Billy walks into his 5th-grade math class after being greeted by his teacher, Mr. Ware. Mr. Ware has been teaching for three years, and his students love his enthusiastic, fun-loving approach to learning. Billy agrees that Mr. Ware is pretty cool, but due to his learning disability, he struggles in math, and Mr. Ware provides too little support. Despite his learning disability, Billy enjoys math class
Collaboration within an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is vital for the success of students with special needs. When general educators, special educators, school and district leaders, and parents join forces, the impact on special education students can be truly transformative....
IEPs begin with a focus on three essential pieces of information related to the child. This information provides the foundation for identifying a “just-right” adaptation. IEP teams are tasked with determining the child’s: strengths, needs, and present levels of academic and functional performance. It’s not a coincidence that this information is the exact information needed to select that “just-right” adaptation. Here’s
Mr. Smith started his career as a field biologist before discovering his passion for education. Now, after 25 years as a teacher, he systematically graduates students into the biological science fields in staggering numbers. There’s just something about how he teaches that captivates children and leads them to follow his path into the field. Danny knows this, and, as a child who has always loved fishing and the outdoors, he’s excited to take Biology this year!
“Get to work Sophie,” Mr. Clarke says as he circulates his classroom, noticing that Sophie once again has her head on the desk. “No,” Sophie quietly mumbles in response. “Sophie, last time you refused to work, I had to write you up as being defiant. You don’t want that to happen again, do you?” Sophie nonchalantly shrugs her shoulders. Ignoring the shrug, Mr. Clarke replies, “come on, let’s get to work,” as he walks away. Sophie stares quietly at the wall until the bell rings.
Rosie is a departmentalized fifth-grade science teacher who has built her classroom around hands-on learning opportunities for her students. Because she believes so strongly in the importance of her subject, she’s been working to find even more ways to get the most from the students, especially those with special needs, in her engaging class. As a result of her unique class, Rosie observes different needs from her students than her colleagues so she is able to plan appropriate adaptations…
Two fifth-grade teachers, Zach and Jessica, had just dropped their students off at lunch and were walking down the hall. With a frustrated look, Zach turns to his colleague: “Scott is so frustrating; he’s so disorganized. It takes ten minutes for him to find his homework in his backpack; if he does it at all!” Jessica replied: “He’s definitely a bit scattered in my class, but he usually has his homework done and is typically ready to go with the rest of the class. That’s odd that he doesn’t do your homework because he always tells me he likes math more than reading.” “Are you serious?” Zach replies. “What’s up with that?”
Danny is your typical 12-year-old who loves fishing and dreams of owning a fly-tying business. However, Danny is not doing well in school and fights with his mother every morning about going. You see, Danny has a writing disability, and, among other things, he struggles to take notes during class. Poor notes mean he’s not doing well on tests and struggles with his homework.
As you walk into Ms. Jackson’s class, her pronounced teaching style hits you almost immediately. Her classroom is beautiful, and with something unique covering nearly every inch of wall space, you can’t help but feel excited and motivated. The bell rings, and Ms. Jackson instantly jumps to her feet, anxious to launch into a rich class discussion. In last night’s reading assignment, the students learned that Brutus, Cassius, and others had stabbed Julius Caesar!
As education begins to look past the challenges COVID has brought, schools find themselves needing to develop solutions to problems never seen on the scale they are currently experiencing. However, this does not mean history hasn’t provided a blueprint that can be tweaked to bring all students out...
Action Driven Education stands to empower children with disabilities. We believe that the vehicle to this empowerment comes through a diversity of educational opportunities and dignified respect and appreciation for individual differences. None of us are the same, and through this fact comes our collective strength. Our world needs to explore our biases, whether it’s learning bias in our classrooms or racial bias on our streets.
Teachers of students with special needs spend a tremendous amount of time planning for the education they provide to their students. General and special education teachers alike spend countless hours of time brainstorming, planning, discussing, and implementing ways to support their students. I remember these days and recall the overwhelming feeling of responsibility as I researched and brainstormed to try to develop an appropriate way to support my students.
“I need to go have my test read to me, Mrs. Zinn,” Sophie said as she walked toward the door. Mrs. Zinn knows that this accommodation is in Sophie’s IEP, but it feels like she relies too heavily upon it. She’s in eleventh grade now and has had her tests read to her since the fourth grade. Mrs. Zinn knows that Sophie doesn’t seem to engage with instruction, and when asked about it, Sophie always tells her that it doesn’t matter because she passes her tests, so it’s ok. It seems like she could be doing more on her own.
I’m one of those busy guys who likes always being involved in something…everything…all the time! My drive to be busy is complicated by the fact that I also have a somewhat forgetful personality. This combination tends to make it that I regularly forget to complete tasks that I had sincerely planned to complete, which drives my wife nuts!
Mrs. Williams shuffled into the office in an obvious state of frustration. As a special education teacher, her “to-do” list was a mile long, and it was one of those days where it only seemed to be getting longer. She’s a great team player and understands that her general education colleagues also have long lists that never end, but everyone gets to that point where they feel like they can’t handle it anymore. “Whose job is it to modify these math tests?” she asked in a clearly frustrated voice. “I have an IEP this afternoon, and now Ms. Miller just handed me this test to adapt for tomorrow!” Her question was rhetorical, but she just had to get it off her chest, or was it?
The fastest kid on the team was standing beside me on first base looking pretty pleased with the nice single he had just dropped into the second base gap, scoring his teammate to move the team into a 4-4 tie. I give him a high five as he looks up at me grinning with satisfaction. The next batter steps to the plate; the first-baseman settles back into his spot as I lean down. “If it’s in the dirt, go,” I whisper. The ball leaves the pitcher’s hand and bounces low off his catcher’s glove. It’s lost in the dirt; he goes…three steps…then runs back. “Why didn’t you go,” I asked? “I don’t know,” he replied. I didn’t know either; while he is a newer player, he’s one of the fastest kids on the team! What’s going on here?
The function of an IEP is to determine and outline how a child with a disability’s education will differ from that of their non-exceptional peers. For general education teachers, parents, and students, I like to explain that there are two main outcomes for an IEP. First, teams discuss items, such as goals, designed to support the student through their needs. Secondly, teams discuss accommodations that are designed to support the student around their needs.