Wednesday, May 6, 2015

CEC Conference Summary

When teachers apply to the Pro-D Fund for conference funding, we ask that they find a way to share what they have learned, pass their professional learning on to colleagues, and make use of new skills or ideas with their students. We also ask them to craft a statement to be posted here. We are pleased to celebrate the professional development of our teachers.

Conference: Council of Exceptional of Children (CEC) Convention

Participant: Shelien Hadfield, teacher, Nusdeh Yoh Elementary

Summary: The workshops at the Council of Exceptional of Children (CEC) Convention helped me to refine my thinking about how I provide support services to students with disabilities/learning difficulties and how I can intensify interventions when students aren’t responding well. Many of the workshops referenced Response to Intervention (RTI) models explicitly (“this is how we designed our tiered intervention”) or implicitly (the intervention described was implemented in Tier 3). In the sessions that spoke explicitly about RTI a common theme was the importance of having universal classroom instruction that is meeting the needs of 70-75% of learners. This allows your school support staff to focus their efforts more intensely on the 25-30% of students who aren’t responding well. Screening two to three times a year allows us to gauge how effective our universal instruction is for our students and identify students that need more intensive supports. To implement this suggestion, I’m going to take a more active role in analyzing data that teachers are already collecting such as Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA) in the primary grades and use this data to gauge whether my support would be more effective in the form of supplemental intervention (small groups) or classwide support (consulting with classroom teacher to decide an appropriate model).
I attended several sessions on how to intensify interventions. A common theme in these sessions was the importance of using valid, reliable progress monitoring tools weekly with students receiving Tier 3 interventions. Progress monitoring data allows us to gauge if our interventions are working. Weekly updates allow us to fine tune the intervention throughout, rather than getting to the end of the unit/term/year and realizing that the intervention didn’t work. A specific approach to intensify intervention is data-based individualization (DBI). Charting progress monitoring data is integral to DBI. When 3-5 data points fall below the goal line, the teacher intensifies the intervention (smaller group size, increase frequency or duration of sessions, increase student response rate, etc.), then continues monitoring the data to decide if the intensity is sufficient or if further changes are necessary. Research on DBI shows that it can help very low performing learners close the gap with their peers. The intensity of this approach highlights why it so important that universal & small-group instruction meet the needs of most learners in our school. Intensive instruction is by nature resource-intensive. I’m planning to use my end of the year assessments to identify five students that I can work closely with next year using DBI.

I’d be happy to discuss these topics with interested colleagues. My preferred contact method is email: Musi!


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