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It is so hard to believe it is almost the end of the year! Seems like just the other day when Robin and I were wishing everyone a happy and peaceful holiday from the CASE office to your office! And here we are again! We feel so fortunate to be able to serve our members and friends throughout the year! We are always striving to make sure you have the tools you need to make the amazing difference in the lives of your students, families, staff, and communities that we know you do every day! Our wish for you is to have a peaceful, fun, as relaxing as possible, healthy time with family and friends. This will be the last true article I write in 2017. I do count it a huge responsibility to try to provide you with information and hopefully a bit of inspiration each week of the year. My husband and I will be traveling to Augusta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama, and Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee, to spend time with family. I will of course have my laptop near by so if you need anything, just drop me an email there will be a few days I may be a bit slower to answer than other days but I will answer! Again, I hope you have a very special holiday and that 2018 will bring you great success, happiness and true joy!

I hope you read the recently released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Free Appropriate Public Education following Supreme Court Decision.
The FAQ was released Dec. 7, after my weekly update was "put to bed." I know it was referenced in the body of the update but I really wanted to make sure you saw it. I can remember a time when OSEP would not put that kind of guidance in writing. The Policy and Legislative Committee along with CASE legislative consultant, Myrna Mandlawitz have looked at the original findings and we have reported on them but it is always great to have an "official" version!

Speaking of official — Have you registered for CEC? The CEC convention in Tampa, Florida, Feb. 7-10 and the program will be amazing! This will be a conference you do not want to miss. Check out all the information from programs to hotels to workshops at the dedicated conference website But, remember, you want to come in on Tuesday so you can have a full, free breakfast before our CASE meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 7. Hope to see you there!

CASE NIGHT tickets are on sale and going fast! We are so excited about this year's CASE Night — a dinner cruise on Tampa Bay! The boat will leave just steps away from the convention center so no added transportation. Tickets will be $65 but remember it is sponsored so for that amount, you are really getting an event that is worth much more! Our very special sponsors are Star Autism and Sonday System! The tickets are limited so get your tickets today!

We usually have the CASE Hybrid in February but since CEC is in February this year, we are doing it the first full week in March. If you haven't looked at the Hybrid as a great professional learning opportunity for your school/district, then you need to re-think about it! We even will give you Hints on how to get it all together! This year we will once again have two extraordinary speakers and two different subjects — so you may want to invite different folks on the different days. Remember you pay one low price and can have as many as you can accommodate in your session! Last year we had 99 virtual sites in 36 different states! But of course, you can join us on-site at the lovely Westin Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Register today – and don't forget to add in the DVD for future use!

Continuing our theme of shortages with our poll... The question last week was "Why do specialized instructional support personnel (SISP) leave or never chose to come into education?" This is a very important issue and as I mentioned to you last week, recruitment, retention and shortages in general will be discussed at the CEC Convention in the Representative Assembly. After the new year, we will be asking a similar question about administrators. Your responses are important for our CASE representatives to the RA as they determine their comments. Please answer these polls and go to the CASE Facebook page and continue the discussion. The number one answer was a tie with 36 percent between pay and work load. Coming in second with 14 percent was not feeling equipped to do the job. Coming in third was another tie at 7 percent between lack of support and other. Other was made up of various combinations of the factors listed. Thank you for answering the polls each week. It means a lot to us to get a feeling of what our members and friends (because we know some of you are NOT members — but you could be) are thinking!

Signature Again as the year winds down, we wish you peace, love, and joy! We know it is easy to get caught up in the stress of the holidays and expectations but please do try to take a few deep breaths, sip on your favorite hot beverage, and look out the window—if you are lucky you might even see a beautiful red cardinal...

PS ... While I don't have the room numbers yet, here is a listing by times and dates of CASE Activities for CEC, Feb. 7-10! Here's hoping to see you at all of them!

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Luann Purcell
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