THE UTAH SPECIAL
SEPTEMBER 2010 • VOL. 33 NO.1
Looking Back, Moving Forward...
The Utah Special Educator
Celebrates 30 Years!
The Utah Special Educator
The Utah Special Educator is published by the
Utah Personnel Development Center,
Carriage Hill Office Building, 2290 E. 4500 S.,
Suite 220, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117,
(801) 272-3431, in Utah (800) 662-6624,
The Utah Special Educator is a publication of the Utah
Special Education Consortium. The consortium board
members are: David Forbush, Glenna Gallo,
Leanne Hawken, Taryn Kay, Ted Kelly, Peggy Milligan,
Susan Ord, Lowell K. Oswald, Helen Post, Randy Schelble,
Bruce Schroeder, Suraj Syal, and Deanna Taylor
The Utah Personnel Development Center Staff:
Lowell Oswald, Coordinator, Wasatch Front
Suraj Syal, Coordinator, Charter & Rural Districts
ON THE FRONT COVER: Program Specialists:
The Utah Special Educator Celebrates 30 Years! Peggy Childs, Glenn Dyke, Ginny Eggen
Amy Garlick, Kit Giddings, Devin Healey,
Michael Herbert, Tom Johnson, Cathy Longstroth,
CALL FOR ARTICLES & ARTWORK: Heidi Mathie Mucha, Jeri Rigby
• Bright Spots: What’s Working/Mini Monograph on
Aspergers–Deadline October 12, 2010 Technical Staff/Photographer:
• Transition: A through Z, Special Monograph Edition– Tom Johnson
Deadline January 18, 2011
• Celebrating What Works–Deadline March 21, 2011
Mary Baldwin, Cheryl Smith
The Utah Special Educator accepts manuscripts, artwork and photographs on The Utah Special Educator Editors:
topics related to improving educational outcomes for school-age individuals
with disabilities and learning challenges. Michael Herbert, Editor
Lowell Oswald, Co-Editor
Submission guidelines and checklists for contributors are available online at Cheryl Smith, Editorial/Research
http://www.updc.org/specialeducator/index.html. The editorial staff is dedicated
to assisting contributors in the successful completion of manuscripts. The Utah Special Educator Art Director/Designer:
Please contact either Michael Herbert, Editor, email@example.com, Odin Enterprises • Edie Schoepp
or Lowell Oswald, Co-Editor firstname.lastname@example.org for consultation and assistance.
Phone 801-272-3431, or 800-662-6624 (in Utah) •
The purpose of The Utah Special Educator is to serve as a medium for the
dissemination of information, promising practices and other dimensions in the
The Utah Special Educator is a symbol of the leadership of Dr. R. Elwood Pace provision of a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. The Utah Special
Educator is also available online. All views and opinions expressed represent the
whose vision made the Consortium, the UPDC and this journal possible. authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Utah Personnel
Development Center, the Utah Special Education Consortium, or the Utah State Office
of Education. The Utah Personnel Development Center is a project funded through
the Utah State Office of Education to the Utah Special Education Consortium for
2 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development
Looking Back, Moving Forward...
4 From the Editor–Professional Development: 58 Looking Back, The Utah Special Educator...
In Search of the Silver Bullet, or What Is Old Is New Again Moving Forward, the Essential Educator
Michael Herbert Michael Herbert & Tom Johnson
6 Follow the Bright Spots 60 Principal Preparedness to Support Students with Disabilities and
Suraj Syal Other Diverse Learners: A Policy Forum Proceedings Document
8 Keeping the Promise to All America’s Children Paula Burdette
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan 66 Hot New & Very Cool
12 Thirty Years of Service: The Long Strange Trip Improves 67 Service Directory
Alan M. Hofmeister
14 Back in the Day or Back to the Future?
Stevan J. Kukic
16 Federal Policy CAN Facilitate Higher Achievement for ALL:
A Call to Action
Stevan J. Kukic
18 The Incredible Lives of Forgotten People
Lowell K. Oswald
20 You’ve Come a Long Way Baby!
22 The Utah Special Educator January 1980-2000: 20 Years in the
Education of Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
Cathy Longstroth Utah Professional Development
26 Looking Back: Is Special Education Instruction Effective?
Alan M. Hofmeister
Inclusion and Peer Buddies: Making the Exception the Norm
30 Utah Mentor Teacher Academy: 25 Years and Counting! Stay Informed: Access the Web-based Calendar
• Get up-to-date information on all CSPD activities and conferences
32 Running Start: Helping Brand Spankin’ New
• Link directly to on-line web sites for details and registration
Teachers Teach with Confidence and Skill
• Subscribe to a calendar and recieve email reminders of events
• Submit events to be posted on the calendar(s)
34 It’s So Old, It’s New Again!
36 Rigorous New Academic Standards: The Role for Special Educators
Kristin L. Nelson
38 Making the Switch to Progress Monitoring
42 Pew Hispanic Center:
Explaining the English Language Learner Achievement Gap
46 Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for
Response to Intervention with English Language learners
Julie Esparza Brown & Jennifer Doolittle
52 Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS)
2009-2010 Report Card Summary
Heidi Mathie Mucha
56 New Web-based RIDE (Responding to Individual Differences in Instructions for getting there
Education) Behavior Intervention Bank • Enter http://www.updc.hosted.webevent.com/cgi-bin/webevent.cgi
Ray Beck • For quick reference to the calendar you’ll want
to save/bookmark this page!
From The Editor.....
In Search of the Silver Bullet, or What Is Old Is New Again...
Michael Herbert, Editor, The Utah Special Educator
New is better, right? mission is to improve student achievement through high quality,
In the advertising world, the phrase differentiated professional development at the universal, targeted
“new and improved” is applied to older and intensive levels. We seek to constantly customize our priorities
products whose sales may be slipping. and offerings to align with teacher needs and national priorities.
Manufacturers often do not go into
detail about how their product is either Direct Instruction (DI):
new or improved, as the moniker is
designed to create interest and boost For over thirty years, research has supported the efficacy of the
sales. In education, we are also pioneering work of Zig Engelmann and his development of DI, yet,
bombarded with so-called new and there are detractors to DI and generations of educators are unaware
improved products or curricula. of the evidence base supporting this instructional methodology. The
Consumers of educational products are re-authorization of ESEA is underway and a focus of discussion
told that a particular reading program is the best, because it has great involves moving away from “highly qualified” teacher language,
features (e.g., large color photos, which are larger than competitors, and replacing it with “highly effective.” It is not clear at this writing
and on and on). As I travel across this great state, I often hear teach- what the feds will require for proof of “highly effective,” but student
ers bemoan that they have to attend lengthy in-service trainings for performance would be an educated guess. The most effective teach-
the newly adopted reading or math program. You know, the silver ers know and use the most effective strategies, and DI has to be
bullet solution. Teacher’s bookshelves are filled with programs and high on any list of what works for teachers. Direct Instruction
curricula that were replaced with new and improved versions; yet, and microteaching are essential components of the Utah Coaching
was there universal student benefit in terms of increased achieve- Network offerings. “If the student did not learn, the teacher did
ment? Perhaps this is a byproduct of NCLB accountability, where a not teach” (Zig). http://updc.org/utah-coaching-network/
district or school seeks to better their statistical performance through
the silver bullet of a new and improved reading or math curriculum. Coaching:
Such practices are expensive to districts, and may divert the attention
of what matters most in educational outcomes: the teacher and how Coaching has gone by many different terms over the decades,
they teach. A great curriculum in the hands of a less effective teacher yet, the essentials of coaching remain unchanged. As excellent
who does not teach the new program with fidelity is no more as our institutions of higher education are in Utah, pre-service
effective (and probably less so) than an average teacher with an education is only the beginning step in becoming a highly effective
older curriculum. It’s not the book; it’s the teacher that makes the educator. Job-embedded, ongoing professional development of
greatest difference. If teachers make the greatest difference in observable, measurable and coachable skills are necessary. A coach
student achievement, then which teacher practices have consistently will not make a poor teacher into a good teacher, but an effective
demonstrated the greatest impact over time? Hint: there is nothing coach will help a good teacher to be a highly effective educator.
