Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

This month’s Bright Spot comes from educators in Tuckahoe, Ossining, the Hallen School, SAIL at Ferncliff, Byram Hills, ARC of Putnam preschool and the NYSED Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) office, who attended the RSE-TASC training on Evidence-Based Practices for Self-Contained Settings.

What were students with disabilities able to achieve?

Participants in this three-day training implemented multiple evidence-based strategies between sessions and shared that, as a result, their students were able to increase productivity, increase time on task, increase appropriate classroom behaviors (thus reducing loss of instructional time due to removals from class), engage more appropriately at job sites, work more independently, and increase and improve social interactions with peers.

What practices or systems made this possible?

Participants learned about three powerful evidence-based practices:

  1. Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA): Using multiple types of data to identify student specific goals and monitor progress toward attainment of the goals using Active Engagement Plans
  2. Functional Communication Training: Using data to identify the function of the behavior and then teaching a replacement behavior that includes appropriate communication strategies
  3. Self-Management: Teaching students to develop their own goals and monitor their own progress toward attainment

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

In their evaluation, multiple participants identified the value of using PDSA across all aspects of their teaching.  When you plan and implement a new instructional strategy (Plan-Do); collect specific data on the impact on students in an on-going manner and use that data to learn whether it is working (Study), and how to improve the strategy (Act), it is a win all the way around!

This month’s Bright Spot comes from educators in Mount Vernon, Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, Westlake, Yonkers, Mount Pleasant Cottage School, and Garrison who attended a training on Classroom Management by the RSE-TASC Behavior Specialists.

What were students with disabilities able to achieve?

Participants tried out some of the strategies they learned on the first day of training and shared the results on the second day. Here are a few examples of student impacts:

* Student engagement and on-task behavior for individual work increased measurably

* Student on-task behavior during group work increased measurably

* Students followed morning routines and independently completed morning office work in a TEACCH classroom

* Students increased on-time arrivals and preparedness

* Students participated more actively during lessons, with greater peer-to-peer accountable talk

* Students increased the frequency with which they responded to teacher questions

* Students were demonstrably more excited about conversation topics

What practices or systems made this possible?

Participants said this increase in positive classroom behaviors was directly related to their use of strategies learned in the training, including:

⇒ Provision of more frequent opportunities to respond (OTR) through the use of Turn & Talk, white boards, choral responding, thumbs up-thumbs down, and calling on non-volunteers

⇒ Frequent acknowledgement of students using “Behavior Specific Praise”

⇒ Greeting every student at the door and tracking their completion of morning routines

⇒ Use of quick frequent check-ins, like Fist to Five, to assess both interest and understanding during a lesson

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

Good classroom management is directly aligned with the use of instructional strategies that keep students actively involved and feeling successful.  When students are expected to be continually responding and demonstrating their learning, and when they are acknowledged frequently for their efforts, they are less likely to demonstrate off-task behavior.


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