Something that you want us to know about you or something about you that is interesting.
I think after two terms together, most of you know this already, but something interesting about me is that during the summers I work at the Oregon Zoo as a camp counselor! As a result of this job, I am obsessed with elephants. I struggle to think of "interesting" things about myself, but here are some things people usually don't find out through the normal flow of classes: I grew up in Portland, and I 100% plan on moving back after graduating; my heart is truly in Portland. I am the Housing Office Student Manager, which occupies a lot of my time but I (sometimes) enjoy my job. I am not sure how much of that was interesting, but those are some of the things that make me who I am!
Explain your education & career goals.
My ultimate goal is to be a Kindergarten teacher. Teaching young minds has been my calling since I was really young, and I would love nothing more than to spend my whole life in the classroom. However, I was recently at Walker Elementary and was introduced to a gentleman whose job title was Child Advocate, and the concept of that being a job is fascinating to me! So, I plan on looking more into that in the near future!
What brings you joy?
There are innumerable things that bring me joy; I love family, teaching, friends, reading, yoga, laughing, knitting, elephants, learning new things, and movies just to name a few. I always enjoy finding new joyous things!
PS- Angela (or anyone else!), my favorite movie is Away We Go. If you haven't seen it, I own it and would love to lend it to you!
What is your greatest fear about being a teacher?
My greatest fear as a teacher is that there would be a student who walks away from my classroom without feeling as though I cared for them. There are, of course, a million things a teacher needs to be great at; however with the very young learners, I believe that feeling safe, loved, and noticed are important prerequisites which must be met before meaningful learning can take place.
Did you ever experience a time when something was extremely difficult to learn? Explain that time and how it made you feel.
I had this experience repeatedly over the last two terms as I took math! Time and time again, I would put forth Herculean level efforts, only to just pass. There didn't seem to be anything I could do to stop struggling.I felt like I was being left behind a lot, and I felt inadequate. Although I did not have a hard time with math when I was younger, the older I got the more I struggled. Because in general I strive to excel in my life, doing less than satisfactorily was really hard for me.
How might this piece of your history help you connect to students with learning differences?
I realized about halfway through last term that I needed to stop being scared to ask questions, and that it was not my fault that math is hard for me. Having worked through this process, I realized how important it is going to be for all of my students to feel safe asking me questions, and how important it is for my students to know that they are part of a group of learners who will support them through any struggle.
What do you want to gain from this course?
From this course, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how students learn and how I can facilitate effective learning for every student in my class. Also, in many of my classes we have glossed over the legal parts of the expectations on teachers, so I would like to learn more about that (specifically No Child Left Behind and IDEA).


What do general education teachers need to know about special education? Years ago, a teacher may have been able to get by with knowing very little about special education. However, in an age of standardized testing, inclusion classes, and disability awareness, times have changed. Almost all classrooms have at least one student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Self-contained special education classes are not nearly as prevalent as they were even five years ago. These days there are many schools that do not even have one special education classroom. That means that children with disabilities are primarily being educated with their peers in general education classrooms with special education supports. General education teachers are not only teaching general education students, but all students. All teachers need to have knowledge of special education laws, the special education process, and disabilities. Most importantly, all teachers need to be up to date on IEPs.

Additionally, general education teachers are usually at the forefront of suspecting that a student has a disability. It is usually the teacher or the parent that begins to notice that the student is not performing at the same level of the other students. Teachers need to be current and know the basics of common disabilities in the classroom. They also need to understand the process or know who to go to with questions. Teachers are not able to diagnose, but they should know when to go to the School Psychologist or refer to the Child Study Committee.

Because of these reasons and many others, I chose to do my Wiki on Special Education Law for General Education Teachers. General education teachers are an important influence in the lives of a student. In our increasingly inclusive school system, general education teachers have the opportunity to truly impact all students. As such, I feel it is crucial that teachers are aware of the special education process, the laws surrounding the rights of students with disabilities and their families, and the way other laws (such as No Child Left Behind) impact students with disabilities.

1. Early federal involvement in Special Education involved the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1970, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Education Amendments of 1974.

2. As special education law has developed, it has changed from issues of access to issues of quality.

3. The most recent important events in special education law include The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1974, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.

4. There is a "cycle" to special ed law. A statute is enacted, followed by federal regulations, followed by state regulations, followed by hearing officer decisions, followed by court decisions. Then the statute, (such as IDEA), is reauthorized and changed and the whole cycle repeats until we are pretty comfortable with the law, then the process repeats itself again.

5. According to No Child Left Behind, a student must earn a diploma in the standard four years of high school in order to count as “graduated.” This requirement is inconsistent with IDEA, which entitles students with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education until age 22, if necessary, to meet graduation requirements.

BEST RESOURCE: http://idea.ed.gov/
This is the main resource for the IDEA and its associated laws. The website describes itself as "a 'one-stop shop' for resources related to IDEA and its implementing regulations, released on August 3, 2006. It is a 'living' website and will change and grow as resources and information become available. When fully implemented, the site will provide searchable versions of IDEA and the regulations, access to cross-referenced content from other laws such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), etc." This website is useful for viewing the actual laws themselves, how they apply to classroom teachers, and understanding how IDEA has changed over time. Because IDEA is arguably the most important special education legislation to date, I would say this is the one resource teachers should not overlook. I rate this resource a 5/5 because it is organized, helpful, and extremely easy to navigate.