new on the short list, save perhaps applications of technology. Coaching is just as effective in assisting new teachers as with sea-
soned educators; all will improve. See the coaching monograph at:
My short list of what works: http://www.updc.org/assets/files/utah_special_educator/pdfs/mar201
0.pdf,l and the UCN page at: http://updc.org/utah-coaching-network/
The UPDC is dedicated to improving the lives of students with Mentoring:
special needs, their families, and the educators who serve them. Our
4 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
This year marks the 25th year of the highly successful Utah “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Highly effective educa-
Mentor Teacher Academy (UMTA). It has been my pleasure to tors realize that both are needed, and that teaching and monitoring
be part of the UMTA faculty for the past 10 years, and to observe both simultaneously, proactively in a Positive Behavior Intervention
firsthand how highly effective educators learn to be great instruc- and Support (PBIS) system, makes perfect sense and is supported by
tional leaders as well. Graduates of UMTA include a virtual credible research. For more information on PBIS implementation in
“Who’s Who” of school, district and state leadership. UMTA, where Utah and related topics, read the Mathie article in this issue on page
today’s educators and leaders connect, collaborate, and contribute. 52 and go to: http://updc.org/abc/
Closing the achievement gap:
Administrative walk-through: There exists an achievement gap between the lowest and highest
Walk-through is not new, but the power of this essential practice performing students. Lower performing students are often those
is reemerging in schools that are effectively closing the achievement with disabilities, English language learners, and students living in
gap between the highest and lowest performers. Administrators poverty. The one characteristic each of these groups share is a weak-
report that this one simple practice allows them to function more ness in oral language proficiency. Increasing oral language opportu-
effectively as the instructional leader in their school, and keep the nities to respond in the classroom, while building language profi-
focus of teacher efforts where it belongs—student achievement. ciency, is needed. It is no secret that students of color continue to be
Principal walk-through information and professional development over-represented in special education. This is another area of priority
is available from the UPDC through the Utah Special Educator for the reauthorization of ESEA, and one that will continue to place
(http://www.updc.org/utah-special-educator-journal/), and through pressure on our assessment and teaching practices in schools. While
the Utah Coaching Network (UCN) trainings there may be multiple reasons for the problem of overrepresentation,
(see hot, new, cool page in this issue). the solution is more single dimensional. INSTRUCTION! If some
students are benefitting more from instruction than other groups,
RTI: multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) then instruction can and must be modified to include ALL students
doing better work, not just some. RTI can be beneficial to students
RTI in Utah is gaining momentum in practice and in student
from minority groups, if and when culture and language issues are
outcomes. Examples of school and district successes will appear in
addressed. See the article on this topic on page 46 in this issue.
the pages of the Educator once again. An effective MTSS program
From The Editor...
focuses on increasing achievement AND behavior at the same time,
using data to drive decisions. Educators have long been aware of
the correlation between poor academic achievement and undesirable
behaviors in students. Often, the discussion sounds something like
Let’s skip the fad and go with what’s rad: what works! Have the
best year yet as an educator and let us all focus on our students who
deserve our very best.
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 5
Suraj Syal, Rural School District Coordinator,
Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
6 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
During my recent visits to Rich and Wayne County What might this “light” be? At the UPDC, we believe the
School Districts, I was reminded that the greatest resource light includes the “bright spots” we regularly observe in our
we have in our Utah schools is committed and talented districts and schools. They are the positive deviants or the
educators. Margaret Mead declared: “Never doubt that a educators and parents who confront and resolve many of the
small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change complex problems facing education today. The Utah Special
the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Educator promotes and shapes these bright spots.
The UPDC values the work of Utah educators. The Why focus on the bright spots? At the UPDC we
mission of this organization is to provide professional understand that improvements in instructional and leader-
development throughout the state designed to assist local ship practices are more likely to occur by studying excep-
education agencies with facilitating positive outcomes tional performance and the results they create rather than
for students with disabilities. by admiring and analyzing deficits, gaps, and what’s
One way the UPDC provides professional development
support is through its journal—The Utah Special Chip and Dan Heath, in their book Switch: How to
Educator—a publication that captures the exceptional Change Things When Change is Hard (2010), write:
performance of Utah educators. This “positive deviance” “For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start
exhibited by teachers, related service providers, administra- acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team.”
tors, para-professionals, parents, and university personnel They invite us to think of ourselves as having an “emotional
speaks loudly about what can happen when people “change Elephant side and a rational Rider side.” Both must be
and improve their practice because they see the light, not addressed in order for things to change. Then we must do
because they feel the heat” (Dr. Steve Edwards, Speaking three things: “Direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and
on change, June, 2009). shape the path.” The first key in directing the rider is to
“follow the bright spots, which means, investigate what’s
What might this “heat” be? The heat may be the pressure working and clone it.”
we feel to improve when we fixate on our shortcomings.
Often the heat is fueled by the media’s focus on, and at This year marks the 30th Anniversary of The Utah
times admiration of what troubles our society. Consider Special Educator—a journal dedicated to highlighting
the headlines in our country: foreclosures, unemployment, what works in Utah public schools in order to help
under-employment, man-made disasters, social and political educators clone successful practices. More students
debates, and the list goes on. doing better work; that is what we are about. n
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 7
President Obama and I believe that every child deserves a world- Yet unfortunately, many children with disabilities are not getting a
class education. When the president says every child, it is not just rhet- world-class education. The President and I are committed to doing
oric—he means every child, regardless of his or her skin color, nation- everything in our power to make that bedrock American promise of
ality, ethnicity, or ability. The truth is, however, that virtually everyone equal educational opportunity a reality. With the reauthorization of
professes to believe that all children deserve a world-class education. the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we have a historic
opportunity to move closer to fulfilling that promise for all students.
Yet today, a significant gap between our aspirations and reality
persists. And here is the harder, unspoken truth. Subtle, unexpressed The President has set a goal that, by the end of the decade, America
prejudices and lingering roadblocks still prevent children with disabili- once again will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the
ties from receiving the world-class education they deserve. No belief is world. That ambitious goal will require our educational institutions to
more pernicious in education than the conviction that disabilities and produce eight million new graduates with two-year and four-year
demography are destiny—that the burdens of poverty, disability, and degrees. We simply cannot achieve that goal without Americans of all
race mean the children cannot really succeed and should be treated ages and abilities going to college and getting degrees in far greater
with low expectations. numbers than they are today.
We should never forget the past. Even in my lifetime, public And we know, more than ever before, that in a global economy, a
schools virtually ignored children with disabilities. Many children were country’s economic security depends on the skills and knowledge of its
denied access to public schools, and those who attended didn’t get the workers. The country that out-educates us today will out-compete us
individualized instruction and appropriate services they needed and tomorrow. America does not have expendable students.
But education for all is more than an economic issue. It’s a moral
Over the past 35 years, we’ve made great strides in delivering on issue. I have often said that education is the civil rights issue of our
the promise of a free, appropriate public education for children with time. In March, I had the opportunity to speak at the Edmund Pettus
disabilities. Thanks to the advocacy and hard work of people and Bridge in Selma, Alabama on the 45th anniversary of one of the most
organizations like the Council for Exceptional Children, six million important events of the Civil Rights movement. On that bridge, police
students with disabilities are in school—and millions of them are savagely beat several hundred peaceful protesters with clubs, lashed
thriving. them with bullwhips, and stung their eyes and throats with tear
8 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
gas all because the protesters wanted to for people with disabilities. He takes a back seat to no one in his
secure the right to vote. Our nation wept commitment to accountability for educating students with disabilities.
with shame that day. Within months,
Congress passed the landmark voting I look forward to working with both of them to reauthorize ESEA.
Rights Act of 1965. We’ll be working closely with Republicans as well, including Senator
Enzi, Senator Alexander, and Representative Kline.
The civil rights protesters on the
Edmund Pettus Bridge weren’t in Senator Harkin, Chairman Miller, and House Appropriations
wheelchairs and they weren’t marching Committee Chairman David Obey also have introduced legislation to
on behalf of students with dyslexia, save education jobs. In this tough economy, hundreds of thousands of
learning disabilities, ADD, or other education professionals could be facing layoffs. Maybe you are one of
disabilities. But their spirit and them—maybe one of your colleagues or friends is. I look forward to
commitment emboldened the disability rights movement. In education, working with them to pass an education jobs bill. Education reform
no victory for disability advocates was bigger than the 1975 law that and saving education jobs go hand in hand.
guaranteed students with disabilities the right to a free, appropriate
Because of the leadership of Senator Harkin, Chairman Miller and
public education. On the 35th anniversary of that law’s passage, it’s
many others the lives of children with disabilities are so much richer
important to remember many students with disabilities were turned
today than a generation ago. The nation has made significant progress
away from school altogether. Others were put in separate classrooms—
for students with disabilities—but we have more work to do.
sometimes a place as unwelcoming as a converted broom closet. Very
few ever interacted with peers without disabilities. Today, six million Today, 57 percent of students with disabilities spend at least 80
students are guaranteed a free, appropriate public education. percent of their day within the regular school environment. Overall,
95 percent of students with disabilities attend a neighborhood school.
Great advocates continue to work tirelessly on behalf of persons
We’re working to put an end to the days of students with disabilities
with disabilities. In Congress, we are fortunate the education commit-
being bused across town or put into a separate school solely because
tees are led by two great champions for students with disabilities—
they have a disability. Students with disabilities are learning alongside
Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller. As you know,
their peers. They’re eating lunch with them. They’re making art with
Senator Harkin has dedicated much of his career to protecting the
them. They’re becoming friends with them. And once they graduate
rights of people with disabilities. He was an author of the Americans
they will be working side-by-side. Continued on page 10
with Disabilities Act. Representative Miller is a passionate advocate
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 9
I know that you’ll be hearing from Tim Shriver on Friday. As the Children no longer have to fight to be enrolled in school. People
chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, Tim is a strong advocate who use wheelchairs no longer need to sue simply to have their job
for including students with disabilities across community groups. He application considered by public school districts or other employers.
recounts story after story to illustrate how people with disabilities And students like Kathleen can be important parts of a school
enrich the lives of all children. community—learning with her peers and teaching her peers
important lessons about respect, self-confidence, and friendship.
