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…]

Giving Students the Tools to Grow: Lifelong Learners and Productive Members of a Global Society

How would educators reply if asked why they originally entered and remain in their professional positions? Most likely, their answer would be that they care deeply about the success, happiness, and safety of their students in school and in life. A word cloud, like the one pictured below, prominently displays those words in a group that occur with the highest frequency. This word cloud was created by pasting mission statements of school divisions from across the Commonwealth of Virginia into a word cloud creator. As one might expect, the word “students” appears as the most important focus in schools.

[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…]