A Self-Reflection Tool to Facilitate Growth as a Co-Teaching Team (Podcast included within article)

By Daria Lorio-Barsetn, M.Ed., and Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed.

Growth and self-transformation cannot be delegated.
Lewis Mumford*

Self-reflection and continual growth are critical to success for educational professionals.  To facilitate this process, this article provides an introduction to a self-reflection tool to guide co-teachers through personalized professional improvement as a co-teaching team. [Read more…]

Learning Goal-Driven Instructional Design: Aligning Student Needs, Goals, Standards, and Specially Designed Instruction

Students with disabilities (SWD) are entitled to learning goal-driven instruction that takes into careful consideration student need, academic standards, and specially designed instruction (SDI).  The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 2004) and the more recently decided Supreme Court Case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (2017), assert that the quality and effectiveness of a child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) must be “… appropriately ambitious …” and include “… challenging objectives ….”  In short, teachers are required to provide instruction that is adapted to meet the specific needs of SWD so that they can achieve the same educational standards and goals as students without disabilities.  [Read more…]

IEP Accommodations: Choose Wisely

Accommodations are an integral part of a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) when providing access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. Accommodations do not change the content or expectation of performance outcomes. They do allow teachers to assess students on their “abilities, rather than [their] disabilities” (National Center on Educational Outcomes, Overview, para. 1, 2016). Thus, teachers and school staff make accommodations to the environment or curriculum, based on the needs of individual students, not on the disability category or instructional setting. For instance, Braille is not an appropriate or effective accommodation for all students with visual impairments, just as all students with autism do not require augmentative communication devices. With appropriate accommodations, students with disabilities can independently demonstrate what they have learned during instruction (Virginia Department of Education [VDOE], 2017).

[Read more…]

Writing Standards-Based IEP Goals

Updated by Debbie Grosser, Ed.D. and Susan Jones, M.Ed.

In 2011, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) introduced Standards-Based Individualized Education Programs (SB IEPs).  As a result of the Dear Colleague letter issued by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in November, 2015, VDOE updated its guidance document (March, 2016). As noted in this document, all students eligible for special education services are required to have SB IEPs “to ensure that children with disabilities are held to high expectations and have meaningful access to a State’s academic content standard” (p. 9).   Use of SB IEPs is viewed as a mechanism for moving students with disabilities forward to on-time graduation with a standard diploma.  The focus is on increasing access to the general education curriculum as defined by the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL), as well as providing specialized instruction to address need areas, including functional and basic skills. [Read more…]

Resource Highlight – Center for Family Involvement

The Center for Family Involvement at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University partners with the Virginia Departments of Education and Health, the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and others in supporting a variety of activities to strengthen family involvement.

The Center for Family Involvement works with families to increase their skills as advocates, mentors, and leaders so that families, children, and young adults with disabilities can lead the lives they want.

Through the Family to Family Network of Virginia program, the center provides emotional, informational and systems navigational support to families.  A Family Navigator can provide:

  • One-to-one emotional support
  • Information, referral, and linkages to services for the child with a disability
  • Enhanced support and tools to help plan for service meetings (i.e., Individual Family Service Plan, Individual Education Program, Individual Service Plan)
  • Culturally sensitive and unbiased information to assist families in making the best choices for their child and family
  • Workshops and educational opportunities

There are six offices across Virginia staffed by parents of children and adults with disabilities. To receive support, families can call the toll-free line, 877-567-1122 or visit the website and click on the Family to Family Network tab.

Inclusion Project Event Mini-Grants – Application Due November 15, 2018

The Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with the Partnership for People with Disabilities, supports the Inclusion Project, a youth-led initiative to increase disability awareness in schools. More information about the Inclusion Project can be found here.

This year, the Inclusion Project is pleased to announce it is offering up to 10 mini-grants (max: $2,000) to support schools interested in planning an Inclusion Project event. If you are interested in promoting inclusion in your schools, please apply for a mini-grant here.

Applications due November 15, 2018

 

High Leverage Practices and Specially Designed Instruction: Powerful Means to Address Students’ Learning Needs and Ensure Positive Academic Outcomes

Patricia, a 24-year veteran teacher with secondary co-teaching experience in English 9 and Earth Science, poses the following question:

“How do we, my co-teacher and I, deliver a standards-based curriculum in a manner that is accessible and effective for ALL our students including those with disabilities?” [Read more…]

Resource Spotlight: Comprehensive Classroom Management Tool

By Nick Kier, M.A.T., Daria Lorio-Barsten, M.Ed., and Kara McCulloch, M.S.

The task of observing and providing feedback on teacher classroom management can be overwhelming.  Multiple evidence-based practices, including the physical structure, student engagement, teacher use of praise and corrective statements, and other techniques, can impact behavior in a classroom (Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch, Myers, & Sugai, 2008) and, therefore, need to be taken into consideration. [Read more…]

Power Tools: IEP Planning and Specially Designed Instruction

By Susan Jones, M.S.Ed., and Shelley Littleton, M.Ed.

Every new school year brings the opportunity to reflect and look forward. If organization, data collection, and designing specialized instruction for your students with disabilities are a challenge for you, search no more. We have two resources that will help in all these areas. [Read more…]

Co-Teacher Leaders – Livingston Elementary School

By Donni Davis-Perry, M.Ed. and Shelley Littleton, M.Ed.

Are you interested in learning ways to provide specially designed instruction within the co-taught classroom? Watch as co-teacher leaders Michael Hurley and Carolyn Laudicina describe in the video below how they co-teach and monitor the progress of students with disabilities within the general education setting. [Read more…]