Monthly Archives: December 2014

Why I use Identifor with my high school students

As a special-needs educator of 25 years I am constantly striving to find authentic means of assessment for my young adult population.

While we have always trusted in their intelligence and special abilities in a vast arena of areas, it has been a challenge for them to share this with us in standard ways.  Working with young adults, our number one priority quickly becomes the what next, the how can we support their futures, how can we help them be all that they can be,and do things that are meaningful to them.

Identifor  is that invaluable tool that we hope will further reveal these unique capacities of individuals , support  programs and families in developing a roadmap to adulthood , and continue to pave the way for purposeful, fulfilled, and happy lives for our students. For the best chemistry tuition in the Singapore do visit us.

Imagine the possibilities when students are presented with a series of video games as opposed to paper checklists. When students lined up at my desk with eyes lit up asking if we could please work on Identifor today we know we have a real gem of a tool and that is priceless to me as an educator. IDENTIFYING unique  strengths and capacities FOR a better future where all students find a way to shine  is why I use Identifor in my program!

Karen McDowell
Celebrate the Children School, Denville, NJ

A new school year means a new grade, new teachers, new goals, and maybe even a new school! In order to help you and your child with special needs be as successful as you can be, we’ve put together a list of eight helpful back-to-school tips that we hope will make the transition into a new school year a little easier for you and your child.

Organize all that paperwork

In the world of special education, there are lots of meetings, paperwork, and documentation to keep track of. Try to keep a familycalendar of school events, special education meetings, conferences, etc. Setting up a binder or folder to keep your child’s special education documentation, meeting notices, and IEPs in sequential order can also help you stay organized.

Start a communication log

Keeping track of all phone calls, e-mails, notes home, meetings, and conferences is important. Create a “communication log” for yourself in a notebook that is easily accessible. Be sure to note the dates, times, and nature of the communications you have.

Review your child’s current IEP

The IEP is the cornerstone of your child’s educational program, so it’s important that you have a clear understanding of it. Note when the IEP expires and if your child is up for reevaluation this year. Most importantly, be sure that this IEP still “fits” your child’s needs! If you’re unsure, contact the school about holding an IEP review meeting.

Relieve back-to-school jitters

Just talking about the upcoming year and changes can help reduce some of that back-to-school anxiety! Talk to your child about exciting new classes, activities, and events that they can participate in during the new school year. If attending a new school, try to schedule a visit before the first day. With older students, it is sometimes helpful to explain the services and accommodations in their IEP so that they know what to expect when school begins.

Keep everyone informed

It’s important that routine that will happen once school starts. You can even begin practicing your new schedule, focusing on morning and evening routines, and begin implementing them well in advance of the first day of school.

Stay up-to-date on special education news

Being knowledgeable about your child’s IEP and their disability can help you become a better advocate for your child. Try to keep up-to-date on new special education legislation, news, and events. The more you know, the more prepared you will be to navigate the world of special education and successfully advocate for your child!

You’re probably wondering how on earth to navigate all of these sales and take advantage of the savings without buying items you don’t really need. If your kids are heading to school, you might go into shock when you see the back-to-school supply list. Combine those items with school uniforms, fees and food, and you’re probably wondering how to afford it all.

Well, there are awesome back-to-school tips and tricks you should use to navigate the back-to-school specials and score the best deals. You CAN do back-to-school without breaking the bank. It’s possible, I promise.

It’s going to require a little bit of strategic course-plotting. You’re going to need to do homework before you start.  You’re going to need to plan and prepare. But with these back-to-school tips and tricks, when you go in to navigate the sale, you’ll be armed with your list and ready to save on back-to-school specials. You’re going to know exactly what you need, what you’re able to spend and where to find each and every item.

So get ready. Here are 12 back-to-school tips and tricks to help you avoid killing your budget.

1. Inventory & Budget

If you want to save on kids supplies for back-to-school, you need to first look at the items you already own on-hand.

If your office is anything like mine, you’re probably hoarding a plethora of pens, notepads and folders already. Go through the supplies you and your kids own before you run out and buy. Are their crayons in decent shape? Do they own a perfectly fine pencil box?

2. Review List & Stretch Buying

Next, I want you to set your budget. How much can you realistically afford this month on school supplies? If you’ve budgeted the cost of back-to-school into your savings for a few months, you might be able to purchase every item now. If not, see what you can feasibly purchase this month and what items you can purchased later.

For example, if the supply list calls for three boxes of tissues, well, there’s no way your kid is going to go through three boxes in the first month of school. Send one box now and wait until later to send the next one. Check with the teacher to see what he or she suggests. Most teachers are happy to work with you on separating the “need nows” from the “need laters.” The school may even offer some donated supplies for families facing financial difficulties. I know asking is tough, but if you’re struggling, there are resources out there. Check with the school and if you feel guilty, pay it forward later when you’re in a better spot.