One story he shared with me came in an essay by a girl named
Kaitlyn Smith from Conifer High School in Colorado. She wrote about Those are civil rights victories truly worth celebrating. But we
her best friend, Kathleen. Kaitlyn and Kathleen met while they were haven’t fulfilled the promise of education for students with disabilities.
paired off as partners in P.E. class. They quickly became best friends The struggle for equal opportunity in our nation’s schools and universi-
and they do all of the things best friends do. They eat lunch together ties did not end with the passage of IDEA or at the foot of the Edmund
every day. When neither of them had a date for the Homecoming Pettus Bridge. We will work with schools and enforce laws to ensure
dance, they went together as friends. that all children, no matter what their race, gender, disability or nation-
al origin, have a fair chance at a good future. We will make sure ESEA
Kaitlyn wrote that Kathleen taught her what truly matters. It’s not doesn’t lose track of these students, who in many cases are making
dressing well, doing your hair right, or making sure everyone likes significant progress.
you. In fact, when high school bullies made fun of Kathleen, her
response was to look them in the eye, smile, and ignore them. Kaitlyn The data show us that we’re making progress. In 2007, nearly
wrote about their friendship: “Right from the moment I met her, I 60 percent of students with disabilities graduated high school with a
knew my best friend was a blessing. I needed someone in my life that regular diploma, compared to 32 percent twenty years earlier. And a
was going to change my perspective and give me a different outlook.” third of students with disabilities were enrolled in postsecondary
education—up from just one in seven two decades ago. More adults
Kathleen happens to have Down syndrome. But the story about with disabilities are employed than ever before. By just about every
Kaitlyn’s and Kathleen’s friendship shows how the inclusion of measure, students with disabilities are better educated today than they
students with disabilities benefits more than just the student with the were a generation ago.
disability. Inclusion benefits the whole community. Sometimes,
parents, students, and teachers fail to recognize the great leadership But while America can justly celebrate those successes, we have a
that students with disabilities can provide our school communities. long way to go before we rest on our laurels. The graduation rate, post-
secondary enrollment rate, and employment rate are all increasing, but
But I’m sure you can tell me hundreds of stories of how inclusion they’re still far too low. Too many students with disabilities are leaving
enriched the lives of everyone in a school. These are stories we need school, without the knowledge and skills they truly need to succeed.
to tell, over and over again. So many students with disabilities have
gone on to become insightful and effective leaders for children who From Washington, we’re working hard to ensure that we have
followed in their wake. the right policies and incentives in place to help states and districts
accelerate achievement for all students, including those with disabili-
Judy Heumann was the assistant secretary for special education ties. This year, I’m working closely with Democrats and Republicans
and rehabilitative services under Secretary Riley. She contracted polio in Congress to fix the No Child Left Behind Act through the reautho-
when she was 18 months old and grew up using a wheelchair. The rization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We want the
New York City Public Schools refused to enroll her—not because she law to be fair, flexible, and focused on the right goals. We want a law
wasn’t smart enough, not because she couldn’t learn—simply because that ensures all students are prepared for success in college and careers.
she used a wheelchair. When she was old enough for 4th grade, she Our proposal will set a goal that all students graduate high school
was allowed to enroll in school. She went on to graduate high school ready to succeed in college and careers. We want to make sure that
and then college. She applied for a job as teacher in the system and students with disabilities are included in all aspects of ESEA, and to
was turned away again. Once again, she didn’t give up. She eventually continue to measure achievement gaps and work to close them. We
got a job as a teacher—but only after suing the school board. want to align ESEA with the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act so that we create one seamless system that addresses the needs
Judy knows that a disability shouldn’t stop any child from atten-
of each child.
ding school, pursuing a career, and making a difference in the lives of
others. In addition to eight years of public service at the Department of Under our proposal, students with disabilities will continue to be
Education, she has been a strong advocate for persons with disabilities. full participants in accountability systems. One thing NCLB did right
She has worked with the World Bank to ensure that it addresses was hold schools accountable for all students and highlighted the
disability issues in its work with countries throughout the world. achievement gaps between subgroups of students. We absolutely
Today, she is the director of the Department of Disability Services want to continue that. But NCLB doesn’t measure student growth. If
in the District of Columbia. students start the year two grade levels behind, and, through excellent
teaching and strong supports, progress so much that they end the year
Her work and dedication are reminders of the power of determina-
just below grade level, their school is still labeled a failure instead of
tion and the time-honored truth that disabilities alone do not define
us or our work and worth as human beings. Students like Kaitlyn and
Kathleen—and adults like Judy—show us that disabilities are not Our accountability system will be based mostly on student growth.
destiny. Schools where students show large gains in learning over the course of
the school year will be rewarded. And the emphasis on student growth
The work you do as special education leaders and teachers is vitally
will ensure that schools have an incentive to improve the academic
important for the students you work with—and our society as well.
performance of our highest-achieving students as well. While we will
10 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
reward and recognize the best schools, the vast majority of schools will
have more flexibility to implement locally designed plans to reach the
benchmarks they set for themselves. But schools with chronically low
performance and persistent achievement gaps will be required to take
far-reaching steps to help students.
We’ll maintain that focus on achievement gaps from NCLB.
Our proposal would continue to hold schools accountable for teaching
students with disabilities but will also reward them for increasing
student learning. Our proposal will also include meaningful district
accountability. That means even where achievement gaps aren’t
apparent in schools with small numbers of students with disabilities,
we will see these gaps at the district level and ask districts to focus
on closing them.
While we’re confident that our accountability system will be fair
and flexible, we recognize it won’t be flawless. To build a first-rate
accountability system, states have to significantly improve existing
assessments used to measure our students’ growth and move beyond
fill-in-the bubble tests. Our ESEA Blueprint and Race to the Top
Assessment Competition will invest in that next generation of tests
to measure student growth and achievement. And it will enhance
states’ use of technology and advances in the field of testing to
evaluate a range of skills, including those that have traditionally
been difficult to measure.
The Department plans to support consortia of states, who will
design better assessments for the purposes of both measuring student
growth and providing feedback to inform teaching and learning in the
classroom. All students will benefit from these tests, but the tests are
especially important for students with disabilities.
Today, we have a complicated set of rules around assessing students
with disabilities. The majority of students with disabilities take the
regular state tests based on the state’s standards for all students, with
appropriate accommodations to ensure that their results are valid.
Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities can take
alternate tests based on alternate standards and other students with
disabilities may take an alternate test based on modified standards.
Developing these alternate assessments requires specialized Before I close, I want to want to issue a challenge to each of you
expertise. The Department intends to run an alternate assessments individually and to the whole field of special education. Everything we
competition that will be managed by the Office of Special Education do at the U.S. Department of Education is aimed toward meeting the
and Rehabilitative Services, with a notice inviting applications later President’s goal that by 2020 America once again will lead the world
this year. in college completion. We cannot get there unless students are earning
postsecondary degrees at record levels. I know you’ve made tremen-
We need to move toward assessments that allow practically all dous progress over the decades, but there’s still significant work to be
students to take tests that report results tracking their progress toward done. I want to challenge each of you to be personally responsible for
college- or career-readiness. Our Blueprint also recognizes the unique- the success of your students once they graduate. This will mean help-
ly transformative power of teachers on students. We will invest almost ing students not just in school but assisting them to plan their transition
$4 billion in programs that recruit, prepare, develop, retain, and reward from high school to college or careers.
effective teachers. That’s an unprecedented amount. Our proposal goes
further by bolstering traditional and alternative pathways to teaching— I know you already work hard on this, but I’m asking you to
especially for those teaching in high-need areas—such as special redouble your efforts. The success of your students, the well being of
education—and those teaching in high-need schools. our communities, and the economic prosperity of our nation depends
on creating a cradle to career educational pipeline, not an education
This reauthorized ESEA will provide the building block for the system that continues to function in its separate silos.
reauthorization of the IDEA that will follow. Alexa Posny will be
leading our work in IDEA reauthorization, and she will be a strong Working together, and with your courage and commitment to
advocate for students with disabilities in ESEA reauthorization as challenging the status quo, we can create an education system that
well. You’ll be hearing from her tomorrow morning. Alexa and I look delivers a world-class education to every learner. This is a promise
forward to hearing your voices and working with you as Congress we must keep to our nation’s students with disabilities, and to all of
shapes this very important law. America’s children. n
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 11
Thirty Years of Service:
The Long Strange Trip Improves
Celebration of 30 years of service to the special education
community, nationwide, by The Utah Special Educator requires
recognition of past contributions and anticipation of major future
contributions. The past 30 years, beginning in the early 1980s, came
The Utah Special Educator
The Utah Special Educator, as the information flagship of the
Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC) of the Utah State
Office of Special Education, has been a part of the major change
with the realization that Public Law 94-142 was not going away. in accountability priorities in the past 30 years. In November 1996,
The law, passed in 1975, survived subsequent challenges. The a rather unpretentious report was released by William Sanders and
required provision and documentation of services to all students June Rivers of the University of Tennessee. This team monitored
with disabilities was a nationally recognized reality by the early the progress of approximately three million students from grades 3
1980s. The question moved from, “Do we have to do this?” to “How through 5, from 1990 through 1996. The research findings dramati-
do we do this?” The next 30 years required a move from providing cally changed conversations on accountability. Past conversations
and documenting the quantity of services to providing and included increasing accountability by factors such as budget, class
documenting quality services. size, college of education credentials, advanced education degrees,
years of experience, pre-service experiences or in-service experi-
ences. With the Sanders and Rivers research, and subsequent find-
IEP or AYP ings by other researchers, the amount of time the student spent with
The 30 years started with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) the most effective teachers was so far ahead of other factors, there
providing the focus of the special education workforce. This focus was no other factor in second place. For special educators, their stu-
was all about the presence and implementation of the IEP, and it was dents and the families of students, the research news was even more
very much a special education thing. The 30 years ended with the positive. One research conclusion by Sanders and Rivers, published
AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) requirement replacing the IEP as in 1996, stated: “As teacher effectiveness increases, lower achieving
the focus. The special education AYP outcomes became the focus students are the first to benefit. The top quintile of teachers facilitate
of the total educational workforce and not just the focus of special appropriate to excellent gains for students of all achievement levels.”
