This month’s Bright Spots come from the Quality Improvement Process (QIP) team at Hillcrest Elementary School in Peekskill.

What were students able to achieve?

Students with disabilities:

  • spent more time in general education classes
  • took on leadership roles as team and class leaders
  • increased the frequency and quality of their student-led discussions demonstrating higher levels of critical thinking
  • developed a growth mindset
  • increased reading stamina and comprehension as well as knowledge of math concepts and facts

What practices or systems made this possible?


  • learned about and implemented evidence-based practices
  • developed a common language around planning scaffolded lessons, then collaboratively planned specially designed instruction and co-taught lessons
  • had students start each lesson discussing “why is this important?” with each other
  • collected and analyzed RtI data with clinical staff
  • engaged in inter-classroom and -grade visitations
  • held classroom celebrations for student behavior
  • increased parent involvement

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

When a team of teachers and administrators collaborate to identify the critical school and life outcomes for their students with disabilities, and then collaboratively create, implement and evaluate a quality improvement plan that is shared with staff for feedback on an on-going basis, students achieve critical and life-long academic and social-emotional skills.