2
December

When and How to Reject your IEP

NAPSEA National Association for Professional Special Education Advocates

Rejecting Your Child’s IEP

In an ideal world, you and the school department will be in complete agreement about what your child needs to succeed…. But, lets get back into the real world for a minute. The IEP proposed by the school district may not include everything that your child needs. What do you do? Most parents will reject the IEP. This is a mistake! Now before you yell at me, I don’t mean that you should accept the IEP as written, what I mean is there is a right way to reject the IEP. You must reject only the parts that you don’t agree with and/or the parts that are missing. Well that sounds easy, but what should it look like?

Did you know that if you don’t write the rejection the right way, your child could lose precious time by not getting some of the services that they need? What about when the school department won’t give you a placement or a program until you sign? How do you reject something that isn’t there?

How to draft your rejection of the IEP?

  1. Write it like you would write a letter
  2. Use headers and sections to identify each area that you are rejecting
  3. Indicate what you want in the section so that you would accept it
  4. For components that are missing, ‘I reject the missing component/service/program of the IEP…..’
  5. To ensure that the parts of the IEP that are not rejected are provided to your child, always use this final statement, ‘Notwithstanding this rejection, all other parts of the IEP not rejected, should be considered accepted and should be implemented immediately’
  6. Always request a meeting to discuss the rejected portions of the IEP
  7. Make sure that you have some documentation or data to support what and why you are rejecting

Get some professional help

Talk to a special education advocate or an attorney to see if you may need some professional help. There are many resources available so that you don’t have to go it alone. You want your child to have the best available to them for their education. Your child only has one chance to get an education. When you are in High School, you can’t go back to elementary school and do things over again. If your child is in High School, you can’t go back to school once you graduate, so make the most of the time you have now.

For more information or to find an advocate or attorney in your area, visit www.napsea.co

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5
October

The Western Albemarle High School 2011-12 Collaborative Consensus Document

NAPSEA National Association for Professional Special Education Advocates

The Western Albemarle High School 2011-12 Collaborative Consensus Document

Western Albemarle High School

Collaborative Consensus Document DRAFT

April 18, 2011

 

Groundwork Committees

 

General Education: Peggy Anderson, Dan Bledsoe, Adam Mulcahy, Shanna Hogberg, Beth White

Special Education: Suzanne Fladd, Rick Roderick, John Ratcliffe, Cindy Frazer, Robyn Crusselle Evans, Jason Collier, Pete Keyser, Sandy Keyser, Phil Gahring, Kip Chatterson, Ed Pierce, Jake Desch

Building Administration: Dave Francis, Greg Domecq, Bobbi Hughes, Tim Driver

Central Office: Kevin Kirst

Guidance: Amy Wright, Heather Lindsay, Shelby Poole, Bob Jahrsdoerfer, Erin Rittenhouse

 

Steering Committee

 

General Education:  Beth White

Special Education:     Rick Roderick, Suzanne Fladd

Building Admin:         Greg Domecq

Central Office:           Kevin Kirst

Guidance:                   Amy Wright

 

1)      What should the goal of collaboration in our school be?

 

The goal of collaboration should be to afford all students the opportunity to understand the curriculum pursuant to their needs.  Instruction should account for the reading levels of the students with the purpose of improving the literacy for all students in all subject areas. 

 

2)      What should our model look like?

 

a)      Overall

i)        Small classes

ii)       Teachers experienced in content and learning strategies

iii)     Teachers who want to work with struggling students and who want to work in a collaborative classroom

iv)     Common planning for teachers

 

b)      Before school starts

i)        Planning time during pre-service week

ii)       A collaboration plan that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of each teacher and seeks to balance the responsibilities of teaching and assessing the students

iii)     Timely access to literacy and achievement information

iv)     Access to professional development in the area of collaboration and literacy

v)      Equal access to school records and electronic gradebooks

 

c)      During the school year

i)        Teachers

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(1)   Use of common planning for lesson planning, grading, parent contact, administrative tasks

(2)   Use of collaboration mentors and administration to mediate difficulties that arise in the collaboration relationship

(3)   At least one observation (45 min) during each of the first three nine weeks of other collaborative classrooms to help build the repertoire of strategies that may work with our own students. This observation should be documented in the Collaborative Journal listing one instructional note that may be added to the observing teacher’s lesson

(4)   PLC’s comprised of collaborative teachers who teach the same students

 

ii)       Instruction

(1)   Varied classroom activities that include a “change in state” every 15-20 minutes

(2)   Differentiation

(3)   Instruction at the students’ instructional or independent reading levels

(4)   Observance of students’ IEP accommodations

(5)   Use of the Marilyn Friend strategies:

(i)      Whole class instruction

(ii)    Station teaching

(iii)   Parallel teaching

(iv)  Alternative teaching

(v)    One teach-one assist/teaming/tag team teaching

 

 

3)      What classes should be collaborated? (Priorities)

 

Level I        English 9, 10, 11, 12; Skills (Pre-Alg); Algebra I; AFDA; Geometry

Level II      Earth Science, Biology, World History I, US History, Animal Science

Level III     Algebra II, Government, World History II, Ecology

Level IV    Chemistry

 

 

4)      What should the “make-up” of our classes be?

 

a)      Maximum of 24 students per class

b)      Maximum of 8 designated Collaboration Mandated Special Education students per class.

c)      Maximum of 17 students in classes that are not collaborated with a Special Education teacher. These classes should be assisted with an aide

 

 

5)      What should administration and central office do to support the program?

a)      Seek input from teachers regarding collaboration pairings

b)      Provide common planning

c)      Include both teachers’ names on student schedules and report cards

d)      Ensure that both teachers have equal access to records

e)      Ensure that both teachers get a substitute when absent, whenever possible.

f)        Provide time for collaborative work:

i)        Pay collaborative teams for summer planning (8 hours per teacher). Must have prior administrative approval

ii)       Give collaborative teams large blocks of time during pre-school week to prepare

iii)     Pay for one day per nine weeks for planning if collaborative teams do not have common planning

iv)     Support PLC’s comprised of collaborative teams

v)      The awarding of professional development points for after-hours planning is possible with prior administrative approval

 (g) Encourage “looping” as often as possible, especially at the 9th and 10th grade level.

       (h) Special Education teachers should reserve one care period per week to provide some   

             time to work with their caseload           

 

6)      What should collaborative professional development look like?

a)      Mentoring by lead collaborative teams

b)      Pre-service workshop on collaboration

c)      End-of-year reflections and suggestions

d)      Opportunities for Special Education teachers to become highly qualified in specific subject areas

e)      Observations of other collaborative teams

f)        Professional conferences (i.e. Reading First Academy)

g)      PLC’s focused on collaboration

 

7)      How should the program be evaluated?

a)      Surveys from students, parents, and teachers

b)      Assessments that reflect growth in literacy (DRP, DSA, Oral Fluency)

c)      Report card grades

d)      Literacy profile data and anecdotal evidence used to monitor literacy progress

e)      Growth in literacy indicated by an increase in SOL scores (not just pass rates) for standard level students 

f)        Discussions between teacher and administrator during Teacher Performance Appraisals and other evaluations

g)      Journal entries from each of the first three grading periods will be submitted to the administrator overseeing the program. These weekly entries should address what is going well, what needs attention, and what teachers plan to do next

h)      Continuation of the collaboration review process every spring

Greg Domecq is in his eighth year as the Associate Principal at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia. In May of 2009, Domecq was presented the Alton L. Taylor Award from the University of Virginia Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa naming him the outstanding administrator in the region. Domecq’s current responsibilities at Western include support for the English and Special Services Departments as well as the collaborative initiative, coordinating substitutes, the honor council, transportation, and 10th & 11th grade discipline. Over the years at WAHS, Dr. Domecq has also had oversight of the athletic department, Physical Education Department, textbooks, and teacher duty. On the county level, Domecq served on several committees including the School Business Alliance, the high school discipline steering committee, the behavior management committee, the International Baccalaureate Exploratory team, and the Teacher Performance Appraisal Steering Committee. He is credited with writing the TPA Process Manual, a user-friendly handbook that outlines the implementation of the Teacher Performance Appraisal model.

During Domecq’s tenure at the Crozet school, the Warriors have been recognized for several outstanding accomplishments. A few of these accolades are as follows:

In 2004 Domecq earned his doctorate in Administration and Supervision from the Curry School at the University of Virginia. His minor areas included Curriculum and Instruction as well as Social Foundations in Education. His dissertation topic, “A Ninth Grade Transition Program, ” studied the results of the Summer Leadership Academy at Monticello High School. Domecq has given numerous presentations in the Charlottesville area including visits to the University of Virginia, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Mary Baldwin College, State Farm Insurance, and the Waynesboro Kiwanis Club.

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3
October

Differentiation and the Achievement Gap

Differentiation and the Achievement Gap

RUNNING HEAD:  DIFFERENTIATION AND THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP

Differentiation and the Achievement Gap

 

Debra Isenberger

 

Argosy University

Abstract

 

Teachers are faced with ever-increasing pressures of closing the achievement gap across the nation. While schools struggle to meet AYP and teachers get creative, some question the fairness of targeting low-achieving students while higher-achieving students remain stagnant. The primary focus of this paper is on one school district that is achieving success and providing incentives for merit students as well as lower levels.

Differentiation and the Achievement Gap

 

Differentiation” is the new terminology that is flooding the market in the education arena. In spite of its challenges, it is not going to go away anytime in the near future. Research abounds and data supports it. It holds many advocates and like any new strategy or change, it will be faced with opposition. Administrations promote it and professional development opportunities are made available for development of staff.

 

            Traditionally, teachers “taught to the middle.” Faced with growing numbers of students with more diverse backgrounds and abilities, the attitude was that if teachers focused on the majority of the population, most of the students would “get it.” With a new view that required teachers to focus on a wider range of students, teachers became frustrated at the impossibility of assuring success to all concerned while keeping the “powers that be” happy. Special education teachers are overwhelmed with caseloads so that their efforts are becoming strained. While the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) raises expectations, budgets are being lowered. High poverty schools already face populations that are not as well prepared for school as more affluent ones, so the readiness gap is increased. The “middle” is smaller. If teachers continue to focus on that group, the majority of students will be left out. The students who are performing at the highest levels will be the ones who get left out. While lower-performing students demand more time and attention, the higher achieving students’ needs to be challenged could become ignored. How do administrators and teachers meet the array of needs in a regular classroom that continues to grow in size? Is it fair to the students at the top end of the spectrum?

 

            Tomlinson says it is “unfair to assume there is only one way to differentiate….there is no recipe for teaching. Teaching requires ‘broader brushstrokes as opposed to paint by number’ methods” (Tomlinson, 2000). She believes that it is not fair to create standardized tests under these circumstances. We need to adjust the content, process, and the product of teaching and learning. There are many ways of doing this through creating small groups of various abilities, preteaching, reteaching, scaffolding activities, previewing, and varying our expectations for various students.

 

            Teachers need to increase levels of motivation, and students need to be excited about learning. Instructors are faced with the challenge of creating a desire within the students to enter the classroom and then keep them engaged once they arrive. This can be done by providing more hands-on, relevant activities and open-ended questions to make them think. The days of memorization and recalling facts are gone. With the advent of technology, students need more stimulation. Their experiences demand it. Surrounded by technology at home through the use of television, electronic games, computers, and the Internet, students are accustomed to having access to information at their fingertips. Competition-driven companies encourage students to seek newer and better products that propel the educational arena into the future. Pressures from the NCLB legislation and the threat of ever-decreasing funding adds tension to otherwise struggling administrations.  More demands are placed on teachers who are struggling to keep up with the students as they try to meet AYP in their classrooms.

 

            Two teachers from urban, poverty schools developed a plan of action that meets the criteria for differentiation. They developed an acronym of REACH to outline the plan. REACH stands for “reflection on will and skill, evaluation of the curriculum, analyze the learners, craft research-based lessons, and hone in on the data” (Rock, Gregg, Ellis, and Gable, 2008). They identify benchmarks with five quality indicators to describe their efforts. The five benchmarks are the teacher, learner, content, instruction, and assessment.

