Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EDLD 5344 School Law - Course Reflection

The information that was presented on special education, IDEA, 504 and RTI was eye opening.  I was made mindful of the importance of being aware of all students and their needs.  This information made it clear why when a student struggles, that immediate recommendation form special education screening is not the best first step.   “The RTI philosophy centers on prevention at the first sign of academic or behavioral risk, before it is too late and too costly or difficult to remediate” (Martinez, Nellis, & Prendergast, 2006, p. 3).  First, we need to understand why the student is not being successful and find solutions that will help support their needs.  

The assignments for this class required me to become aware of the process for evaluating a student (Joseph) for special education services and the laws regarding student and teacher discipline.  The Individual Education Plan (IEP)is a guide used to help the ARD team make instructional decisions regarding students who qualify for special education services as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA).  I had to consider all information provided by the committee members making sure everyone had input into the student’s IEP during the assignments.  Once signed by team members, the IEP becomes a legally binding agreement between the school district, student and parents (Ketterlin-Geller, Alonso, Brown-Monegan, & Tindal, 2007).  When regular education teachers receive an IEP, it must be viewed as a source of information on the accommodations or modification necessary for the student to succeed.  Each week in this class new information was presented that made me realize the IEP was not being followed.   As I worked through this process, I would talk with my campus diagnostician.  I was empathetic to the parent’s point of view and frustration because I am a parent of a special education child.  Being a former special education teacher, I understand the frustration of regular education teachers not understanding the IEP fully and that it is a legal document.

The significance of the intervention plan to student success has made me aware of how the faculty and staff need to work together to determine which interventions are best for each student.  It is vital to look at the whole student and put those needs first. As a campus leader, I want my faculty to be knowledgeable about the RTI process as well as 504 and special education.  For this to be attainable, I will have to provide professional development about all of these programs.  When choosing and planning this professional development it is important to remember that is should be clear and easily understood not in jargon that can be confusing.  I think having a written outline of the processes would be very helpful to first year teachers and even veteran teachers who are new to a school district. 
Ketterlin-Geller, L.R., Alonso, J., Brown-Monegan, J., & Tindal, G. (2007). Recommendations for accommodations: Implications of (in)consistency. Remedial and Special Education, 28(4), 194-206.  

Martinez, R.S., Nellis, L.M>, & Prendergast, K.A., (2006). Closing the achievement gap series, part II: Response to intervention (RTI) – Basic elements, practical application, and policy recommendations. Education Policy Brief, 4(8), Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 495749).