Co-Teaching Required?

From the desk of Judith Moening, Ph.D. I recently had a conversation with a special education director that challenged my thinking about inclusive strategies and supports. She stated that her district was considering stepping away from co-teaching as they found it was “too expensive” in terms of requiring more staff to support the model. She asked how I would respond to her business office when this suggestion was made. Here is my response… A belief that inclusion requires co-teaching relationships to support students with disabilities within general education is a “one size fits all solution.” Inclusion does not mean that studentsContinue Reading

Does the Apple Fall Far From the Tree?

From the Desk of Lynn Hill, M.Ed.       As we enter another fantastic school year, I know from experience that teachers, like students, wonder… “What will the year look like?”  “What kind of students will I have?”  “Will they be motivated to work hard this year?“ “How supportive will my parents be?”        Most importantly, as educators, we have to keep very open minds to the diversity of our student and parent population and, for many districts, understand the impact that poverty can have on students. Eric Jensen, in Teaching With Poverty in Mind, talks about whatContinue Reading

The Power of Teacher Reflection

From the Desk of Lucinda Nelson, M.Ed. I took advantage of July’s slower pace to have lunch with Janice, a wonderful friend who was my collaborative teaching partner years ago.  We laughed about how our relationship began (she told me she felt like wallpaper the first semester), then reminisced about how it grew and how we grew along with it. The first year, our training program consisted of a 15 minute conference with our principal who told us we had been specially selected because we worked well with struggling students and that her door was always open, oh yes, and,Continue 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

Paraeducator Institute

This interactive, engaging one-day institute for paraeducators was designed at the request of paraeducators and administrators to address the paraeducator's ever-changing role in schools. Each participant will have the opportunity to attend four 90-minute breakout sessions and a 3-hour overview on Responding to Challenging Behavior. Sessions may be assigned based on the services provided by the paraeducator. Session topics were selected with a focus on knowledge and skills useful to support instruction. Fill out the Contact Us form on our website for a personalized quote!            Sample Schedule Time Topic 7:30 – 8:00 Breakfast and Registration 8:00Continue Reading

A Missing Link

In my career as a special education teacher, curriculum supervisor, and then principal, Inclusion was a priority focus; however, there always seemed to be a missing link in the process of including students with disabilities—especially more severe conditions—into the general population of students. I had an early spring meeting with a fellow principal whose elementary campus was going to be welcoming back several students with disabilities who had previously been served in a centralized program.  The principal was concerned about how these students would be received.  We talked about a few ideas, one of which was to utilize part ofContinue Reading