 

            In regards to the teacher, he or she should be appreciative and recognize the plethora of abilities in the classroom. He or she needs to be committed to the process and dedicated to the students and to the willingness to change his or her methodology. The first question that should be considered is “What about me?” The teacher needs to assess current content knowledge and skills before moving forward. “What are my current practices?” and “What are my available resources?” The teacher needs to reflect often and collaborate with colleagues. He or she needs to be flexible enough to change plans or change direction.

 

In Washington County, Maryland, benchmark assessments are given three times per year. These benchmarks follow the same guidelines as the Maryland State assessment (MSA). At the beginning of the year, the first benchmark test is a diagnostic assessment. At this point, teachers are able to determine the levels of performance of each of his or her students. It is crucial for the teacher to examine his or her own practices at this time to match teaching with learning. It is advantageous at this juncture to assess multiple intelligences and learning styles so that students can demonstrate mastery in their most comfortable format and learn in their most natural style, whether it be auditory, tactile/kinesthetic, or visual. It is up to the teacher to vary his or her methodologies to meet theses individual styles. The second benchmark is formative. The results are used to adjust lessons and to make arrangements for individual or small-group intervention strategies. Teacher use a district-wide Classroom-Focused Intervention Plan (CFIP) at this time to incorporate reteaching and objective-centered lessons to increase performance on the upcoming MSA. The third assessment is the evaluative assessment. This assessment is often given after the MSA and is used as part of the students’ final marking period grade, giving it purpose and relevance to the students at a point in time when they know the all-important state assessment is over. It is important to note that all assessments are formative; they can be used to adjust instruction throughout the year and beyond.

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            Rock, et al identifies the second avenue, which is the content variable. “What content is there? Why should they care?” Although the curriculum may be guided by the state, it is important that the teacher and the students have some choices so that they can feel like they have ownership in the lessons and in their own teaching and learning. Students need time to internalize the content before rushing on to the next objective to meet the demands of a calendar. Schumm et al (1994) provides a triangle that REACH utilized. The triangle demonstrates that the base contains the information that all students know, the middle contains the information that most students know, and the top contains the information that some students know. By preassessing students, a teacher can determine where to start teaching in the content area. Informal and formal assessments throughout a unit will help to place students in the triangle.    

 

Another step of REACH is to analyze the learner. “Who are they?” Gather specific information about each child. Spend time talking to the kids and getting to know them personally but more importantly, learn “how they think.” What are their Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)? What cultures are represented in the classroom? How should they be grouped? Who are the highest-level performing students and the lowest-level? Would it be beneficial to pair up higher level with lower level students for an activity? Some cultures have differences of which we are not aware.  

 

            Lessons should be research-based. “What methods are best suited to the students?” A variety of teaching strategies and tools should be utilized—direct instruction, graphic organizers, whiteboards, choral responses, Think-Pair-Share opportunities, and immediate feedback are very useful.  

 

Lastly, there is a need to examine the data. “How did it go? How do I know?” Through reflection, teachers can discover which methods worked, which ones need to be tossed or modified, and which students were more engaged and successful. One fifth grade teacher used a “windshield” analogy. The first level was “clear as glass; the second level had bugs; the third level was covered with mud.” Stations were set up in the classroom where students could refer to each station for help.

 

            Differentiation is a goal-directed approach to learning. It relies on a positive environment with choices, and requires change. With economic constraints in schools and a dynamic population of technologically dependent students, administrators and teachers are faced with an ever increasing challenge of meeting the needs of today’s students. It is truly an educational revolution. By examining goals and reflecting on practices, teachers can change with the demands of this society.

 

Data Supports NCLB and Research-Based Instruction

 

            In support of NCLB’s efforts to reform the education arena, The U.S. Department of Education released a Strategic Plan For Fiscal Years 2007-12 to outline their “high expectations for America’s schools and students, and for ourselves. “We [Dept. of Ed.] are committed to giving our students the skills they need to succeed in a highly competitive global economy” (US Department of Education, 2007).

 

            The plan focuses on three areas: (1) student achievement and rewards for qualified teachers, (2) more rigorous coursework, and (3) improvement of “access, affordability, and accountability of universities” (US Department of Education, 2007). Lastly, the goals include raising the expectations within the Department, as well. In the introductory letter of the plan, Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings writes,

 

“No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provides a strong foundation on which to build these positive results. Data show that the law is working to improve student achievement and close the nation’s achievement gap. We must now work together to reauthorize and strengthen the law. Children who were in grade three when the law was passed will soon be entering high school. They deserve to be taught to high standards by qualified teachers in schools that are held accountable for results” (US Dept. of Education, 2007).

 

As a result of the NCLB Act, schools across the nation outlined standards, collected data, and created a more rigorous curriculum. As each year the bar is raised for percentages of students to meet “proficiency” ratings for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), the data is used to make improvements in specific areas and compare schools to each other, to their respective counties, and to the state as a whole. For example, in Mapping Maryland’s Educational Progress 2008, the results are charted in the following core principles:

 

o       High Standards

 

o       Annual Assessments

 

o       Accountability for Results

 

o       Highly Qualified Teachers in Every Classroom

 

o       Information and Options for Parents

 

o       All Children on Grade level by 2014 (US Department of Education, 2007).

 

Maryland schools enrolled 860,000 students in 2007. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Common Core of Data, 2005-06 School Year, 31.6% were low-income (FARMS), 3.7% were Limited English Proficient (ELL), and 12.8 % were students with disabilities (SWD).  Out of 1,430 students across the state, 1050 (77.2%) made AYP. Ninety-six schools were in “needs improvement” status, while 53 are in the process of being “restructured,” according to the Consolidated State Performance Report, 2006-07 and NCES CCD, 2005-06.

 

            In Maryland schools, highly qualified teachers taught in 94.8% of classrooms in low poverty elementary schools and 66% of the classrooms in high poverty elementary schools. In low-poverty high schools, 89.1% of the classrooms were taught by highly qualified teachers, with 63.4% in high poverty high schools. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, achievement trends in grades four through eight have increased from 2002-2007. Maryland’s high school graduation rate was 85.4% in 2006; the freshman graduation rate was 85.4%. Across the nation, the rate was 75%, demonstrating a higher graduation rate in Maryland compared to the rest of the nation.

 

            Washington County, Maryland reports high ratings. Very active in its attempts to meet the requirements of the NCLB, the county provides ample opportunities and incentives for professional development, including a competitive salary scale and salary ladder for salary increases. The county meets to share best practices and scores and to celebrate school and individual successes. The Maryland Report Card, Boonsboro Middle, Washington County 2007 Performance Report demonstrates that all students of Boonsboro Middle School met AYP in reading, math, and attendance. In 2007, 96.5% met AYP compared to 95.1% in the county, and 94.4% in the state. For 2006, the school’s attendance rates were 96.7% in the school, 96% in the county, and 93.9% in the state, showing improvement for the county and the school.

 

            The county’s graduation rate for 2007 was 90.09%, while for the state, it was 85.24%. The graduation statistics for 2006 were 90.48% for the county compared to 85.43% for the state, again an improvement for the county. The attendance and graduation rates prove AYP for 2007.

 

            As for teachers, Washington County takes pride in meeting another goal of the NCLB. In 2006, 33.1% of the teachers held Standard Professional Certificates at the state level, with 34.2% at the county level and 28.9 % at Boonsboro Middle School (BMS). In 2007, the numbers increased. 32.6% held Standard Professional Certificates at the state level, 33.5% at the county level, and 34.2% at BMS, demonstrating a marked increase. In 2006, the certificates are described as follows: state (45%), county (51.1%), BMS (55.3%). In 2007, state (46.8%), county (49.1%), and BMS (50%), demonstrating another achievement of the goals outlined in the US Department of Education’s Strategic Plan for the Fiscal Years 2007-12.

 

            Washington County is stressing the importance of increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap between the various subgroups within its boundaries. With focus on Students with Disabilities (SWD), Economically Disadvantaged students (ED) English Language Learners (ELL), and minority groups’ scores, efforts are made throughout the district to create and implement plans to reach these students. Departments collaborate within schools and schools meet across the county to discuss the results. At Boonsboro Middle School, teachers are set up in teams. These teams meet on a daily basis to discuss individual students and strategies to increase the chances of being successful. Student Achievement Specialists meet with their respective departments monthly to share strategies and devise plans to help students meet proficiency on benchmarks and state tests. Plans of action are developed through Classroom-Focused Intervention Plans (CFIP). These plans target specific students who are noted as “safe harbor”—students who are at a crux between scoring “basic” and scoring “proficient.” They are the most likely students to pass the next Maryland State Assessment (MSA) if interventions are put in place. This focus moves students from “basic” (low-performing) lists. They are removed from intervention classes according to these meetings. It will be interesting to note their progress from that point forward.

 

How the Political Process has Changed Schools

 

            Is it possible that the nation is doing a disservice to the students who maintain the highest scores? With focus on individual schools reaching AYP, it seems they are neglecting the “students at the top.” Interventions are in place; teachers are staying after school working with students and placing more one-on-one attention on struggling students to make sure they pass the state tests.

 

            Meanwhile, the students at the top of the nations’ scores are not making as much progress. They are still maintaining the highest scores but they are not making the achievement gains in the same growing percentages. “Tom Loveless, from the Brookings Institute, analyzes results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and concludes that the nation’s top pupils have ‘languished’ academically while the lowest performing youngsters have gained dramatically”….The question is, “Can we be equal and excellent too?” (Fordham Institute, 2007).

 

            When teachers were interviewed, most reported that they spend more time with under-achieving students than higher-achieving ones in an effort to meet whatever accountability factors affect them. Unfortunately, this is one of the pitfalls of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Teachers do believe that “all students deserve equal attention.” However, upon analysis of the data (Fordham Institute, 2007), it demonstrates growth of 3% in high achieving students and 16% in targeted students for 2007. The idea of offering incentives to high achieving students is one that will always be met with approval. Washington County, Maryland is once again meeting the demands of this area of importance by instituting “magnet schools” in their district. Boonsboro is a school district that attracts students with language abilities and interests while E. Russell Hicks Middle School and Emma K. Doub Elementary School maintain a technology focus. These are merit level programs for which parents only need to apply. North Hagerstown High School and its feeder schools are International Baccalaureate Schools, where students will have better chances of entering colleges of their choosing. Several students from the area have won the 2009 National Merit Scholarship (Washington County Public Schools, 2008).

 

While some may consider it a disservice to spend so much time and attention on low-performing students throughout the school year, the rewards of offering incentives to a motivated segment of the population will benefit them. It is up to the teachers to make these opportunities known. They should be posted and opportunities for growth in the required areas should be offered. More challenging activities should be implemented to encourage participation in all areas and to all groups.

 

 

References

 

Fordham Institute (2007). “In a Nutshell: High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB.” Retrieved November 13, 2008 from http://www.edexcellence.net/detail/news.cfm?news_id=732&id=92 

 

Mapping maryland’s educational progress, 2008.

 

Maryland state department of education. “Maryland report card.”

 

Rock, M. L., M. Gregg, E. Ellis, and R. Gable. “Reach: a framework for differentiating classroom instruction” (Report). Preventing school failure. 52.2 (Wntr 2008) p. 31 (17).

 

US Department of Education. “Strategic plan for fiscal years 2007-12.” Released May 24, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2008.

 

           

 

Debra Isenberger is an English Language Arts/ Reading teacher who is currently teaching Media Literacy at Boonsboro Middle School in Washington County, Maryland. A resident of Chambersburg, PA, she is a grandmother and a graduate of Shippensburg University in PA and Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. She holds a BA in English, a Master of Education in Quality Schools and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum Design.

