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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.


Are you thinking about developing a school-based enterprise in your district?  Start-up costs are an important consideration, but profitable businesses can start with little or no initial funding, particularly if recycled products are used.  To learn more about indoor gardens, such as the one developed by the students at Yonkers Riverside High School, check out: http://balconygardenweb.com/plastic-bottle-vertical-garden-soda-bottle-garden/

Grant funding may be available through home improvement stores, such as Lowes and Home Depot.  Both offer grants of up to $5,000.

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants focus on fulfilling the unique interests and needs of the school and surrounding community.  To learn more about project ideas and application information, go to: http://toolboxforeducation.com

Home Depot’s Community Impact grants focus on supporting and refurbishing existing structures.  To learn more, go to: https://corporate.homedepot.com/grants/community-impact-grants

 

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.

 

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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:

WHY?

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?

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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 p12@nysed.gov or regular mail to Angelica Infante, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Blueprint

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Stoneleigh Foundation works to improve the outcomes for “young people impacted by violence as well as those in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems – or at risk of involvement in those systems”.  They have compiled a wealth of resources for districts interested in learning more about or beginning to implement a youth court program.

Click below for links to training materials (including videos, for teachers, law professionals, students, and community members on the essential skills for running a youth court), a Youth Court Coordinator’s Manual, and lesson plans.

Training Materials     Coordinator’s Manual     Lesson Plans

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a good place to start for educators considering integrating social emotional learning (SEL) into their school-wide systems of support. In their free downloadable 2013 CASEL Guide, the collaborative provides a step-by-step guide for implementing SEL with reviews of the research and ratings for seven preschool and 19 school-age social-emotional programs.

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On the video page, they provide a free library of videos with students, teachers, researchers and parents discussing social-emotional learning, including this one that gives an overview of the components of social-emotional learning and the research

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The CDOS Resource Guide was developed by the New York State Education Department as a companion to the CDOS Learning Standards. This book is easy to use and includes dozens of lesson plans and activities for students of all ages. All lessons include objectives, materials needed, recommended timelines and assessments. Many of the lessons and activities were developed by teachers. The guide also features cross-reference grids allowing the reader to quickly see how lessons and activities may be used in a variety of classes including ELA, math and more.

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The Colorin Colorado website has a great description of language objectives and some examples that show what a language objective might look like.

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John Hollingsworth’s book, Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) for English Learners, is also a great resource and Hollingsworth’s website has videos of teachers using EDI and also summarizes the research backing it.

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CareerZone is an innovative online career exploration and planning system. Youth in grades 6 -12 can start their career exploration journey by beginning with the Interest, Work Values and Skill assessment tools to explore potential careers. The CareerZone search capabilities provide opportunities for students to match their interests to careers available in various education levels.

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Using the on-line, searchable version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook students can learn about different occupations and important information about each including median pay, entry-level educational requirements, on-the-job training options, number of new jobs projected in that field, and projected growth rate.

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The comprehensive monograph on the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) provides a framework for a cross-system problem-solving team, comprised of key stakeholders in education and mental health systems, youth and families, that works to ensure earlier access for children and youth to high quality care. It provides a blueprint for the teams to examine community and school level data and develop action plans to implement evidence-based practices that meet a community’s identified needs. The development of the ISF was supported by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Technical Assistance Center on PBIS, the IDEA Partnership, the National Community of Practice on Collaborative School Behavioral Systems and the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health. It also reflects experiences of state and district school leaders from Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

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If you are intrigued by the Heath brother’s ideas about how to support meaningful change as outlined in their book Switch, visit their website download their “Switch for Organizations: The Workbook” and other change tools for free.

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Interested in the concept of Shaping the Path and why it’s worth trying to start a small change by yourself or with a small group? Watch this video on “Leadership Lessons from the Dancing Guy”. It may inspire you!

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For interested educators, there are many web-based tools demonstrating effective explicit vocabulary instruction strategies.  Here are just a few.

YouTube videos showing teachers using effective vocabulary strategies include the following:

  • Explicit Vocabulary Teaching Strategies April 30, 2012 , Dr. Mary-Beth Curtis

WATCH VIDEO

  • Vocabulary Instruction (19 videos) by Sangren Hall

WATCH VIDEO

In addition to the YouTube videos, check out the following free software:

Collins Cobuild Student’s Dictionary (Pocket PC)

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