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Apps For People With Disabilities To Help You Land…

From enhanced data tracking for students, to wearables, technological advancements are giving individuals with disabilities a chance to interact with the world in an easier and safer way. For many, that also means being able to enter the job market in a new and exciting way. Thanks to specific apps for people with disabilities, barriers are being eliminated and individuals are able to land their dream job.

The key to taking advantage of these technological achievements is having a reliable smartphone. That way, you can download the apps and be sure they are going to be available when you need them the most. A reliable smartphone is also necessary for potential employers and new coworkers to get in touch with you when needed. If your current phone is less than reliable, it may be time for a new one. Check out the iPhone XS Max, a super-fast phone with a great battery life to get you through your day both at work and at home. If you want something with similar capabilities on a smaller budget, look at the Google Pixel 3A. It also has a massive battery life and plenty of processing power for even the most demanding apps. You can get a great deal on your new phone if you do a trade-in with your old one, or consider upgrading your plan to unlimited, which can save you hundreds!

Don’t overlook common accessories that can make your phone easier to use, too. One such addition is a Popsocket. These handy little gizmos make it easier to hold your phone, and they fold out of the way when not in use. They are very affordable, and they come in a variety of styles to reflect your profession and personal flair.

Similarly, you might consider adding an armband carrying case or lavalier-style wallet to slip your phone into when not in use. These options keep your phone close by so you can maintain communications with clients and colleagues while you’re on the go.

Once you have the smartphone you need to outfit it with appropriate apps that can help set you up for success. You can start with these next 3 apps.

Helping People With Disabilities Find Jobs With These 3 Apps

Here are three best apps that are leading the pack when it comes to breaking down barriers and helping people with disabilities find jobs.

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is an app designed for the visually impaired. The free app matches those with low or no vision with volunteers who can be their eyes for them. The visually impaired individual requests help with their smartphone. They are then connected with a seeing volunteer through a video call. The volunteer can help the user with a variety of tasks including reading expiration dates on groceries or picking out a shirt to match their pants, among other things. There are more than three million volunteers currently signed up with the service around the world. That means wait times are low and getting visual assistance takes only moments.

uSound

People with hearing disabilities may struggle to understand speakers in certain situations. For instance, they may be able to hear in a one-on-one conversation, but find it difficult to hear when there are outside noises. Or they might struggle in a conference room when the boss is laying out that year’s strategy. Enter Ava. Developers designed the app to be a portable translator. It assists the user by turning speech into text when the phone is held up to the speaker. It may be the perfect solution for those struggling in the work environment due to hearing loss and impairment.

Wheelmap

For wheelchair users, getting to their job can be a struggle. If their job takes them outside of their normal route, it can be even harder. Wheelmap is here to help. This app has a worldwide, searchable map of wheelchair-friendly locations. So if work or play takes you somewhere you aren’t familiar with, a quick search on the app will give you the information you need to get around comfortably. The map is crowdsourced and updated, meaning you’ll get the information from other wheelchair users. No longer will wheelchair users need to worry about the accessibility of a location before they arrive. That can take a lot of the doubt and worry out of getting out and about.

Final Thoughts

These three apps are just the beginning. There are hundreds of apps available in both the Apple and Android stores that can increase accessibility and eliminate barriers. On top of these, there are plenty of other applications that can help maximize efficiency for people with disabilities. No matter what your specific physical or mental challenge may be, it’s worth checking out your options to see if there is an app designed to help you in your career pursuits.

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How To Get A Job With A Disability &…

Young adults with disabilities may find that starting a career in business is a great option for the future. Starting your own successful business often begins with a solid education and a quality internship. If you’ve been wondering how to get a job with a disability, the journey to starting your own career in business often starts with choosing a degree program that spurs your interest and offers long-term career options.

How To Get a Job If You are Disabled: Start With A Degree

As you think about a career and potentially starting your own business, you may be wondering how you can get a job if you are disabled. For starters, consider the varying degrees that can help you reach that goal. Degrees that will likely produce a lucrative career are often related to information technology (IT).

An IT degree can be earned online and will enable you to learn about information technology and how it applies to data analytics or cybersecurity. IT degrees offer the additional benefit of being quite lucrative with the average salary being between $67,000–$104,000 per year, depending on the specific area of tech.