educators. This increased focus on AYP indicators documenting the
For the student at risk of academic failure, having a teacher in the
progress of special education students has generated discussion
top 20% made a major difference. Having such teachers for multiple
and concern nationwide. An August 12, 2010, news story is
years made such a positive difference that future ineffective teaching
representative of the national discussion. The story noted:
experiences would not counter these gains. Such access to effective
teachers would have lifelong, positive consequences. The research
Both Virginia and Prince William County Public Schools failed to
findings of Sanders and Rivers and other researchers dramatically
meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress standards according to a
changed the content of conversations on accountability and the
press release sent out Thursday by the Virginia Department of
teacher education curriculum priorities of the UPDC and its central
Education...The bar for students with disabilities was raised in
information vehicle, The Utah Special Educator.
February with the U.S. Department of Education decision to
discontinue flexibility that allowed states to supplement the pass
rates of disabled students. The flexibility had been allowed since The Demise of the “State Office
2005, in recognition of limited testing options for some students
of Education-College of Education
Eighty-seven schools and 15 school divisions did not make AYP
this year as a result of the change in calculating pass rates for In his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961,
students with disabilities. Prince William met all of the 29 bench- President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the role of the
marks except for the performance of students with disabilities. Military-industrial Complex in replacing citizen roles in setting
Consequently, the school division did not make AYP. future national priorities. Thirty years ago Colleges of Education
and State Education Agencies often merged into “complexes.”
Many agency policy committees on teacher certification were
12 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
dominated by the teacher educators the policies were regulating. The This did not mean that all college of education graduates were
movement of leadership personnel between colleges and agencies incompetent. It did mean that districts could not use the diploma as
often reduced the role of state citizens in setting state directions for reliable evidence of instructional effectiveness. These findings also
education and concurrently reduced accountability pressures on col- raised questions for state education agencies placing the major
leges of education. In essence, colleges were often self-regulating. emphasis on teacher college diplomas for teacher certification. The
emphasis is changing. The typical three-year probation period for
As accountability pressure increased on states and districts the beginning teacher must be emphasized and associated on-the-job
through AYP findings and related accountability vehicles, college support must increase in availability and quality. This increased
of education advisors to SEAs came under considerable pressure investment in the first three years also aligns with the findings
from a troubling question. Namely, given the massive variability in from special education teacher attrition research.
the effectiveness of teachers with the same college of education
certification credentials, why is the college of education pre-service
teacher certification credential considered invalid evidence of Conclusion
instructional effectiveness? To the credit of colleges of education, The recognition of on-the-job training and in-classroom teacher
questions of credential validity were often raised by college support as the major vehicles for systematically increasing teacher
researchers. effectiveness places the UPDC and its information flagship The
Utah Special Educator, in the crosshairs of increased pressure for
During the past ten years, alternatives to the traditional college
statewide accountability for students receiving special education
of education credential have grown rapidly. Many colleges of
services. This increased pressure now comes from all of the public
education have supported these alternative certification programs.
education community and not only the special education parent and
Some of these alternative teacher certification programs have pro-
client community. For colleges of education that work as a team
ven successful, some have failed. Those alternative certification
with states and districts and build competence and independence
programs that work align content with the specific classroom
in those district and state in-classroom coaches, trainers and infor-
context each teacher trainee is moving to. The effective programs
mation vehicles, there is much that can be done to align the research
stress extensive on-the-job support, especially the use of in-class-
on teacher effectiveness vehicles and the activities of colleges of
room coaching and micro-teaching requiring trainees to demonstrate
education. The statewide contributions of The Utah Special
mastery of the selected teaching techniques with peers before teach-
Educator can only increase with the implementation of present plans
ing a special education student. Trainees are required to use student
to incorporate a range of Information Age communication tools.
curriculum-embedded monitoring to systematically and progressive-
These tools allow the UPDC team to respond, statewide, to teacher
ly improve their instructional practices. An effective alternative
needs with timely and personalized communications and the
certification program will include at least two years of in-classroom
associated targeted staff development. n
coaching. Support of the beginning teacher is only one of the
challenges. Major changes in instructional assignments, and
transfers, especially across state lines, require a statewide,
dedicated personnel development unit such as Utah’s UPDC.
Teachers do not lack interest in gaining and maintaining compe-
tence. The problem lies in developing and maintaining building,
district, and state on-the-job support that is timely and responsive to
specific teacher needs. Our teachers face major, changing, instruc-
tional challenges. Teachers must have access to on-the-job support
with dignity. The provision of on-the-job support is a humane
requirement for teachers and their students. Such support is fiscally
smart and a very cost-effective investment by the state and district.
The research on special education teacher attrition is very clear.
Lack of on-the-job support is often the major reason for special edu-
cation teacher attrition. Billingsley in the November 2002, Journal
of Special Education Leadership stated, “The most important action
that administrators can take to reduce attrition is to provide support
during the early stages of special educators’ careers when they are
most likely to leave.”
At a June 2010, symposium sponsored by the journal, Economics
of Education Review, Chingos and Peterson stated:
Teacher classroom performance is correlated neither with the type
of certification a teacher has earned, nor with the acquisition of
an advanced degree, nor with the selectivity of the university a
teacher attended. Only on-the-job training that comes with each
year of experience in the classroom has been regularly identified
as a correlate of teacher effectiveness.
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 13
Back in the Day or
Back to the Future?
Stevan J. Kukic, VP, Strategic Sales Initiatives, Cambium Learning
14 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
In 1978, my family and I trekked across the country from New I must give two other examples of work of the Consortium and the
Jersey to Utah with two children, two dogs, two cars, a U-Haul trailer, UPDC. The Utah Mentor Teacher Academy trained its first cohort
and a moving van. Electricity had been recently introduced in the over 25 years ago. This academy has dedicated itself to developing
country way back then… great teachers and administrators into highly effective mentors. Over
1000 professionals have graduated from the academy and have/are
I went to work at the Southwest Regional Resource Center serving their colleagues as in-school facilitators of improved teaching.
(SRRC) at the University of Utah. SRRC served 11 states, including
Utah. I was given these new regulations for this 1975 federal, special When I was state director, USOE teamed with the Utah Council
education law, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act. I was for Administrators of Special Education (CASE) to establish FASES
told to memorize them so I could help these states construct their (Facilitating Administrative and Supervisory Excellence in Special
compliance structures and state regulations. Education). Two cohorts of 40 leaders met four times a year for eight
I was assigned to work with Utah. I had the honor to work with years and built deep, lifelong friendships which serve as the founda-
the state director of special education, Woody Pace, along with his tion for the hard work of special education administration. With the
expert colleagues including Ben Bruce, Mae Taylor, Cy Freston, leadership of current co-coordinator Suraj Syal, the UPDC continued
and Ken Reavis. and refined the FASES model and now have a two-year program in
place to prepare the next generation of special education leadership
Along with many other projects, I was the facilitator, in 1980, of in the state of Utah—the Utah Leadership Academy.
the beginnings of the Utah Special Educator, a journal designed to
celebrate the effective work of Utah educators related to the education What is so inspiring about Utah is the continued laser focus
of students with disabilities. At the same time, the Utah Learning on effective practice in the special education community. The
Resource Center (ULRC—now the UPDC) was being transformed Consortium with its UPDC continues the legacy began 30 years ago
by the visionary leaders at USOE into a center dedicated to effective that proved and is proving that a truly comprehensive system of pro-
professional development for all who educate students with disabili- fessional development will result in better outcomes for students with
ties. The ULRC had been around a long time before 1980. With the special needs. There are scores of professionals who deserve special
dynamic leadership of Joanne Gillis, the ULRC served admirably recognition for this 30 year adventure. I must symbolically add to the
as a source of wisdom and resources for all Utah educators. great people mentioned above the leadership shown by Nan Gray,
The Consortium with its UPDC continues the legacy began 30 years ago
that proved and is proving that a truly comprehensive system of professional
development will result in better outcomes for students with special needs.
