Pupil Services Quarterly

April/May 2020

Supporting All Students

Please allow this e-newsletter to serve as a friendly reminder of our responsibilities to our most vulnerable populations, including our English Learners (EL) and Students with Disabilities (SWD). When we worked within the brick and mortar, you all demonstrated tremendous growth in your ability to incorporate SEI strategies to support our EL students. Additionally, as a district, we were making great strides in providing instruction that incorporated UDL strategies. Please do not give up on the amazing things you were doing! Our students still need these supports.


In this edition, you will find resources to further support our EL students and learn about updates to support our SWD.

English Language Learners

Thank you to Susan and Coleen for working to ensure that all our ELs and FELs are connected to classes. Additionally, thank you for supporting our EL families as we embark on the remote learning journey.


Please read DESE's Message below:

REMOTE LEARNING FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS

State and federal laws require school districts to provide access to academic content and facilitate student progress towards English language proficiency. School districts, including charter schools, need to adapt their English Learner Education (ELE) services to account for remote learning. School districts must meet their legal obligations to ELs, even when students are learning remotely.


While remote learning offers positive opportunities, such as pace-shifting and personalization, student engagement may be challenged by the lack of in-person interaction that ELs may need to increase their English language proficiency. In addition, educators should take into account the wide variety of specific and unique language acquisition needs of all ELs based on their English language proficiency levels. The recommended strategies listed below can help teachers continue providing ELE services and keeping ELs engaged while learning remotely during this period of school closure.


Note: The Office of Language Acquisition will keep updating guidance and strategies as more information becomes available. Furthermore, we will also provide online forums in the future to learn more about district remote learning needs as this situation evolves.


From the ESL Department:

It is true that some of them are on target with assignments, while it is also true that many are falling behind or may not have submitted work at all for one reason or another. Please know that many of them are just trying to sift through the assignments and figuring out where to start and have expressed concern with not being able to keep up. This is a challenge that they often struggle with during in-person school lessons, so this situation has produced a great amount of anxiety for some of them. With the help of many members of our staff, we are doing our best to reassure them and support them as much as we can from a distance. Keeping them motivated and active is a goal for all of us.


A huge THANK YOU to all who have supported and will continue to help the ESL staff with assistance for supporting these students. We appreciate YOU.


Thank you so much for all of your efforts in reaching out to these learners. We are available to continue to support you all as well. Please reach out to us at any time.

IEPs and 504 Plans

IEPs --> Individualized Remote Learning Plans (IRLP)

Please remember that it is important that we continue to implement the services and accommodations outlined in students' IEPs and 504 Plans.


IEPs

Presently, the special education department is working to complete an Individualized Remote Learning Plan for all students on IEPs. The purpose of this plan is to communicate how educational opportunities and services will be delivered to students during the COVID-19 emergency. These documents include

  • service provider contact information
  • special education and related services provided remotely through strategies, assignments, and projects provided to students. This includes the accommodations and modifications taken from PLEP A and B of the IEP
  • schedule of special education and related services provided remotely through virtual, online or telephonic instruction
  • regular and ongoing communication the family may expect from the student's Team


The Special Education Liaisons/Case Managers may reach out to you to confirm that you are implementing and/or providing access to students' accommodations. As they finish the IRLPs, they will be sharing them with the students' general education Team members. Additionally, liaisons/case managers may ask for assistance in collecting data to monitor the student's progress towards goals/objectives. Please be sure to communicate regularly with your liaisons/case managers.


Team Chairs will continue to schedule annual review meetings. Please be on the lookout for calendar invitations. During these meetings, the Team will work to develop and propose an IEP that would support the student as if we were operating under normal conditions. The Team should also discuss the student's participation in remote learning and provide additional supports where needed.



504 Plans

Students on 504 Plans are entitled to the appropriate supports and services documented in their plans. What are appropriate services during remote learning? Take a look at the following examples:

  • check-in for understanding of directions and assignments

    • what does this look like?

      • Teachers will email student to clarify directions;

      • Encourage Student to email his/her teachers for clarification

      • Invite Student to an extra help session to further explain the assignment;

      • Check-in following the date of assignment to check in on progress.

  • Break down multi-step assignments

    • what does this look like?

      • 504 coordinator and his/her teachers will work with student to assist him/her in creating a schedule that works for him/her so that he/she is able to complete work.

  • Extended time, 50% more than typical peers

  • Reduce the required number of required examples if a math assignment is multi-step


Not all accommodations will apply to this type of setting. It is important that 504 coordinators are reaching out to students and their families to ensure that the student is able to access the material.


Building-based 504 coordinators will be working to schedule annual 504 meetings. Please be on the lookout for calendar invites. Additionally, you may be asked to complete a teacher report. Please be timely in returning them to the guidance counselors. During these meetings, the team will work to develop a 504 Plan that would support the student as if we were operating under normal conditions. The team should also discuss the student's participation in remote learning and provide additional supports where needed.

Pupil Services Office

Kate Ryan, Director of Pupil Services

Mary O'Brien, Administrative Assistant