Tag: special education

Darlene Pitts, 57-Year-Old Grandmother of 12, Earns Bachelor’s Degree From HBCU Norfolk State University

Grandmother graduate Darlene Pitts (photo via hbcubuzz.com)

article by Tommy G. Meade Jr. via hbcubuzz.com

A 57-year-old grandmother of 12 who admitted that college “was a rough four years” graduated from  Norfolk State University, a historically black college or university, alongside hundreds of students this past Saturday.

Darlene Pitts is a hardworking woman in pursuit of higher education living in Norfolk, Virginia. During her time at college, she was working two jobs. But she had to “Quit her job at a Kroger grocery store and focused on her schoolwork and her job as a special education teaching assistant at a local high school,” after she discovered that she was placed on academic probation.

Pitts told The Virginia-Pilot that “I came to work in tears because I got a letter saying I was on academic probation.” “Some of the classes, they were really rough,” Pitts added. “I was ready to throw in the towel. I just wanted to call it quits, but I just hung in there.”

Pitts will graduate from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to become a full-time special education teacher as well as probably continue her career as a student.

To read full article, go to: 57-Year-Old Grandmother Earns Bachelor’s Degree From An HBCU | HBCU Buzz

Harlem Lacrosse Helps Pre-Teen Girls and Boys Stay Focused and Graduate Middle School

Ps 149 Truth Tigers Lacrosse team travels to Randall's Island for a game after school on May 26, 2016 in the Harlem Borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
Ps 149 Truth Tigers Lacrosse team travels to Randall’s Island for a game after school on May 26, 2016 in the Harlem Borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players’ Tribune)

article by Angela Bronner Helm via blackamericaweb.com

Founded in 2008 at Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Academy, Harlem Lacrosse was the brainchild of a special education math teacher, Simon Cataldo, who struggled as an educator in his first year. Desperate to connect, Cataldo introduced the historically White and elite sport of lacrosse to “engage his most academically and behaviorally challenged students.”

And it worked. Now in its eighth year, Harlem Lacrosse operates 11 programs in New York, Baltimore and Boston, serving over 450 boys and girls—nearly one-third of whom are in Special Education.

The program says it actively recruits special education students and students identified by school administrators as most vulnerable to academic decline and school dropout. More than 90 percent identify as Black, Hispanic or multi-racial; 45 percent speak a language other than English at home and 96 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Since 2011, Harlem Lacrosse students have maintained a 100 percent on-time middle school graduation rate, and have earned over $15 million scholarship offers to private schools and colleges. But most uniquely, the program is split about 50/50 between boys and girls.

Recently, The Players Tribune followed the all-girls team from P.S. 149, the Sojourner Truth Tigers, for the entire 2015-2016 season. We hear from the pre-teens on why lacrosse is important to them:

“When I first saw lacrosse, I thought it was only for boys, but it looked pretty cool.” — Karmen, 12

“Lacrosse helped me gain confidence. I go places I’ve never been before. I seen the White house, I didn’t see Obama, though. That’d be a dream come true.” — Kiera, 12

See the Sojourner Truth Tigers over the last year and read their words here.

Yes She Can: Melonie Wright, Who Was Considered “Special Ed”, Graduates from Law School

article via clutchmagonline.com

Melonie Wright had tons of obstacles set up against her when she was younger. As a child in school, she was considered a special education student. Then in her adult life, she was faced with getting pregnant at a young age, and was also homeless. But that didn’t stop Melonie from achieving her goals. Next month, Melonie will graduate from Emory University Law School!

Source: Yes She Can: Woman Who Was Considered “Special Ed” Graduates from Law School – Clutch Magazine

U.S. Education Department Seeks to Eliminate Racial Bias in Special Ed

(image via rrisd.net)
(image via rrisd.net)

article by Nigel Roberts via newsone.com

The Obama administration wants to correct racial and ethnic disparities in how school districts determine which students to place in special education programs.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education proposed (PDF) standardizing the system, Education Week reports.

Each state currently uses its own method of determining “significant disproportionality” in special education. Federal education officials believe the rule change would likely cause more states to fall under that category, according to Education Week.

That’s significant because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires school districts to set aside 15 percent of their federal funds for special education students.

The site points out that a 2013 Government Accountability Office report (PDF) says just 2 percent of school districts nationwide were identified as having minorities represented disproportionately in special education. “This figure fails to represent the true scope and breadth of significant disparities we currently see in special education,” says the report.

“The data we’ve seen makes it very clear that we, as a country, are not living up to the intent of the law,” said acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr., according to Education Week.

Federal education officials also suspect that minority students with learning disabilities are disproportionately disciplined at schools nationwide.

Students With Disabilities Have Right To Play School Sports, Obama Administration Tells Schools

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to President Obama for Disability Policy (left), with Learning Ally member Henry “Hoby” Wedler (right)
When Kareem Dale, now a special advisor to President Barack Obama, was in high school, all he wanted to do was wrestle. But as a student who was partially blind, that wasn’t easy.

Dale’s school made it possible for him to participate in the sport by creating a rule that wrestlers always needed to be touching their opponent. “It allowed me to wrestle throughout public high school,” Dale said. “That experience of wrestling gave me confidence, it made me healthier, it was really an extraordinary experience.”

But hundreds of other students with disabilities may not have had an opportunity in school sports, a 2010 Government Accountability Office report suggested. The U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights on Friday is sending school districts a 13-page guidance document that spells out the rights of students with disabilities to participate in school athletics.

Continue reading “Students With Disabilities Have Right To Play School Sports, Obama Administration Tells Schools”