All students, including those with disabilities, are held to high expectations and have equitable access to educational opportunities that enrich their lives and prepare them for future success.
Our goal as educators is to improve outcomes for all students. This can be accomplished through a system that ensures equity and access. Equitable Access is the guarantee that all students are provided the necessary and individualized supplementary aids and services, accommodations, modifications, or supports to meaningfully participate in the general education curriculum. Equitable access must be accompanied by a school-wide acceptance or belief in shared responsibility, shared accountability, and high expectations. According to the Dear Colleague letter on the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (November 2015) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (December 2015), improving outcomes also requires a strong core curriculum, high quality instruction, unbiased assessment that guides instruction, and collaboration among administrators, general and special education staff, parents, and the community. Multi-tiered system of support and universal design for learning provide the foundation necessary to reach the overall goal.
- Q: What are you and your SpEd staff doing to keep students with disabilities on track (academically and emotionally/behaviorally) that have chosen your school’s virtual option? Are you having success with what you are doing?
- A: We required students to come back 2nd semester in person who were not successful 1st semester. For students who are virtual, they have a scheduled study hall where an assistant or Special Ed teacher works with them through video on any questions or support that they need.
- A: We have many of our special ed students who are online enrolled in a basic skills class with their teacher of record. That’s a class we are already utilizing so we added it as a virtual class too. The teacher meets with the student every day during that class period to check in and help them with anything going on plus gives small assignments/lessons for real life skills such as budgeting, organizational skills, etc. That’s the best we could come up with so the TOR had direct communication and they get the counselors involved if they need any other kind of support. We join the teacher during that class period on google meet and talk to the student if they need anything from us. Students also earn an elective credit in this course.
- A: Discussion in my corp: Not only are we having troubles with virtual students logging on and completing work, but we are struggling to get a few students and parents to even communicate. We will be starting with certified letters and are exploring sending notice of a progress monitoring case conference.
- Accommodations for PSAT/SAT
- Question: Any high school counselors know who is responsible for making sure an IEP student receives their accommodations on the SAT and/or ACT? (Counselor Talk, January 2019)
- Because our school is small, the counselors apply for the accommodations through SAT/ACT. The special ed dept works with us to tell us which students plan to take the tests.
- I am a small school and do apply for accommodations.
- I am at a huge school (Carmel High School) and we are responsible for submitting all the accommodations requests. We have really tried to streamline it by having the paperwork signed during the freshman case conferences so that the students will be approved for accommodations when they take the PSAT sophomore year. I’m attaching the packet that parents have to fill out to request accommodations. This has really helped us in this process.
- At the high school level the special education department should be responsible for this. In my opinion school counselors shouldn’t be responsible for requesting accommodations and proctoring these exams.
- What I have learned
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