Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

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?


* 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!”

Our Bright Spot this month comes from Trinity Elementary school in New Rochelle, where administrators and staff are working to implement the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework with fidelity.  Look at the positive impacts they have achieved!

What were students able to achieve?

Office discipline referrals during the first two months of this school year have decreased by over 50% since the same two months last year, from 190 to 89. Students are engaging in appropriate behaviors and are not losing opportunities to socialize and interact positively, especially during recess.

What practices or systems made this possible?

The principal and PBIS team identified recess as a source of frequent behavioral incidents and office referrals.  They changed a number of practices and systems that resulted in significant improvement:

* Instead of having all students in a grade go to recess together, students are grouped by class for recess.

* Instead of having all monitors supervise all recess areas, each class now has an assigned monitor .

* Each day, each class has a designated play area and play equipment.

* The principal is training all monitors in active supervision practices.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

One of the critical components of the PBIS framework is on-going collection and analysis of data across school settings.  When this is done well and consistently, specific changes in practices and systems can be tried and tested to identify and sustain improved student outcomes.


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