Endings & Beginnings: Farewell to the RSE-TASC! Hello Regional Partnership Center!

The Lower Hudson Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) is closing its doors on June 28, 2019 (but don’t panic! See below). It has been our privilege and pleasure to serve the educators of the Lower Hudson by providing training and technical assistance on evidence-based practices that improve outcomes for students with disabilities, as well as on legal and regulatory requirements in Special Education

Data-Driven Decision-Making

The use of data is not new to schools, teachers, administrators, state education agencies, or parents. Indeed, data has been used by school administrators and teachers since schooling began; however, never has data literacy been as important as it is in the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. NCLB mandated that teachers systematically analyze data collected from standardized state- and national-level assessments and use the findings in instructional decision making, ushering in the era of “data-driven decision-making”. This continues as a priority in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the successor to NCLB.

Increasing Post-School Success through Interagency Collaboration

Interagency collaboration is a predictor of post-school success, correlated with positive post-school outcomes in education and employment. It is defined as “a clear, purposeful, and carefully designed process that promotes cross agency, cross program, and cross disciplinary collaborative efforts leading to tangible transition outcomes for youth” (Rowe et al., 2015). Students with disabilities who receive services from community providers while in high school are more likely to be employed or attending postsecondary education after high school. Through interagency collaboration, schools can ensure that students connect with important community services and are more likely to be successful after school.

How Can We Improve Deeper Learning for Students with Disabilities?

RSE-TASC Special Education School Improvement Specialists across New York State have the opportunity to collaboratively collect data in multiple classrooms where students with disabilities are educated, using the RSE-TASC Explicit and Specially Designed Instruction Walk-Through tool. This tool includes multiple “Look Fors” for instructional practices that have been proven to be effective in supporting the learning of all students, and in particular students with disabilities and English Language Learners. While many of these practices are being seen with increasing frequency over the years, some are observed with stubbornly low frequency. One of these is: “Teachers explicitly teach strategies for responding to higher order questions.”

Positive Classroom Management: Creating an Environment for Learning

When I asked a room of 50 educators how many courses in classroom management they took during their teacher training coursework, an overwhelming majority reported taking only one or even none. Yet, all agreed that effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom. With the body of research growing around the importance of a strong tier 1/ universal foundation for behavior support, we now know better than ever that establishing a proactive classroom management system is essential to achieving student outcomes.

Self-Determination Skills Empower Students of All Ages

How well do students really understand themselves? Can they identify their areas of interest as well as the things they are good at and enjoy doing? Are they aware of their needs – those connected with their disabilities? The responses to these questions are at the heart of self-determination skills, skills that students need to be successful both in school and in the community.

Fidelity of Implementation: What is it and Why does it Matter?

Is your core literacy program effective? Is it meeting the needs of at least 80% of your students, meaning that at least 80% of your students are meeting grade level expectations or making sufficient progress to close the gap? I am sure if someone came to your school you would be able to answer these questions, even if it took a bit of time to gather the data necessary to do so. If the answer to these questions is, “Not yet”, how would your team go about identifying why not and next steps?

Rethinking Classroom Assessment

I walked into my Coordinator’s office to plan my professional development and she asked me, “What do you think you need to learn more about ?” Despite the simplicity of the question, a quick answer was not at the ready. After some thought, I said I would like to know more about how classroom teachers use assessments. I have a background in standardized assessments, but the day-to-day assessment practices of a typical teacher were outside my experience.

A Three-Step Approach to Identifying Developmentally Appropriate Practices

“Instruction must be developmentally appropriate!” This, or some variation thereof, is something we use and hear frequently in education. However, if you ask someone to define what “developmentally appropriate” means, few can articulate a clear response or envision what it actually looks like in practice. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) as meeting students where they are and helping them to meet challenging but achievable learning goals (Copple, Bredekamp, Koralek, & Charner, 2013). Copple et al. (2013) suggest that effective implementation of DAP requires three things:

Transforming Evidence-Based Practices into Usable Innovations: A Case Study with SRSD

This summer when we presented our Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) workshop, we wanted to ground the workshop in a highly effective, evidence-based practice (EBP). We decided on Self Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD), a set of student strategies for writing that teachers can explicitly teach to students, that is an all-star EBP with a very high effect size (1.14) for both behavior and writing. The only problem was that teaching SRSD could potentially take a week or more and our workshop was only three days! It was clear to us that, in order to provide effective training on SRSD, we needed to clearly define it and identify the critical core component in terms that could be taught, learned, practiced, and assessed efficiently and effectively. We would have to transform SRSD into a “useable innovation”.
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