Earning a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) is bound to open a variety of options with great financial benefit. Mechanical engineering degrees are a profitable pursuit, yielding a salary of approximately $88,000 annually. Degrees in STEM fields are often highly sustainable and transfer well from one company to another.  

A science degree can offer a vast selection of career options such as environmental science. Scientific fields are ever-growing and can make a difference globally. The estimated salary range for positions in the field of science is $35,000–$325,000 annually, depending on the type of position and the area you live in. Often, these fields offer fascinating internships that bolster career options.

Getting an Awesome Internship

Finding the right internship can impact your career for years to come. For young adults who are completing a degree program, internships are an important factor in career success.

Prior to applying for internships, do some research to determine which programs offer the greatest percentage of transfer to positions within the company. Think about the variety of experiences you can have at a prospective internship, and what new skills you can learn at the company. Some internships even offer a stipend or hourly pay rate which may sweeten the deal.

Remember that as you apply and interview for internships, you are also interviewing them. What can the company offer for on-the-job experience? Be prepared to answer questions about your own interests and passions, and what drew you to this work.

Landing Your First Job

After the internship is complete and you prepare to enter your chosen career, landing your first job will be an exciting endeavor. By this time, you will have completed your degree and internship and will be ready to roll.

As you prepare and apply for entry-level jobs within your field, it may help to spiff up your resume. List your college experience and degree specialty, as well as outlining your internship responsibilities. Consider drafting a work philosophy or aspects of your learning and work experience that have positively impacted you.

Job interviews can be anxiety-provoking. Practice your interview skills and think about common questions you may expect and others you may not anticipate. Many companies will ask about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working life. Try to have a response in mind that is honest and forthright, while offering your methods for working around these difficulties and capitalizing on your strengths.

Launching a Consulting Business

At some point in your career, when you have developed experience and industry knowledge, it may be worthwhile to think about a consulting business. Consulting as an experienced professional can offer vast rewards, including lucrative compensation and increased flexibility in a work schedule to accommodate additional interests and passions.

Final Thoughts

Young adults with disabilities often have a unique perspective and life experience that is important to the workforce, but they might not know how to get a job with a disability. By utilizing your experiences and perspectives, earning a degree, and becoming a leader in your chosen career, you can make a powerful difference in the world.

To go from earlier education, to a degree, to a career, set yourself up for success by making good use of the technological advancements that are available to you like Datability or smartphone apps. Utilizing software can help people with disabilities achieve their goals and ultimately become thriving members of society.

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10 Best Practices for Improving and Expanding Social, Emotional,…


STUDENT SERVICES

By Nathan Levenson, District Management Group on 6/8/2018  

While there is much debate about why an increasing number of children come to school with significant social, emotional and behavioral (S, E & B) needs, nearly all districts report the number of children with these challenges is on the rise.

In order for students to meet developmental milestones, learn, grow and lead productive lives, it is critical that their social, emotional and behavioral issues be addressed. Research indicates that children and youth with mental health problems have lower educational achievement and greater involvement with the criminal justice system [1]. Improving and expanding S, E & B supports not only helps the students who have these challenges but can benefit nearly every student and adult in a school.

75% to 80% of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them.Click To Tweet

All schools — urban, suburban and rural; large and small; and regardless of socioeconomics — have students with social, emotional and behavioral challenges. However, in some of these communities, students receive the counseling they need, classroom routines promote positive behavior, and most strikingly, students with problematic behavior are able to stay in class and seldom disrupt their peers. What is the difference between these schools and typical schools? The distinctions can be hard to notice because the difference isn’t in the amount they spend, the programs they bought, or the dedication of their staff. The people, tools and talents themselves aren’t all that different but the way in which staff work and deliver intervention is different — the more effective districts have created a coherent, collaborative plan grounded in a systems-thinking approach and incorporating best practices.

Here, we focus on 10 key, interconnected best practices to help you and your team effectively and comprehensively create a system to meet the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students. These practices fall into three major categories: Leveraging the talents of current stafffocusing on prevention and supporting local partnerships.

Leverage the Talents of Current Staff

1. Streamline meetings and paperwork to increase the time staff can spend with students.

Process mapping, reviewing who attends which meetings and setting guidelines for desired time with students can often significantly increase the services provided to students by current staff.

2. Allow staff to play to their strengths; assign roles based on strengths, not titles.

Identify staff’s unique skills and match job responsibilities to these areas of expertise. For example, some psychologists may have expertise in behavior management while others may have expertise in assessment and case management.

