Balanced Rosters in Co-Taught Classes: A Critical Factor in Successful Co-Teaching

Administrators consider a number of factors when planning for co-taught classroom assignments. At the top of the list is thoughtful personnel assignment. While matching co-teaching partners based on their skills and collaborative styles is extremely important, careful consideration of the students assigned to their classes is just as critical. Administrators should not automatically place every student with an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) in a co-taught class (Friend, Hamby, & McAdams, 2014). Similarly, they should avoid the temptation to assign students with 504 Plans, students who are English Language Learners (ELL), students with behavioral concerns, and other struggling learners to co-taught classrooms. [Read more…]

Co-Planning and Co-Teaching for Student Success E-Learning

A productive collaborative relationship between co-teaching partners helps maximize the resource of two professionals in an inclusive classroom, and improves outcomes for their students. The Co-Planning and Co-Teaching for Student Success learning module provides basic information for professionals currently engaged in or considering a co-teaching model to support students with mild to moderate disabilities within a general education setting. This module offers a structure and tools for developing effective collaborative relationships between general and special education teachers in co-taught classrooms.

The Principles of Universal Design for Learning and Accessible Learning

The mandate to make curricula accessible to all learners has been embedded into recent educational legislation that defines and endorses the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the 2016 National Education Technology Plan build on the work of The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). UDL was first defined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) as follows:

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Strategic and Specially Designed Instruction: Leveraging Data Sources to Ensure General Curriculum Access

Students with disabilities are faced with a variety of challenges as they encounter the general education curriculum. To ensure that students have meaningful access to and make progress in the general education curriculum, the special education teacher must strategically design supports and instruction. Developing an individualized educational program (IEP) requires a thoughtful review of all of the available data sources before drafting the IEP. [Read more…]

Specially Designed Instruction: The Importance of Specific Strategy Instruction

Students with disabilities and other struggling learners often experience intense anxiety and frustration when asked to perform new tasks or master new content. Such frustration results from uncertainty about their learning process. Students who don’t have a systematic method for approaching learning tasks tend to struggle when required to acquire new knowledge or apply prior learning to new tasks. This ongoing struggle leads to cumulative skill gaps and can result in a pattern of learned helplessness (Reid, Hagaman & Lienemann, 2013, p. 9). [Read more…]

Aligning and Coordinating Instruction for Students With Disabilities Across Tiers

Students with and without disabilities are expected to master grade-level standards. For students with disabilities who are eligible for special education services, an individualized educational program (IEP) provides academic and behavioral supports designed to level the playing field and create opportunities to succeed in the general education curriculum (Florida Department of Education, 2013). While IEPs should be standards-based, they are not verbatim restatements of grade-level standards or lists of standards from lower grades (Virginia Department of Education, 2011). The annual goals stated in an IEP should be based on the student’s present level of performance and should provide a detailed structure for assisting the student in building the skills required to meet the demands of grade-level standards. This detailed structure is the foundation for specially designed instruction (SDI) (Batsche, 2015). [Read more…]

Close Reading, Text Annotation, Text-Dependent Questions, and Paired Passages – Oh My!!!

Take a deep breath. There is no need to take cover. Terms like close reading, text annotation, text-dependent questions, and paired passages are not passing fads in education. Instead, they represent a return to building inspired, engaged, independent readers. They represent promising practices for developing strategic readers, including students with disabilities (SWD) (Katz & Carlise, 2009). This article will link teachers to resources to help implement these high-yield strategies in support of rigorous college- and career-ready expectations for all students. [Read more…]

Bridging the Gap: Access to the General Education Curriculum

archpuzzleExpectations for students in Virginia are high, as laid out in explicit detail in the Curriculum Framework documents that support the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL).  The SOL, in turn, are aligned with College and Career Readiness priorities.  The targets are the same for all students, including students with disabilities (SWD). The best way to bridge the gap that currently exists in graduation rates and postsecondary outcomes between SWD and their nondisabled peers is to improve meaningful access to the general education curriculum. [Read more…]