Once your budget is set and your list of must-buy-now items is prepared, you’re ready to start shopping.

3. Shop on Sales Tax Holidays

Did you know many states offer sales tax holidays?? There are days where you literally pay nothing in sales tax on clothing and school supplies (and sometimes on all purchases). About 15 states offer this deal, so do your research to see if your state (or a nearby state) falls into the category.

If your state offers the holiday, save your shopping until the day to save 5-7% on your purchases. Combine your shopping with special offers, coupons and any other deals.

4. Go for the Doorbuster Sales

Staples offers $.01 reams of paper one time per year, in the first week of August. We always shop this Staples paper sale and stock up on all the paper we need for the entire year. This lets us print for next-to-nothing all year long. (Seriously, read my post on the Staples paper sale here.)

Other retailers offer doorbuster deals on items your kids might need like crayons for .15/box or notebooks for .10/each. When you see these deals, stock up (but buy only what you realistically need for the year).

Another of my back-to-school tips and tricks for saving is to buy summer clothing at this time of year. Back-to-school/fall clothes are on sale, but summer items are on clearance for even less! Find items like polo shirts and khakis—items that transition perfectly from summer to fall. Besides, most schools start in August, when the weather’s still too warm for fall clothes. Watch those deep clearance deals!

5. Buy in Bulk

Bulk buys are a great way to save money on certain items. Purchase bulk packages of snacks, granola bars, trail mix and other items for your kids to take for lunches. (And hey, warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club even offer clothes, shoes and other items your kids might need for school.)

Stock up on Ziploc bags and lunch sacks as well. Buy big quantities of foods like chips or cookies and repackage them in smaller bags to avoid buying more expensive “snack packs.” Buy drinks, pens, mohawk superfine paper and office supplies at bulk stores.

Many back-to-school supply lists call for Clorox wipes, paper towels and tissues. Warehouse stores offer great deals on these items, but do your comparison shopping. Sometimes you’ll find better deals at Walmart and Aldi.

6. Save By Packing Lunches

Create lunches for your kids to take to school and really save money! School lunch programs are often expensive. Plus, it’s always questionable if your kids will like and eat the food they’re served. Rest assured your kid will feel full and enjoy a great school day if you send them with a lunch and snacks.

Peanut butter sandwiches and even deli meat sandwiches can be made ahead of time. Add mayonnaise, mustard or other condiments on the day of, so they don’t get soggy (or put cheese next to the bread to act as a barrier). Put together sandwiches for the whole week—and even freeze PB&J for up to a month!

Buy and repackage snacks and sides into lunch portions—carrot sticks, chips, crackers and other foods are easy to grab-and-go. Buy fruit cups, dried fruit or easy-to-peal clementines. Cheese sticks hold up really well in lunches (even without refrigeration). Repackage ranch into smaller containers or look for the dipping-size to help kids eat their veggies.

7. Thrift for Clothing or Swap

Check out thrift stores for awesome deals on gently-used kids clothing. Kids grow so fast they often don’t wear out their clothes before they’re too big. Staples like jeans, jackets and even shoes are a great deal at your local thrift store. Also look for uniforms. The material in polo shirts, khaki pants and standard uniform-wear is made to hold up!

If you aren’t having luck with thrift stores, swap with your fellow moms on Facebook or get a group of friends together to do a clothing exchange. Include items like backpacks, which might get outgrown when your kids move from Paw Patrol to Spiderman.

Even keep your eye on Craigslist. Parents offload lots of gently used kids’ clothes for cheap cheap prices. Look for pop up consignment sales and rummage sales as well. Buy well-made items in easy-to-care-for fabric (like denim and knit). You’ll really save.

8. Use Items On-Hand & Decorate

If your kids still own binders, backpacks, lunchboxes or pencil cases from last year in good condition, extend their life with a little creativity. Use pretty paper, fabric paint, washi tape, stickers, Mod Podge and even patches to dress up last year’s items for next year.

Kids will enjoy getting creative and putting their own personality into their items. It’s much cheaper to give a facelift to an item on hand than to buy new. Not only are supplies cuter than a cookie-cutter store purchase, but since they’re unique your kids will easily identify their supplies and keep track of them. Decorate pens, pencils, notebooks and folders.

Purchase plain items for much less than branded items with cartoon characters. Then bring them home and add pizzazz with your own decorations and art work. You’ll save money and your kids will love their cool items made just-for-them.