Woody and Cy had the vision to make the ULRC a project of a Bruce Schroeder, Ted Kelly, Tom Burchett, Mark Riding, and Lowell
new organization, the Utah Special Education Consortium. This Oswald. Good friends I have not mentioned, please know that it is
Consortium was conceptualized to be a forum for discussion not crystal clear that the Utah success with professional development has,
of legal issues, but of teaching and learning. Back in the day, the and is happening only because of the continuing commitment to what
Consortium was comprised of representatives from USOE and from works from everyone involved with the Consortium and the UPDC.
all school districts. Meeting monthly, the Consortium had the goal to
provide the same innovative professional development, the same day,
in Salt Lake City and in Blanding. The ULRC staff was charged with In the early 1980’s, if Woody Pace and Cy Freston could have met
presenting that professional development. I served as the Director of Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future
ULRC from 1981-1986. With me at the ULRC were Susan Mulkey, movies (I know I date myself with this reference). Woody and Cy
Janet Freston, Don Link, Joan Sebastian, and Mary Baldwin. These might have agreed to go back to the future to see what their efforts
giants provided the mentorship for generations of significant produced in 2010. What they would have seen is what is happening—
professionals who have and are serving at the UPDC. a dynamic, ever evolving comprehensive system of professional
development. They would have seen this glorious journal and would
There is nothing I am prouder of in my professional life than be marveling at its professionalism and responsiveness to Utah educa-
to observe the ever evolving, always effective Consortium and its tors and families. They would have been very pleased indeed to know
project, the Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC—previously that their vision has been translated into such a significant success.
the ULRC). Imagine the vision shown by Woody Pace and Cy If you don’t believe me, just ask Cy the next time you see him.
Freston. They established a network of professionals (the Consortium Cy, let’s find Marty and Doc Brown and go back to the future to
now includes higher education, the Utah Parent Center, and Charter see Woody and Ken and our other colleagues to learn again from
Schools.) that has built and sustained a truly comprehensive system them and celebrate these 30 years. n
of professional development in the state of Utah.
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 15
Stevan J. Kukic, PhD., VP, Strategic Sales Initiatives,
Cambium Learning/Voyager Young children at risk learned to read! Thank goodness, with a request
from our current Congress, a coalition of educational organizations has
I was asked to provide my take about federal policy issues for this come to the rescue of the good work of Reading First. Led by the Alliance
edition of The Utah Special Educator. I am on the Board of Directors for for Excellent Education, this coalition produced a complete draft of a new
the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD www.ld.org ). I serve pre K – 12 Comprehensive Literacy Act – The LEARN (Literacy Education
as the chair for the Public Policy committee for NCLD. I am so fortunate to for America, Results for the Nation) Act. The LEARN Act has been intro-
work with NCLD’s Public Policy director, Laura Kaloi. Laura is simply the duced in both houses of the Congress. It appears certain that the language
best there is. She provides leadership for the Consortium for Citizens with of the LEARN Act will serve as the literacy language in the reauthorized
Disabilities in DC. She is the “go to” advocate on Congressional issues ESEA. The LEARN Act requires that states and districts develop a compre-
related to the education and treatment of our citizens with LD. So, with that hensive pre K – 12 plan for improving literacy outcomes for all students.
context, with my crystal ball polished, here are my viewpoints about federal The LEARN Act codifies the research-based principles of Reading First.
policy directions. What a moment in our nation’s history! Many things we The Act uses the following definition to describe the multi-tier system
took for granted are now vivid issues. We had a major economic “reset.” of supports to be developed and sustained to promote improved literacy
The definition of capitalism has been blurred. We have a U.S. president outcomes: The term ‘‘multi-tier system of supports (MTSS)’’ means a
who represents something of which we should all be proud whether you comprehensive system of differentiated supports that includes evidence-
like him or his policies or not. Think about it. We are the first Western based instruction, universal screening, progress monitoring, formative
democracy to elect a person of African descent to be our president. assessment, and research-based interventions matched to student needs,
On March 10, 2009, President Obama presented his Five Pillars of and educational decision making using student outcome data.
Educational Reform. They are:
I am personally so excited that this definition of MTSS is to be included,
1. Investing in early childhood initiatives through the LEARN Act, in ESEA. Read the definition again and you will
2. Adopting world class standards in every state see that it is a clear statement of the systematic and systemic application of
3. Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers while RtI. Put another way, RtI has hit the big time! The hard work of educators
getting rid of teachers who do not get results from around the country focused on RtI will have national and significant
4. Promoting innovation and excellence impact.
5. Providing quality higher education for every American
For one example, take a look at the work of educators in the state of
How the administration is doing is truly a fiery debate. What cannot be Kansas (www.kansasmtss.org.) Kansas, along with states including
debated is that this administration is moving forward with its agenda. All of Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida, is leading the way in
these initiatives are being attempted in a truly difficult time. School districts defining and supporting the systemic application of the principles of
and states are making significant cuts in services. While these wrenching MTSS. With LEARN Act in play, the reauthorization of ESEA will be
decisions are being made, school districts have significant infusions of accomplished on the near horizon. Well, this may happen by the end of
stimulus funding. According to the federal government (March 24, 2009), 2011. The US Department of Education has established these priorities
these funds must be spent quickly to save and create jobs, must ensure for the reauthorization:
transparency and accountability, must be invested thoughtfully, and must
advance effective reforms. Just staying sane in this contradiction is a US Department of Education on ESEA:
significant effort! In 2009, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) A Blueprint for Reform-Priorities
was reauthorized. A cause for celebration indeed! The process to get to • College and Career Ready Students—raising standards for all students,
this positive result was enlightening and frightening. better assessments, a complete education
Dear readers, you will find it hard to believe, but, citizens with LD were • Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School—effective teachers and
very nearly taken out of ADA during the reauthorization process. So, half of principals, our best teachers and leaders where they are needed most,
all citizens with disabilities were almost eliminated from ADA. Thank God strengthening teacher and leader preparation and recruitment
NCLD’s Laura Kaloi was vigilant and effective. Without her sterling work, • Equity and Opportunity for All Students—rigorous and fair accoun-
citizens with LD would have been removed from the protections of ADA. tability for all levels, meeting the needs of diverse learners, greater equity
This happened in 2009, not 1979. Amazing! I mention this story to illustrate • Raise the Bar and Reward Excellence—fostering a race to the top,
the need, the requirement, that all of us remain vigilant, ensuring that all supporting effective public school choice, promoting a culture of
doors remain open to ALL citizens to ensure equal opportunity. And now, college readiness and success
get ready for the reauthorizations of ESEA and IDEA. • Promote Innovation and Continuous Improvement—fostering
innovation and accelerating success, supporting, recognizing, and
We have a Congress comprised of two parties. You know them, the rewarding local innovations, supporting student success
Can’t Do Party and the Won’t Do party. It is not possible that every single
idea from the Democrats and every single idea from the Republicans are A Blueprint for Reform-Cross-Cutting Priorities
wrong. But that’s the way our Congress is acting. In this milieu, we have an • Technology
administration that will see ESEA and IDEA reauthorized before this term • Evidence
is over. Now is the time for deep involvement in the political process. • Efficiency
Here’s hoping the Congress will treat these reauthorizations as the non • Supporting English Learners and Students with Disabilities
partisan laws they are. • Supporting Rural and Other High-Need Areas
In its wisdom, our Congress recently defunded the very best, and only NCLD has established these principles for ESEA reauthorization:
research based, part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Reading First. Say 1. Students with Disabilities Must Be Fully and Equitably Included
what you will, Reading First, when implemented with integrity, worked. 2. Graduation Rates Must Be Dramatically Improved
16 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Federal Policy CA N Facilitate Higher A chiev ement for A LL:
A Call to Action
3. Increase Access to Early Interventions & Effective Instructional • ALL students will remain the target.
Practices • Common standards for state standards will be included. If a state
My company, the Cambium Learning Group, has approached the wants its Title I money, then it must prove that its standards comply
Congress with this statement: The Problem; Nearly six million students with the common standards.
are at risk of dropping out of high school or graduating without the skills The next focus will be IDEA reauthorization. My crystal ball says:
they need to be successful in college or the workforce. • There will be a thorough discussion of the need to maintain two laws.
The Solution: Why couldn’t the processes and protections of IDEA be included in
• Invest in high quality education to invest in the U.S. economy ESEA? The unexpected consequence of IDEA is that students with
• Don’t fail the 40th percentile disabilities are treated separately and differently.
• One size does not fit all • RtI will be required for all eligibility determinations.
• Invest in what works • LD will remain in the law. I hate it that this is even a potential
• Improve teacher quality, preparedness, and reduce teacher attrition issue, but it is!
• Provide high quality professional development for teachers and • IDEA will be reauthorized (or included in ESEA) before the 2012
• Give school districts and teachers flexibility to choose resources
that work I hope this summary has been useful. I have one request. It has
NEVER been more important to be involved politically. Sen. Hatch cares
As we have met with Congressional staffers, it seems clear (a dangerous so deeply about these issues. Talk to his committee on disability issues.
word as law is negotiated) that the following will be included: Tell your Congressperson your opinion about all of the above. You can
• MTSS is definitely in, especially for schools in a “needs make a difference. Get involved with coalitions of concerned educators
improvement” status. Right on! and parents. Listen to great advocates like Jan Ferre and Marv Fifield.
