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School Tools

There are many web-based tools to support educators in implementing evidence-based practices that improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Each month, a new tool is identified in the School Tools section of the RSE-TASC Reporter. Here are some valuable tools that have been featured in past issues of the Reporter.

As Carol Dweck states in this Ed Week article, “Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset‘”, “…the path to a growth mindset is a journey, not a proclamation.”

She is determined to clear up misconceptions about her work on mindsets, and in particular the widespread implementation of what she calls a “false growth mindset” in education.  In a follow-up interview in The Atlantic she provides recommendations for appropriately applying the concept of growth mindset in the classroom.

In the November 16, 2016 NYSED memo entitled Changes in Allowable Testing Accommodations on the Grades 3-8 New York State English Language Arts Assessments, there is a “Testing Accommodation Decision-Making Tool for Tests-read”.

This simple tool contains nine questions that school personnel can use to “facilitate collaborative decision-making related to the recommendation of ‘tests-read’ (via human reader or technology) as a testing accommodation for students with disabilities in grades 3 through 8.”  The memo recommends that these questions be considered each time a student’s IEP or 504 Plan is reviewed to determine the appropriateness of this accommodation.



Start by engaging your entire school community in identifying your Why – what do you believe every student should be able to do to be successful.  Here is a possible tool:


Our students, families, community, and school believe that every student should _____________________ ___________________________in order to be successful in our school and community now and as adults.

In order to achieve our why, every students needs these critical skills:
Academic Cognitive Social Emotional Behavioral







If you want to learn more about a framework for improving students’ academic, cognitive and mental health outcomes, click on the “Learn More” link below to read Advancing Education Effectiveness: Interconnecting School Mental Health and School-wide Positive Behavior Support.  It outlines the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF), a structure for embedding evidence-based school mental health practices into a Multi-Tiered System of Support.  Read the overview on pp. 1-2 & Chapter 1, An Introduction to the Interconnected Systems Framework (pp. 3-17).

Appendix B of this document (pp. 134-135) provides a templated structure for answering four key questions that can help a community begin to align systems in order to improve student outcomes.
1.  Who cares about this issue and why?
2. What work is already underway separately?
3. What shared work could unite us?
4. How can we deepen our connections?


Do you have comments/thoughts about the proposed amendments to Section 100.5 and 200.4 of the Commissioner’s Regulations to Require Superintendents to Make a Local Determination?  Share them by 12/2/16 through email at or regular mail to Angelica Infante, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234.


The Superintendent Determination of Graduation Form for a local diploma is used to document the superintendent’s determination and, once complete, a copy is given to the parent, student, and NYSED.  A copy is also maintained in the student’s record.


The Regulations of the Commissioner of Education: Part 200 has been updated to reflect the new transition services requirements.  The Transition Services section of this regulation begins on page 49.  Click here to view the latest version of the regulations.


For more information on teaching students to set goals and self-monitor, click the “Learn More” link below to explore this self-guided learning module on Helping Students Become Independent Learners from the Iris Center at Vanderbilt Peabody College.


For over 2,000 specific lesson plans on teaching students of all ages to self-monitor, click on the link below to visit Lesson Planet.

Lesson Planet


Happy Birthday to the Blueprint for Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities!  This powerful document, which provides a map of how New York State can ensure that students with disabilities 1) benefit from high-quality instruction; 2) reach the same standards as all students; and 3) leave school prepared to successfully transition to post-school learning, living and working; was published by the New York State Office of Special Education just a year ago this month.  As we share it in our trainings and meetings, regional educators tell us they have used it to assess their own work and inspire staff.  Click below for a link to the full document on the NYSED website.


Students can learn about workforce trends and job opportunities in ways that are both fun and interactive by visiting the United Stated Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website.  The site is interactive and it also includes materials which can be easily printed for classroom use.  It is geared for grades four through 12 and it also includes resources for teachers.


The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) has developed the “Predictors of Post-School Success Self-Assessment Tool” that schools can use to monitor implementation of practices and programs that are likely to improve students’ post-school outcomes.


Two tools developed by the New York State Education Department (NYSED Career Development and Occupational Learning Standards and the CDOS Resource Guide with Core Curriculum) provide an outline of the CDOS Learning Standards with performance indicators, sample tasks, and lessons that are aligned with academic standards to provide opportunities for integrated learning.

Learning Standards     Resource Guide

The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDE) has created a number of resources for educators on writing standards-based IEPs. This publication by Maria Holbrook lays out a seven step process for developing standards-based IEPs and is full of examples of standards-based IEP goals.


Designed to complement Jim Knight’s book High Impact Instruction, this webpage has a wealth of tools to help teachers, coaches and administrators. There are simple checklists for things like creating guiding questions and developing checks for understanding. There are also video snippets from coaching sessions on topics like learning maps and assessing student engagement.


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