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26
September

The Effect of Fine Motor Training Program on the Academic Achievement for Students With Adhd

The Effect of Fine Motor Training Program on the Academic Achievement for Students With Adhd

The Effect of Fine Motor Training Program on the Academic Achievement for Students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

 

Introduction

 

Fine motor skills involves the ability to control the small muscles of the body and is usually defined as the ability to coordinate the action of the eyes and hands together in performing precise manipulative movements.  Manipulative movement such as handwriting is controlled by the central nervous system (Barkley, 1998).   Many areas of the brain are involved in the act of manipulating.  The act simultaneously controlling the nerves and muscles in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers to move in four different directions, focusing the eyes on the writing; as well as controlling the amount of pressure exerted.  Brain research has identified the critical need to supply a variety of multi-sensory stimulation to the young brain for motor development (Farmer, 2005).  Multi-sensory fine motor g training answers that need in a non- traditional but innovative way.  Joseph (1992) indicates that the entire right brain is dominant in regard to attention and arousal, factors strongly influenced by the fine motor process.  Manipulating the fingers through handwriting not only calms the right brain, but also stimulates the left-brain, the “brain that goes to school.” where the specialized reading/ writing capacities are located. 

 

The link between children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and fine motor coordination problems has been recognized for decades (Piek, Pitcher, & Hay, 1999).  In a study of both fine and gross motor ability of males with ADHD compared with a group of control children, Pitcher, Piek, and Hay, (2003) found poorer fine motor ability in children with ADHD.  Poor fine motor problems have been associated with ADHD in addition to the main symptom groups of inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity (Meyer & Sagvolden, 2006). 

 

The literature seems to suggest that fine motor training will improve the brain function of students with ADHD.  This improvement has been attributed to better eye-hand co-ordination, improved fine motor control, and improved concentration. All these behaviors are impaired in students with ADHD.  Research to investigate this relationship could spark more interest in using fine motor training programs to enhance the brain function of students with ADHD. 

 

Schooling is a challenge for children with ADHD, as far as their academic failure and challenging behavior.  Students with ADHD are more likely to achieve lower grades at school than their peers (Merrell & Tymms, 2001).  The course of ADHD tends to be chronic and progressive, and without treatment may even increase students’ academic problems as well as their challenging behavior.  Fine motor training is a simple way of stimulating the brain and improving the ADHD students’ academic achievement.  Teachers who deal with students suffering from ADHD are aware of the problems their students encounter in the classroom.  Perhaps the most serious concern for teachers of students with ADHD is how to enable the students to achieve academic success.

 

The purpose of this research study was to determine if students who participated in the Fine Motor Training (FMT) program make more progress in the WRAT-III than those who did not participate.  The following research questions are addressed:

 

Do ADHD students who have participated in the FMT program make more progress in the WRAT-III than students who have not participated?
Do ADHD students who have participated in the FMT program make more progress in reading skills than students who have not participated?
Do ADHD students who have participated in the FMT program make more progress in spelling skills than students who have not participated?
Do ADHD students who have participated in the FMT program make more progress in mathematical skills than students who have not participated?

 

Method

 

Participants 

 

Twenty male students between the ages of 6 and 11years, all of whom had classified as having combined symptoms of ADHD participated in the study. All participants were on psycho stimulants medication at the time of the study.  Participants were selected from ethnically mixed students with ADHD attending public schools in southwestern Louisiana.  The racial composition was 88% white and 12% black.   Participants were randomly divided into two groups, the experimental group (n=10) and the control group (n=10).   All participants are receiving Special Education services.  These services are based on their Individualized Educational Programs (IEP).  Public Law 105-17 (1997) amendment to Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that each public school child who receives Special Education and related services must have an IEP. 

Materials
Three instruments were used on the study.  The first instrument was the Wide Range Achievement Test-III (WRAT-III).  The WRAT-III includes 3 subtests that measure basic school codes.   The reading subtest measures decoding skills in which the student recognizes and names letters and pronounces words in isolation.   The spelling subtest measures written spelling in which the student writes letters and words from dictation.  The math subtest measures mathematical calculation, in which the student counts, reads numbers, identifies number symbols, solves oral problems and performs written computation within a time limit.  The test is an individually administered for population ages 5-0 to 11-11, 12-0 to 75.  The second instrument was the Fine Motor Training (FMT) program.   The FMT program was designed to develop and apply the fine motor skills needed for academic achievement in students with ADHD.  Fine motor activities such as handwriting and manipulating small objects are included in this program, see Appendix A.  The third instrument was the Data Collection Sheet.  It was developed to collect demographic data about each participant in the study as well as the results of the WRAT-III, see Appendix B. 
Procedures
Participants were randomly divided into two groups, the control group (n=10) and the experimental group (n=10).  The present level of academic achievement was determined for both groups prior to the beginning of the FMT program (pretest) using the WRAT-III for Reading, Spelling, and Arithmetic.  The experimental group received FMT in addition to the usual Special Education services based on their IEP, see Appendix A, while the control group received only the usual Special Education services base on their IEP.  Training was provided for 4 sessions a day, 5 days a week over 2 months period.  The length of each session was 10 minutes.  After two months, both groups were evaluated with the WRAT-III (Posttest).

Data Analysis

 

The data was analyzed by comparing the growth the students made on the WRAT-III using a group pre-test/post-test design. The statistical procedure of treatment Effect Size (ES) was used to allow the comparison between scores earned at the beginning and end of treatment.  The ES is the difference in the means between two group divided by the standard deviation. This measure of “effect size” is known as Cohen’s d.  Cohen (1988) suggested that d of “0.2 is indicative of a small effect, 0.5 a medium and 0.8 a large effect size. However, ES as small as 0.1 may be of important practical significance if the intervention that produced the improvement is relatively inexpensive compared to other competing options; the effect is achieved across all groups of students; and the effect accumulates over time (Glass, 1988). 

 

Results

 

            Pretest to posttest Effect Size statistical procedure revealed significant gains on the WRAT-III scores for the experimental group (d=0.61).  Consistent gains were noted across all WRAT-III subtests.  The ES reading subtest was (d=0.69), the ES spelling subtest was (d=0.44), and the ES mathematic subtest was (d=0.66).  The Institute of Education’s Joint Dissemination Review Panel stated that an ES above 0.33 can be regarded as indication that significant educational changes has occurred (Tallmadge, 1977).  Table 1 summarizes results of achievement changes for the experimental group (n=10).

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Insert Table 1 about Here

 

Although the control groups improved their WRAT-III scores over the time of intervention, that improvement was not significant (d=0.17) and it would be attributed to the students’ normal development and/or to the implication of the IEP.  Consistent non-significant gains were noted across all control groups’ WRAT-III subtests.  The ES reading subtest was (d=0.14), the ES spelling subtest was (d=0.18), and the ES mathematic subtest was (d=0.0.15).  All ES scores were lower than the suggested d =0.2 as indicative of a small effect (Cohen, 1988).  Table 2 summarizes results of achievement changes for the control group (n=10).

 

Insert Table 2 about Here

 

Furthermore, the results indicated that ADHD students who have participated in the FMT program made more progress in the WRAT-III than students who have not participated.  The results also indicated that the FMT program has a significant efficacy on the improvement of academic achievement for students with ADHD. 

 

Discussion

 

Statistical analysis indicates that FMT program appears to enable students diagnosed with the Combined Type of ADHD to make statistically significant gains in measures of academic achievement in the areas of reading, spelling, and mathematics.  Contrary, no significant academic achievement gains were indicated for the ADHD students who did not participate in the FMT program.  This finding suggests that providing ADHD students with fine motor training would positively impacted their academic achievement.  Quality intervention should make an impact on life-long learning in enabling the individual to become an independent learner. Although it cannot be confirmed by one test or one study alone, it appears that the FMT program improves specific levels of academic achievement skills for students with ADHD.

 

Currently, fine motor training programs for students with ADHD are not well defined in public schools.  Further fine motor training research needs to  include a  follow-up phase of this particular study to determine if students who participated in FMTP demonstrate regression in the broad areas of achievement after being retested at least one month after completion of the program.   Furthermore, future studies with larger subjects, longer training periods, and on subjects with the Predominantly Hyperactivity-Impulsive Type ADHD or/and the Predominantly Inattention Type of ADHD are needed to determine the quality and the effectiveness of the FMT program.   

 


 

References

 

Barkley, R. A. (1998).  Attention –deficit/hyperactivity disorder:  A handbook for diagnosis and

 

treatment (2nd ed.).  New York: Guilford.

 

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd. ed.). Hillsdale, NJ:

 

Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

 

Farmer, J. (2005).  The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the

 

University of Missouri-Columbia promotes research.  Http://www.retrainthebrain.com.

 

Glass,G.V., & Stanley, J.C. (1988). Statistical methods in educational psychology. Englewood

 

Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

 

Joseph, R. (1992).  The right brain and the unconsciousness, discovering the stranger within.

 

Plenum Press, New York, NY.

 

Merrell, C. and Tymms, P. (2001). Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness: Their impact on

 

academic achievement and progress.  British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71: 43 – 56.

 

Meyer, A., and Sagvolden, T. (2006). Fine motor skills in South African children with symptoms

 

of ADHD: influence of subtype, gender, age, and hand dominance.

 

http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/content/2/1/33

 

Piek, J.P., Pitcher, T.M., & Hay, D.A. (1999). Motor coordination and kinaesthesis in boys with

 

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology,

 

41 (3), 159-165.

 

Pitcher, T., Piek, J., and Hay, D. (2003).  Fine and gross motor ability in males with ADHD. 

 

Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology , 45: 525-535 Cambridge University Press

 

Tallmadge,G.K. (1977).  Idea book: The joint dissemination review panel. Washington, DC: US

 

Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Appendix A

 

Fine Motor Training Program for Students with ADHD

Fine Motor Training Program (FMTP) for Students with ADHD

 

Session I. (10 Minutes-Handwriting):

 

Have student pick out an excerpt from a book he/she likes at his/her grade level.
Give student the opportunity for using print or cursive handwriting.
Have student write the same excerpt over and over for 10 minutes using a pen of pencil on a Double lines worksheet to promote neatness and correct letter placement.

 

Session II (10 Minutes- Fine Motor Activities):

 

·        Use fine motor activities to help student develop the precision, balance, and hand-eye coordination that are needed to perform the fine-motor skills used in handwriting.

 

·        Have student pick out one or more of the following fine motor activities:

 

Modeling Clay,
Craft Scissors for cutting shape,
Finger Paints,
Puzzles, 
Drawing in Different Media,
Play with Lego, miniature cars, small blocks, action figures, and other small toys.
Sorting collections of loose coins into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
Creative Art Projects that involve using crayons, and/or
Play Games that involve the handling of cards and small game pieces.
Sort collections of loose coins into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

 

Have student work on a chosen fine motor activity for 10 minutes.
Make sure student has lots of motivating opportunities for using his/her hands.

 

Session III (10 Minutes-Handwriting):

 

Have student pick out an excerpt from a book he/she likes at his/her grade level.
Give student the opportunity for using print or cursive handwriting.
Have student write the same excerpt over and over for 10 minutes using a pen of pencil on a Double lines worksheet to promote neatness and correct letter placement.

 

Session IV (10 Minutes- Fine Motor Activities):

 

·        Use fine motor activities to help student develop the precision, balance, and hand-eye coordination that are needed to perform the fine-motor skills used in handwriting.

 

·        Have student pick out one or more of the following fine motor activities:

 

Modeling Clay,
Craft Scissors for cutting shape,
Finger Paints,
Puzzles, 
Drawing in Different Media,
Play with Lego, miniature cars, small blocks, action figures, and other small toys.
Sorting collections of loose coins into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
Creative Art Projects that involve using crayons, and/or
Play Games that involve the handling of cards and small game pieces.
Sort collections of loose coins into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

 

Have student work on a chosen fine motor activity for 10 minutes.
Make sure student has lots of motivating opportunities for using his/her hands.

 

General Instructions:

 

The program should be run for 2-3 months, once a day, 30 minutes a day,5 days a week
Provide a quiet, comfortable, and warm atmosphere for student to work.
Make sure student understands the directions before beginning a handwriting lesson.
 Make the writing interesting by doing things not done before
It may be helpful if you could generate a list of handwriting and fine motor activities ideas every morning with student so that he/she has lots of choices.
Have student write it as fast as he/she can while you accurately time him/her.
Give student consistent undivided attention, motivating opportunities, encouragement, support, reward while working on his/her assignment.

