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

April 10, 2024 | Issue 125 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

School Transportation Safety Listening Sessions Intro graphic

School Transportation Safety Listening Sessions

The NJ Department of Education wants to hear about your school transportation concerns!


  • Welcome
  • Overview of the new Office of School Bus Safety: James Scaringelli, Director
  • Listening Session

Three online dates and times are upcoming. Click below to register:

If you need any language accommodations or assistance, please contact Kerry McGrath at 609-904-4516 or

The sessions are co-sponsored by the NJ Department of Education, The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD), and SPAN.

Photo of Carolyn Hayer holding her award

Pictured are Carolyn Hayer (Center) with Myriam Alizo (left) and Myriam's daughter Victoria Alizo (right).

Carolyn Hayer Presented with Champion of Peace Award by Rotary District 7490

The Rotary District 7490 held its annual Champions of Peace awards on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at the Fair Lawn Community Center, Fair Lawn, NJ. A Champion of Peace is someone who exemplifies the motto of Rotary “Service Above Self” and makes a positive difference in the lives of people in the communities in which they live.


One of the honorees was our own Executive Director, Carolyn Hayer. Carolyn was nominated by Myriam Alizo, member of the Paramus Sunrise Rotary. Carolyn’s dedication to the disability advocacy cause has not gone unnoticed and we could not be more proud. The other honoree from the Paramus Sunrise Rotary Club was Charlene Viger who was nominated for her involvement in educational justice. Carolyn and Charlene are part of a group of honorees that are making a positive difference in the world, one step at a time, keeping the spirit of service alive.

Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world. To learn more about them, visit

Congratulations Carolyn!


NJ Department of Education logo

NJDOE Releases 2022-2023 School Performance Reports

On April 3, the New Jersey Department of Education released the latest School Performance Report, which includes enrollment data from the last full school year. School districts are scored from 0 to 100 based on factors like standardized test scores, student academic growth and graduation rates, among other metrics. Some measures, like academic growth, are now included in reports again after the NJ Department of Education canceled statewide assessments in 2019-20 and 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can click the report website link above to see how your local school district scored.

For more on the release, including how the summative scores were calculated, what the scores and ratings actually mean, and which districts were the top and bottom performers, click here.

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Black Maternal Health Week 2024

Is From April 11-17

“Our Bodies STILL Belong to Us: Reproductive Justice NOW!”

Held annually on April 11-17th, Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is a week-long campaign founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance​ to build awareness, activism, and community-building​ to amplify ​the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black Mamas and birthing people. The week is intentionally held during National Minority Health Month and begins on April 11th annually to join dozens of global organizations in marking this day as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights – an opportunity to advocate for the elimination of maternal mortality globally. The activities and conversations hosted throughout the week intentionally center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.

To learn more about BMHW, click here.

To support BMHW, click the HRSA Maternal & Child Health link here.

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2024 Abilities Expo is May 3-5

New Jersey

Convention and Expo Center

Edison, NJ

Free to Attend, Free Parking

What can you experience at the Expo?

  • Products, services and resources to increase your independence.
  • An all-inclusive rock-climbing experience.
  • Special events like dance performances from the world-famous Rollettes, a screening of a new TV show from quad racecar driver Torsten Gross and more.
  • Service dogs.
  • Adaptive sports like basketball, climbing, golf, hockey, tennis and fitness.
  • Free workshops. Get expert advice on accessible travel, home remodeling, therapy animals, financial planning, complex caregiving, pediatric seating solutions, tips and tricks for wheelchair maintenance and more.
  • CEU-earning session from Quantum Rehab geared for OTs, PTs and rehab specialists.
  • Free wheelchair repair.
  • Complimentary loaner scooters. Available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Free, accessible, round-trip shuttle between Metuchen Station and the Expo for those traveling by public transportation.

To learn more and register, 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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Helping Your Child Finish the School Year Strong

Wednesday, April 24, 7:00 PM

via Zoom

Join us to learn what families can do to ensure student success in the final weeks of the school year.

  • Learn tips for communicating with your child’s teacher
  • Review data and reports that impact student learning
  • Hear about initiatives at the district & state level
  • Identify resources you can carry over beyond June

This webinar will be conducted by SPAN's START Program. Should you have any questions, please contact Stefanie Babits at

To register, please click here.

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

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SPAN Youth Hub graphic showing an image of Spring flowers

The Start of Spring

Read our latest youth blog post, "The Start of Spring," to kick off Spring 2024 and let the positives of the new season begin.

To access the post, click here.

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