Monthly Archives: October 2020

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance

The Orange County Schools ‘ Special Education Alliance was created by the 28 districts in Orange County in 2003. The primary goal of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is to meet the need for a countywide system that can focus on special education. This includes offering staff development and training to school employees, creating leadership in advocating for legislative and administrative change, overseeing the decisions and rulings rendered by administrative agencies, offering a way to fund the litigation and appeals of administrative and judicial decisions and rulings especially when the outcome has a countywide significance or precedent setting in its implications for all students.

The Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created with the intention of addressing all the concerns of all students regardless of if the student has any manner disability. Any student that is not receiving the full services they need changed because of lack of funding to support mandates created under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The main problem that Orange County Schools faces with meeting this federal mandate is drawing funds from the regular education program. Funds are often taken from the regular education program to support the needs of special education students. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance aims to provide the services all students need to be successful in meeting academic standards.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance plans to accomplish this goal by providing staff development to its practitioners, use the legislative process to seek adequate funding to provide these high quality services, and when necessary, support litigation to achieve these goals. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance also encourages staff members, parents, advocates and organizations to get involved by using their voices and contact the local officials and hold them accountable for promises and mandates for which regular education and special needs children are entitled.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is lead by an Executive Committee that is composed of Superintendents from different school districts across Orange County. The actual carrying out of the goals is the responsibility of the Review Committee. The Review Committee is comprised of five Superintendents regionally nominated, Orange County Schools’ legal counsel, two private attorneys representing school districts in special education matters, two SELPA directors, and one business administrator. The Review Committee has been working hard for the past two years in order to try and meet the goals of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance. Even though the focus of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is in the areas of legal and funding, it tries hard to work closely with teachers and staff members so that its members are informed about the needs of the schools at root levels.

Since the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created it has accomplish a great deal to meet the needs of the school districts across Orange County.

The Importance of Dental Continuing Education

The pursuit of lifelong learning-whether to enrich our lives, follow a new dream, or simply challenge ourselves, is certainly something that appeals to many of us. For some professionals, however, ongoing training in their fields of expertise is more important than for others. Individuals working in the medical and dental fields are entrusted with the safety and comfort of others on a daily basis. Should they choose to rely upon their initial training indefinitely, ignoring ongoing developments and technological advances, they would be putting their practices at legal risk and jeopardizing the health and welfare of their patients. In these fields, it’s simply not an option to assume that there is nothing more to learn.

Dental continuing education is essential for anyone working within the dental field. As in the medical field, technological advances in the field come at a rapid-fire pace, and staying abreast of the latest research, tools and treatment methods is crucial. Ongoing training for dental professionals is so important that most states require that dentists and hygienists complete a certain number of dental continuing education activities each year in order to remain licensed to practice. These requirements vary from state to state, and in some cases also apply to dental assistants.

Pursuing continued education in the dental field can be beneficial in several ways. For a dentist who is currently in practice, ongoing continuing education ensures that his or her patients have access to the latest diagnostic, preventative and treatment methods. For an individual just beginning a career in the dental field, dental continuing education can open new career pathways, provide opportunities for advancement and improve earning power.

A wide variety of dental continuing education activities are available for both working and non-working individuals. If your goal is simply to stay informed about new research findings and updated industry best practices, there are plenty of low-cost, self-paced online courses that can help you to meet your state’s continuing education requirements and enhance your ability to perform your current job role. If you are interested in furthering your formal education, however, in order to advance your career in the dental field, you may wish to pursue a degree or certificate program. For example, a dental assistant may discover that she is interested in pursuing a career as a hygienist-whether to earn a higher salary or simply to experience more personal fulfillment in her job role. In this case, she would need a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school in order to obtain her license.

Regardless of the pathway you choose, as a dental professional you should consider your pursuit of education to be a lifelong endeavor. Doing so will not only better position you to advance within your chosen field; it will also ensure that you’re able to provide the best possible care for your patients.

Parental Retaliation in Special Education – How Can I Prove It – And Will It Ever Stop?

Are you a parent who has a child with autism or other disabilities that receive special education services? Have you experienced parental retaliation by special education professionals in your school district, because you have advocated for your child? This article will educate you on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil rights (OCR) definition of retaliation, and also what standard they use to determine if parental retaliation has occurred. In addition this article will discuss whether retaliation can be decreased, so that you can truly be a meaningful participant in your child’s education!

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights states that: “504 prohibits recipients or other persons from intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Section 504, or because the individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under Section 504.34 C.F.R. 100.7(e).” One of the protected activities under Section 504 is advocacy, and retaliation is prohibited if you advocate for your child.

The Office of Civil Rights has released information that OCR complaints have increased at a very large rate (which I believe is due to the amount of parental retaliation that special education professionals engage in). The types of retaliation I have seen are calls to Child Protective Services (CPS), banning parents from school grounds, and possibly punishment to a child. Parents need to stand up to this retaliation and gather evidence of the retaliation, so that they can file an OCR complaint.

OCR uses a five point test to determine if a parent has experienced retaliation:

1. “Has the parent engaged in a protected activity?”

2. “Is the district aware of the protected activity?”

3. “Was the parent or student subjected to an adverse action?”

4. “Will a neutral third party decide there is a causal relationship or connection between the protected activity and the adverse action?”

5. “Can the school district offer a legitimate non-discriminatory (non-retaliatory) reason for the adverse action, which a neutral third party will not consider to be pre-textual?”

