This month’s Bright Spot comes from Karen Kushnir, Megan DiDomenico, Amy Cohen and Cynthia Giumarra from Byram Hills.  Teams from Byram Hills have been attending the Student-Directed IEP book study series.

What were students able to achieve?

Students with disabilities in Byman Hills are setting their own learning goals, monitoring their progress towards achievement of those goals, and engaging in self-advocacy to ensure they receive the supports they need.  They are able to identify and articulate what instructional strategies and supports work for them.  As the team says, the students are taking ownership and becoming more invested in their educational planning and annual review meetings.

What practices or systems made this possible?

Here are just a few of the practices that Byram Hills staff are putting in place:

* Teaching self-awareness and goal setting to students as early as Kindergarten

* Involving all student in understanding their current IEP goals and brainstorming ways to achieve them

* Explicitly teaching students how to advocate and how to ask for help

* Recognizing the responsibility educators have to prepare their student to be independent learners, thinkers and active members of society

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

Here’s what two of the teachers had to say:

“When a student’s voice is heard and they are part of their own educational planning in a developmentally appropriate manner, they are invested in their own education and become more self-aware and self-confident.”

“Students are the “I” in IEP.  Their role is an integral part of the process.”