3. Facilitate teamwork with common planning time.

A wide array of people in a variety of roles are often involved in supporting the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students. Allow them to come together weekly to review student progress and adjust support strategies.

4. Support classroom teachers with in-the-classroom support from staff skilled in behavior management.

In-the-moment coaching, in-the-classroom observations and specific recommendations from behavior specialists can help classroom teachers meet the needs of their students.

Focus on Prevention

5. Focus on prevention by identifying and managing behavioral triggers.

Identify why a student acts out and develop specific strategies for averting these triggers to prevent outbursts before they happen.

6. Increase access to staff with expertise in behavior management.

To effectively focus on prevention, schools need access to experts trained in identifying and reducing behavioral triggers. Given tight budgets, seek to hire staff with expertise in behavior management when doing replacement hiring and/or seek to build a centralized behavior team that can provide support across many schools.

7. Align discipline policies to support a commitment to prevention.

It is important that the discipline code has the flexibility to support a focus on prevention, that loss of learning time is minimized, that suspensions are avoided for nonviolent infractions and that unconscious bias is mitigated.

8. Stay focused on academic achievement.

Many “behavior programs” seem to undervalue the importance of academic learning and student achievement. Core content is often taught by special education teachers instead of subject expert teachers, and curriculum is sometimes watered down; lowered expectations can exacerbate troubling behaviors.

Support Local Partnerships

9. Seek local partnerships.

Often, local mental health agencies, nearby nonprofit counseling services, universities and sometimes even for-profit practitioners can provide social and emotional services at little or no out-of-pocket costs to students or the district.

10. Actively support local partnerships.

Local partners can provide much-needed services, so it is worth making an investment in managing and facilitating these relationships to ensure their success.

Working Together to Improve Your School’s Behavioral Climate

With social, emotional and behavioral issues posing a growing challenge for schools, and with budgets tight for the foreseeable future, schools will need a new and comprehensive approach to meet the needs of students. While neither easy nor quick, these best practices can help to better serve students. This work, however, will need leadership from the top, systems thinking, support for teachers and principals and perseverance. If parents, staff, school leadership and district leaders work and plan together, much progress can be made in addressing this difficult challenge.

Read the full District Management Journalarticle “10 Best Practices for Improving and Expanding Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Supports.” 


1 “Children’s Mental Health: Facts for Policymakers,” National Center for Children in Poverty, November 2006, http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_687.html

When re-validating your school’s approach to meeting the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students, consider how having a common digital system for managing RTI/MTSS and special education programs can provide greater visibility into the whole child while reducing the paperwork burden for staff.

Nathan Levenson

Nathan Levenson is a noted subject matter expert in the areas of special education and of resource use in public school districts. Nate’s experience as a superintendent, school board member, and private sector CEO allows him to bring a unique perspective to his work in education leadership. As Managing Director at District Management Group, Nate works closely with superintendents and their leadership teams to create practical solutions to pressing challenges. He has authored numerous books including A Better Way to Budget: Building Support for Bold, Student-Centered Change in Public Schools

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How to Leverage Your IEP Service Tracking System for…

SPECIAL EDUCATION By Theodora Schiro, on 9/21/2020

Why does progress monitoring matter?

School districts need to monitor student progress to assess student outcomes, submit mandated state and federal reports, and in many states, claim Medicaid reimbursements. But progress monitoring can also be used to help identify and support requests for additional staffing needs or pinpoint professional development gaps.

Getting the most benefit from the progress data you collect and report on depends on how you leverage your service tracking system or other systems you have in place to manage it.

Use systematic progress monitoring to improve student outcomes

Accurate and detailed progress monitoring is critical to student success. You need accurate data to:

  • Guide instruction
  • Make decisions about student growth
  • Communicate progress on IEP goals
  • Determine effectiveness of providers and programs

Creating standardized procedures for progress monitoring and using consistent tools for progress data collection is much more efficient than allowing all service providers to use their own preferred methods or disparate systems.

Every provider should follow the same steps for each student:

1. Clearly define the concern.

Be sure to use specific language. The target behavior should be alterable, meaning the student’s performance can be changed. Be very specific: Identify when and how long the behavior occurs. Give examples: Is it observable? Can you see it or hear it? How would you measure it?

2. Determine how progress will be measured.

Teachers and service providers have to measure a wide range of student responses. Data might include the duration or length of time a student stays on task or the frequency a specific behavior is observed. To describe the action accurately, use common rubrics or rating scales.

