Preparing for the New School Year
Mia Rutherford is a Pre-K to 4th grade teacher at Excel Academy, a public school in the District of Columbia. She begins her eighth year of teaching this school year, and currently serves as a lead teacher in the early childhood education team. Mia graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Development, with a focus on early childhood. She says that the best part of teaching is building community and creating meaningful experiences for our youngest learners.
Vision and Eye Health for Young Children
Kay Nottingham Chaplin, Ed.D., is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Prevent Blindness, working primarily with its National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. She provides technical assistance about all aspects of a vision and eye health program, including early detection through screening and program evaluation and improvement. Dr. Nottingham Chaplin has worked in vision screening for 21 years. She assisted states in creating or revising vision screening and eye health guidelines, and serves as a panelist or presenter at webinars and lectures at international and national venues.
We at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) mourn the loss and celebrate the extraordinary life and contribution of Tom Hehir, Ed.D. Throughout his decades-long career in special education, from special educator in Massachusetts, to director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tom was a tireless advocate for children with disabilities and their families.
Gregory Facey is a husband and father of children with hearing loss. Gregory is also a special education resource consultant and literacy advocate for students with disabilities. He serves on the Citizens’ Commission on Public Service and Compensation and is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educator’s Parent Commission. Gregory lives by a quote from Booker T. Washington: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
By the Office of Special Education Programs
OSEP released a new OSEP Fast Facts: Educational Environments of School Aged Children with Disabilities, which explores our IDEA, Section 618 data.
This OSEP Fast Facts takes a closer look at the environments where children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services.
NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
By Donia Shirley, Vice President of the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind and parent of Jaxson, a child who is deaf-blind.
When a baby is added to a family, invisible bonds often quickly form with others who have children the same age. For families who have children with complex support needs, that community can seem out of reach, especially when they have a child with a low incidence disability such as deaf-blindness.
A few days after our 6-week-old son Jaxson was transferred to our local children’s hospital, we started receiving diagnoses. We learned he was deaf-blind; he was profoundly Deaf and had colobomas (an eye condition that cannot be completely corrected). The medical team eventually informed us that Jaxson had CHARGE Syndrome.
The disability community lost a giant yesterday with the passing of Paula Goldberg, a co-founder of the PACER Center, a leading parent training and information center. She was instrumental in advocating for the establishment of parent training and information centers and that they be a vital component of discretionary grant funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Paula’s dedication to children with disabilities and their families, not just those in her home state of Minnesota, but around the country and around the world, was legendary.
Paula was a friend and mentor to me and to many of us in the special education advocacy community. Paula often played the role of the parent no child wanted to disappoint. As such, she pushed policymakers to take actions that would advance high expectations for students with disabilities. She made us stronger, better, and unified.
I know her memory will be a blessing.
Deputy Assistant Secretary
(Delegated the Authority to Perform the Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services)
Supporting Children’s Mental Health
Amy Hunter is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who earned her Masters of Social Work degree at Boston University. Amy has a post graduate certificate from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Early Childhood Mental Health. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development. In her capacity at Georgetown she co-leads the post-graduate clinical certificate program on infant early childhood mental health and co-directs the mental health section of the Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health and Safety. Additionally, Amy serves as a lead on the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), a training and technical assistance center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Amy has worked in the field of infant early childhood mental health for over thirty years.
By the Office of Special Education Programs
OSEP is excited to release a new OSEP Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities who are English Learners (ELs) Served under IDEA Part B, which explore our IDEA, Section 618 data with the specific lens on one of the fastest-growing populations of students with disabilities served under IDEA.
Supporting Military Families with Young Children
Dee Bosworth is a military spouse and mother of a twice exceptional child. Married for twelve years to an Active Duty Sailor, Dee was a Navy Command Ombudsman for six years, cumulatively. As an American Military Families Autism Support Community Leader and Florida Partners in Policymaking graduate, Dee is active in local, state, and national programs for persons with disabilities. Driven by the experiences of military families like her own, Dee is passionate about empowering military parents to advocate for a better world for our loved ones with exceptional needs. At home, she is mom, teacher, and telehealth therapy facilitator. In her work capacity, Dee supports individuals with disabilities and their families as a STOMP, Specialized Training of Military Parents Parent Instructor and Helpline Coordinator for Washington State’s parent and information center, PAVE.