Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

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.

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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