It’s also important to include data on how much assistance was provided to the student by counting and reporting the number of cues given.

3. Decide where you want to start and where you want to end up — the baseline and the goal. Use charts to collect data and track progress.

Establish a baseline, usually the average of at least three data points or comparison with typical performance standards. Then determine precisely what goal a student must meet to determine success. Using a SMART model helps identify a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goal.

Examples:

  • The student will demonstrate correct production of the /l/ phoneme in all positions of words at the sentence level with 75% accuracy independently by 9/30/2020.
  • By March 2020 when properly positioned, given light touch physical cues and verbal cues, the student will use a switch (jellybean, etc.) to engage in preferred cause/effect operations to initiate and/or continue activities modeled to her (ex. Switch toys, computer interface switch with computer access), on 4/5 opportunities over 3 consecutive sessions.

Produce true data-driven IEP progress reports

Use a simple chart to track progress. It should include a baseline data point and the goal data point. Connect the baseline point to the goal data point to create an aim line representing the student’s estimated or expected growth rate.

Collect and review data regularly — determine the schedule by identifying the IEP progress reporting periods and annual review dates. Use the data to make decisions on frequency and duration of services.

Are the provider’s strategies working, or do they need to be adjusted? Does the student’s goal need to change prior to the next annual review?

Would providers benefit from professional development in specific areas of concern?

Does the data present a need for additional staff to support student success?

Fiscal and regulatory impact

In many states, a quality progress monitoring system also demonstrates fiscal responsibility as it is necessary for both compliance and Medicaid reimbursement. Systematically implementing progress monitoring can make a significant difference in the revenue a district can collect through Medicaid reimbursements to support ongoing student services.

Medicaid impact

“Documentation of each individual or group session must include the following information…. Student’s progress toward established goals.” — Medicaid Certified School Match Coverage and Limitations Handbook, Florida

“LEAs must maintain documentation of the student’s response and progress resulting from the claimed service. This documentation must be updated no less than quarterly.”  — Handbook for LEAs, Illinois

“The Progress Summary is a written note outlining the child’s progress that must be completed by the provider every three months from the start date of treatment or when medically necessary. The purpose of the Progress Summary is to record the longitudinal nature of the child’s treatment, describe the child’s attendance at therapy sessions, document progress toward treatment goals and objectives, and establish the need for continued participation in treatment.” — LEA Provider Manual, South Carolina

  • Services must improve a condition, not just maintain it. To be reimbursable, regular progress monitoring data is required to show that services impact student achievement.

Revenue impact

  • Sometimes providers have their own way of collecting data to document student progress. If they also use the data for IDEA documentation, state reporting, and Medicaid reimbursement, entering it separately for each function leads to unnecessary duplication of effort and takes time away from students. If providers document services for Medicaid claims in one place and progress monitoring data for IEPs is collected elsewhere, they’re doing the work twice! Wouldn’t it be better if they spent their time servicing students instead of doing more paperwork?
  • What if you could collect all the data in one place and use it for compliance reporting, Medicaid reimbursement, and progress monitoring for IEPs?  Imagine how that would reduce the workload, increase documentation, and drive up Medicaid revenue.

IDEA impact

“The Progress Summary is a written note outlining the child’s progress that must be completed by the provider every three months from the start date of treatment or when medically necessary. The purpose of the Progress Summary is to record the longitudinal nature of the child’s treatment, describe the child’s attendance at therapy sessions, document progress toward treatment goals and objectives, and establish the need for continued participation in treatment.” – LEA Provider Manual, South Carolina

  • Progress on IEP goals must be reported at least as often as parents are informed of their non-disabled student’s progress. Is that data easily accessible in your service tracking system?

Are you using the right service tracking system?

Does your service tracking system work for you, or are you working for it? You might be spending more time and effort than you need to. With standardized procedures and a quality tracking system, every provider in your district enters progress monitoring data at the end of each session directly into your service tracking system.

This has several benefits:

  1. Improved visibility: Reports are automated and every provider’s documentation is captured in the same way. All users can see the reports along the way and make adjustments in services without waiting until the annual review of the IEP.
  2. Parent engagement: A quality tracking system can even improve parent engagement. Any time a parent requests an update on their child’s services, you’ll have the data at your fingertips and consistent quality of reporting across providers.
  3. Audit protection: Your IEP service tracking system may also affect your audit results. Ideally, it should give you peace of mind, not keep you up at night worrying that negative findings could affect funding.

