Library Book Suggestions – November 2015

In recognition of November as Family Involvement Month in Schools , we are sharing the following books that are available for check out from the T/TAC William & Mary Library.

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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.

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I’m Determined Tools: Web Apps Now Available!

I’m Determined, a state directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities for students to learn and practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. Many students have used the One Pager, Good Day Plan, and Goal Setting tools to support self-determined behaviors such as choice-making, self-awareness, and self-advocacy (Wehmeyer & Field, 2007). The IMD3 app has a dashboard that allows teachers to keep track of individual student progress on all three tools. [Read more…]

Developing Self-Determination Skills Through Student-Led IEPs

The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is “… to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living …” (IDEA, 2004, §601(d)(1)(A)). In order to prepare students for these future endeavors, IDEA requires the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) defined as a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with 34 CFR 300.320 through 300.324, and that must include:

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Feedback – Teacher to Student


Amy is nine years old and receives special education services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability. After receiving her first graded assignment from her teacher, Ms. Smith, Amy was devastated. On the first day of school, Ms. Smith instructed the class to write a paragraph about their summer vacation. Amy was enthusiastic to write about her family’s trip to Disneyland. Despite her challenges with writing, Amy worked hard to begin each sentence with a capital letter and end with a period. She paid careful attention to the writing skills she had learned the previous school year. She capitalized proper nouns, sounded out words for spelling, and wrote neatly between the guide lines. Amy was proud as she turned in her essay and anxiously anticipated her writing conference with Ms. Smith. [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…]

November is Family Involvement In Education Month

Governor Terrance R. McAuliffe, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Steven R. Staples and the Virginia Department of Education recognize November 2015 as Family Involvement Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The importance of parental involvement in schools is well documented. Over 30 years of research shows that one of the most effective ways to increase student achievement is for parents to be actively involved in the education of their children.

The Virginia Department of Education is committed to improving parent and family involvement for all students including students with disabilities.  Click here to find resources on family involvement in education.

“Families and Schools – Perfect Partners for Student Success”



Co-Teaching Demonstration Sites in Region 3

The Virginia Department of Education has identified 24 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 students to success. Within Region 3, the following teams have been identified to serve as model sites:

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T/TAC William and Mary Welcomes Susan Jones

sjones5T/TAC W&M is pleased to welcome Susan Jones, our newest Project Specialist team member. Susan brings broad expertise and experience as an elementary special education teacher and as a special education instructional leader. Susan has  provided instructional coaching and leadership support to general and special education teachers implementing inclusive practices for students with disabilities in general education. Susan earned her Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia and her Master’s degrees in Special Education and Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University.

We are happy to welcome Susan Jones to T/TAC W&M, where she will be working with other Specialists, Co-Directors, and administrative team members to provide quality services to educational professionals serving students with disabilities in Superintendents Regions 2 and 3.