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BRIGHT SPOTS

Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

This month’s Bright Spot comes from Patrick Clarke, a Special Education teacher at Bronxville High School, who has attended RSE-TASC trainings focusing on work-based learning and the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential.

What were students with disabilities able to achieve?

Bronxville students recently developed a school-based enterprise that is helping them develop employability skills while promoting community integration.  Students are learning about marketing, sales, merchandise management and teamwork. One student is applying graphic design skills, and designed a holiday logo depicting a snow globe and the school’s mascot, the Bronxville Bronco.  The image was reproduced on t-shirts and mugs.

What practices or systems made this possible?

Patrick was able to establish the school-based business because he developed partnerships with other staff and he saw this as an opportunity for community members to benefit from the products developed by the students.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

According to the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition  (NTACT) students who engage in work experiences, paid and unpaid, have better post-high school outcomes in the areas of both education and employment.  Today’s school-based enterprise is helping prepare Bronxville students for their future lives in college and the workforce.

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Our Bright Spot this month comes from two schools with very diverse student populations.  Math teachers from Croton-Harmon High School and K-12 teachers from the Rising Ground school for students struggling with emotional and learning challenges were among those who attended a two-day training on Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) with RSE-TASC Regional Trainer Ann Narcisse this fall.

What were students able to achieve?

Students:

* Successfully solved complex mathematics problems that had previously proved challenging

* Increased time on task and frequency of responses

* Showed higher levels of enthusiasm and persistence

* Actively engaged in teaching content to each other

* Increased and extended written responses

* Increased class participation and appropriate classroom behaviors

* Increased both quantity and quality of contributions to classroom discussions

What practices or systems made this possible?

Teachers at both settings reported that these outcomes resulted directly from their implementation of EDI strategies.  These included:

◊ Using a greater variety of processing activities including Paired Verbal Fluency, Elbow Partners and Pair-Share

◊ Consciously building in frequent “opportunities to respond” through use of non-volunteers, white boards and whole class responding through Read With Me and Choral Responding

◊ Building in think-time through use of I-Time and wait time

◊ Frequently Checking For Understanding (CFU)

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

The evidence-based practices built into the EDI framework are effective for all students, K to 12, with and without learning challenges.  Also, developing and implementing consistent evidence-based instructional practices school-wide powerfully impacts student outcomes. As one high school math teacher described the impact of the training this way: “Most math teachers at the high school took this workshop and now we have a common language and practice!”

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