March 13, 2003

In this Issue:

  1. Early Reading First Program - Notice Inviting Applications
      Source: Federal Register - March 11, 2003
  2. Prekindergarten in U.S. Public Schools: 2000-2001
      Source: nces.ed.gov/ - March 7, 2003
  3. Helping Preschool Children Interact: Social Skills Interventions that Work in Inclusive Settings
      Source: The ERIC/OSEP Special Project - March 6, 2003
  4. Research Connections in Special Education: Paraeducators.
      Source: ERIC/OSEP Special Project - Spring 2003
  5. What Do Professionals and Parents Want and Expect from Early Childhood Services?
      Source: The ERIC/OSEP Special Project - February 24, 2003
  6. Web Site Offers Comprehensive Information About DES Exposure
      Source: MCH Alert - March 7, 2003
  7. "Su Familia" National Hispanic Family Health Helpline
      Source: HHS Press Office - March 12, 2003

1. Early Reading First Program - Notice Inviting Applications

Source: Federal Register - March 11, 2003

http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OESE/earlyreading/index.html

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Early Reading First Program is to create preschool centers of excellence by improving the instruction & classroom environment of early childhood programs that are located in urban or rural high-poverty communities & that serve primarily children from low-income families. These programs will provide preschool-age children, including children with disabilities & children with limited English proficiency, with high-quality environments & early reading curricula & activities, based on scientifically based reading research, to support the age- appropriate development of: oral language, phonological awareness, print awareness, & alphabet knowledge. These activities (with tactile & communication accommodations for children with disabilities, as appropriate), in combination with professional development based on scientific research & with screening assessments, will form a seamlessly integrated instructional program that will further children's development of language, cognitive, & early reading skills & prevent them from encountering reading difficulties when they enter school.

Applications Available: March 17, 2003. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: Pre-Application: April 11, 2003. Full Application (for invited applicants only): June 27, 2003 (which is approximately 6 weeks after the date applicants will be invited to submit Full Applications).

For more information go to: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/earlyreading/index.html.
To read the full announcement go to: http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/announcements/2003-1/031103a.html

2. Prekindergarten in U.S. Public Schools: 2000-2001

Source: nces.ed.gov/ - March 7, 2003

This report provides national estimates on classes that serve children prior to kindergarten in U.S. public schools. The report includes information on the number of schools that offered general or special education prekindergarten classes, the number and characteristics of children enrolled in such classes, support services offered to and received by these children, the number and characteristics of teachers assigned to prekindergarten teachers, and funding sources used by the schools. Most findings are based on schools that offered at least one class for children prior to kindergarten during the 2000-01 school year. In addition, information on the education level of prekindergarten teachers and the pay scale used to determine their compensation is reported. To access the full report online go to: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/2003019.pdf

3. Helping Preschool Children Interact: Social Skills Interventions that Work in Inclusive Settings

Source: The ERIC/OSEP Special Project - March 6, 2003

Teachers understand that preschool children from 3 to 5, especially those with disabilities, may not naturally acquire the skills to function socially with their peers. A recent OSEP-funded research synthesis reviewed social skills interventions used by early childhood educators and analyzed the types of interventions that were most effective across disabilities. The research synthesis reviewed the results of 23 studies of social skills interventions that included almost 700 students exhibiting a variety of disabilities...

For a summary of the findings from this study go to http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/osep/newsbriefs/news35.html. For a complete discussion of the findings, refer to Sharon Vaughn, Ae-Hwa Kim, Claire V. Morris Sloan, Marie Tejero Hughes, Batya Elbaum, and Dheepa Sridhar. "Social Skills Interventions for Young Children with Disabilities," Remedial and Special Education, 24, no. 1 (January/February 2003): 2-15.

4. Research Connections in Special Education: Paraeducators.

Source: ERIC/OSEP Special Project - Spring 2003

The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)has a long history of supporting research that addresses issues related to paraeducators. This Research Connections (Number 12, Spring 2003) takes a look at current findings: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/osep/recon12/rc12cov.html

5. What Do Professionals and Parents Want and Expect from Early Childhood Services?

Source: The ERIC/OSEP Special Project - February 24, 2003

Early childhood practitioners, early childhood program directors, and parents of children with disabilities value and expect different benefits from three different types of service provided under IDEA, Part C. A study conducted by the Research and Training Center in Service Coordination investigated what professionals and parents consider the most important benefits from Part C activities that provide (1) coordination of services, (2) early intervention, and (3) natural environment practices. To read a summary of the findings from this study go to http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/osep/newsbriefs/news33.html. For futher information, see "Valued Outcomes of Service Coordination, Early Intervention and Natural Environments," by Carl J. Dunst and Mary Beth Bruder. Exceptional Children, 68(3), 361-375. Spring 2002.

6. Web Site Offers Comprehensive Information About DES Exposure

Source: MCH Alert - March 7, 2003

The DES Update Web site provides accurate and comprehensive information for consumers, health professionals, and advocates about diethylstilbestrol (DES, a drug once prescribed during pregnancy to prevent miscarriages) and the health risks associated with exposure. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute and several other partner organizations, the Web site presents information and resources about DES, including an online version of CDC's DES Update Self-Assessment Guide to help individuals assess the likelihood of their exposure to DES. Educational materials, including DES case studies, presentations, and self study materials are also available on the site. The Web site is intended to facilitate users' efforts to research, develop, and distribute information about DES. As research continues and results are published, CDC will post updates on the Web site, which is available at http://www.cdc.gov/DES/.

[Originally published in MCHAlert 2003 National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and Georgetown University. Reprinted with permission.]

7. "Su Familia" National Hispanic Family Health Helpline

Source: HHS Press Office - March 12, 2003

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the creation of the "Su Familia" National Hispanic Family Health Helpline (866-783-2645 / 866-SU-FAMILIA). Su Familia will help Hispanic families get basic health information to help them prevent and manage chronic conditions, and refer them to local health providers and federally supported programs including the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). For more information go to: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2003pres/20030312.html.