But don’t overlook the most important benefit: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.

Your system should be built not only around compliance with state reporting and IDEA requirements but also best practices that result in improving student achievement. Reports should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Which intervention strategies impact student progress the most?
  • Which therapy types might need extra support?
  • Are the goals short or long term?
  • Are the goals the right length?
  • Are students meeting goals in the right time frame?
  • Are the goals attainable?
  • Do goals need to be adjusted to make them more attainable or more challenging?
  • Do you have enough data to determine ESY eligibility?

With the right system, you will have all the data you need to make the best decisions for your students and your district. Simplify the documentation, management, and tracking of student services and strengthen compliance with Frontline’s Service Management software. Learn More 

Theodora Schiro

Theodora was a teacher and school administrator for over 37 years. After leaving the public education world, she started a new career as a freelance writer. She enjoys writing content that helps businesses and service organizations thrive.

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4 Reasons to Make the Switch to Automated Data…

IEPs function as a support service that helpspecial education students achieve their learning objectives. They are detailed outlines of lessons and goals designed around the needs of each student.

Although these learning environments have fewer students per teacher and more individualized attention for each student, special educators spend a large amount of their time and resources on collecting data to monitor progress and evaluate student achievement. From developing IEP documentation to analysis of student insights, special education is extremely data rich and its data can now be managed digitally – speeding up internal processes for educators, caregivers and parents.

Data collection on paper might have worked in the past, but education is changing and being able to analyze accurate insights of your students’ learning progress is key in helping them achieve their academic goals. It is now time to join the movement from manual to automated data collection for IEPs.

Some are still skeptical and, understandably, one of your first questions is going to be, “Why should I shift into automated data collection software?”

1. An instant and automated data collection system
No more making detailed notes and calculating by hand. Manually skimming through every row of data on a traditional spreadsheet is now a thing of the past. With special education data collection software, collated student data is filtered and graphed instantly, making it much easier for educators, caregivers and parents to evaluate student progress insights.

2. More time to focus on what really matters – the students
Every teacher wants more valuable time to work on the academic development of their students and using an automated data collection system can buy them just that.With consistent notifications for analysis updates, teachers can stay on top of all their students’ IEPs and make any alterations needed on the spot.

3. Avoid mistakes and aim for accuracy
Manually adding information and numbers to a spreadsheet means that you risk having errors in your data. Data is key and is extremely important to the success of students with learning disabilities, and it’s only fair that your students get the most out of their time with you. Put simply, academic professionals can confidently rely on automated data collection tools like Datability to ensure that they don’t miss anything when it comes to analyzing student progress and keeping them on the right track.

4. Helping students and the environment at the same time
Say goodbye to the mountain of student data and papers. Easy data collection for special educationeliminates the need for filling in forms for each individual student feedback with a pen and paper. Over time, these stacks of paper end up collecting dust in the corner and needing to be shredded, which isn’t very eco-friendly at all. Not only do special education data collection apps help you come up with better baseline data and more efficiently, but it also does our natural environment a favor. Win-win.

To sum it up, easy data collection in special education opens a path to accurate, hassle-free student progress analysis for educators.

Analyzing data can be difficult and students and teachers alike often struggle to make progress in all areas and skills. This is why having a clear overview of where students show their strengths and weaknesses, and making data-based decisions is key when it comes to increasing the chances of meeting student goals.It alsogives educators and parents a better idea of how their students adapt to different subjects and situations, and encourages them to make the most out oflearning results to best meet the needs of each student.

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What Is A Trial?

While providing Datability Web training to school districts, I often get asked about trials; What are they? When do you use them? How are they scored? The simple answer is, a trial is one instance of the skill you are trying to teach. For example, if you were trying to teach someone to button their shirt, you could count one button as a trial. Assuming a shirt has 5 buttons, a student buttoning 1 button would be 1/5 trials and could be scored as 20%. But what if the student has mastered buttoning 5 buttons? Now you could count a whole shirt as 1 trial. So essentially, a trial is anything you want it to be as long as it’s defined in the goal. How are you scoring your goals? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to visit www.DatabilityWeb.com.

