Co-Teaching Partnerships:Planning for a New School Year

The start of a new school year is a great time to implement new instructional practices and refresh old ones. Schools have been providing co-teaching as a service delivery model for students with disabilities for more than two decades (Friend, 2014). Each year, new co-teaching partnerships initiate and veteran teams renew their instructional plans and commitments to the purpose of co-teaching: to ensure academic progress for students with disabilities in the general education curriculum. [Read more…]

Creating Synergy: Lesson Design in a Co-Taught Classroom

In recent years, co-teaching has become a popular service delivery model for meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Co-taught lessons must be carefully planned with the curriculum and student needs in mind. As such, co-teachers are accountable for designing and delivering specially designed instruction and providing opportunities for students to reach their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals within the general education classroom. When designing instruction, partners collaboratively make decisions about grouping students for instructional activities, the co-teaching approaches to use within a lesson, teacher roles and responsibilities during instruction,and methods for student progress monitoring (Friend, 2014).

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Lesson Design for an Inclusive Classroom

Inclusion is a belief system that values diversity and fosters a shared responsibility to help all students to reach their potential (Villa & Thousand, 2005).

Creating an inclusive classroom requires the orchestration of multiple fundamental practices, including:

  • Flexibility of teaching modes, learning styles, assessment, and grouping;
  • Ongoing assessment, both formal and informal;
  • Grouping by readiness, interests, learning styles, and size – whole class, small group, pairs, individual;
  • Appropriate challenge with interesting and engaging learning tasks that take students from where they are to where they need to be;
  • Student-teacher collaboration where students are consciously providing information about their learning, and making responsible choices, and teachers are assessing, conferencing, and adjusting accordingly.

(Adapted from Fattig & Taylor, 2008) [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…]

Math Co-teaching Academies: Algebraic Thinking and Reasoning in the Co-taught Secondary Mathematics Class

The Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Education Instructional Services in consultation with the Office of Mathematics and Governor’s Schools is sponsoring two Math Co-teaching Academies.  The academies are designed for school teams of mathematics and special education teachers working together to enhance all student outcomes, especially students with disabilities.  The focus will be utilizing co-teaching approaches to deliver specially designed instruction that includes the evidence-based practices of vocabulary instruction and the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) sequence.  Participants will also learn how to integrate formative assessment in their classrooms to develop data-driven tiered systems of support and design instruction to meet individual student needs.  The Academies will be held: [Read more…]

Co-Teaching Demonstration Sites in Region 3

The Virginia Department of Education has identified 27 co-teaching demonstration sites through the Excellence in Co-Teaching Initiative. These model sites provide opportunities for co-teaching partners across the state to observe excellence in co-teaching.  The sites highlight research-based inclusive practices to meet the needs of all students within the general education classroom.  At each model site, the co-teaching teams share with visitors co-planning, co-instructing, and co-assessing practices that have moved their co-taught students to success.   Within Region 3, the following co-teaching teams have been identified to serve as model sites read more