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April is Autism Awareness Month

from CASE

I believe all special education administrators are very aware of autism but this is a great opportunity for you to share with the public all the great work you and your district have done over the last ten years to develop/improve services to students with autism! Sometimes the only time we contact our legislators — state and federal — or the media is when we "want" something or we are arguing over fake facts! We need to become more proactive and help educate the public as well as our legislators about the amazing work that is happening in our schools and classrooms every day! We also need to take advantage of any "national" press that is out there. How many of you saw the Twitter outrage on Rep Ryan's Autism tweet? So, no matter how you feel about it, folks "heard" about Autism. So, why not take advantage of that publicity by promoting what your district is doing for autism. So many of you have built amazing programs—stressing eclectic methodology which meets individualized needs; I have heard many stories of school district personnel working with public safety personnel on training for responding to people with autism; you have spent federal and state dollars on teacher and staff preparation, and you have seen results — let's tell others about these accomplishments! Invite the press and legislators and even your community leaders in to see for themselves what tax money is being spent on and your results! If you can't get folks to come, write up your own story and send it out! If you still can't get it picked up, write a letter to the editor. But whatever the method, let's use Autism Awareness Month as a way to show people the real news of successful public education!

And speaking of awareness and action... Are you aware we are in another situation of a government shut down? CEC Legislative Action Center has a letter we need all of you to TAKE ACTION, sending it to your congressional delegations. At the end of December 2016, Congress passed a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government until April 28. The CR froze most government funding, including education, at 2016 levels with a 0.19 percent across the board cut to all programs.

In the next several weeks Congress will need to reach an agreement on spending levels for the remaining months of Fiscal Year 2017. Congress will only be in session for a little over a week between now and midnight on April 28, as they will soon be on spring recess. The Senate and House appropriations committee are planning to have a bill ready by the week of April 24. Just recently, the Trump Administration provided Congress a list of possible cuts to make in the Fiscal Year 2017 bills, including almost $3 billion of cuts to Department of Education programs including: Pell Grants, Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II) State Grants, Comprehensive Literary Development Grants, and Title IV Block Grants. These cuts would help to fund proposed increases for FY 2017 in the President's budget for defense programs, border security including the proposed wall on the U.S. - Mexico border and ISIS. It appears the appropriators have little or no appetite for consideration of drastic cuts to non-defense discretionary programs half way through the fiscal year. Let's hope that is true! So, what's next? The most likely scenario is Congress will pass another continuing resolution through Sept. 30 with limited additional defense spending and limited cuts to non-defense spending, maintaining most at the 2016 funding level.

Go to CEC's Legislative Action Center before April 28 to tell your member of Congress to invest in special and gifted education, early intervention and research programs.

Time is ticking away — Have you put in a proposal for the 2017 CASE Annual Conference yet? Kindel Mason (ID), CASE Professional Development chair and his committee have been working hard to get the call for proposals out! The call will last from now until April 24. The 27th Annual CASE Fall Conference will be held at the Nugget in Reno, NV, Nov. 2-4. Now is a great time to get your "act" together and submit a proposal! Just remember, all presenters do have to register for the conference! The committee plans to be able to inform presenters in time for them to register at the cheapest rate — Early Bird! So, get those proposals in!

Speaking of professional learning opportunities... For the last 14 summers, CASE has convened a group in Washington D.C., to learn how to make a difference back in our district by talking with the folks up on the Hill! For the last two summers, we have joined forces with CEC to make our footprint even bigger. We were so successful, last summer we had to turn people away due to the size of the hotel we were using. This year we moved to a bigger hotel! We are so excited to be just up the road from where we were last year—same metro stop — at the Westin Alexandria. We will not be turning anyone away this year! We hope to have teams from EVERY state as we gather on Sunday afternoon, July 9-Wednesday, July 12! Check out the flyer and then head on over to the dedicated website and register! Don't forget to reserve your hotel rooms, too! This summer is going to be a critical year for us to help educate our congressional delegations on our communities, our students, our staff and our needs! Hope to see you in D.C.!

CEC is just around the corner and CASE is always visible and active at the CEC convention! If you haven't registered yet, you can still get registered! The CEC convention in Boston is going to be amazing and a wonderful place to hear the cutting edge resources you need to take back to your district! And remember, be sure to get to Boston on Tuesday so you can join your fellow CASE members for a wonderful, full breakfast on Wednesday, April 19 sponsored by Stetson & Associates just before our annual member meeting. The meeting is always packed with information, opportunities to interact with your colleagues and discuss the major issues of the day! We will also be announcing the new CASE secretary for the 2017-2019 term as well as all the CASE award winners, sponsored by Master Teacher. Our afternoon break will be sponsored by Conover Company. The CASE Spotlight session with Julie Weatherly, Esq, sponsored by Lindamood-Bell is always a big hit. CASE Night, and other amazing opportunities ... CASE Night tickets went on sale Feb. 1 and have been selling at a clipped pace — don't miss out on this amazing night of great food, fun and excitement at the New England Aquarium. The tickets are just $65 because of the amazing contribution our sponsors are making! Special thanks go to Star Autism, Education Modified, C'8 Sciences, and Winsor Learning! You do not want to let this event to sell out so get your tickets today! Check out the CASE Night flyer. You do not want to miss any of the CASE activities at CEC! Not a member of CEC? Why not join now!

Looking to fill vacancies for 2017-2018 ... Did you know we have a CASE Career Center? And the CEC Career Center! If not, you need to check them out today! Besides the links provided here, you can find the CASE Career Center on the CASE Website home page on the top left hand side and the CEC Career Center can be found on the CEC home page by going to the RESOURCES tab and it is listed in the drop down menu.

The question last week was "how familiar are you with the CASE endorsed products?" It was very gratifying to have the first place answer at 31 percent be very familiar. There was a tie for second at 23 percent between familiar and know them all. Think about that, 77 percent of those answering the survey are familiar, very familiar or know them all in the area of our endorsed products! I would say CASE is doing a great job of promoting this service! In third place at 15 percent was somewhat familiar and last place at 8 percent was do not know. You should know the CASE endorsed products have gone through a very rigorous process which includes a very specific rubric. Our Publication and Product Review committee is made up equally of local directors and researchers. If you haven't looked at the endorsed product list lately you need to. And remember, there are always special "perks" for CASE members who purchase these products!

Thank you again for all you do EVERY day for your district, your students, your staff, and your community!

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Luann Purcell
Executive Director
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