather family history to update, print and share with other family members and physicians as needed. The tool is in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

To start creating your family health portrait, go to: familyhistory.hhs.gov/fhh-web/home.action.

LegEd Save the Date
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2013 and 2014 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

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