• A Growth model will be included so that districts will be held Go for it, my friends. The futures of all students at risk require your
accountable not only for what percentage of each sub group is commitment and involvement. Justice Thurgood Marshall had it right:
achieving to standards but also for the extent to which each subgroup We must work to create a bridge to a better future for all students.
is making significant growth toward the standard. Finally, a fair way We can do this profound work, but only together. n
to hold districts accountable!
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 17
I recently read something my 18-year-old daughter posted on Face- In their book, The Hero’s Journey: How Educators Can Transform
book. It was about our summer trip to Washington, D.C. I expected her Schools and Improve Learning, Brown and Moffett (1999) wrote:
to write about the beautiful city and fascinating historical sites, about the
amazing museums and monuments. Instead, she wrote about our Learning as the core of the journey is the ultimate motivation of the
experience traveling around the city in taxicabs. Her post is titled individual educator, school, or system. In any transformed system,
“The Incredible Lives of Forgotten People.” She wrote: every student, teacher, administrator, district leader, community
member and parent has a passion for learning. They actively seek new
As my dad spoke to our taxi driver today, we learned about his and his knowledge and skills. They unequivocally support the need for ongoing
wife’s struggle to work many jobs in order to raise their two children professional development. They back this support with time, resources,
properly. Thirty years ago, he moved from Ethiopia to a place near the and a clear understanding of research-based staff development practices.
city. During the 80’s they lived in the worst conditions in the worst part
of town where drugs and crime were rampant. They were, however, The UPDC Can Help!
able to help their children rise above that lifestyle by encouraging them
to obtain, and supporting them in the pursuit of, a quality education. The UPDC is committed to assisting Local Education Agencies
Their children are now college graduates. This driver’s story, as well as (LEAs) with addressing the professional development needs of educators
the stories of the many other drivers we had the opportunity to visit and parents to help facilitate positive outcomes for students with disabili-
with, really touched me. They aren’t recognized for their accomplish- ties. We deliver these services through universal, targeted, and intensive
ments. Most people they serve each day usually don’t even take the professional development (PD) supports. Each level of support is briefly
time to recognize them as a person. described below:
The next time someone provides you with a service, think about who Universal Support. The focus of universal PD support is to increase
they are and their life story. Many of them live humble lives of service access to evidence-based educational practices. These instructional
and sacrifice. resources are available 24/7/365 and may be accessed through the UPDC
website. They include self-facilitation guides for teaching students with
significant cognitive disabilities (e.g., Counting Objects and Teaching
Education is the great equalizer! It allows our children to pursue and
Sequential Skills); video libraries featuring presentations from national
enjoy opportunities in life that are not otherwise available. The service
and local experts (e.g., Anita Archer, Ray Beck, Alan Hofmeister, Steve
and sacrifice of parents and educators help ensure they receive a quality
Kukic, and Terry Scott); Least Restrictive Behavior Intervention (LRBI)
educational experience. We recognize their important contributions to
instructional videos; online literacy and numeracy resources; and much
society and know their efforts can and do make a difference in the lives
of students. This is especially true for students with disabilities. The
partnership between parents and educators, through the IEP process, The UPDC also recently developed the Essential Educator, an online
has the potential for increasing the quality of services students receive professional learning tool that all Utah educators may access. For more
and the learning that occurs. information about this new resource see the Herbert and Johnson article
in this issue.
This issue of The Utah Special Educator highlights a number of
excellent instructional practices designed to facilitate positive outcomes Targeted Support. The focus of targeted support is to assist LEAs with
for students with disabilities. A relentless focus on student learning is the implementing evidence-based practices through a series of workshops
lifeblood of effective educators, schools, and districts. Such educators with emphasis on developing participants’ instructional leadership,
also understand the value of actively participating in evidence-based mentoring, and coaching skills. For example, the Utah Coaching
professional learning opportunities designed to help improve their Network (UCN) provides participants with the opportunity to develop
bottom line—student learning. the knowledge and skills necessary to provide differentiated coaching
support to school personnel in an effort to implement evidence-based
18 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Lowell K. Oswald, Wasatch Front Coordinator, Utah Personnel
Development Center (UPDC)
practices in the areas of progress monitoring, classroom management,
and effective instruction. The audience for the UCN includes special
educators with coaching experience, individuals considered to be The taxi driver in D.C. understood an important principle. That is, his
change agents in their organization (special and general education), children’s future depended on his family’s willingness to commit to and
and administrators. sacrifice for a quality education. The educators who taught his children
understood this principle as well.
The service and sacrifice of parents and educators may often go
unnoticed. Nevertheless, their contributions to improving the world we
live in are significant. Furthermore, regarding the challenges faced by
today’s educators, Brown and Moffett (1999) indicate:
They encounter overwhelming pressure to stay the course and sustain
their vision. They confront rising expectations in a time of diminishing
resources. They struggle to overcome pessimism and cynicism as they
face such phenomena as conflicting public expectations, an increas-
ingly diverse student population, an alarming number of children in
crisis entering schools unprepared cognitively or emotionally to learn.
The recognition given to many of today’s celebrities has little to do
with heroism or with the contributions they’ve made to improve society.
However, what parents and educators do, and the power they have to
improve the lives of children and youth, makes them heroic in every
sense of the word. Joseph Campbell said:
The end of the hero’s journey is not the aggrandizement of the hero...
Other targeted professional development offerings include the The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for
Utah Mentor Teacher Academy (UMTA), the Utah Leadership Academy oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others. One of the
(ULA), and the many other professional development activities specifi- many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero...is that one
cally designed for and delivered to districts and charter schools through- lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society” (The Hero
out the state (e.g., Language!, Step Up to Writing, curriculum-based with a Thousand Faces, 2008).
measurement, and tiered instruction). The content of UCN, UMTA,
ULA, and LEA specific professional development activities The hero’s journey is filled with trials and tribulations as well as
is primarily determined by special education directors and the UPDC opportunities to change lives. The UPDC is committed to supporting
Consortium Board. The UPDC develops and delivers these professional you in this journey. Please visit www.updc.org to learn more about the
learning opportunities. LEAs are responsible for implementation and professional learning opportunities and resources available to assist
follow-up support. you along the way. n
Intensive Support. At this level of support, PD services are rendered
through application and multi-year participation. The Utah Multi-Tier
System of Supports (UMTSS), also known as ABC-UBI, and Running
Start are two examples of intensive PD support. UMTSS is a statewide
initiative designed to support the implementation of response to interven-
tion for academic and social behavior. RTI requires implementing
evidence-based instruction and inventions in a tiered model, proactive
screening and progress monitoring assessments, and problem solving to
support the academic and behavioral needs of ALL students. Running
Start is an ongoing comprehensive induction program for brand new
unlicensed special education teachers and their instructional coaches.
(See the Giddings article, p.32)
The UPDC provides ongoing follow-up support to assist LEAs with
implementing the evidence-based practices introduced through these
initiatives. Substantial LEA staff time and direct financial resources
are required to help sustain these practices. People of courage
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 19
You’ve Come a Long Way Baby!
September—Apples, October—Fall/Halloween, November— moving forward. So how did we get where we are today? “Early inter-
Thanksgiving, December—Christmas...I think you get the idea. This is vention and early childhood education have been shaped by history,
how I remember preschool when I began my career. The well-intentioned legislation and by society’s changing views about young children with
teacher would plan activities that surrounded the selected monthly theme. or without disabilities and other special needs and their families”
As the Speech and Language Therapist, whenever possible I would plan (Sandall, Hemmeter, Smith, & McLean, 2005).
therapy activities that corresponded to the theme of the month. At other
times, I would do my own thing. Certainly as a team we did our best to My predecessors at the Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
address student needs, but we did so without looking at the big picture. along with their counterparts at the Utah State Office of Education
(USOE) have accomplished great things over the course of my career.
Looking back even further, I had a supervisor once tell me that he Working in the public schools in the area of early childhood education,
remembered when “Early Intervention meant serving preschool-aged we have all received benefit from their efforts. More importantly students
children.” This was a notion that really made me laugh. For the duration within the state of Utah have gained skills to be more successful. Recent
of my career, I have known early intervention to mean serving the birth and noteworthy contributions include helping school districts across our
to three population. It was hard for me to imagine a time when we didn’t state recognize and implement developmentally appropriate practices.
intervene sooner than preschool! Looking back is a critical component of
20 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Amy Peters, Program Specialist,
Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) has identified 240 such When a curriculum is being used with fidelity and a student continues
practices which are divided into seven strands. These strands include: to struggle to learn new concepts or achieve IEP goals, some component
1) Assessment. 2) Child-Focused Interventions. 3) Family-Based Practices. of instruction needs to be changed. Charles R. Greenwood, Ph.D., wrote
4) Interdisciplinary Models. 5) Technology Applications. 6) Personnel “Pre-K RTI is about adults learning what each child needs to learn and
Preparation. 7) Policies, Procedures, and Systems Change. In addition, the providing needed experiences in a manner that maximizes success and that
USOE published the current Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines in 2006. These prevents delays from waiting too long to receive the level of support each
guidelines are divided into five domains or general learning areas and child needs to learn” (Coleman, Roth, & West, 2005). A child’s time in
include Approaches to Learning, Social/Emotional, Language/Literacy, preschool is short. It is vital to student success that we are purposeful and
Mathematics and Physical/Health and Safety. effective in educating students.