Appendix B

 

Data Collection Sheet

Data Collection Sheet

 

School Name ____________________________________ Parish ______________

 

Teacher Name __________________________________ Date ________________

 

Student Name __________________________________ Grade _______________

 

Date of Birth           ________           Gender (M) ___ (F) ____   Race ___________

 

ADHD (check one):  

 

Combined Type _____          
Predominantly Hyperactivity-Impulsive Type _____                     
Predominantly Inattention  Type ______

 

MedicationUsed____________________________________________________

·        Achievement Test Used:       Wide Rang Achievement Test-III
·        Pre-Intervention Test Score: ________Date:___________________                                Raw Score      Std. Score       %ile    Grade Score   Absolute Score
READING           ______            ______            ____    ______            _____
SPELLING           ______            ______            ____    ______            _____
ARTHIMATIC    ______            ______            ____    ______            _____
Date _____________________________________________________________
·        Post-Intervention Test Score:_______Date: ________________________
Raw Score            Std. Score       %ile    Grade Score   Absolute Score
READING           ______            ______            ____    ______            _____
SPELLING           ______            ______            ____    ______            _____
ARTHIMATIC    ______            ______            ____    ______            _____

Table1 

 

Summary of WRAT-III Changes for the Experimental Group (n=10)

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

     Pretest                          Posttest                                                                       

 

WRAT-III        Mean   S.D.                 Mean   S.D.     Mean difference            Effect-size d    

 

___________________________________________________________________________                             

 

Reading            25.5     4.53                 28.6     4.48                 3.1                   0.69                            

 

Spelling            22.3     6.91                 25.2     6.29                 2.9                   0.44    

 

Math                22.5     5.23                 25.7     4.50                 3.2                   0.66    

 

Full Test           70.3     15.43               79.5     14.61               9.2                   0.61    

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

1 Wide Range Achievement Test, Revised (WRAT-III). 2. Standard Deviation (SD)

Table 2 

 

Summary of WRAT-III Changes for the Control Group (n=10)

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

     Pretest                          Posttest                                               

 

WRAT-III        Mean   S.D.                 Mean   S.D.     Mean difference            Effect size d

 

___________________________________________________________________________                             

 

Reading            27.7     7.90                 28.8     8.09                 1.1                   0.14    

 

Spelling            23.6     6.90                 24.9     7.25                 1.3                   0.18    

 

Math                21.1     9.01                 22.4     8.22                 1.3                   0.15    

 

Full Test           72.4     21.73               76.1     21.86               3.7                   0.17    

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

1 Wide Range Achievement Test, Revised (WRAT-III). 2. Standard Deviation (SD)

 

Dr. Kamal Sesalem

Professor of Special Education

Dept. of Teacher Education

McNeese State University

Lake Charles, LA 70609

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25
September

Are You Frustrated And Stressed Out About Homework Battles?

Are You Frustrated And Stressed Out About Homework Battles?

I can’t tell you how many parents have told me that they hate the homework wars. They absolutely dread the nightly routine of fighting with their child to get them to do homework, and/or unfinished class work. And it’s not all fun and games for the child either.  This is my advice and it works! Let your child do his own homework by himself.  That’s it….  That really is it. You can set up parameters. Such as, set a timer for each subject.  I usually recommend asking the teacher how much time on average your child should be spending on a subject and then set the timer for that amount.  Then tell your child that they only have to work for that amount of time, but you must see them working hard for the whole time.  Whatever they get done, that’s all they have to do.  You then write a note to the teacher telling them, ‘My child worked diligently for 20 minutes (or whatever time) and this is what they were able to do.’  Now I also recommend that you have a conversation with the teacher ahead of time and tell them this is what you are planning to do.  Also, give breaks in between assignments for other activities, usually 10 minutes is enough of a break, but you know your child best so use your judgment. Let your child go and do something that’s fun during the break.

Make sure the area where your child does their homework is well lit, quiet and free from distractions.  Let your child choose the order of subjects they want to do. Try to remember that education is about acquiring knowledge and skills and not about finishing 50 problems for math homework.  If your child can demonstrate a competency in an area by completing 10 or 20 problems within the allotted time, isn’t that the most important thing?

If you have a project or a large report to do, break down the tasks with your child and work on small parts every day. Read a portion of the book every day, taking notes or highlighting important facts, characters, and plot lines.  Do research and add those notes.  Write a rough draft.  Edit and produce a final copy. For a project, gather information and materials. Break down the tasks and do 1 or 2 parts each night till it’s done.  If you need more days to finish, this should be an accommodation on the IEP or 504 plans. These are strategies that children will use throughout their lives.

Stress and anxiety is a brick wall to learning.  If we can take those things out of the picture, children will have an easier time learning new things and retaining the information.  It’s important, as a parent, to protect a child’s emotional health. By providing these things and communicating to the teacher, you will enable your child to learn without all of the stress and anxiety.  You will find that these strategies work. 

You will find that the homework battles will go away and you and the teacher will have a clear understanding of what your child is able to do independently.  This also alleviates the anxiety and stress involved when kids look at the amount of work they have and give up before they even begin.  If they know that they are not stuck for the night doing an endless amount of work, they actually get quite a bit done.  My son would even tell me when the time ran out, ‘Mom, I only have a couple left. I can finish it.’  Confidence and self esteem return.  You can start to be a parent again instead of the mean homework warden.  Every single parent that I have recommended this to has reported back to me that it’s such a difference for their whole family and the homework wars go away. Try it. What have you got to lose, except for the nightly stress? 

Lynne Castino is a Special Education Advocate, Author, Trainer, Educator, and friend to all those struggling with the Special Education process.  Lynne has been working with families of children with special needs for over 15 years.  She is dedicated to helping children with special needs.  As an Early Childhood Educator and a mother of four, she has had to advocate for her own children and understands the struggle that a family goes through to get the right services and supports that a child needs to be successful.  Lynne has a private practice in Dartmouth, MA, where she resides with her husband and children. 

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25
September

Springtime in Schools: Preparing for Individualized Education Plans

Springtime in Schools: Preparing for Individualized Education Plans

Article by Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.









The ice is beginning to melt, and springtime is just around the corner. For those of us who either work in schools or have a child in school, this usually means the beginning of the busy season we know as spring IEP time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this process, annual Individualized Education Plans (or IEPs) are usually completed in the spring for students receiving special education services. As we begin to embark on this busy time of year, it is important for parents and educators alike to reflect on the past year and the progress that the child/student has made, and look toward the future.

Parents of children with special needs sometimes feel that they are not an integral part of the IEP process. As you prepare for your child’s IEP, I would encourage you to do the following:

1. Reflect in writing on the progress that your child has made over the past year.

2. Write a list of your child’s current strengths and obstacles.

3. Prioritize the obstacles your child faces, and write down ideas to overcome them.

4. Write out where you would like to see your child 1-2 years, 4-5 years, and 8-10 year from now.

5. Write down any goal or objective ideas that you would like to see your child’s school team work on with him or her in the next year.

6. Ask your child if he or she would like to learn about something in particular during the next year of their education.

After thinking and writing about your child, it is a good idea to sit down with your child’s IEP team prior to the IEP to brief them on your thoughts, IEP ideas, and goals for the future. It is important to work together with school personnel in order to achieve the most success. Remember: The more we all work together, the greater the results we can achieve!

Educators of children with special needs should reflect on their students in much the same way as parents. As you prepare for each student’s IEP, I would encourage you to do the following:

1. Review your progress and anecdotal notes from the past year.

2. Write a list of strengths and obstacles that you see in the classroom environment.

3. Brainstorm ideas on how to overcome the student’s obstacles.

4. Make a plan for where you would like to see the student 1-2 years, 4-5 years, and 8-10 years from now.

5. Send home parent questionnaires, and request parent input when beginning the IEP planning process.

6. Set-up a team meeting to review progress, and receive input from parents and all professionals involved for next year.

7. Consider typical developmental milestones when planning and writing IEP goals and objectives: Do you need to work on another developmental milestone before moving on to something else?

8. Administer a questionnaire to each student regarding enjoyable activities and his or her learning preferences.

Once again, it is crucial for school personnel and parents to work together. By planning ahead and asking for parent input, the springtime IEP season can be more enjoyable and promising for the future!

For parents and professionals alike, the IEP season can be overwhelming. By planning ahead and thinking about your child or student’s IEP, it can become a more enjoyable and exciting experience for all. It is important to remember to work as a team, because as a team we can accomplish so much more than we can individually!

“Working together, ordinary people can perform extraordinary feats. They can lift things a little higher, a little farther, towards excellence.” ~Author Unknown



About the Author

Autism specialist Courtney Kowalczyk, of the Horizons Developmental Remediation Center, provides practical information and advice for families living with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you are ready to reduce your stress level, enrich your child’s development, and improve your family’s quality of life, get your FREE reports now at ==> www.HorizonsDRC.com










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24
September

2010-2011 WAHS Collaborative Teaching Consensus Document

2010-2011 WAHS Collaborative Teaching Consensus Document

Western Albemarle High School

Collaborative Consensus Proposal

April 21, 2010

 

Groundwork Committees

 

General Education: Peggy Anderson, Matt Azano, Adam Mulcahy, Elizabeth Mulcahy, Beth White

Special Education: Suzanne Fladd, Rick Roderick, John Ratcliffe, Cindy Frazer, Robyn Crusselle, Jason Collier, Pete Keyser, Sandy Keyser, Phil Gahring, Brian Wilson, Kip Chatterson, Sarah McGuire, Ed Pierce

Building Administration: Dave Francis, Greg Domecq, Bobbi Hughes, Tim Driver

Central Office: Kevin Kirst, Jamie Endahl

Guidance: Amy Wright, Heather Lindsay, Shelby Poole, Bob Jahrsdoerfer, Frank McCurdy, Erin Rittenhouse

 

Steering Committee

 

General Education:  Beth White

Special Education:     Rick Roderick, Suzanne Fladd

Building Admin:         Greg Domecq

Central Office:           Kevin Kirst

Guidance:                   Amy Wright

 

1)      What should the goal of collaboration in our school be?

 

a)      The goal of collaboration should be to afford all students the opportunity to understand the curriculum pursuant to their needs.  Instruction should account for the reading levels of the students with the purpose of improving the literacy for all students in all subject areas. 

 

2)      What should our model look like?

 

a)      Overall

i)        To help improve literacy, class sizes need to be small, and at least one of the collaborating teachers must be looking through the literacy lens while lesson planning and teaching. General Education and Special Education teachers should seek professional training in developing literacy-rich lessons, and classes should reflect this training. To maintain literacy skills all year, reading and writing should be an integral part of every class.

ii)       Common planning is a priority in order to develop literacy-rich exercises.

iii)     Recognition that Special Education teachers often build trusting relationships with students outside of class, enhancing the classroom climate.

iv)     To maintain year-long support for students who are eligible for Resource and Core Plus, we suggest that these two periods be held on an alternating (A/B) schedule for the entire year. Core Plus may also be offered as a semester course as determined by student schedule needs.

 

 

b)      Professionals in the Room

 

i)        Two professional teachers with experience in both content and teaching strategies should be partnered together for multiple classes and multiple years whenever possible.

ii)       The addition of teaching associates should be a collaborative discussion/decision, whenever possible.

 

 

c)      Process

 

i)        Preparation Prior to the school year

(1)   General Education and Special Education teachers should be matched by the administration and department chairs according to the strengths of each in both areas: content and working with students. Administration should attempt, as much as possible, to pair teachers who share a philosophical approach to teaching.

(2)   Whenever possible, Special Education teachers should be assigned to only one subject area with no more than two different subject areas and two different teachers.

(3)   Future Special Education teachers should have a firm background in their assigned content area. An endorsement in the subject area is desirable.

(4)   Classroom teachers should plan the curriculum and pace, and they should seek common ground regarding classroom procedures and management expectations.

(5)   Classroom teachers should learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to curriculum, teaching strategies, and experiences in collaboration.

(6)   Teachers new to collaboration, or those wishing to improve, should be encouraged to attend training in collaboration or work closely with collaboration

     mentors.

 

ii)      During the School Year

(1)   Classroom Teacher Relationship

(a)    Classroom teachers should be in constant conversation about the students’ understanding of the material, teaching strategies, and assessments, with a focus on literacy and numeracy.

(b)   Classroom teachers should have common planning in order to best prepare individual lessons, adjust the pace, discuss student needs, and prepare formative and summative assessments including modifications for students.