A few comments about the five point test:

1. Under #1 advocacy is considered a protective activity as well as filing a state complaint or a due process complaint.

2. Under #2 most special education professionals know of parent’s advocacy especially if the parent has filed a complaint or due process.

3. Under #3 the adverse action means a negative action such as suspending a child or calling CPS and making a child abuse complaint.

4. Under #4 the retaliation must be closely-timed to the protected activity of advocacy, or OCR could rule against you on your complaint.

5. Under #5 this in some cases is what causes a parent to lose the complaint–If the school can come up with a plausible non-discriminatory reason for the action, and then the finding may be against the parent.

OCR recently released a Dear Colleague letter (April 2013) about retaliation that can be downloaded at, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.html. This is a great resource that can ensure successful advocacy.

The only thing that will decrease retaliation is enforcement, which is usually left to the parent. I do believe that you should file an OCR complaint for ever retaliation action done by special education professionals (that you can prove of course). Work hard to secure written evidence to prove your case, as well as include the five point test in your retaliation claim, (with all of your evidence listed, and attached of course). Parental retaliation often occurs in the dark, and if light is brought to it, the situation very well could improve! Never stop fighting for your child-he or she is worth it!

How to Get Financial Aid for Your Online Education?

Time has changed and over the years education is no more restricted to pen, paper, classrooms, blackboards etc. Today when time is deemed to be more crucial than money and people in even in remote corners of the world crave to acquire education and its benefits, online education has definitely come up as a desired boon.

Online education is education via the medium of Internet that can be gained synchronously or asynchronously. At present online education is far superior from the conventional mode of learning (i.e. going to universities, attending classes and so forth) in many ways. Online education is not just a means to make judicious use of time but it is also acquiring the best possible degree in academics anytime anywhere.

Though merits of online education outweigh the classroom education in many respects, its greatest drawback is its cost. Online education is significantly expensive in comparison to usual university education. This is precisely the reason that every individual cannot dream of getting an online degree.

But with a surge in enticement for online education some universities imparting it have devised several ways to financially assist the aspirants. The foremost and ideal step in this direction is education loans and giving scholarships.

Whereas loan or arranging finance for online education is concerned the foremost step is to fill up your FASFA i.e. Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FASFA is an application published by the Department of Education. This application gives the aspirant an idea of the kind of funding he or she is eligible for. Once the application form is properly filled and sent, wait for the confirmation. Usually receiving a confirmation letter is a matter of one or two days. The confirmation letter will brief you about the kind and number of programs you meant for you. This process is quite simple and easy to follow.

After acquiring the confirmation letter, contact the Financial Aid office of the desired college/s. The financial aid officer there will explain you the various types of financial aid packages available that vary from work-study programs to government aid. He will lend you the requisite forms for different colleges. Finally it is at your discretion which college to opt for though the officer will definitely guide you in your selection.

Once the loan application is completed, it will be sent to the school for the process of verification and processing. Usually banks do not fund the students directly but via the concerned institution. The bank sends the money at the commencement of the session.

This is helpful to both the student and the institution.

Apart from loans there are scholarship programs such as the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit that offers a maximum 100% on the first $1000 and 50% on the second $1000 spent for educational purposes. Similarly the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction are other means to save money on your online educational expenses.

How to Get Financial Aid for College Education for Single Mothers

Single mothers and mothers in the US can provide their family and children with a better future by securing a higher paid job. Well, this is possible only with the right kind of degree in hand earned at colleges. However, the road to success through education is quite tough as the costs associated with the higher studies at colleges are quite high, forcing many single mothers in the US to drop their higher studies in midway. High expenses apart, the additional crises of debt burden are there too, making college education an out of reach substance for single moms and mothers. Yet, there is a hope as the Obama administration has revamped grant programs for women, especially for single mothers or moms. This initiative has been taken towards empowering women and single mothers in the US so as to find them a better opportunity and make their lives better, leaving past the adversities behind.

The Obama Single Mother Grant is one of the best ways to help with college bills to avoid financial crises. Single mothers or mothers from low-income or no-income households can receive up to $5,000 as an educational benefit through The Federal Pell Grant program, also known as the Single Mother Grant. The US Department of Education monitors the entire program and pays out the financial assistance for higher studies for mothers through state-run organizations, participating colleges, action community agencies, charitable organizations and non-profit organizations. Always remember that female participants can easily receive free financial assistance through Obama approved government grant compared to male participants.

Considering Pell Grant, it is a need-based program; hence, it always aims at favoring the needs of single mothers. The federal Pell Grant offers you a great opportunity to escape the higher repayment rates of loans. Besides, it does not have to be repaid like loans. Earlier known as Basic Education Opportunity Grants (BEOGs), Pell Grant offers around $5,500 to the eligible single mothers for college tuition fees, as well as study materials and housing expenses.

How to Apply for the Federal Pell Grant

Remember, you are not entitled to receiving the Pell Grant for more than one college you want to pursue your higher studies. In order to receive the financial assistance, it is essential to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or (FAFSA). A proper application process is not complete without the filing of FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is filed, your financial needs are evaluated based on the information provided on the FAFSA. After the FAFSA gets processed, you are likely to receive a Student Aid Report, containing your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.

If you are interested, you can contact your state agency to apply for the Pell Grant or visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/options.htm to apply online. Though it is a time-consuming process, benefits for college education earned through Pell grant is matchless.