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…]

Backward Design: An Alternative to Grade-Level Retention for Students With Disabilities and Other Struggling Learners

Adam is six years old. Six months into his kindergarten year, Adam’s teachers and administrators are concerned. He is not demonstrating growth toward meeting the state and national benchmarks for kindergarten, and he struggles with even the most basic reading, math, expressive language, and social skills. He also appears not to have the basic prerequisite skills for kindergarten, such as attending, following simple directions, and getting along with peers. He cries frequently and states, “I hate school! I am STUPID!” [Read more…]

Reading Resource Guide

As announced in our last edition of Link Lines, we have new products to help newsletter readers find valuable educational resources related to topics including student engagement, classroom management, and co-teaching.  We have compiled current online resources, arranged them by media type, highlighted the five we found most helpful to practitioners, and identified those that are family-friendly.  View the Reading Resource Guide, compiled by Christine Peterson.  We will share additional guides in the 2017-18 editions of Link Lines.

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…]

Creating Synergy: Lesson Design in a Co-Taught Classroom

By Christine Peterson, M.Ed., and Lee Anne Sulzberger, M.Ed.
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).

[Read more…]