Based on this foundation, my predecessors were able to help school The basics of RTI include evidence-based screening and assessment,
districts recognize the need to choose and implement a research-based interventions and data-based decisions based on a problem-solving method
curriculum with fidelity. Only by implementing a program with fidelity, used to drive instruction. RTI practices involve using a tiered method of
can it be determined if the selected program is working. Preschool is no delivering instruction. The structure of the model is “(a) enabling the
longer picking a theme for the month as the basis for instruction. majority of children to make expected rates of progress by providing them
Preschool is addressing student needs by using a chosen curriculum a curriculum supported by evidence of effectiveness (Tier 1), (b) universal
to obtain desired student specific outcomes. screening that identifies children not learning as expected and providing
additional, focused, intensive instruction and monitoring their progress
Within the state of Utah, we also have the benefit of having many (Tier 2), and (c) supporting the learning of students who have the greatest
Institutions of Higher Education. These colleges and universities provide challenges learning the subject matter (e.g., those for whom Tier 2
an amazing service to the citizens of Utah. They educate and train profes- instruction has failed, and who need an even more intensive intervention
sionals in a variety of disciplines to work in the field of education. They [Tier 3])” (Coleman et al., 2005).
also conduct research that is critical to helping educators understand and
It is an exciting time in early childhood education. By looking back,
implement tried and true strategies as well new techniques. As educators,
we gain an appreciation for the work of those that have gone before us.
we need to pay attention to new developments and strive to implement the
Now we move forward. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is today we must
lessons learned from research. Beyond that, it is necessary to understand
create the world of the future.” We do this by using research-based
and be able to articulate why we do the things that we do in the classroom.
practices and being open to new ideas. I look forward to 30 years from
Based on our training, we must be able to explain that there is a “method
now when I will be reading The Utah Special Educator with pride
to our madness” for everything we do in the classroom.
marveling at how far we have come.
Preschool is no longer picking a theme for the month as the basis
for instruction. Preschool is addressing student needs by using a
chosen curriculum to obtain desired student specific outcomes.
As early childhood educators, we are in an excellent position to look More information about RTI and preschool is available at updc.org
forward and make what is already going well even better. We do this by under the Early Childhood link. References for this article are available
subscribing to a philosophy of continuous improvement. To move ahead, upon request. n
we will need to become proficient at differentiating instruction. We will
need to explore the use of Response to Intervention (RTI) techniques.
This is a framework that has more commonly been applied to school-age
students. Although more research is needed, there is an expanding body
of research indicating that it is appropriate for the Early Childhood
population as well.
You’ve Come a Long Way Baby! The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 21
The Utah Special Educator January, 1980-2000:
I spent many hours pouring over the archive files at the UPDC to
skim through 20 years of Special Educator publications in search of Cathy Longstroth, Program
articles about students with significant disabilities. It was like pulling
out a box of old photos and memorabilia and seeing the years gone
Specialist, Utah Personnel
by. This was my professional life—the issues, the challenges, the Development Center (UPDC)
changes—all coming back in the yellowing pages of seldom seen
volumes of the Utah Special Educator. I read the article by Barbara
Brunker in Murray District outlining their reasons for starting
inclusive classrooms in the elementary schools. That was the decision
that led to my 19 years in Murray District. After surveying 91 articles
there was one grand conclusion I gleaned from process—some things
change and some things stay the same.
The things that changed include:
• Special education compliance officer/director,
Mae Taylor’s hairstyles
• The photos of the contributors
• The educational emphasis for students with significant
• The focus on autism
The things that remain the same include:
• Bruce Schroeder/past ULRC/UPDC specialist,
now UPDC Executive Director
• Peer tutoring programs
• The transdisciplinary model of providing related service
• The characteristics of effective instruction
• Assistive technology training to districts in computer literacy (October 1982). The training
• Issues involving inclusion included the following:
Things that Changed Become aware of how computers work.
Understand system commands to the point that teachers can:
Twenty to 30 years in special education can take their toll. The
proof is in the contributor’s pictures in the Special Educator. They • Boot DOS
show Steve Kukic, Bill Jenson, Ted Kelly, Jennie Gibson, Gayle • CATALOG, LOAD, LIST, and RUN programs
Baker, Susan Blackham, DiAnn Adams, Mark Riding, Ginny Eggen, • Initialize diskettes
Al Hofmeister, Tim McConnell, Karen Medlin, Connie Mathot- • SAVE, LOCK, UNLOCK, and DELETE programs
Buckner, Craig Boogaard, Christine Timothy, John McDonnell, and • Change program lines
Dan Morgan (and many others) when they were just kids. Another
change has been our labels for students. The earlier editions used the Understand BASIC commands to the point that teachers can:
term “Mentally Retarded” which gave way to “Severely Intellectually • Write programs that print math problems and their answers
Handicapped (SIH). Now we prefer the softer term “Significantly • Write programs that string constants in zones
Cognitively Disabled.” I appreciated the caution Marilyn Baird (Wasatch District)
conveyed in her article in March 1983:
Computers We see the computer as a marvelous tool, and a panacea for our
The computer age was just coming into its own during these many recordkeeping problems. I believe the computer can do much
Special Educator years. A 1994 article was titled “The Internet is of this and many more things of which we haven’t even dreamed.
Coming.” In 1996, the ULRC (Utah Learning Resource Center, the
predecessor of the UPDC, Utah Personnel Development Center) went When I hear “Computerized IEP’s” however, I admit to feelings of
online. Always on the cutting edge of technology, the ULRC offered fear and trembling. And while the tentative computer IEP’s I have
22 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Twenty Years in
the Education of
seen show some very good possibilities, I worry about a headlong Program and P. Brent Peterson, M.D. wrote “Autism; What’s New?”
rush to computerized IEP’s that have, as their main purpose, the Robin’s article stated “autism occurs relatively rarely, with approxi-
goal of saving recordkeeping time...The trouble is that when a mately 4-5 autistic children in every 10,000 births.” Dr. Petersons
machine starts working, many people stop thinking. And I suspect article noted a couple landmark events, the changes in the Diognostic
that no machine can ever replace a group of caring, thinking people and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) that resulted in
when planning a program for handicapped children. “swelling the numbers of autistic children by about one-third” and the
addition of Rett’s Disorder and Asperger’s Disorder in the Peruasive
Educational Emphasis Developmental Disorder Classification. The remaining two articles
came out in the latter part of the decade. Tina Dyches (BYU) wrote
The educational emphasis for students with significant disabilities “Appropriate Assessment for Students with Autism” for the
has shifted since those days. While functional skills are still impor- September 1998 issue and “Strategies for Preventing Disruptive
tant, we’re putting more emphasis on making the general education Behavior Among Students with Autism” for the January 2000 issue.
curriculum accessible to our students. There is a strong push for By way of contrast, our February 2008 Autism Monograph Special
literacy and numeracy for our students. In the 20 years reviewed, Educator had 39 articles on the education of individuals on the
there was only one article (Ogden School District—May 1986) that autism spectrum.
even touched on math or reading. The entire emphasis was on art
experiences, physical education, leisure skills, functional skills
(only one article), and vocational training. The Things That Stay the Same
Autism Check it out. Bruce Schroeder’s 1987 picture looks just the same.
This was the period before the dramatic increase in the prevalence Peer Tutoring
of autism. There are only three articles in this 20 year period dealing
with autism. In the January 1990 issue, Peter Nicholas described the Many past issues spotlighted well-structured peer tutoring pro-
autism interventions at the Children’s Behavior Therapy Unit. The grams. The entire February 1987 and November 1990 issues were on
program focused on four areas of learning: attending, following peer tutoring. The 1987 Special Educator contains the “Utah State
directions, imitation, and visual tracking. In 1994, Robin Gochnour
also reported on the Childern’s Behavior Therapy Unit Autism Continued on page 24
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 23
Peer Tutoring Checklist” and “Nine Steps of Peer Tutor Training” article.
There were also many articles about the successful annual peer tutor confer-
The transdisciplinary model of related service provision was discussed in
articles throughout the years, including November 1987 and May 1993. The
definition of transdisciplinary was adapted from the University of Wisconsin:
I. (Multidisciplinary). Recognizing that other disciplines, also, have
important contributions to make to the habilitation of individuals with
handicaps. Individuals from a variety of disciplines may work with the
student, yet each individual is viewed as providing services that are unrelat-
ed to one another. Team members have sole ownership of their discipline.
II. (Inderdisciplinary). Willing and able to work with other disciplines in
the development of jointly planned programs for individuals and providing
needed disciplinary services and treatment as part of the total habilitation
program. Team members exchange programming information with one
another and offer suggestions, yet intervention is segmented according
III. (Transdisciplinary). Committing yourself to teaching/learning/working
together with other providers of services across traditional disciplinary
boundaries. Disciplines are integrated to form a holistic approach to
serving the individual with handicaps, whereby all team members teach
one another to implement strategies from all disciplines.
