Special Education News

Below you will find initiatives that may affect you

This information was originally intended to be presented at a building meeting. Thank you for supporting special educators and students with disabilities! Please let Jess Perry, Jess Hassell or Phil know if you have any questions.

Collaborative Classrooms

We are fortunate to have an inclusive school that utilizes collaborative classrooms to give all students the access to the least restrictive environment. The collaborative model may look different day to day depending on the activities planned or the students in those classrooms. Some lessons or assessments may need to be modified for students depending on their needs. The collaborative class also allows case managers to work with students on some of the Student Led IEP activities as well as some of the requirements needed to re-qualify students for special education services. Many teachers are now getting involved in the Collaborative SIT Subcommittee which is a great forum to discuss the various components of teaching in a collaborative classroom.

Assisting Students in Transition

Statistics show that students leaving high school and are not prepared to either enter post secondary education or the work force. This is especially true for students with disabilities. Over the past few years, the high school personnel has focused on improving our transitioning activities for all students especially those with disabilities. Unfortunately, these activities may take the students out of the classroom. Although missing content is important, some students truly need these other supports in order to set them up for success upon graduation. For example, the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) which is federally funded, offers vocational assessments through West Bay Collaborative. Students have the opportunity to work at several job sites in order for ORS to assess their skills at various jobs. This provides valuable information to the IEP team, guidance counselors, and families but is only able to be done during the school day.

Student Led IEP's

Throughout the past few years, there has been an emphasis on Student-Led IEPs. This year Paul Vigeant sent the attached letter home to families regarding our high school’s practices. Students who participate in the process of creating their IEP become more involved in their education and transitioning planning. However, this vital process takes time. Teachers may notice that students are being pulled out of the classrooms to conduct transition assessments, work on writing their IEP with their case manager, or to complete educational testing.

The overall outcome is to help students achieve their postsecondary goals. These are nationally used activities that can help them reach their full potential. Every effort will be made to reduce missing class time but the hope is that everyone understands the importance of this work and the initiative of conducting Student Led IEP meetings for all students. Therefore, students may need to make up some work due to being out of the classroom but if teachers are able to modify assignments so that students do not feel overwhelmed when returning to class that would be extremely helpful. Students should not be held solely responsible since these activities are based on the student’s IEP goals and transition services that the school is legally obligated to provide.

Qualifying students for special education services

In order to initially qualify or re-qualify a student with a learning disability, the evaluation team must collect six to eight data points in each area of need (reading/writing/math). In order to do this effectively, the team needs every teacher to help to collect this information. Many teachers use aspen which is a great resource to easily track data in these three areas of need. A case manager or a person from the evaluation team may contact the teachers on the student’s schedule and ask teachers to collect data over a 30-60 day period which will be used to determine eligibility. Data can include both formative and summative assessments. The key is that we need to compare that data with the data from an average peer in that class or use the class average. Some examples of data: comprehension questions, class work, quizzes/tests, writing pieces (small responses or essays).