Special Learner Component
More than 10% of all school-aged children receive special education services. The vast majority of these children remain in general education classrooms and must be provided with access to the general education curriculum. Often, this access is provided by teachers with little formal education in how to teach children with special needs. As accountability standards increase with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of students with disabilities will be more closely scrutinized.
To meet the demands of NCLB and IDEA, CaseNEX has created a comprehensive solution that includes both online assessment tools for teachers coupled with research-based, customized professional development. The Special Learner Component of the assessment and professional development program is designed to provide teachers with the skills necessary to meet the needs of all students. This is precisely the type of job-embedded professional development required by NCLB.
The assessments are based on the Council for Exceptional Children Professional Standards and identify areas of strength and weakness within teachers' skill sets. They provide professional development recommendations with respect to five content areas: classroom accommodations and adaptations; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provisions and protections; behavior management; disability classifications; and individualized education plans.
Two Assessments: Needs Assessment Survey and Knowledge Assessment
The Needs Assessment Survey is designed to expose teachers to special education requirements and vocabulary, and to establish criteria from which schools can design initial professional development plans. The Needs Assessment Survey broadly assesses special education topics and will help principals and curriculum coordinators understand teachers' current level of knowledge in each of the five areas. Examples of Needs Assessment Survey questions are listed below:
- What is included in an IEP?
- I do not know what is included in an IEP.
- I know that an IEP includes goals for the school year.
- I know that an IEP includes a student's present level of performance, long-term objectives and short term goals.
- I know the major components of an IEP and have participated in the writing of an entire IEP with an IEP team.
- What occurs within an IEP meeting?
- I do not know what occurs in an IEP meeting.
- I am aware that IEPs are developed in IEP meetings; however, I am uncertain as to the meeting process.
- I have attended an IEP meeting and could develop an agenda for the major points of the meeting.
- I have participated in an IEP meeting and feel competent that I could conduct one according to the federal rules and regulations.
The Knowledge Assessment is designed to evaluate teachers' skills and knowledge in the five critical areas of special education: classroom accommodations and adaptations; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provisions and protections; behavior management; disability classifications; individualized education plans. The Assessment can be taken in its entirety or subdivided into topical areas based upon the needs of the school and district. The Knowledge Assessment produces more detailed information for refining, evaluating, and extending professional development plans, as well as the allocation of funds and resources. Examples of Knowledge Assessment questions are listed below:
- An IEP is being written for a nine year old. It must include:
- A statement of how the administration of state and district wide tests will be modified
- An explanation of the extent to which the student will not be participating with children who do not have disabilities in the general education class
- A statement of the child's future vocation goals
- A & B
- The IEP team must include:
- The child's parent or legal guardian
- A general education teacher
- A special education teacher
- All of the above
These assessments are administered in a non-threatening environment, using a computer and web browser. Teachers sign in using a secure account with results known only to the individual teacher and the curriculum planner or principal.
Assessment results suggest specific areas of need, for example, whether teachers require training in behavior management or whether teachers understand how to provide classroom accommodations for students with a range of learning needs. To address these identified needs, CaseNEX offers a variety of special learner courses that can be taken individually or in a series. Through the courses, teachers develop the instructional and leadership skills needed for teaching students with special needs, as well as those at-risk for academic and social failure.
Sample Course Listing: Available in 5, 10, and 45-hour versions
- The Special Learner: An Introduction
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): From Identification to Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
- Classroom Accommodations and Modifications: Ensuring Success for All Children in Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)
- Behavior Management: Working with Children with Challenging Behaviors
CaseNEX courses include a technologically blended, case-based approach. Participants read cases, view streamed video, and follow links to a virtual library of current research. Multimedia, Web-based cases, or "slices of life", form a bridge between best practices and the complex school environment. CaseNEX courses provide teachers opportunities to practice recognizing and solving educational problems through a research-based, five-step method of case analysis.
This process enriches teachers' understanding of the cases and provides them with research-based tools for addressing their own professional challenges. Teachers who can perform these steps in case-based studies are likely to repeat the process when faced with similar situations in their classrooms. This is precisely the type of job-embedded professional development required by NCLB.
Special Learner Course Descriptions
The Special Learner: An Introduction
No Child Left Behind legislation requires all educators be familiar with the needs of special learners, their academic needs and how to meet those needs. Educators who are beginning to work with special learners in inclusive elementary, middle, and high school classrooms will find this course especially valuable as it provides realistic strategies appropriate for today's inclusive classroom. Real-life case studies highlight the topics of accommodations and modifications, behavior management, collaboration, and least restrictive environment. back to course list
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): From Identification to Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) outlines how schools educate special learners. This course highlights the identification process that schools must follow including child study, assessment, eligibility, IEP development, and placement. Participants will discuss profiles and related needs of children with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional behavior disorders. The cases will further educators' understanding of the legal requirements as defined in IDEA, specifically, the Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) requirement, the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirement, and the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). back to course list
Classroom Accommodations and Modifications: Ensuring Success for All Children in Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)
Creating and implementing inclusive programs within schools is a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Through this course, regular and special educators will expand their understanding of how to address the individual needs of special learners by making accommodations and modifications within the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Participants will focus upon the creation of appropriate accommodations, the integration of accommodations into a general education classroom, the legal requirement for accommodations, the question of accommodations in grading, and the role of the general and special education teachers within the LRE. back to course list
Behavior Management: Working with Children with Challenging Behaviors
Managing classroom behavior effectively is one of the biggest challenges teachers face. This course helps educators in both general and special education classrooms learn strategies to create a focused learning environment and to manage the behavior of all students, particularly that of special learners with a range of disabilities. Participants will examine individual behavior management systems, functional behavioral assessments, developmentally appropriate behavior management goals, and zero tolerance policies. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations, state and district policies, and ethical principles regarding behavior management practices will be introduced. back to course list