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Writing Measurable Goals

I travel to a lot of districts to teach educators how to use Datability Web and, even though my goal is to teach features, I inevitably get asked the question, “How do I write a good goal for (fill in the blank)?. Truth be told, it’s something I struggle with as well. As special educators, we usually understand what our children need but it’s often hard to put it into a measurable bite-sized nugget. Personally, I subscribe to the S.M.A.R.T methodology, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. A quick google search will bring up many videos on this methodology. I think the key is to get granular with what you’re trying to teach and figure out the real issues that you’re trying to correct. For example, is your student’s inability to do algebra really because they are unable to solve for x or is it because they don’t have the time management skills necessary to study. And don’t even get me started on essay writing….  As professionals, there’s really no way we should ever have a “Student will write an essay” goal on an IEP. What can’t they do? Is it the planning or is it pulling information? Break down the skill of writing an essay into a task analysis (look up the term) and score each part. Anyway, rant over. I’d love to hear your ideas so feel free to comment and definitely check out www.databilityweb.com and sign up for our free trial.

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Advisory Board

Michael Radicone MsEd Creator of Datability

Michael Radicone is a special education Teacher, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist, as well as a parent and peer trainer in the Oceanside Union Free School District, Oceanside New York.  He graduated with his Master’s in Education from Long Island University, CW Posts’ Competencies in Autism and Special Education (C.A.S.E.) program and began his career working with students with developmental disabilities at the Ascent program in Deer Park, New York.  After years in the private school sector, Mike was hired to create a self-contained classroom program for students with developmental disabilities in the Oceanside school district. It was here that he applied the data collection techniques learned in his years as an ABA therapist to the public school system.  He also began to use the data he collected to determine if his students were ready to be mainstreamed into the typical classroom setting. Mike was asked to replicate his program in the middle school where he remained for 4 years. More recently, Mike was asked to create a new program in Oceanside’s alternative high school, Castleton Academy to bring students back, or keep them from going to, out of district placements.  

Mike has presented at a number of conferences and venues on a wide variety of topics.  In 2008, and 2009, He lectured at the Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism Association of New York’s conference on the use of data in mainstreaming students.  In 2012, he addressed Oceanside’s board of education on the importance of alternative education as well as the need to accept younger students into the program. In 2014 and 2015, Mike presented at the New York State Alternative conference on integrating positive psychology in education.  Most recently, he presented his data collection iPad application, Datability ©, to the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators.

Mike is the recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award from the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (PTA) for his work with children and young adults with disabilities, his dedication to the special needs community, and the development of his social network for special needs families, eSpecialMatch.com.

Denise Radicone –Senior Director of Benefits

As Senior Director of Benefits, Denise manages the administration of all employee benefits including health, welfare, retirement plans and fringe benefits.  Denise is responsible for developing and executing new programs, as well as implementing strategic improvements to existing benefit policies.  She has extensive knowledge and experience in developing and implementing new systems as a means of both streamlining processes and taking advantage of technology to eliminate paper.   Denise provides direction and leadership to three other Benefits professionals in the Office of Human Resources.

Denise has 20 years of Human Resources experience with 18 years in benefits administration.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, NY after three years of undergraduate studies.

Debra Kienke –Superintendent of Special Education, Oceanside UFSD

This July, the New York Council of Administrators of Special Education, or NYCASE, has named Debra Kienke, the Oceanside School District’s director of special education, as 2017’s Special Education Administrator of the Year.

Kienke was selected for the honor out of a pool of special education administrators from across New York State, according to a release. “There is no question that she is perceived as a leader among leaders,” school Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington, who nominated Kienke for the award, said.

“Deb has established a high level of trust and respect with a wide variety of constituents. Her strong interpersonal skills and vast knowledge and expertise regarding special education at all levels add to her success in implementing programs and supports for students with disabilities,” Meg Schlegal, a co-president of NYCASE said in a statement.

Kienke has been credited with creating a vocational lab at the Oceanside Middle School and community-based job sites for high school students with the purpose of preparing students with disabilities for employment after college.

In addition to being named Administrator of the Year, Kienke has served as a president of the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators, as well as the South Shore Consortium.

Meredyth Martini –Director of Special Education, Malverne UFSD

Meredyth Martini, the director of special education for the Malverne School District, was nominated for Special Education Administrator of the Year, a prestigious distinction bestowed upon one individual in the state by the New York Council of Administrators of Special Education.

