SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

December 7, 2022 | Issue 56 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

The SPAN 35th Anniversary Gala Is Only 5 Days Away!

JOIN US as we recognize the 28-year career of Diana Autin, present awards to seven deserving honorees and gather in celebration of SPAN's many accomplishments over the last five years. For tickets, sponsorships, journal ads, and more information, click here.

Text Link

SPAN 35th Anniversary Gala Invitation image

Important News

Image stating "urgent."


A state law enacted last March gives New Jersey school districts until December 31, 2022, to determine whether additional assistance – called “compensatory education” – must be provided to students with disabilities to address disruptions in their learning resulting from extensive periods of remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If a child's IEP team has not yet met to discuss whether compensatory education is needed, families can make a written request to their school district to schedule an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting by December 31. If the School District does not schedule the meeting, families can still file a pandemic-related due process hearing through September 1, 2023.

The Education Law Center has released a newly updated FAQ on Compensatory Education in Response to COVID-19. This guide provides information for parents and guardians to advocate for the educational services that their children did not receive.

Review the Updated FAQ here

Check out SPAN resources related to COVID-Compensatory Services here


Lauran Agoratus photo

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Peer Reviewers

Lauren Agoratus, the State Coordinator for Family Voices at SPAN, has served as a PCORI peer reviewer since 2018. Most recently, she was invited to join the Patient Reviewer Board for PCORI Draft Final Research Reports.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, nonprofit research organization that seeks to empower patients and others with actionable information about their health and healthcare choices.

Peer reviewers provide feedback on every research report submitted to PCORI. The peer-review process, from submission to acceptance, takes an average of seven to eight months. 

Peer reviewers include professionals such as providers, policymakers, subject matter experts as well as families and family caregivers.

PCORI is seeking to create a diverse and inclusive Patient Review Board.

"...Including patients in the peer-review process can benefit researchers by helping them focus on getting the end user of the research to see and understand their study’s findings."

Click here to create a login and apply to become a peer reviewer.

IDEA Celebrates 47 Years

US Dept. of Education logo

In case you missed it, last week marked the 47th anniversary of the IDEA - the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - that was signed into law on November 29, 1975.

Check out this blog post from Valerie C. Williams, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs, sharing her perspective of the IDEA: 47 Years Later, Are we Delivering on the Promise of IDEA?

She highlights both positive and troubling trends related to the IDEA, while citing the need for all involved in the education of children with disabilities to commit to:

  • Designing high-quality instruction
  • Supporting behavior
  • Educating the whole child and
  • Setting high expectations.

View Related Links:

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

Decorative image

#InclusiveSchoolsWeek is celebrated annually the first week in December by families, schools, and organizations to highlight and celebrate the progress schools have made in implementing inclusive practices to ensure a quality education for an increasingly diverse student population.

Learn more here

#ISW2022 #InclusiveSchools

Join us next week for a webinar


Not Me, But We

SEPAGs as catalysts for more inclusive school districts

December 15, 2022

7:00 - 8:00 PM

Parents often advocate individually for inclusion for their child(ren), but in reality, creating an inclusive school district is more effective when done by a group of parents working together to advocate and collaborate with educators to make systems change.

Join us to learn about ways that SEPAGs can serve as catalysts for more inclusive school districts.

Register here

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

Para recibir la edición en Español de este boletín semanalmente en su correo electrónico 

haga clic aquí para suscribirse
Photo of Dr. Sol Heckelman

Congratulations to a long-time friend of SPAN!

Dr. Sol Heckelman of East Brunswick received the 2022 Humanitarian of the Year Award for his leadership and advocacy work in helping underserved communities from ASAH, a statewide association of specialized schools serving students with complex disabilities.

Dr. Heckelman, a retired school psychologist, has dedicated his career to advancing the needs of students with disabilities and has represented the New Jersey School Psychologists’ Association for decades.

Share your SPAN testimonial story! CLICK HERE

Join the SPAN Team - View Open Positions here

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Instagram