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

December 6, 2023 | Issue 108 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

US Dept. of Health and Human Services logo

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Updated Resource to Support the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs

On November 28, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released an updated joint policy statement on supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs. The statement updates expectations for inclusive early childhood settings and provides new recommendations for state and local agencies that implement Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs, Head Start, child care, home visiting, preschool, and public schools to increase inclusive early learning opportunities for all children. This update provides some examples and good ideas about how to include children with disabilities in early childhood programs. They also offer resources to help make sure every child gets the right kind of learning and support they need in these early learning programs.

To read a statement overview and access the statement, click here.

Photo of Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan

Acting NJ State Education Commissioner to Retire

On November 27, Acting NJ Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan released a statement indicating that she will retire from her position effective February 1, 2024.

To read her statement, as well as a statement from Governor Murphy, click here.


Anniversary image of the IDEA logo

Commemorating the 48th Anniversary of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

November 28th marked 48 years since President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped (EHA) Children Act, which later became known as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA.

In the past year, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) continued to administer the IDEA to improve outcomes for children with disabilities, birth through 21, and their families and Raise the Bar to ensure access to fair, equitable and high-quality education and services.

To read more about the U.S. Department of Education's efforts, click here.

It's Inclusive Schools Week!

Inclusive Schools Week "Draw Me In" 2023 image showing a child in a wheelchair at a painting easel.

December 4-8 is Inclusive Schools Week, sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network.

The theme for Inclusive Schools Week 2023 is Draw Me In! Participating in art provides a pathway to self-discovery, and sharing art opens doors to understanding and respecting different ways of thinking. Do we see the faces of all children and youth drawn into the canvas of our schools and society today?

The need to belong is a basic need of all students and an integral component of effective inclusive schools. To be inclusive implies a fundamental commitment to building relationships among students, families, educators, and the community to support safe and positive learning environments.

To learn more about Inclusive Schools Week 2023 and how you and your organization can participate, click here.

Upcoming Events

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

Highlighted Event This Week

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'All Children Belong: LRE' - Least Restrictive Environment

Thursday, Dec. 7, 12:00-1:00 PM


Join Us For This Lunch Time Learning on LRE Inclusion!

Inclusion is a right, not a privilege. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires students with disabilities to be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. Learn how the IEP impacts placement, the legal requirements for Least Restrictive Environment and the value of the inclusion of children with disabilities for all children, their families and communities.

To register for this event, click here.

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

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The Truth About Tobacco

Read the latest youth blog post, "The Truth About Tobacco," to learn about the negative impact of tobacco/vaping use on youth and how to access state resources to quit and recover.

To access the post, click here.

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