Martini, who was honored in Saratoga Springs at the organization’s Summer Institute, was among a select pool of highly qualified and highly regarded nominees. She was nominated by Superintendent Dr. James Hunderfund.

“She is an advocate for every child, ensuring that they receive the education and support that they need and deserve,” Hunderfund said. “She has served the children of Malverne with grace and excellence.”

NYCASE, affiliated with the National Council of Administrators of Special Education, is a professional organization of special education administrators dedicated to advocacy on policy issues that benefit students with disabilities and their families and providing professional development and networking for its members.

Leonard Achan

Leonard Achan, RN, MA, ANP, is a healthcare executive, entrepreneur and artist. He is currently the Chief Innovation Officer of Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the world’s leading institution for musculoskeletal health. Mr. Achan has over 18 years of executive and academic healthcare leadership experience in a variety of roles spanning clinical, operational, digital, strategic communications, branding and business development. Prior to joining HSS, he served as Senior Associate Dean for Global Communications, Branding and Reputation at the Icahn School of Medicine while concurrently serving as Chief Communications and Access Officer at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Mr. Achan is also co-founder and Chairman of Quality Reviews, Inc. RateMyHospital.com and serves on boards of private and nonprofit organizations, most recently being appointed to the Board of Trustees of Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. He is also a contributor to Forbes and Huffington Post. Leonard Achan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Adelphi University, a Master’s and Nurse Practitioner degree from New York University, Post Master’s certification in Administration from Villanova University and he is also an alumni and Fellow of The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Achan shares his wealth of knowledge locally and abroad as a lecturer and has taught at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business as well as internationally, at the City University of Hong Kong, The University of Macau, the University of San Carlos and was recently made an Honorary Senior Naval Professor in the Philippines. In his private life, he is a contemporary artist, is married with two children and resides in Nassau County, NY

Joe Pospisil – Vice President, Centro       
Joe Pospisil is Vice President of Client Development for Centro.  He oversees a team of over thirty five sales executives.  Joe and his team are responsible for educating and assisting current Centro clients, as well as increasing the adoption of Centro’s technology and service offerings throughout media agencies and brands in the Northeast.

Prior to joining Centro in the fall of 2009, Joe was the Director of Digital Sales for Sportsnet New York (SNY) and The New York Mets.  He is responsible for Verizon’s customized sponsorship of Metsblog.com – the largest independent sports blog on the web, as well as several exclusive and custom digital executions with Hershey Park, Pepsi, Great Wolf Lodge, Delta and more…

Before SNY, Joe was the Senior Manager for Digital Sales Development at CBS Radio and helped to oversee national digital sales for over 150 radio stations.  Joe graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Communications and holds an MA in Media Management from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business.

Timothy M. Mahoney

Timothy M. Mahoney received his Juris Doctor Degree from City University School of Law in 2002 and his B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999, where he studied Sociology and Music Composition. He is admitted to practice in the State Courts of New York as well as the Federal Courts in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. He represented school districts as an associate with Frazer & Feldman from July, 2004 to April, 2007. He was in private practice from 2007 to 2010 handling matters involving civil litigation, commercial claims, copyright and entertainment law, and representation of students with disabilities in IDEA and student discipline hearings. From 2012-2016, when he became associated with the firm, Timothy served as an Impartial Hearing Officer in New York State, hearing due process challenges in matters involving classification, placement and tuition reimbursement pursuant to IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, and as a hearing officer with the New York City Environmental Control Board. Since his return to Frazer & Feldman, Timothy’s practice has concentrated in the area of special education, including impartial hearings and appeals, and representation of our public school district clients at Section 504 and CSE meetings, student discipline hearings and manifestation determination meetings.

He has lectured for LRP’s National Institute on Legal Issues for Educating Individuals with Disabilities, the National Business Institute and at the Nassau County Education Law Committee on the topics of student discipline and students with disabilities, IEP development, bullying and students with disabilities, and regarding the rights of transgender students in public schools. Timothy has co-authored a number of articles with Laura Ferrugiari of our firm, published in the Nassau Lawyer, the law journal of the Nassau County Bar Association, including “Transgender Students in Schools: a Shifting Spectrum of Gender, Identity, Biology, and Expression” (July 2016), “Permissible Drug Use: The Administration of Medication in the School Setting” (April 2016), and “Endrew F: The U.S. Supreme Court’s New Standard for Students with Disabilities in Practice” (July 2017).