Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Elizabeth Peralta from Scholastic Academy in Yonkers City Schools sees her students becoming excited, actively engaged and self-directed in their learning.

What strategies has Elizabeth been implementing that result in improved student outcomes?
  • White board and dry erase marker for each student: “I love how I can immediately monitor all of my students’ responses and reteach the skill right away if needed. All students are actively engaged and they love them!”
  • Non-volunteers with popsicle sticks: “First, I ask a question and then select a stick. Students are all engaged because they don’t know whose name will be chosen. In the past, I used to call on the same students because those students were willing to participate. When I used to call on students who didn’t want to participate, they thought I was picking on them. Now, it is simple and fair. I also notice students get excited when their names are selected.”
  • Think-Pair-Share: “I have noticed that my students are formulating better responses since they have time to think. Students who are usually reluctant to speak out loud are now more comfortable sharing their responses with a classmate. I love to see all of my students engaged and becoming better active listeners.”
  • Sit up, Listen, Ask/Answer, Nod/Notes and Track the Teacher (SLANT): “I am amazed at how effective this command can be. It is brief and I get my students’ attention immediately. Most of the time it works, but there are times that some of my students are distracted so they do not respond to the command. When this occurs, I then begin to praise the students who are exhibiting the behavior and the students who were not responding begin to follow.”


What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

  • When teachers use strategies that ensure all students are responding all the time, engagement and learning improves.
  • Teaching students simple routines for focusing behavior, decreases distractions and increases the time they spend on instructional tasks.
Brett Sloane from Valley Cottage Elementary in Nyack shared that a student at the school was exhibiting highly problematic behavior on the bus and not responding to any of the consequences. Serious consideration was being given to permanently removing the student from the bus.  However, the staff decided to implement a new set of strategies based on positive behavioral supports.  According to the coach, “What a turnaround!!  His behavior on the bus improved dramatically and he became a model bus student!”

How was this accomplished?

The school team engaged the student in monitoring his own behavior while they focused on acknowledging him for what he was doing well.  The student first worked with the team to develop his own positive behavior plan for the bus.  As he implemented the plan he checked in with an adult daily on his progress.  Initially he received tangible rewards for meeting his goals but now the acknowledgements and his own pride are sufficient motivation for maintaining his success.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

  • Teaching students to set their own goals, and then giving them strategies to monitor their success in meeting those goals, produces positive immediate outcomes that can have long-term consequences.
  • Creating structures that ensure positive student-adult interactions is an important part of effective behavior interventions.


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