Supports for Educating Students with IEPs

Supports for Educating Students with IEPs

September 16, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


Miles and Mia have been on the minds
of their district administration lately. Educators are trying,
through their continuous improvement process,
to help students with disabilities catch up to their peers.
After they analyze data and determine the root causes of the gaps, Dr. S,
the superintendent, calls her CESA contact, Koua, to see what supports are
available that match the district’s needs. Koua reminds her that the Technical
Assistance Network for Improvement offers resources and coaching to help
with general topics, like effective continuous improvement, effective
implementation of evidence-based strategies, and creating an equitable
multi-level system of supports. Within the TA network, directors in the
Regional Special Education Network support local leaders on continuous
improvement and a range of topics leading to college and
career readiness for students and strong compliance
for schools. Finally, Koua tells her about a suite
of supports offered by the Department of Public Instruction.
There’s no cost to districts. To see what’s available,
contact your local CESA. The supports use discretionary
federal funding to help schools in Wisconsin educate Miles and Mia
from early childhood at age 3 all the way to transitioning
to adulthood at age 21. Dr. S takes advantage of some
opportunities for her staff’s professional development.
They learn about individualizing instruction to meet the needs of
a wide range of diverse learners. She also makes sure anyone who
might serve on an individualized education program team knows
what other supports are out there. For Mia and her family, transitioning
from her birth-to-3 program to early childhood school services is easier
thanks to the assistance an Early Childhood Program Support
teacher gives to school staff. Mia’s new elementary school
has engaged in training, so they’re better at providing
an equitable multi-level system of supports that ultimately
helps students like Mia thrive. As part of that system, the school
refers Mia’s family to groups that help families help their kids around
specific academic skills like reading, as well as learning to navigate
the special education system and get their kids ready for
ever-greater independence. Miles goes to a middle school identified
as having disproportionate numbers of kids of color in special education.
So the school is able to train their staff to address this issue so all students,
including Miles, get what they need to achieve more. At one point,
Miles’ family and educators disagree on what special education aids
and services he needs to succeed. And there’s a mediation system
that helps resolve the conflict so Miles can keep
moving forward. Around the time of high school
graduation, there’s a program to help Miles and Mia prepare for their
transition to college or career and full participation in
their communities. For other students, different programs
will be invaluable related to neurodiversity, such as autism, and to
blind, deaf, and deafblind outreach. The idea is there’s something to
make it easier for schools to support every single kid with an IEP.
Plus, when staff take advantage of these trainings and supports,
all students benefit. To learn more, call your
CESA or us at the DPI. We have professionals
staffing the phones. Or check out Supports for Educating
Students with IEPs web page. [Music]