(c)    Classroom teachers should initially evaluate assessments together with the goal of appropriately sharing the “grading” and to ensure that they are communicating the same message to the students.

(d)   Classroom teachers should share the role of intervention during CARE and other times.

(e)    Any disagreements or other problems between the professionals in the room should be handled privately and immediately in a non-confrontational and respectful manner.  Collaborative professionalism should involve being up front and honest in addressing concerns directly with each other. Other resources for resolving conflict could be the collaboration mentors, department chairs, or administration.

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(f)     Teachers should work together to balance the responsibilities of the collaborative classroom, recognizing that demands from other professional responsibilities will at times require more attention.  The collaborative classroom should not suffer at these times; rather, teachers should plan thoroughly so that neither teacher feels overburdened, and so that the work is shared fairly over the course of the year.

 

(2)   What should the instruction look like?

(a)    Instruction should include a variety of classroom activities that keep students thinking and engaged.

(b)   Our goal should be that reading at the student’s independent level and writing become a part of the curriculum in every discipline.  

(c)    Classroom teachers should continue to discuss how to share teaching and grading responsibilities.

(d)   Collecting materials at the various reading levels should be a shared responsibility; this should also be part of PLC activities.

(e)    Classroom instruction based upon experience and class should reflect the Marilyn Friend strategies:

(i)      Whole class instruction

(ii)    Station teaching

(iii)   Parallel teaching

(iv)  Alternative teaching

(v)    One teach-one assist/teaming/tag team teaching

                        (f)  Differentiation and accommodations are necessary, but they should                                            complement rather than replace literacy instruction.

 

(3)   Grading

(a)    Time for classroom teachers to work on common planning and common grading is essential.

 

                  (4)  Schoolwide Communication

                        (a)  Resource, Launch, Avid, and Core Plus teachers or designees should

                              initiate regular contact with classroom teachers regarding student concerns

                              and progress.

(b)   Faculty will respond to these queries within 48 hours, according to school policy.

.                       (c)  Classroom teachers should discuss the responsibility of parent contacts.

                        (d)  Both classroom teachers should be aware of accommodations.

 

 

 

 

 

3)      What classes should be collaborated? (Priorities)

a)      The goal is to staff standard classes in the following order:

 

Level I              English 9, 10, 11, 12; Skills (Pre-Alg); Algebra I, Part I; Algebra I, Part II; Algebra I; AFDA; Geometry

Level II           Earth Science, Biology, World History I, US History

Level III           Algebra II, Government, World History II

Level IV         Chemistry, Ecology

 

4)      What should the “make-up” of our classes be?

a)      Maximum of 25 in standard classes; smaller whenever possible to allow for more small-group literacy work (reading groups, vocabulary development, etc).

b)      No more than 8 designated Collaboration Mandated Special Education students in a class.

c)      No more than 14 Special Education students in classes that are not collaborated with a Special Education teacher. These classes should be assisted with an aide.

d)      Functional English and Math sections with only IEP diploma students should be offered at the time that benefits the most students; a Special Education teacher that is highly qualified in English/Reading or Math will be scheduled to teach the related area.

e)      Core Plus should continue to be offered for those students who are enrolled in a standard class but need more support in basic literacy and numeracy skills. Listed below are salient points that provide the basis of the class:

Students may be placed in Core Plus by IEP or a panel of teachers consisting of a general ed, special ed, administrator, and guidance counselor. The student may be an IEP or general education student. 
These students should be those who often “fall through the cracks” in the standard/practical class, but are included because of the many benefits Core Plus presents. These students may have difficulty demonstrating functional skills in reading, writing, and numeracy.
The class will focus on literacy and numeracy skills. The curriculum, developed by the teacher, should address reading, writing, math skills. Progress monitoring is an expectation (Kevin Kirst is a great resource in this area.)
The goal will be to keep this class to 10 or less and a teacher aide if possible.
A,B,C,D,F grades will be assigned.
The class must be taught by a special educator who does not necessarily have to have the highly qualified label on his/her certification.

 

5)      What should administration and central office do to support the program?

a)      Continue to support a WAHS literacy council comprised of teachers from every department, instructional coaches, and representatives from administration and guidance.  Seek funding to provide these teachers and staff members with a stipend to ensure that school-based literacy professional development continues, and that teachers who teach our below-grade-level students learn and implement strategies/activities to make learning a reality for their students.

b)      Continue to provide funding for collaboration.

c)      Include teacher input in the process of pairing teachers.

d)      Continue to offer school-based literacy professional development and encourage collaborating teams to attend together.

e)      Encourage celebration of student success in literacy, even when it does not mean that the student will pass or has passed the SOL.

f)        Offer and encourage opportunities to showcase student work at the standard level.

g)      Include both teachers’ names on student schedules and report cards. This should mean the following:

i)        Both teachers have equal access to records.

ii)       Both teachers get a substitute when absent, whenever possible.

h)      The “teacher of record” will be the General Education teacher for all collaborative classes and this will be indicated on official records.

i)        Provide time for collaborative work:

i)        Support PLC’s comprised of collaborative teams.

ii)       Pay collaborative teams for summer planning (8 hours per teacher).

iii)     Award professional development points for after-hours planning.

iv)     Pay for one day per nine weeks for planning if collaborative teams do not have common planning.

v)      Give collaborative teams large blocks of time during pre-school week to prepare.

vi)     Protect common planning by avoiding study hall assignments that compete with  collaborative planning time.

viii) Reserve one CARE period per week for Special Education collaborative teachers to         

      meet with their caseload.

 

6)      What should collaborative professional development look like?

a)      Experienced collaborative teams should mentor new and existing teams throughout the year, as needed.

b)      Collaboration mentors should lead a pre-service week presentation on collaboration for teachers.

c)      Teams should be encouraged to use a collaboration planning worksheet, provided by the collaboration mentors.

d)      Classroom teachers will participate in end-of-the-year reflections and team self-evaluations.

e)      Special Education teachers should be offered opportunities to become highly qualified in specific subject areas.

f)        Classroom teachers should have opportunities to observe other collaborative teams in their subject area, even at other schools.

g)      Teachers interested in enriching the collaborative experience should be able to attend conferences that directly address collaboration, both during the school year and over the summer.

h)      Special Education teachers should be encouraged to attend the Reading First Academy for Special Educators to provide a strong literacy background. Information on this opportunity may be found at http://www.readingfirst.virginia.edu.

i)        PLC time should be set aside quarterly to have both regular ed. and special ed. individually address the model and practice.

 

7)      How should the program be evaluated?

a)      Surveys from students, parents, and teachers (not just collaborating teachers).

b)      Assessments that reflect growth in literacy (DRP, DSA, Oral Fluency)

c)      Report card grades.

d)      Literacy profile data and anecdotal evidence used to monitor literacy progress.

e)      Growth in literacy indicated by an increase in SOL scores (not just pass rates) for standard level students. 

f)        Discussion groups with just General Education teachers, just Special Education teachers, and combinations (teams meeting together).  

g)      Discussions between teacher and administrator during Teacher Performance Appraisals and other evaluations.

h)      The use of an outside consultant to review progress and compare our program to similar programs throughout the state.

i)        Journal entries from each of the first three grading periods will be submitted to the administrator overseeing the program. These weekly entries should address what is going well, what needs attention, and what teachers plan to do next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Domecq is in his seventh year as the Associate Principal at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia. In May of 2009, Domecq was presented the Alton L. Taylor Award from the University of Virginia Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa naming him the outstanding administrator in the region. Domecq’s current responsibilities at Western include support for the English and Special Services Departments as well as the collaborative initiative, coordinating substitutes, the honor council, transportation, and 10th & 11th grade discipline. Over the years at WAHS, Dr. Domecq has also had oversight of the athletic department, Physical Education Department, textbooks, and teacher duty. On the county level, Domecq served on several committees including the School Business Alliance, the high school discipline steering committee, the behavior management committee, the International Baccalaureate Exploratory team, and the Teacher Performance Appraisal Steering Committee. He is credited with writing the TPA Process Manual, a user-friendly handbook that outlines the implementation of the Teacher Performance Appraisal model.

During Domecq’s tenure at the Crozet school, the Warriors have been recognized for several outstanding accomplishments. A few of these accolades are as follows:

In 2004 Domecq earned his doctorate in Administration and Supervision from the Curry School at the University of Virginia. His minor areas included Curriculum and Instruction as well as Social Foundations in Education. His dissertation topic, “A Ninth Grade Transition Program, ” studied the results of the Summer Leadership Academy at Monticello High School. Domecq has given numerous presentations in the Charlottesville area including visits to the University of Virginia, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Mary Baldwin College, State Farm Insurance, and the Waynesboro Kiwanis Club.

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22
September

Special Education, Public School Law & Educational Laws and Policies, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis

Special Education, Public School Law & Educational Laws and Policies, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis

 

William Alan Kritsonis, PhD

Professor

 

Public School Law & Educational Laws and Policies

 

 

 

 

FAPE

 

                                               

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the law that provides your child with the right to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The purpose of the IDEA 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…” 20 U.S.C. 1400(d) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 20). The Board of Education v. Rowley case is significant because it established the principle that school districts are not required to maximize the potential of a child but provide some educational benefit to the child and how courts would examine future disputes under IDEA (Walsh, Kemerer, and Maniotis, 2005). 

 

 

 

Case One

 

United States Supreme Court

 

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE HENDRICK HUDSON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, WESTCHESTER COUNTY,

v.

AMY ROWLEY, by her parents, ROWLEY et al.

No. 80 – 1002

 

LITIGANTS

 

Plaintiffs – Petitioners: Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District, Westchester County, et al.

 

Defendant – Respondent: Amy Rowley, by her parents, Rowley, et., al.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (IDEA), provides federal money to assist state and local agencies in educating handicapped children, and federally fund States in compliance with extensive goals and procedures. The Act represents an ambitious federal effort to promote the education of handicapped children, and was passed in response to Congress’ perception that a majority of handicapped in the United States “were either totally excluded from schools or [were] sitting idly in regular classrooms awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.'” The Acts evolution and major provisions shed light on the question of statutory interpretation which is at the heart of this case.

                                                                                               

Congress first addressed the problem of education the handicapped in 1966 when it amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a grant program “for the purpose of assisting the States in the initiation, expansion, and improvement of programs and projects for the education of handicapped children. That program was repealed in 1970 by the Education for the Handicapped Act, Pub. L. No. 91-230, 84 Star, 175, Part B of which established a grant program similar in purpose to the repealed legislation. Neither the 1966 nor 1970 legislation contained specific guidelines for state use of the grant money; both were aimed primarily at stimulating the States to develop educational resources and to train personnel for educating the handicapped.

Dissatisfied with the progress being made under these earlier enactments, and spurred by two district court decisions holding that handicapped children should be given access to a public education, Congress in 1974 greatly increased federal funding for education of the handicapped and for the first time required recipient States to adopt “a goal of providing full educational opportunities to all handicapped children.” Pub. L. 93-380, 88 Stat. 579, 583 (1974) (the 1974 statue). The 1974 statute was recognized as an interim measure only, adopted “in order to give the Congress an additional year in which to study what if any additional Federal assistance [was] required to enable the States to meet the needs of handicapped children.” H.R. Rep. No. 94-332, supra, p.4. The ensuing year of study produced the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

 

In order to qualify for federal financial assistance under the Act, a State must demonstrate that it “has in effect a policy that assures all handicapped children the right to a free appropriate public education.” 20 U.S.C. 1412(1). The “free appropriate public education” required by the Act is tailored to the unique needs of the handicapped child by means of an ‘individualized educational program” (IEP). In addition to the state plan and the IEP already described, the Act imposes extensive procedural requirements upon State receiving federal funds under its provisions. Parents or guardians of handicapped children must be notified of any proposed change in “the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child,” and must be permitted to being a complaint about “any matter relating to” such evaluation and education. 1415(b)(1)(D) and (E).6 Complaints brought by parents or guardians must be resolved at “an impartial due process hearing,” and appeal to the State educational agency must be provided if the initial hearing is held at the local or regional level. Thus, although the Act leaves to the States the primary responsibility for developing and executing educational programs for handicapped children, it imposes significant requirements to be followed in the discharge of that responsibility. Compliance is assured by provisions permitting the withholding of federal funds upon determination that a participating state or local agency has failed to satisfy the requirements of the Act, 1414(b)(A), 1416, and by the provision for judicial review. At present, all States except New Mexico receive federal funds under the portions of the Act at issue today.

