Special EDition: DL Professional Learning Continues

The AUSL DL Professional Development Series is Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.49.40 PMstill going strong. Session topics this year have included Behavior Management, IEP Development, and Universal Design for Learning. In February, educators from 18 AUSL schools explored the 5 W’s of Progress Monitoring. Progress monitoring is a standardized method of formative assessment that tells us how well students are responding to instruction. The data collected allows practitioners to estimate rates of improvement over time, compare the efficacy of different forms of instruction, and determine when an instructional change is needed. At this session, participants learned how to establish a baseline, set goals, and create a plan to monitor individual student progress. Additionally, several useful sites to guide this process were shared, including the following:

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Special EDition: Behavior Junction, What’s your Function?

The AUSL Diverse Learning Professional Development Series is up and running! The October session, Understanding + Developing High Quality IEPs, was held on October 15 at Phillips High School. Participants attended one of three sessions focused on different aspects of the IEP. Click on the sessions below to access the presentation deck and related materials shared at each session.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.43.28 PMThe next DL PD, Changing Challenging Behaviors: Conducting FBAs, will be offered on both November 19 and December 3 from 4:30-6:30pm at Phillips Academy High School. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is based on the understanding that all behavior is a form of communication and serves a function. Conducting an FBA is the process of collecting and analyzing data on unwanted behaviors to determine the purpose or function of the behavior. This is the first step toward developing interventions to teach and reinforce more positive behaviors.

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Special EDition: Diverse Learning PD Series

All teachers need ongoing opportunities to learn, collaborate, and access resources to most effectively support students. That’s why AUSL is offering a Diverse Learning Professional Development Series during the 2015-2016 school year! These sessions are open to ALL teachers, paraprofessionals, coaches, residents, administrators, and directors in the AUSL network. Registration is required in advance and attendees will receive CPDUs for participating.

Over 50 AUSL educators attended our first session, Catching Em’ Being Good: BMC for Diverse Learners, on September 17 at Phillips High School. Read more

Special EDition: Ten Ways to Practice Self-Care

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So PARCC testing is in full swing, and you’ve started daydreaming about Spring break. You may feel drained, and you’re wondering how you can possibly stay motivated for the next few weeks. You know your kiddos deserve high-quality instruction, but you’re JUST. SO. TIRED.

We’re often told that we must take care of ourselves in order to care for the children in front of us. We’re told to get plenty of rest, exercise three to four times a week and drink eight glasses of water every day. If you follow these three simple steps, everything will be okay, right? I’m sure these three steps help, but what are some other ways you can unwind and revitalize on the weekends leading up to and during Spring break?

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Special EDition: Spotlight on AUSL Case Managers

CMEvery school has that special person who knows everything there is to know about the development and implementation of IEPs.  This person interprets assessment results, coordinates referrals, facilitates IEP meetings, advocates for the needs of diverse learners and their families, and the list goes on and on. That special person is your case manager.  This job is incredibly important in ensuring that all students have access to a quality, individualized education. As a former case manager, I am familiar with the challenges and joys of this work and I recognize the unique skills that effective case managers must possess.  Because of this, I dedicate this month’s post to all AUSL Case Managers.  Let’s learn a little bit more about these special individuals who keep us on our toes!

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Special EDition: Leading Your Professional Learning

One of my resolutions for 2015 is to continue to improve my professional practice.  As an educator, I know how important it is to stay on top of the latest news, tools, and research related to my field. But I often find myself thinking that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to join a PLC, attend a conference, or read the latest issue of Exceptional Children. So what else can I do?

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Special EDition: SPE Cyber Monday “Deals” You Need Right Now

If you’re like me, you skipped Black Friday because you ate too much and it was cold and late and you figured that if you just wait until Monday, you can score that thing you’re so obsessed with from the comfort of your own warm home (or classroom!).  While I’m not going to advertise today’s deals at the Gap or Best Buy, I will share my list of a few incredible online “deals” that educators should access right now to help meet the needs of your diverse learners.

BookshareBookshare – Can’t say enough about this free resource that makes reading accessible for all.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.  It is free for all qualified U.S. students (visual impairment, physical disability or severe learning disability) and features over 300,000 titles, including newspapers, k-12 textbooks, and popular fiction and non-fiction. Teachers can sign students up for an individual membership or they can serve as the student’s sponsor.

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Special EDition: Reigniting the Co-Teaching Flame

bandCo-teaching involves two adults paired together for a significant period of time to share the responsibilities of educating and raising children. Perhaps this is why co-teaching is often referred to as a “professional marriage”. This arrangement allows general and special educators a unique opportunity to blend their expertise to create a powerful partnership. But the honeymoon doesn’t last forever and now that it’s November, many co-teachers have already lost that loving feeling and are wondering…how can we reignite the co-teaching flame? Don’t file for divorce yet! You and your co-teaching partner can get back on track by revisiting a few of the following co-teaching basics:

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Special EDition: 5 Things Effective Teachers Do for Diverse Learners

Our students are more diverse than ever before – different experiences, needs, interests, and abilities. While diversity creates opportunities for students to learn with and from each other, it also means that teachers must intentionally adapt their instruction to meet various student needs. Here are five things effective teachers do to ensure that their lessons are optimal for all learners:

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Special EDition: Common Core in the Special Education Classroom – Yes, We Can!

“They can’t do that…they can hardly read!”  

I had just told a colleague about a string of lessons I was preparing to teach, during which my students would need to merge the concepts of the Jewish Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s through exploration of photographs, video and personal letters from survivors.  My colleague’s words echoed off the walls of my special education classroom and yet she was simply stating what she thought was the truth.  

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