Resource #1: http://specialeducationlawblog.blogspot.com/
This blog is all about significant occurrences in the Special Education world. I think this blog is a useful resource because it represents a community of general education teachers, special education teachers, parents, and specialists all sharing their knowledge and opinions. The author of the blog also posts relevant articles, links, and videos. The Special Education Law Blog has won numerous awards, including the Best Education Blog in 2008. I rate this resource 3/5 because it is very informative and useful for teachers who are looking for current events in the special education world, but it is a blog rather than an official website so that makes it less reliable.

Resource #2: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=40
As teachers, it is crucial that we know those laws which govern us. Therefore, I added the Oregon Department of Education page on Special Education. The links on this page include IDEA Policy and Practice, Funding, Data Collection, Publications and Reports, and Dispute Resolution. Because it is difficult to synthesize all of the information there is to learn about IDEA and how it impacts general education teachers, it is incredibly valuable to have all of these links on one page. This resource is a 5/5 because of how useful it can be to Oregon educators. We should all be aware of the laws that we need to follow in our classrooms, so this website is a great resource!

Resource #3: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/343.html
Although it is extremely wordy and thus not the most useful resource, this webpage has some great definitions that general educators need to know. Because definitions can differ from state to state, I chose to use the Oregon Department of Education definitions for words that we may think have a simple definition such as “parent.” When working in a system such as the Special Education one, it is crucial that we know the language being used and the implications of word choice. I give this resource a 3/5 because although the definitions are useful and necessary for classroom teachers, the website itself is not very organized and difficult to navigate/read through.

Resource #4: Law and Special Education (By Mitchell L. Yell)
This book presents the necessary information for educators to understand the history and development of special education laws and the requirements of these laws. This book provides the reader with the necessary skills to locate pertinent information in law libraries, on the Internet, and other sources to keep abreast of the constant changes and developments in the Special Education field. After reading a few sections of the text and talking to my Special Education contact at Walker Elementary, I feel confident in giving this book a 4/5. Because it is in a textbook format, the information is accessible and organized; teachers will have no problems finding the information they need.

Resource #5: The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law (by Randy Chapman)
The Second Edition of The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law features information from the IDEA regulations and court decisions on resolving disputes using the State Education Agency complaint process; dispute resolution and due process hearing timelines; burden of proof in due process hearings; what constitutes a “pattern of removal” of a student in the disciplinary process; and services for children placed in private schools.Again, I found this book through asking around in the Resource Room at Walker; after reading most of the book (it reads really well), I give this guide a 4/5. I only dock it a point because teachers are so busy, and so picking up a longer book like this one (about 220 pages) might not be realistic. Otherwise, great information and great resource.

Resource #6: http://www.calstat.org/publications/pdfs/edge_spring_03.pdf
This PDF file is an article written by Dr. Judy A. Schrag regarding the implications of No Child Left Behind on students with special needs. I have been particularly interested in this aspect of Special Education law, so I was excited to find an article about it. The piece gives an overview of what exactly No Child Left Behind asks of general education teachers, and then gives a rundown of how those expectations translate to general education teachers. Schrag also brings up some specific ways that NCLB affects children with special needs, how teachers can best support their students, and how our current system is changing in an effort to more effectively work with these students and their families. This article is a 3/5 because it is really helpful in its discussion of teacher and system changes, but it has a lot of redundant information. I recommend reading it still, it is not too long and has some great golden nuggets of information!

Resource #7: http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/legal-rights/856-NCLB-learning-disabilities-opportunities-and-obstacles.gs
This website is a really straightforward question and answer resource. I found this page useful because it asks questions in a manner that allows a reader to navigate easily to the question they have, and also lists resources for other places that readers can go for more information. Some of the questions this page answers include: What is the No Child Left Behind Act and why is it important? (more simple), and What other requirements will help ensure that schools can, in fact, deliver the continuous improvements in academic achievement mandated by NCLB? (more complex). I give this website a 4/5 because it has a lot of very useful information and is set up in a way that allows the reader to navigate it easily. The only downside is that the website is not very extensive.

Resource #8: http://ldpodcast.com/2007/04/25/peter-wright-wrightslaw-special-education-law-and-you/
Peter Wright is a well-known attorney, specializing in special education law. He argued an important special education case, Florence County School District v. Carter, before the Supreme Court. This is particularly impressive, since Pete himself has learning disabilities, and talks openly about his struggles in school as a child. Pete has also written many books, including From Emotions to Advocacy, Wrightslaw: All ABout IEPs, and How to Reach And Teach Children with ADD/ADHD.
In part II of this conversation, Pete and the interviewer talk about why we aren’t always using the best reading programs for kids with learning issues in public schools; why parents are so important in making sure kids get what they need, and why inclusion/segregation is more about the most appropriate learning environment for an individual rather than a system-wide one size fits all goal. I would give this resource a 4/5 because the speaker has a truly inspirational story, the topics he is speaking about are extremely relevant, and the podcast is part of a series so listeners can keep listening if they wish!