FACTS

                                                                                   

Amy Rowley is a deaf student in New York.  Amy has minimal residual hearing and is an excellent lipreader.  During the year before she started attending Furnace Woods School, Amy’s parents and school administrators met and decided to place her in a regular kindergarten classroom to determine what supplemental services would be necessary to her education.  Several members of the administration took a course in sign-language interpretation, and a teletype machine was installed in the principal’s office to facilitate communication with her parents who are also deaf.  After Amy was placed temporarily in the regular classroom, it was determined that she should stay in that class, but be provided with an FM hearing aid to amplify words.  Amy successfully finished her kindergarten year.

 

Before Amy entered first grade, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) was prepared, which provided that Amy should continue to receive her education in the regular classroom and use the FM hearing aid, she should also receive instruction from a tutor for the deaf for one hour each day and from a speech therapist for three hours each week.  The Rowleys agreed with parts of this plan, but insisted that Amy also be provided a qualified sign-language interpreter in all of her academic classes instead of the assistance proposed in other parts of the IEP.

 

An interpreter had been placed in Amy’s kindergarten class for a 2-week experimental period, but the interpreter had reported that Amy did not need his services at that time.  The same conclusion was reached by the school for Amy’s first grade year.  An independent examiner also agreed with the administrators’ determination that an interpreter was not necessary because Amy was achieving educationally, academically, and socially without such assistance.  Amy performs better than the average child in her class and is advancing easily from grade to grade.  However, she understands less of what goes on in the class than she could if she were not deaf and so she is not learning as much, or performing as well academically, as she would without her handicap.

 

DECISION

 

The Court stated that a “free appropriate public education” is one which consists of educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the handicapped child, supported by such services as are necessary to permit the child “to benefit” from the instruction.  If personalized instruction is being provided with sufficient supportive services to allow the child to benefit from the instruction, and the other items on the definitional checklist are satisfied, the child is receiving a “free public education.”  Absent in the statute is any substantive standard prescribing the level of education to be accorded handicapped children.

 

“By passing the Act, Congress sought primarily to make public education available to handicapped children.  But in seeking to provide such access to public education, Congress did not impose upon the States any greater substantive educational standard than would be necessary to make such access meaningful.”  Board of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 at 192.  The Court says the intent of the act was more to open the

                                                                                                Higgins, Green, Reece

 

door of pubic education than to guarantee the level of education once inside.  The Court further states that whatever Congress meant by an “appropriate” education, it did not mean a potential-maximizing education.  It did not mean the State had to provide specialized services to maximize each child’s potential “commensurate with the opportunity provided other children.”  The basic floor of opportunity provided by the Act is access to specialized instruction and related services which are individually designed to provide educational benefit to the handicapped child.

 

DICTA

 

Implicit in the congressional purpose of providing access to a “free appropriate public education” is the requirement that the education to which access is provided be sufficient to confer some educational benefit upon the handicapped child. It would do little good for Congress to spend millions of dollars in providing access to public education only to have the handicapped child receive no benefit from that education. The statutory definition of “free appropriate public education,” in addition to requiring that States provide each child with “specially designed instruction,” expressly requires the provision of “such . . . supportive services . . . as may be required to assist a handicapped child to benefit from special education.” 1401(17) (emphasis added). We therefore conclude that the “basic floor of opportunity” provided by the Act consists of access to specialized instruction and related services which are individually designed to provide educational benefit to the handicapped child.

 

IMPLICATIONS

 

The determination of when handicapped children are receiving sufficient educational benefits to satisfy the requirements of the Act presents a more difficult problem. The Act requires participating States to educate a wide spectrum of handicapped children, from the marginally hearing-impaired to the profoundly retarded palsied. It is clear that the benefits obtainable by children at one end of the spectrum will differ dramatically form those obtainable by children at the other end, with infinite variations in between. One child may have little difficulty competing successfully in an academic setting with nonhandicapped children while another child may encounter great difficulty in acquiring even the most basic of self-maintenance skills. We do not attempt today to establish any one test for determining the adequacy of educational benefits conferred upon all children covered by the Act. Because in this case we are presented with a handicapped child who is receiving substantial specialized instruction and related services, and who is performing above average in the regular classrooms of a public school system, we confine our analysis to the situation.

 

 

 

 

PUBLICE SCHOOL LAW

 

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

 

                                               

 

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT

 

INTRODUCTION

 

An important provision of Public Law 94-142 (IDEA) is that all handicapped students be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) (Heron & Skinner, 1981).  Federal law expresses a strong preference for placing the child with disabilities in the setting in which that child would be served if there were no disability (Walsh, Kemerer, and Maniotis, 2005). However, these requirements continue to generate complex and interesting questions from the field. In particular, this report focuses on questions that have been raised about the relationship of IDEA’s LRE requirements to “inclusion.”  If the goal of IDEA is to mainstream students with disabilities, despite efforts made from administrators, specialists, and staff, how can this be achievable if the child has not made academic progress in the regular classroom? 

 

 

Case One

 

United States Court of Appeals,

Fourth Circuit.

950 F.2d. 156

18 IDELR 350

 

Shannon CARTER, a minor, by and through her father, and next friend, Emory D. Carter, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellee,

v.

FLORENCE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOUR: Ernest K. NICHOLSON, Superintendent, in his official capacity; SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS; Bennie ANDERSON, Chairman; Monroe FRIDAY, Jack ODOM; Elrita BACOTE; T.R. GREEN; James W. HICKS, in their official capacity

No. 91 – 1047

 

LITIGANTS

 

Plaintiffs – Appellees:    Mark Hartmann, et al.

 

Defendant – Appellant: Florence County School District Four, et., al.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Mark Hartmann is an eleven year old child with autism.  Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by significant deficiencies in communication skills, social interaction, and motor control.  Mark is not able to speak and has severed problems with fine motor coordination.  Mark’s ability to write is limited.  He types on a keyboard but can only consistently type a few words such as “is” and “at”.  Mark has had episodes of

                                                                       

 

Loud screeching and other disruptive conduct; including, hitting, pinching, kicking, biting, and removing his clothing.  The school district proposed removing Mark from the regular classroom and place him in a class structured for children with autism.  However, he would be integrated for art, music, physical education, library, and recess.  Mark would be allowed to rejoin the regular education setting as he demonstrated an improved ability to handle it.  The Hartmanns refused to approve the IEP, claiming that it failed to comply with the mainstreaming provision of the IDEA, which states that “to the maximum extent appropriate,” disabled children should be educated with children who are not handicapped. 20 U.S.C. § 1412(5)(B). The county initiated due process proceedings, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(b), and on December 14, 1994, the local hearing officer upheld the May 1994 IEP. She found that Mark’s behavior was disruptive and that despite the “enthusiastic” efforts of the county, he had obtained no academic benefit from the regular education classroom. On May 3, 1995, the state review officer affirmed the decision, adopting both the hearing officer’s findings and her legal analysis. The Hartmanns then challenged the hearing officer’s decision in federal court.

While the administrative process continued, Mark entered third grade in the regular education classroom at Ashburn. In December of that year, the Hartmanns withdrew Mark from Ashburn. Mark and his mother moved to Montgomery County, Virginia, to permit the Hartmanns to enroll Mark in public school there. Mark was placed in the regular third-grade classroom for the remainder of that year as well as the next.

The district court reversed the hearing officer’s decision. The court rejected the administrative findings and concluded that Mark could receive significant educational benefit in a regular classroom and that “the Board simply did not take enough appropriate steps to try to include Mark in a regular class.” The court made little of the testimony of Mark’s Loudoun County instructors, and instead relied heavily on its reading of Mark’s experience in Illinois and Montgomery County. While the hearing officer had addressed Mark’s conduct in detail, the court stated that “given the strong presumption for inclusion under the IDEA, disruptive behavior should not be a significant factor in determining the appropriate educational placement for a disabled child.”

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FACTS

 

Mark spent his pre-school years in various programs for disabled children. In kindergarten, he spent half his time in a self-contained program for autistic children and half in a regular education classroom at Butterfield Elementary in Lombard, Illinois. Upon entering first grade, Mark received speech and occupational therapy one-on-one, but was otherwise included in the regular classroom at Butterfield full-time with an aide to assist him.

After Mark’s first-grade year, the Hartmanns moved to Loudoun County, Virginia, where they enrolled Mark at Ashburn Elementary for the 1993-1994 school year. Based on Mark’s individualized education program (IEP) from Illinois, the school placed Mark in a regular education classroom. To facilitate Mark’s inclusion, Loudoun officials carefully selected his teacher, hired a full-time aide to assist him, and put him in a smaller class with more independent children. Mark’s teacher, Diane Johnson, read extensively about

                                                                                   

 

autism, and both Johnson and Mark’s aide, Suz Leitner, received training in facilitated communication, a special communication technique used with autistic children. Mark received five hours per week of speech and language therapy with a qualified specialist,   Carolyn Clement. Halfway through the year, Virginia McCullough, a special education teacher, was assigned to provide Mark with three hours of instruction a week and to advise Mark’s teacher and aide.

Mary Kearney, the Loudoun County Director of Special Education, personally worked with Mark’s IEP team, which consisted of Johnson, Leitner, Clement, and Laurie McDonald, the principal of Ashburn. Kearney provided in-service training for the Ashburn staff on autism and inclusion of disabled children in the regular classroom. Johnson, Leitner, Clement, and McDonald also attended a seminar on inclusion held by the Virginia Council for Administrators of Special Education. Mark’s IEP team also received assistance from educational consultants Jamie Ruppmann and Gail Mayfield, and Johnson conferred with additional specialists whose names were provided to her by the Hartmanns and the school. Mark’s curriculum was continually modified to ensure that it was properly adapted to his needs and abilities.

Frank Johnson, supervisor of the county’s program for autistic children, formally joined the IEP team in January, but provided assistance throughout the year in managing Mark’s behavior. Mark engaged in daily episodes of loud screeching and other disruptive conduct such as hitting, pinching, kicking, biting, and removing his clothing. These outbursts not only required Diane Johnson and Leitner to calm Mark and redirect him, but also consumed the additional time necessary to get the rest of the children back on task after the distraction.

Despite these efforts, by the end of the year Mark’s IEP team concluded that he was making no academic progress in the regular classroom. In Mark’s May 1994 IEP, the team therefore proposed to place Mark in a class specifically structured for autistic children at Leesburg Elementary. Leesburg is a regular elementary school which houses the autism class in order to facilitate interaction between the autistic children and students who are not handicapped. The Leesburg class would have included five autistic students working with a special education teacher and at least one full-time aide. Under the May IEP, Mark would have received only academic instruction and speech in the self-contained classroom, while joining a regular class for art, music, physical education, library, and recess. The Leesburg program also would have permitted Mark to increase the portion of his instruction received in a regular education setting as he demonstrated an improved ability to handle it.

 

DECISION

 

To demand more than this from regular education personnel would essentially require them to become special education teachers trained in the full panoply of disabilities that their students might have. Virginia law does not require this, nor does the IDEA. First, such a requirement would fall afoul of Rowley’s admonition that the IDEA does not guarantee the ideal educational opportunity for every disabled child. Furthermore, when the IDEA was passed, Congress’ intention was not that the Act displace the primacy of

                                                                                   

 

States in the field of education, but that States receive funds to assist them in extending their educational systems to the handicapped.” Rowley, 458 U.S. at 208. The IDEA “expressly incorporates State educational standards.” Schimmel v. Spillane, 819 F.2d 477, 484 (4th Cir. 1987). We can think of few steps that would do more to usurp state educational standards and policy than to have federal courts re-write state teaching certification requirements in the guise of applying the IDEA.  In sum, we conclude that Loudoun County’s efforts on behalf of Mark were sufficient to satisfy the IDEA’s mainstreaming directive.

