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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.”
IEPs Aligned to State Standards
While some states are experiencing changes as they implement new standards, all school districts are tasked with writing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) aligned with state standards. Special educators working to develop IEPs will do well to keep their standards in mind as they prepare students for the challenges of post-secondary education and employment.Continue Reading
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.
Top 5 FERPA & HIPAA Misconceptions for Schools
We live in an age filled with threats to student privacy. As an important member of your school community, you’re a defender of that privacy. And that role comes with a great deal of responsibility. Part of your responsibility is understanding two primary laws that protect against the unlawful disclosure of personal and health information: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.Continue Reading
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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
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4 Ways to Improve Transition Planning in Special Education
Providing individualized special education services in school is crucial to fulfilling the mission of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). However, in-school services only get you partway to accomplishing IDEA’s goals for students with disabilities.Continue Reading
Why Do Special Education Teachers Quit?
Why did you choose a career in special education? is one of my favorite questions to ask when I interview teachers because it usually prompts an immediate brightening of the eyes and a smile. And, let’s face it, that kind of enthusiasm is catchy!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
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
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
5 Tips for Successful Collaboration Between General & Special Education Teachers
Jim Stovall, International Humanitarian Award recipient and Olympic athlete, once said of teamwork, “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.”Successful CollaborationContinue Reading