Tailoring instruction for students with special needs is often the most challenging instructional demand for collaborative teams to navigate. Teachers want their students to feel successful, yet sometimes they make decisions that are actually detrimental to students, such as lowering text-complexity expectations, or overly-modifying an assignment, task, or assessment to the point that the intended rigor is virtually nonexistent. The majority of students with special needs are capable of much more than that. Read more
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The first time I was asked the question conveyed in the title – it was by a campus principal that I have great respect for, and it stopped me in my tracks. I quickly realized that the question was asked because as a professional learning community with collective responsibility for all students we now have systematic practices beginning at Tier 1 that were previously reserved for only a few students. I recognized that we had many reasons to celebrate – but we also had more work to do. The question prompted a great collaborative team meeting which resulted in improved data monitoring for students needing intensive intervention. My experience answering this question is becoming the norm across the nation. With the increased focus on creating multi-tiered systems of support for at-risk students, schools are beginning to re-examine and re-imagine the role of special education.
The ELs R in the House
English learners (ELs) come to your school with a variety of ability, English proficiency, content competency, cultural and educational background, and instructional and socio-emotional needs. Read more
The first of the four critical questions of a Professional Learning Community process is, what is it we want our students to learn? This question underscores the need for teacher teams to identify the essential learning targets that we will ensure students master. Virtually every experienced educator would agree that teachers are saddled with too much to teach in too little time.
Most schools have traditionally left it up to individual teachers to determine essential learning outcomes and skills. But in a PLC, collaborative teams are expected to come to consensus on those priorities. These need-to-know essentials are learning targets and skills that prepare students to reach the following goals Read more
How do you address the needs of struggling learners and students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) in your math classroom? By leveraging the Standards for Mathematical Practice (NGA and CCSSP, 2010) during the IEP goal setting and objective writing process, we were able to help all of our students in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) make meaningful gains in mathematics learning. In this blog, we want to briefly share the essential elements of an IEP goal-setting tool that is transforming instruction for our students receiving special education services.