Why Use Baseline Data to Drive Decisions in K-12 Education?
Believe it or not, data wasn’t always a factor in decision-making in schools. A lot of decisions were made subjectively. Lacking efficient digital records, educators didn’t have the data needed to make objective decisions. Fortunately, teaching has evolved into a science based on facts.
How to Leverage Your IEP Service Tracking System for Better Progress Monitoring
School districts need to monitor student progress to assess student outcomes, submit mandated state and federal reports, and in many states, claim Medicaid reimbursements. But progress monitoring can also be used to help identify and support requests for additional staffing needs or pinpoint professional development gaps.Continue Reading
RTI/MTSS and End of School Year: 7 Tips to Reflect and Recalibrate
School leaders who implement RTI/MTSS have a big responsibility ― to deploy a school’s full array of intervention resources to find and help struggling students. To meet this goal, periodic checkups are needed to ensure that schools align their current practices with RTI/MTSS best practices. The close of the school year offers staff the ideal time for an RTI/MTSS checkup ― now is your chance to tidy up loose ends in record-keeping, use data to improve classroom instruction, identify gaps between intended and actual service delivery and look ahead to the next phase in RTI/MTSS program roll-out.
5 Questions to Evaluate Your IEP Management System
Is your IEP system helping you live up to the promises you’ve made to students with disabilities ― or is it inhibiting student progress and adding work and frustration to your plate? As with any complex system, getting a clear view of what is working well and what could be better can be a challenge. The bottom line is that your IEP system should work for you, not the other way around.Continue Reading
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Best Practices for Planning Extended School Year Services
As the trees begin to blossom, our thoughts turn naturally to spring and even summer. But if you’re a special education administrator or intervention specialist, your pre-summer list is probably a mile long, even as early as March.Continue Reading
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6 Best Practices to Elevate IEPs
The individualized education program (IEP) is the seminal planning document for teaching students with disabilities, and the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) section should be its heart and soul. When done well, the PLAAFP describes a multi-dimensional student — one with strengths, interests, needs and aspirations. I’ve provided suggestions on how the PLAAFP can tell “the right story” for each student — let’s review some of these ideas and connect the dots so your PLAAFPs can set the stage for compliant, individualized and relevant IEPs.Continue Reading
Special Education and the Teacher Shortage
An online search for “teacher shortage” will quickly return 435,000 results. Each day yields more headlines about school districts who struggle to hire enough teachers — more than half of school districts we surveyed in 2016 said they were experiencing a shortage.Continue Reading
5 Ways to Reduce Burnout for Special Education Teachers
When I became principal for a specialized school with various sites throughout a borough in New York City, one of my first priorities was to develop a plan of action to better support my special education staff.Continue Reading
4 Survival Strategies for Special Education Teachers
It’s estimated that up to almost 50 percent of a special education teacher’s time is spent completing paperwork. Yet, as a teacher, you want to spend your school days teaching. You want to work hard in ensuring that every student — no matter their ability — gets a fair shot at success. In short, you chose to become a special education teacher because you care. Because it’s a hard job and somebody has to do it; why shouldn’t that somebody be as qualified and invested as you?Continue Reading
The 2 Sides of Improving Special Educator-Paraprofessional Collaboration
A special education teacher and paraprofessional share their special educator-paraeducator collaboration experiences ― including challenges they’ve faced and tips for improving communication.Continue Reading
5 Strategies to Improve the IEP Process with Parent Participation
Nowhere is the value for parental involvement in education more evident than in the special education process. IDEA provides safeguards to ensure that parents assume a key decision-making role in their child’s IEP. To further emphasize its importance, the Office of Special Education Programs annually assesses the “percent of parents… who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities.”Continue Reading