 

DICTA

 

The IDEA embodies important principles governing the relationship between local school authorities and a reviewing district court. Although section 1415(e)(2) provides district courts with authority to grant “appropriate” relief based on a preponderance of the evidence, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(e)(2), that section “is by no means an invitation to the courts to substitute their own notions of sound educational policy for those of the school authorities which they review.” Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central Sch. Dist. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 206 (1982).  These principles reflect the IDEA’s recognition that federal courts cannot run local schools. Local educators deserve latitude in determining the individualized education program most appropriate for a disabled child. The IDEA does not deprive these educators of the right to apply their professional judgment. Rather it establishes a “basic floor of opportunity” for every handicapped child. Rowley, 458 U.S. at 201. States must provide specialized instruction and related services “sufficient to confer some educational benefit upon the handicapped child,” id. at 200, but the Act does not require “the furnishing of every special service necessary to maximize each handicapped child’s potential,” id. at 199.

 

IMPLICATIONS

 

The IDEA encourages mainstreaming, but only to the extent that it does not prevent a child from receiving educational benefit. The evidence in this case demonstrates that Mark Hartmann was not making academic progress in a regular education classroom despite the provision of adequate supplementary aids and services. Loudoun County properly proposed to place Mark in a partially mainstreamed program which would have addressed the academic deficiencies of his full inclusion program while permitting him to interact with nonhandicapped students to the greatest extent possible. This professional judgment by local educators was deserving of respect. The approval of this educational approach by the local and state administrative officers likewise deserved a deference from the district court which it failed to receive. In rejecting reasonable pedagogical choices and disregarding well-supported administrative findings, the district court assumed an educational mantle which the IDEA did not confer. Accordingly, the judgment must be reversed, and the case remanded with directions to dismiss it.

 

 

 

 

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

 

INTRODUCTION

 

“Appropriate” education is one that goes beyond the normal school year. If a child will experience severe or substantial regression during the summer months in the absence of a summer program, the handicapped child may be entitled to year round services. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) passed in 1975, this act provided support to state special education programs to provide free appropriate public education to disabled children. National precedent establishing the tests for determining the need for an extended school year for special needs children.

            For the purpose of this case we will determine if there is sufficient enough evidence of regression to justify requiring the district to provide summer services to the student.

Case One

 

United States Court of Appeals,

Fifth Circuit

 

 

Alamo Heights Independent School District-Plaintiff-Appellants

v.

State Board Of Education, et al., Defendants-Apelles

790 F .d 1153

 

 

LITIGANTS

Plaintiff –Appellant: Alamo Heights Independent School District

 

Defendants – Apelles: State Board of Education

 

Background

 

In the summer  1979, when Steven was seven, his mother moved into the Alamo Heights Independent School District. That school year Steven attended a special education program at Cambridge Elementary School. In the late spring of 1980, Mrs. G.

 

requested that the Alamo Heights Independent School District provide summer services for Steven.

For seven years prior to 1980 the Alamo Heights School District had offered a summer program to all special education students who were moderately or severely handicapped. The decision to offer the program was made on the administrative level, as a matter of district policy, and any moderate to severely handicapped child was eligible to

 

attend. In the summer of 1980, when Steven would have been eligible for this program, however, the School District changed its policy and offered only a half-day one-month program, without providing transportation. The decision to curtail the summer program was based on its cost and the apparent lack of interest on the part of teachers and eligible students in previous years.

No students from Steven’s multiply handicapped class took advantage of the 1980 summer program, nor did Steven. It is not clear, however, whether Mrs. G. was not told of the program or whether the lack of transportation and the hours made it impossible for Steven to attend. During that summer, Steven stayed with a baby-sitter who had no training in special education. There was testimony that Steven’s behavior deteriorated that summer and that he suffered regression in his ability to stand, point, and feed himself.

The next year Mrs. G.’s request for summer services and transportation was refused by school officials, without consultation with Steven’s Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee or with his teacher. The only caretaker Mrs. G. could find for Steven lived a mile outside of the district boundary, and even during the school year, the School District would not provide out-of-district transportation.

Mrs. G. then employed legal counsel and appealed the denial of services to the Texas Education Agency. The administrative hearing officer issued an interim order requesting a meeting of Steven’s ARD Committee to consider the issue of summer services. The ARD Committee met and agreed only to provide some adaptive equipment for Steven and to request consultative services from the state during the summer of 1981. On August 21, 1981, the hearing officer issued a “proposal for decision” in which he found that the School District was required to provide summer services and related

transportation services during 1981, and also required the School District to make a decision regarding summer services for 1982 by March of 1982.

Facts

 

Without some kind of continuous, structured educational program during the evidence to conclude that Steven G. would definitely suffer severe regression after a summer without such a program, neither can it conclude that he would not and there is evidence that shows that Steven G. has suffered more than the loss of skills in isolated instances, and that he has required recoupment time of more than several weeks after summers without continuous, structured programming. A summer without continuous, structured programming would result in substantial regression of knowledge gained and skills learned, and, given the severity of Steven G.’s handicaps, this regression would be significant.

Decision

 

Mrs. G.’s efforts to obtain the appropriate provision of free educational services for her son were pursued within the administrative framework set up by the State of Texas pursuant to EAHCA guidelines. The success she achieved in requiring the School District to provide Steven with an appropriate individualized educational placement, including summer services, was obtained through and within the “elaborate, precisely

defined administrative and judicial enforcement system. Because we find that, whether or  denominated due process, the claims upon which Mrs. G. has prevailed are rights granted by the EAHCA, and because the EAHCA contains no provision for attorney’s fees, we agree with the district court that no attorney’s fees are to be awarded under Sec. 1988.

We also find that Mrs. G. is not entitled to attorney’s fees under the Rehabilitation Act. In Smith, the Court stated, “Of course, if a State provided services beyond those required by the [EAHCA], but discriminatorily denied those services to a handicapped child, Section 504 [of the Rehabilitation Act] would remain available as an avenue of relief.”

Mrs. G. asserts that the fact that the School District provided a summer remedial reading program, free of charge, to nonhandicapped children without providing an

analogous free summer program to handicapped children is a clear instance of discrimination on the basis of handicap in violation of Sec. 504.

 We do not agree. Under the EAHCA, the School District is required to provide handicapped children with a free, appropriate education geared towards their individual needs. If a handicapped child’s IEP requires summer services under the EAHCA, he is entitled to summer services. The fact that the School District affords some nonhandicapped children remedial help during the summer does not mean that it is required to offer similar remedial summer guidance to handicapped children, irrespective of whether their individual IEP’s provide for structured summer services. The school district’s action in Steven’s case has not been shown to constitute discrimination on the basis of his handicap distinct from the protection afforded under the EAHCA. Hence, Mrs. G. is not entitled to attorney’s fees under 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794a(b), the attorney’s fees provision of the Rehabilitation Act.

Finally, the School District argues that it was denied due process by the procedures employed by the State Board of Education during the administrative stage of this action. It contends that under Helms v. McDaniel, the hearing officer’s initial proposed decision of August 24, 1981 should have been considered the final decision of the case and that the hearing officer’s later adoption of the Commissioner of Education’s decision was a direct violation of Helms. It contends that the failure of the hearing officer to adopt his initial proposed decision as the final decision of the case denied them due process. The School District does not favor us with any authority for the proposition that an adjudicative officer is prohibited by the due process clause from changing his opinion in the course of an orderly procedure. We find the district court did not err in dismissing the School District’s due process claims against the state defendants.

 

Dicta

 

The district court carefully phrased its conclusion and, while it did not explicitly state that the educational program offered by the School District did not meet the “some

 

educational benefit” standard of Rowley, the district court showed that it was aware of that decision and its judgment is therefore tantamount to such a conclusion. Hence, we

 

hold that the district court applied the appropriate standard to the factual determinations supported by the record. The general injunctive relief granted by the court was

appropriate to ensure that Steven receives the summer programming to which he is entitled under the Act.

With respect to out-of-district transportation for Steven G., the district court found that transportation is included in the definition of “related service” under 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(a)(17) and that such transportation does not cease to be a related service simply because a parent requests transportation to a site a short distance beyond the district boundaries.

Implications

 

The evidence indicates that Todd was receiving benefit from the TISD special education program, and hence, the TISD special education program was an appropriate placement under IDEA. Equally important, the TISD special education program provided Todd with an opportunity to interact with nondisabled peers, and was a less restrictive environment than The Oaks. Thus, regardless of whether Todd extracted any academic benefit from the educational program at The Oaks, Todd’s parents’ unilateral decision to place him there remains their financial responsibility. For these reasons, the decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

 

 

Professor William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PVAMU, The Texas A&M University System

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In order to assure that all children are given a meaningful opportunity to

benefit from public education, the education of children with disabilities is

required to be tailored to the unique needs of the handicapped child by means of an individualized education plan (IEP). As a condition of federal funding, IDEA requires states to provide all children with a “free appropriate public education,” with the statutory term “appropriate” designating education from which the schoolchild obtains some degree of benefit.

            This report focuses on parents rights to place their son in a unilateral placement despite the public school program and IEP. The parents by law have the right to request reimbursement for private placement.

 

Case One

 

United States Courts of Appeals,

Fifth Circuit

 

TODD L., Mr. and Mrs. L., Defendant-Appellants,

v.
TEAGUE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Plaintiff-Appellee,

Docket No. No. 92-8427.

 

LITIGANTS

 

Plaintiffs-Appellant: Todd L., Mr. and Mrs. L., et.al

 

Defendant-Appellee: TEAGUE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

As a condition of federal funding, IDEA requires states to provide all children with a “free appropriate public education,” with the statutory term “appropriate” designating education from which the schoolchild obtains some degree of benefit. IDEA requires that children with disabilities be educated to the maximum extent possible with nondisabled children in the least restrictive environment consistent with their needs, a concept referred to as “mainstreaming.” In order to assure that all children are given a meaningful opportunity to benefit from public education, the education of children with disabilities is required to be tailored to the unique needs of the handicapped child by means of an individualized education plan (IEP).

Complying with IDEA, Todd’s local public school district (the Teague Independent School District, “TISD”), in collaboration with Todd and his parents, developed an IEP for Todd. Consistent with IDEA’s requirement that special education services be tailored to the unique needs of the child, the IEP emphasized one-on-one instruction in specially equipped classrooms, and reduced the length of Todd’s school day from seven hours to two hours. Todd’s school day was reduced not for the convenience of school staff, but in response to Todd’s inability to tolerate a longer school day without becoming unduly frustrated and discouraged, leading to regression rather than academic progress.

The school psychologist specifically found that a shortened school day would be necessary, at least temporarily, to assure that Todd’s inability to tolerate frustration did not lead to his giving up on academics altogether and dropping out of school. Though Todd was educated separately from his nondisabled peers for part of the school day, the school arranged for Todd to have contact with nondisabled peers. The goal of Todd’s four-year IEP was to provide him with a nonthreatening environment in which he could continue to make academic progress while gradually learning to tolerate a lengthened school day and increased stress. The record indicates that the authors of Todd’s IEP fully expected that ultimately Todd would be reintegrated into “the mainstream” of regular classes at the TISD school, and would graduate.

 

Facts

 

             When Todd’s parents sought reimbursement for the costs of Todd’s institutionalization, the TISD refused on the grounds that Todd had been able to benefit from the TISD program and that The Oaks placement was more restrictive than necessary to provide Todd with educational benefit. Todd’s parents appealed to a special education

hearing officer, who found that Todd’s parents should be reimbursed. The special education hearing officer found that Todd’s parents had established that Todd’s local

public school was an inappropriate placement while The Oaks was an appropriate placement. According to the hearing officer, there was no evidence that Todd had obtained any benefit from special education at the TISD School. Contending that this factual conclusion was clearly erroneous, and that the hearing officer did not take into account the relative restrictiveness of The Oaks and the TISD School’s special education program, the school district appealed the hearing officer’s decision to federal district court.

            Although the district court indicated that it gave “due weight” to the decision of the hearing officer, the district court concluded, after reviewing all the evidence from the administrative proceeding and hearing additional evidence, that the TISD public school placement was appropriate, and that The Oaks placement was inappropriate. Therefore, the district court reversed the hearing officer’s decision to grant Todd’s parents reimbursement for the cost of Todd’s institutionalization at The Oaks. Todd’s parents appeal the district court’s decision. We affirm.

