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

July 19, 2023 | Issue 88 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Photo at bill signing, including Peg Kinsell

We Did It - Historic Prescription Drug Affordability Package Signed into Law!

It's been a long road, but the Prescription Drug Affordability Council legislation we all have been working hard to advance was signed into law by Governor Murphy on July 10 as part of his three-bill package. This will finally put us on the path to making prescription drugs more affordable for all New Jerseyans. With over half of our residents worried about affording paying for prescription medications and 1 in 4 already skipping doses or cutting pills in have due to cost, addressing affordability is long overdue.

SPAN has been one of the New Jersey for Affordable Drug Campaign Partners supporting this bill and our own Peg Kinsell is pictured above at the bill signing.

The new law will create a Prescription Drug Affordability Council, aka PDAC, compromised of an appointed team of experts. The PDAC will perform a comprehensive analysis of the pharmaceutical system for cost drivers and will publicly recommend reforms and policies our leaders and lawmakers should pursue to help rein in runaway drug prices. Other bills included in this package will cap copays for Insulin at $35, $25 for EpiPens, and $50 for Asthma Inhalers as well as require licensure and tighter regulations on Pharmacy Benefit Managers.

To read about all of the provisions of this legislation, click here.


Family Voices Language Access Survey graphic

Inviting All Families and Caregivers Who Need or Use Language Access Services

SPAN is supporting Family Voices, who is working with the Office of Minority Health to learn more about language access services for families of children with special healthcare needs. This project’s goal is to improve the quality and use of language access services in the healthcare setting for families whose preferred language is not English. To do that, they have developed a survey in different languages to learn about the barriers or challenges experienced by these families in the healthcare setting.


Please help us by sharing this survey with families in your community. Our goal is for families to complete the survey by August 8th, 2023.


Thank you for supporting Family Voices and the families in your community who will benefit from equitable language access in the healthcare setting.

Preparing Future Educators to Proactively, Positively Address Behavior

Discipline and Behavior Series Title Graphic

The latest blog by Dr. Valerie Williams, Director, OSEP, addresses personnel shortages in education, particularly special education. She shares statistics about shortages and challenges, as well as efforts that the US Department of Education is taking to address personnel shortages, including:

  • Funding through ESSER to stabilize the profession
  • Strategies to improve teacher compensation, working conditions and promoting career ladders
  • Supporting new teacher induction and ongoing professional learning for educators
  • Partnering with the Department of Labor to support high quality, affordable educator preparation
  • Promoting educator diversity
  • Partnerships to support teacher recruitment
  • Support increasing the pipeline of mental health professionals in schools.  

She further discusses the importance of including guidance on IDEA’s discipline and behavior requirements in educator preparation programs. 

The OSEP-funded Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) Center focuses on resources to support improved outcomes for all children. 

Read the blog and review the many resource links included by clicking here.  

Upcoming Events

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

Highlighted Event This Week

Individualized Education Program Graphic

Special Education Series

Thursday, July 27th,

9:30AM – 2:30pm ET

In Person

This one day In Person training will provide you the following information and resources to help navigate the special education process:

  • Basic Rights: An introduction to rights and responsibilities as parents of children with disabilities
  • Key Components of the IEP: A review of the essential components of an Individualized Education Plan.
  • From Measurable Goals to Making Progress: Strategies to create IEPs with measurable annual goals as well as the required information regarding student progress.

Information for the Venue:

  • When: July 27, 2023
  • Time: 9:30am - 2:30pm
  • Where: Lakeside Middle School, 2 Sharp Street, Millville, NJ. 08332

Presented by: Tara Szymanek from SPAN.

More Information: Contact Tara Szymanek at [email protected]

To register, click 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
SPAN Youth Hub image

Mental Health Challenges Featuring the University of Pittsburgh's Study

Read our latest youth blog post, "Mental Health Challenges Featuring the University of Pittsburgh's Study," for an overview of psychiatric disabilities and to find more information on a paid study for young adults.

Click Here

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