Teaching has certainly changed over the 20-plus years I have been in education. I have seen the “whole language” vs. phonics based learning approach; survived the NHEAPs, the NECAPS and am about to experience Smarter Balanced. I have seen technology change, the internet happen and the use of personal devices in the classroom. I am now knee deep in Common Core. I have been teaching long enough to see the proverbial pendulum swung in each direction several times.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during ‘IEP Season’, but you don’t have to be a superstar (or suddenly have more planning time) to develop IEPs that will serve your students well all year long. Thinking of an IEP as a Leadership Tool can minimize needless stress and help ordinary people work together to develop extraordinary IEPs.
Are you invested in the state and future of public education? Do you wonder how the field of education in the USA has become what it is today? Well, understanding is the first step in advocating for systemic improvements. In her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, well-known historian and writer Diane Ravitch describes the movements and events that gave rise to the age of accountability that has so profoundly influenced our schools.
I recently learned of a progressive organization that is transforiming education by making evidence-based reading instruction available worldwide! Cardinal Reading Strategies, LLC, provides intensive instruction to students through The English Code Language Training System. Any student with internet access can now receive high quality instruction that will build the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and in life. I was so intrigued by this new option, that I asked Dr. Walter E.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is working 'to improve the lives of the one in five children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues—by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities' (http://www.ncld.org/mission-and-history/). If you haven't yet visited their website, take a look at http://www.ncld.org.
1) Expectations - Some schools and districts get all caught up in “correlations” and spend endless time tracking: Percent of babies born at low-birth weight; percent of children born to single moms; percent of children in families receiving government assistance; and education levels of mothers. The simple truth is educators in high-performing high poverty schools and districts do not do that. They focus on what they can do, not on what they cannot do.
As a psychologist who specializes in children with learning and attention disorders, I see a lot of kids who are struggling in school. Very often, their parents are struggling too, with what is causing the problem. When they come to see me, the initial interview often goes like this:
Me: Why don’t you start by telling me how you ended up here and what you’re hoping to get out of this evaluation?
Parents are a vital part of the IEP development process, yet how often do we reflect on how we might more effectively build relationships with parents that will lay the groundwork for productive team meetings? No, I'm not referring to bringing cookies or becoming personal 'friends' with parents. Rather, I mean actions that build a meaningful foundation upon which effective working relationships can be based. When this firm foundation is not in place, the teamwork that is essential to the special education process can break down.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Children are excited, teachers and parents are exhausted and that little elf is back to spy on the little ones. The holidays have officially arrived.
Much like eggnog lattes, interesting seasonal behaviors may be popping up here and there. Excitement, anticipation, fatigue and chaotic schedules can set the stage, so let’s review some of the items we have learned.