Decision

          Having decided that the district court did not err in subjecting the hearing officer’s decision to a searching review, it remains only to decide whether the conclusions drawn by the district court were proper. We review de novo, as a mixed question of law and fact, the district court’s decision that the local school’s IEP was appropriate and that the alternative placement was inappropriate under IDEA. Christopher M. v. Corpus Christi Independent Sch. Dist., 933 F.2d 1285, 1289 (5th Cir.1991). We review the district court’s findings of “underlying fact” for clear error. Id. See also Sherri A.D., 975 F.2d at 207. Findings of “underlying fact” include findings that the schoolchild obtained

any benefit from special education services or would be threatened by a longer school day. Christopher M., 933 F.2d at 1289.  If a parent or guardian unilaterally removes a child from the local public school system, the parent or guardian may obtain reimbursement for an alternative placement only if able to demonstrate that the regular school placement was inappropriate, and that the alternative placement was appropriate. School Comm. of Burlington v. Department of Educ., 471 U.S. 359, 373-74, 105 S.Ct. 1996, 2004, 85 L.Ed.2d 385 (1985). If Todd’s IEP in the local public school district was appropriate, then there is no need to inquire further as to the appropriateness of The Oaks’ program.

          Under IDEA, an “appropriate” placement is that which enables a child to obtain “some benefit” from the public education he is receiving; not necessarily maximization of his potential. See Rowley, 458 U.S. at 198-200, 102 S.Ct. at 3047. In addition to requiring that the child’s placement be appropriate in the sense of providing some benefit, IDEA mandates that to the fullest extent possible, disabled children be educated with non-disabled children in the least restrictive environment. See 20 U.S.C. § 1412(5); Rowley, 458 U.S. at 202, 102 S.Ct. at 3048; Sherri A.D., 975 F.2d at 206 (“Even in cases in which mainstreaming is not a feasible alternative, there is a statutory preference for serving disabled individuals in the setting which is least restrictive of their liberty and which is near the community in which their families live”). A presumption exists in favor of the local public school district’s plan for educating the child, provided it comports with IDEA. See Tatro v. State of Texas, 703 F.2d 823, 830 (5th Cir.1983). See generally Rowley, 458 U.S. at 207-08, 102 S.Ct. at 3051.

          There is ample evidence that Todd received significant benefit from his public school placement. Todd’s teacher and school psychologist both testified that Todd made significant progress academically and behaviorally while in the TISD special education program. Not only did Todd advance in terms of grade level, he also became steadily more able to focus on particular tasks for longer periods without experiencing debilitating frustration. At the same time, the TISD special education program provided Todd with

some opportunity to interact with nondisabled peers, and the opportunity to participate in the affairs of the community in which he lived.

          Todd’s one-on-one instruction at TISD was no more restrictive than necessary to assure that he would receive some academic benefit from special education at TISD. The school psychologist testified that while she would have recommended some sort of residential placement had the district not been able to provide Todd with one-on-one

instruction, she would never consider placing a child like Todd at a residential facility as restrictive as The Oaks without first exhausting the full range of less restrictive alternatives. She testified that even though Todd had serious behavior problems, she did not consider him so unruly as to require twenty-four hour supervision in a locked unit. In the school psychologist’s opinion, The Oaks was a placement of last resort.

          By contrast to the unambiguous evidence that Todd benefitted from special education at the TISD school, the evidence that Todd benefitted from educational services at The Oaks is equivocal. The evidence Todd’s parents produced to support their claim that Todd benefitted academically from educational programming at The Oaks compares Todd’s performance before he received special education services at the TISD school with Todd’s performance after he was institutionalized. Hence, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain whether the source of the benefit Todd obtained was provided primarily by the TISD school, or by The Oaks. It is uncontroverted that The Oaks’ focus was on behavior management, and that The Oaks devoted only the same or a little more time to Todd’s educational programming than did the TISD school.

        Finally, Todd’s placement at The Oaks involved more restrictions on Todd’s liberty than any other potential placement, removed Todd from his home community, and completely precluded him from having any contact with nondisabled peers. There is exceedingly little evidence, other than the hospital’s willingness to admit Todd, that he required such a restrictive environment. Although we can assume, based on Todd’s admission to The Oaks, that a physician

ratified Todd’s parents’ decision to hospitalize their son, the great weight of the evidence indicated that he could not only cope, but thrive, in a less restrictive setting.

Dicta

  The evidence indicates that Todd was receiving benefit from the TISD special education program, and hence, the TISD special education program was an appropriate placement under IDEA. Equally important, the TISD special education program provided

Todd with an opportunity to interact with nondisabled peers, and was a less restrictive environment than The Oaks. Thus, regardless of whether Todd extracted any academic benefit from the educational program at The Oaks, Todd’s parents’ unilateral decision to place him there remains their financial responsibility. For these reasons, the decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Implications

 

The district court carefully phrased its conclusion and, while it did not explicitly state that the educational program offered by the School District did not meet the “some educational benefit” standard of Rowley, the district court showed that it was aware of that decision and its judgment is therefore tantamount to such a conclusion. Hence, we hold that the district court applied the appropriate standard to the factual determinations supported by the record. The general injunctive relief granted by the court was appropriate to ensure that Steven receives the summer programming to which he is entitled under the Act.

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Inducted into the William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor (HBCU)

 

Remarks by Angela Stevens McNeil

July 26th 2008

 

Good Morning. My name is Angela Stevens McNeil and I have the privilege of introducing the next Hall of Honor Inductee, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis. Dr. Kritsonis was chosen because of his dedication to the educational advancement of Prairie View A&M University students. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1969 from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.  In 1971, he earned his Master’s in Education from Seattle Pacific University.  In 1976, he earned his PhD from the University of Iowa. 

Dr. Kritsonis has served and blessed the field of education as a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, director of student teaching and field experiences, invited guest professor, author, consultant, editor-in-chief, and publisher.  He has also earned tenure as a professor at the highest academic rank at two major universities.

In 2005, Dr. Kritsonis was an Invited Visiting Lecturer at the Oxford Round Table at Oriel College in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England.  His lecture was entitled the Ways of Knowing through the Realms of Meaning.

In 2004, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis was recognized as the Central Washington University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Education and Professional Studies. 

Dr. William Kritsonis is a well respected author of more than 500 articles in professional journals and several books.  In 1983, Dr. Kritsonis founded the NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS. These publications represent a group of highly respected scholarly academic periodicals. In 2004, he established the DOCTORAL FORUM – National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research. The DOCTORAL FORUM is the only refereed journal in America committed to publishing doctoral students while they are enrolled in course work in their doctoral programs. Over 300 articles have been published by doctorate and master’s degree students and most are indexed in ERIC.

Currently, Dr. Kritsonis is a Professor in the PhD Program in Educational Leadership here at Prairie View A&M University.

            Dr. William Kritsonis has dedicated himself to the advancement of educational leadership and to the education of students at all levels.  It is my honor to bring him to the stage at this time as a William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor Inductee.

Dr. Kritsonis Recognized as Distinguished Alumnus

In 2004, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis was recognized as the Central Washington University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Education and Professional Studies. Dr. Kritsonis was nominated by alumni, former students, friends, faculty, and staff. Final selection was made by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Recipients are CWU graduates of 20 years or more and are recognized for achievement in their professional field and have made a positive contribution to society. For the second consecutive year, U.S. News and World Report placed Central Washington University among the top elite public institutions in the west. CWU was 12th on the list in the 2006 On-Line Education of “America’s Best Colleges.”

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22
September

Is A 504 Plan Enough To Help My Special Needs Child?

Is A 504 Plan Enough To Help My Special Needs Child?

Section 504 is a Federal Law that provides for accommodations for people with disabilities.  The law requires that any entity receiving federal funding must accommodate people with disabilities.  Public schools fall under this category.  The accommodations must provide for access to the program.  So, what does that mean?  Well, that means that any student with a disability or suspected disability should be provided with accommodations or services to allow that student to access and make progress in the program. 

I have worked with many students that are on Section 504 Plans. Yet when I start to talk to their parents about the plan, many of them don’t know what it is or what it’s supposed to do.  They sometimes think it is an IEP (Individual Education Program).  It’s not.  The 504 plan only provides accommodations and sometimes services to allow the student access.  For example:  If a student has a physical disability and is confined to a wheelchair, the school would provide ramps, elevators, adaptive equipment (wheelchair accessible desk) and services could be physical therapy or an assistant to help the student to navigate throughout the school.  There is no educational component to the plan as there is in an IEP.  If the disability affects the student’s ability to learn and make progress in the curriculum and the student needs specialized instruction, then the student should be on an IEP.  

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Some accommodations that can be found on a 504 plan are:

Preferential seating
Opportunities for movement
Extra time on assignments and tests
Separate testing area
Extra set of books
Lecture notes provided
Large assignments broken down
Extra time to get to and from classes
Use of a calculator

This list is just a small sample of accommodations that can be listed on a plan.  The accommodations should assist the student and should be reviewed and changed, if necessary, once a year.  If you feel that the accommodation plan is not sufficient to help your child, reconvene the team to determine if your child in fact needs an IEP.

Teachers are supposed to follow this plan and provide the accommodations listed, however, don’t assume that the teacher can know every child on every plan.  I always recommend to my clients that they meet with the teacher at the beginning of the school year. Usually a few weeks after school starts, call and request a meeting with the teacher(s) and the guidance counselor. Bring a copy of the 504 plan with you and talk to them about your child.  Explain how your child learns and what he needs.  Make sure that you explain that you are there to help and not to complain.  I find that teachers appreciate parents that are involved and care about their children.  Teachers find it very helpful to get a better picture of a child than what is written on a 504. Also, plan to meet with the teacher in the middle of the school year to see how things are going.  But provide the teacher with your contact information so that any problems that come up can be communicated to you right away. 

You should also plan to meet towards the end of the school year to see how things have gone.  What accommodations have helped what ones are no longer needed and if there is some that should be added?  This allows you to plan for the summer and the next school year as well. 

The Federal Law, Section 504 provides for your child with a disability in public school because schools receive Federal funding.  Colleges that receive Federal funding also must provide accommodations.  Check with your College’s Pupil Services Department for services that are provided.  Accommodations provide children a level playing field with typical peers. Allowing students with disabilities an opportunity to make progress and learn.

Lynne Castino is a Special Education Advocate, Author, Trainer, Educator, and friend to all those struggling with the Special Education process.  Lynne has been working with families of children with special needs for over 15 years.  She is dedicated to helping children with special needs.  As an Early Childhood Educator and a mother of four, she has had to advocate for her own children and understands the struggle that a family goes through to get the right services and supports that a child needs to be successful.  Lynne has a private practice in Dartmouth, MA, where she resides with her husband and children. 

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20
September

How To Involve Parents In IEP

How To Involve Parents In IEP

Article by Schew Maker









Being special programs Individual Education Programs are often time consuming. After all, IEP is not just gathering information and getting ready to conduct and document an IEP meeting. IEP programs are designed by team of individuals including the child’s parents or caregivers. The purpose behind IEP is not just developing goals and objectives but also outlining the services a child needs for years to come. No wonder, while some IEP’s are only a few pages long some can be as lengthy as twenty or more pages. Although, IEP’s are written annually some require revision or writing more frequently.

A model IEP team consists of Spec. Ed teacher, classroom teacher, key support personnel and the parents. Ideally, every team member should provide their input into the IEP programs to develop the IEP goals. But unfortunately, most of the team members have very little or no input into the process and just sign the document produced. Even though some team members are active than the others, the responsibility of producing and writing a correct IEP lies on the Special Education teacher. Since the Spec. Ed. teacher has a good idea as to what goals to include, in most cases, the Spec. arranges the meeting, sends the needed notices to the participants and then writes the IEP. The goals and objectives are written in course of the meeting itself. Spec.Ed teachers also write the narratives for other parts of the IEP. The challenge that most them often face is how to get the parents involved in IEP and make them become an active participant. Here are few suggestions for Special Ed teachers that would help them to achieve their goal:

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