WEBINAR: 5 Easy Ways to Fail in Education

The Imperative for Reinvention in Special Education Join Dr. Frances Stetson as she discusses the five easiest ways to fail in education in this webinar hosted by PresenceLearning. She will focus on how to avoid the following problems that so often arise in Special Education today. 1. Lose the Vision 2. Admire the Problem 3. Avoid Fear 4. Isolate Yourself 5. Stop Learning Watch the Webinar Important Links: Webinar Slides Webinar Handout  

We’re Reading…Models of Professional Development

From the Desk of Judith Moening WHAT WE ARE READING Inclusive programming for students with disabilities is still a change for many school systems.  We know that creating change in an educational system requires training, follow-up and ongoing support.  Why?  Because it is too easy to continue doing what we have been doing and implementing change in our practice can be a lot of hard work over time.  In the text, Models of Professional Development, Bruce Joyce and Emily Calhoun discuss strategies for supporting educators in making long-term changes to their practice.  They emphasize that there is no one magic strategy,Continue Reading

Powerful Lessons from the Field

From the Desk of… Cindy Nelson, M.Ed. After 44 years of teaching and working with others as they teach, I am totally convinced that the #1 most powerful strategy to impact success is the teacher’s ability to pull students into small group instruction. This one intervention builds relationships that calm behavior issues, differentiates instruction to address learner needs, and supports novice learners as they grow into expert learners by knowing how to learn and wanting to learn.  I’m sad to admit that I did not come to this conclusion easily or quickly.  My first glimpse at “the truth” came whenContinue Reading

Making Connections

From the Desk of… Kristi Henderson,  M.Ed. Connecting with challenging students that were often reprimanded by teachers or school officials has always come naturally to me.  Their tough exterior, a defense mechanism, made me want to get to know the child behind the façade and discover why they were acting out. Once I decided to become an educator, one of my personal goals was to get to know my students beyond the textbook.  I let them know that I cared for them and had high expectations for their futures. I stressed to them that I was equally concerned about theirContinue Reading

Intelligence…Are you Born with It?

From the Desk of Cathy Giardina Intelligence—Is it fixed or can it be grown??? Does anyone remember being graded according to the “Bell Curve”?  I have vivid memories of my first class in undergraduate school and my English professor clearly explaining that everyone would be graded on the curve.  The top 10% of the class would receive an ‘A’, the second 10% would get a ‘B’, the middle 60% of students would earn a ‘C’, and the bottom 20% of students would receive either a ‘D’ or an ‘F’. This was a stark realization to me that my grade wouldContinue Reading

We’re Reading…Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World

From the Desk of Dieu-Anh Nguyen WHAT WE ARE READING As June approaches, I look forward to a less hectic work schedule and a little summertime fun.  I picked up Giving 2.0:  Transform Your Giving and Our World by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen ( ) for two reasons- 1.  I need some advice about how I might better spend my “free” time and 2. the format of the book appeals to my reading style.  Arrillaga-Andreessen writes this “how-to” in a very personal way.  She describes her journey as a philanthropist as well as the giving experiences of others.  The chapters are relatively shortContinue Reading

We are Reading…Total Participation Techniques

From the Desk of Tim LaCourt Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner (2011) Written By:  Drs. Persida Himmele and William Himmele.1 In classrooms across this country, students with disabilities and those who struggle for a variety of reasons are often the students who are still the least engaged.  A large national study funded by the US Department of Education2 showed that two out of three students with disabilities stated they were “not involved” in school, even when they had the opportunity to participate.  On a classroom level, these are the same students who often do not understand theContinue Reading

Teach Like It’s Friday Night

From the Desk of John Walsh What if your students had to perform every Friday night in a stadium of cheering fans?  If you observe them preparing for that performance during the week, you will notice two key ingredients also found in a quality curricular lesson. The athletic skills utilized during practices are the number of repetitions each athlete practices for the skill they perform and the number of athletes engaged in performing that skill at any particular time during that practice session. Regardless of the sport you observe, these two attributes are always present at a high level. YouContinue Reading

Effective Co-Teaching Partnerships

From the Desk of Barbara Proctor Frequently when I am working with teachers who are considering co-teaching or have been assigned to co-teach I am asked, “What does effective co-teaching look like and how do the teachers create effective partnerships?”   Part of my job involves working with teachers providing technical assistance and support, providing staff development and program evaluations so I decided to begin informally collecting data from the successful partnerships I observed.   And these are some of my observations. Co-teaching is like a marriage- it takes planning, work, commitment, laughter, candor, respect, truthfulness and continuous open communication.  Unfortunately manyContinue Reading

Frequently Asked Questions About Culturally Responsive Instruction

Why is it important to address student diversity? Today’s students are increasingly more diverse in their cultures, languages, abilities, interests and learning styles. As educators we are held accountable to ensure that all learners achieve at least minimum state standards. Thus we must create classroom environments where student differences are supported and celebrated so that all students have the best opportunity to learn. Are traditional instructional strategies effective for all learners? No. A one-size-fits-all instructional strategy does not exist. Therefore, teachers must have a wide variety of instructional strategies within their repertoire. We know today’s learners differ in their abilities,Continue Reading