AU Practices to Develop Deep Learning Competency Discussion

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Programs for students with exceptionalities must extend beyond the basic literacy and numeracy skills and instead be aligned to students’ needs and abilities and what they will be expected to know and be able to do. Effective leaders ensure that special education teachers design and implement innovative practices that develop deep learning competencies and effective measures for monitoring students’ progress toward their IEP goals and objectives, as well as state and district standards. As a result, students with and without exceptionalities have to be given equal opportunities to engage in rich learning experiences within the general education classrooms in an effort to deepen learning. How will you deepen learning of your staff to be invested in program change and sustainability?

Post your plan sharing the steps that you, as the leader, would take to clarify learning goals and develop precision in pedagogical practices to “shift practices” within the case scenario site. Be sure to include reference to the 6C’s and other chapter topics, such as the student learning model and the role of technology.

·Explain what learning would look like for each of the competencies.

·Identify the pedagogies that foster those competencies.

·Design measures to assess student progress.

Case Scenario 

FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you all for meeting with me today. As you’ve heard, the federal government has mandated states to set up accountability systems for students who are on IEPs and IFSPs to ensure they’re making progress.

FEMALE SPEAKER: This came up at the state special ed directors meeting, so we all knew this was coming. This will include all of our children in our birth through three programs, our preschool programs, as well as our K through 12 students in special education.

FEMALE SPEAKER: That’s right. This is going to be a big change for our staff, especially our early childhood special education staff, since Part C and Part B regulations always seem to be changing.

MALE SPEAKER: Oh, great. Our early childhood special education staff are already overwhelmed with paperwork. Now what else do they have to do?

FEMALE SPEAKER: The states mandated that the districts set up a database to collect ongoing data about IEP goals and objectives, as well as IFSP outcomes for all children and students who receive special education or early intervention services. This system will monitor progress and keep special education professionals accountable for creating intervention plans for those students not making progress.

MALE SPEAKER: I don’t see how this is going to help.

FEMALE SPEAKER: It really is in the best interest of the students. I’m hopeful that this process will be helpful for the education teachers and not a hindrance.

MALE SPEAKER: I’m glad you can be positive but I doubt the staff will see it that way.

FEMALE SPEAKER: In any case, I’m asking you to work together to create a strategic plan for how you will deliver this news at our next staff development day. And plan a staff training session soon after so they can learn the new system.

FEMALE SPEAKER: We can handle it.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, we can put something together.

FEMALE SPEAKER: It’s important that this be presented in a positive way, with clear goals, so that we can make this change as smooth as possible.

Case Scenario Module 3

MALE SPEAKER: Welcome everyone. We have a lot of information to cover this morning, so let’s get started. I’ve invited special education director Carolina Reyes to join us this morningto help present the first topic.

CAROLINA REYES: Good morning everybody.

MALE SPEAKER: As many of you have heard, the state has mandated that each district put in place a database to collect ongoing data about IEP goals and objectives for every special education student.

CAROLINA REYES: To put this in perspective, this is coming down to states from the federal government. Recent research has shown that the students aren’t making adequate progress in special education. So the intent of this new system is to increase the skills of students with exceptionalities. This tracking system will be directly tied to student IEPs.

MALE SPEAKER: The special education case managers will be responsible for putting the data into the district database. But it’s really going to be a team effort for everyone who works with students with exceptionalities to monitor the data and implement interventions.

CAROLINA REYES: I can tell by some of the reactions on your faces that this may seem overwhelming. But I want you to know that I have already been through the training. And I can tell you this system is easy to navigate. I am confident that the data you receive will do great things for our students. And it will allow us to better rapport both data and progress to parents.

MALE SPEAKER: Principals have also had an orientation on the system. And I agree with Ms. Reyes. The system is set up to provide teachers with excellent data on any skills that any of the students are working on.

MALE SPEAKER: What all does the system do? Like, I’m afraid this is going to take a lot of my time.

CAROLINA REYES: In addition to collecting data and graphing it for teachers, the system has extensive lists of student goals ideas to help with IEP writing, and has a tool to find evidence-based interventions for when a student isn’t progressing as expected. It really is cool. I wish I had this system when I was teaching in the classroom.

MALE SPEAKER: The district has set up training sessions that will occur in the next couple of weeks. And there’s going to be a trained support person in every building to help navigate the new database system.

CAROLINA REYES: I have other locations to visit today, but we still have time for some questions.

FEMALE SPEAKER: I have a question. Will the special education case managers be given more time in their daily schedules to input all of this information?

MALE SPEAKER: You’ll need to build this time into your current schedules and prep times.

FEMALE SPEAKER: How can we possibly do that, given our current case loads and the amount of paperwork we’re already doing?

MALE SPEAKER: It has to have already been an expectation that special education staff keep data on student IEPs goals and objectives. The only difference is now we have a uniform system for everyone.

MALE SPEAKER: I’m just as concerned as Rebecca. I know I can speak for most of us when I’m saying that we’re already spending hours outside of our contracted time completing the paperwork we do now. All this paperwork is taking away from our students and time away from our families. MALE SPEAKER: I know this will take some time to adjust to. And I know that change can be difficult. I’m hoping that everyone will come to this with an open mind, and that you will move forward with a positive attitude.

MALE SPEAKER: Excuse me. Speaking from the general education side. I’m also concerned about the amount of time this is going to take. We track data from all the other curriculum. And now you want us to do this as well?

CAROLINA REYES: How your teams set up the data collection process and the needs

of individual students will determine how much tracking will be done by general education teachers.

MALE SPEAKER: In this building since we already have weekly teaming time. Those teams will simply add this to their weekly agenda.

MALE SPEAKER: Our weekly planning time is already consumed with discussions concerning our general education students, and their progress towards state testing. This is just ridiculous.

MALE SPEAKER: We have a great staff here. And we have always been able to pull together to work on any of the changes that we as educators are constantly facing. I feel confident that we can address all of your issues as they arise, and that collaboratively we can figure out ways to address those issues to make the process easier.

CAROLINA REYES: Again, I just want to reinforce that this system has several benefits and should make progresstracking easier. The bottom line is that this is for the benefit of our students. And that is why we are all here.

MALE SPEAKER: I’ll be working closely with Ms. Reyes. And I will be taking your input to the leadership as thing arise as we unfold the new system. I want to thank Ms. Reyes for being here today and to talking with us today. Now we have a lot more information to get through today. So I want to suggest that we take a break. Then we’ll come back and look at the other items on the agenda.

CAROLINA REYES: Thank you for having me, and have a great rest of the day.

Required Reading

Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Chapter 4, “Deepening Learning” (pp. 77–108)

Chapter 5, “Securing Accountability” (pp. 109–126)

Fullan, M. (2015a). Leadership from the middle: A system strategy Download Leadership from the middle: A system strategy. Education Canada. 55(4), 22–26. Retrieved from

  • Leadership from the Middle: A System Strategy by Fullan, M., in Education Canada, Winter 2015. Copyright 2015 by Canadian Education Association. Reprinted by permission of Canadian Education Association via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Norman, P. J. & Sherwood, S. A. S. (2015).  Using internal and external evaluation to shape teacher preparation curriculum: A model for continuous program improvement Links to an external site..  New Educator, 11(1), 4-23. Doi: 10.1080/1547688X.2015.1001263

Leko, M.M., Brownell, M.T., Sindelar, P.T., & Kiely, M.T. (2015). Envisioning the future of special education personnel preparation in a standards-based era Links to an external site.. Exceptional Children, 82(1), 25-43. doi: 10.1177/0014402915598782

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