We continue to realize how critically important the transdisciplinary
approach is when serving students with significant disabilities. However, 23
years later, this model is not yet a reality in most of our schools.
The characteristics of effective instruction are remarkably constant.
Dan Morgan wrote in the September 1988 issue, “Teachers have more time
to teach and are more effective when they plan and systematically implement
and evaluate strategies designed to teach students new skills and more
appropriate ways of behaving.” Al Hofmeister’s article of September 1988,
“Is Special Education Instruction Effective?” is a timeless piece. We have
reprinted it in this issue, p. 26.
The look of assistive technology for students with significant disabilities
has changed, but its crucial role in enhancing lives and gaining access to
an education has not. The reader can track the growth and development of
the Utah Augmentative Alternative Assistive Communication Technology
Teams through the pages of the Special Educator. Issues that deal with
assistive technology can be found in the March 1981, January 1986,
November 1987, February 1989, September 1994, September 1996,
and March 1997 publications.
We have never reached consensus on the inclusion of students with
autism and significant disabilities in general education classrooms. The
period from 1980 to 1999 was a time of systems change initiatives sponsored
by federal grants and teeming with hot debate. John McDonnell wrote in the
24 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
September 1993 issue, “The inclusion of students with severe disabili- experts, and unions will choose sides. The inevitable outcome of this
ties in regular education settings is one of the most controversial issues will be resentment, mistrust, charge and countercharge. This time and
currently facing the field of special education. Quite frankly, this debate energy should certainly be spent in more productive pursuits.
has been reduced to a power struggle; it is about who will win and who “Recognize that the current laws...support the development and
will lose on some arbitrary professional battlefield.” As a veteran of the maintenance of a full continuum of services for handicapped stu-
inclusion wars, I have strong memories of this period and this contro- dents...Furthermore, to require our regular education colleagues to
versy. There is still an old video floating about in which I participated in accept more students, more training, more responsibility, and to
a panel discussion on the topic. During this time, the ULRC provided increase their classroom flexibility in the present climate is ludicrous.
leadership on inclusive education in the state, but the Special Educator I believe Utah regular education teachers are doing an excellent job,
did not take sides. There are articles reflecting differing points of view. given too many students and too little money. To require more from
them is both ignorant and insensitive.
Tim McConnell, the leader of the inclusion project, wrote in the
April 1991 issue: Mark continued his voice of opposition in a November 1993 article
For generations, society has believed that segregation of an individual entitled “Bandwagons Also Go To Funerals,” in which he stated:
with a disability was best for society and for the individual. We as At times I’ve pressed the school for all advocates to define ‘all.’
educators have the opportunity to approach future generations in one Does all include violent students with guns, medically fragile students,
of two ways: Open the doors for people with disabilities and open the or students who prefer a separate educational program? Does “all”
eyes of all other students to their talents and abilities, or keep the really mean “all”–should all really mean all– or is this just a mislead-
doors closed or at best partially open which will perpetuate the myth ing slogan which appeals to advocates and alarms those with common
that a separate education is equal. sense on this issue...Kaufman reminds us that “Universal remedies
John McDonnell (University of Utah) wrote in the September are delusions.”
Now that the hottest waves of controversy have receded on this topic,
As an advocate, I state unequivocally that I believe that individuals we can see the wisdom in some of conciliatory statements.
with severe disabilities have the right to participate as full members of
our schools and communities, and that there is no justification for them Janet Freston wrote in the March 1985 issue:
ever being excluded. I also firmly believe that it is in the best interest of
all community members to develop and implement inclusive educa- The issue of educating the Severely Multiple Handicapped population
tional and social service programs. is no longer an issue. It has been well documented that SMH students
need to be educated and have that right. For some, there is still the
As a researcher, I believe that the data support the development of issue of where they should be educated. However, if it is true that the
these programs and that, as a field, we have equally documented the purpose of education is to assist individuals to 1) be independent;
social and educational benefits for students. We have also shown that 2) be productive; and 3) be able to participate within the community,
these programs can be successfully implemented in real schools and then “where” they should be educated is no longer an issue either.
John McDonnell also stated in the September 1993 issue:
The October 1988 issue contained a document titled: “The
Neighborhood School For All: A Challenge to Action,” which stated: Like most individuals who work in the field of special education, I am
an optimist. I believe that change will get better for people with
The success of integrations highly dependent upon the commitment, disabilities. I also believe that the divisiveness that this debate has
preparation, and skill level of administrators and teachers....The move caused among friends and colleagues will pass. Once this occurs,
is not toward the mere physical transfer of these students to regular we will get down to the business of turning what we know is possible
education environments, but to the use of instructional strategies that for people with disabilities into a reality.
facilitate the appropriate implementation of both academic and social
integration opportunities in the educational setting. The rhetoric has died down, the attention of the educational commu-
The “Challenge to Action” was signed by many leaders in the field of nity has turned to other issues, but the fire hasn’t died. U.S. Secretary
Special Education in Utah. They were: of Education Arne Duncan’s August 3rd, 2010 address at the Office
of Special Education Leadership Mega Conference also dealt with
Sue Behle, Valerie Kelson, Barbara Brunker, John Killoran, inclusion. He said, “I’m sure you can tell me hundreds of stories of
Tom Burchette, Stevan Kukic, Donna Carr, Carol Massanari, how inclusion enriched the lives of everyone in a school. These are
Susan Fister, Dan Morgan, Cy Freston, Ken Reavis, Les Haley, stories we need to tell, over and over again.” Utah’s stories are still
Sherilin Rowle, Mike Hardman, Mae Taylor, Ken Hennefer, there. You can find them in the pages of The Utah Special Educator.
Karl White, Alan Hofmeister, Mary Ann Williams
If you would like the list of 91 archived Special Educator articles
A differing point of view was offered in the January 1989 article,
dealing with students with significant cognitive disabilities contact
“Schools for All: An Accident Waiting to Happen,” by Mark Riding.
Cathy Longstroth at email@example.com. n
Recognize that the “Call for Action” means a fight. Students, parents,
teachers, and administrators will draw battle lines. Advocacy groups,
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 25
Is Special Education
(Reprinted from the September 1988 Utah Special Educator)
Alan M. Hofmeister, Utah State University
The approaches to the design of special education instruction can be broadly classified into two dominant approaches.
One approach stresses the internal characteristics of the student, and the other stresses curriculum skills deficits.
Those instructional treatments that require the diagnosis of some internal dysfunction in neural, cognitive, or perceptual
processing of information have proven to be both highly attractive and highly ineffective. The seductive properties of this
approach are obvious. It is far less labor intensive to correct some internal information processing dysfunction and create a
“normal” capacity to learn than to go through the painstaking process of addressing individual skill deficits in reading and
math. Even a superficial review of the history of education during the past 300 years will clearly reveal that the attractive-
ness of mental ability or mental process treatments have been with us for a long time and will very likely be with us in the
future. The names of the terms change, but the underlying concept remains the same. The last peak period of the mental
process training movement was the 1960s, with the emphasis on such activities as “psycholinguistic,” “perceptual motor,”
and “sensory modality” training. After observing the malpractice associated with the widespread implementation of these
unvalidated treatments, Lester Mann (1971) made the following observation on what he called “psychometric phrenology:”
26 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
The quest for basic processes, i.e., abilities that underlie problems in 3. Academic feedback. The most effective teachers ask three times as
learning,...represents an effluvium of the American dream...that some- many questions as their less effective peers. The effective teachers create
where in the grab-bag of technology there is the philosopher’s stone, opportunities for feedback and use such feedback to modify instructional
which, once found and grasped, will enable us to correct the uncor- presentations.
rectable and teach the untrainable...It is time to settle down to system-
atic, long term efforts to improve the education of the handicapped and 4. Academic monitoring. The intense monitoring of student behavior
learning disabled child on the basis of appropriately determined goals. in the targeted curriculum areas is consistently associated with more
We will do this most effectively if we concern ourselves with products effective teachers. Effective teachers use monitoring information to
(achievements), rather than processes (abilities). (p. 13) constantly modify instruction to conform to student needs, whereas less
effective teachers present instruction on a random or rigid, prescheduled
During the early 1970s, while many special educators were retreating basis and fail to adjust for student performance.
in disillusionment from their destructive love affair with mental processes,
regular educators began a systematic search for the characteristics of 5. Classroom management. The prime prerequisite for effective
effective teachers. The goal of this search was a listing of instructional classroom management is instructional strength. The most effective
behaviors that allowed one to discriminate between the more effective teachers are preventive rather than remedial in their approach to manage-
and the less effective instructors. In contrast to previous research that had ment. They avoid instructional vacuums and rely heavily on high levels
provided very little practical direction to teachers, this new research effort, of successful student engagement on appropriate tasks. This instructional
though long and massive in scope, was surprisingly productive. strength, coupled with the use of rules to guide student interaction with
peers and teachers, allows the teacher to minimize the need for punish-
Gone also should be the notions that different ages, ethnic derivations, or content to be learned require a
completely different set of professional skills, or that effective teachers must be born and can’t be made.
While the form may be different, the substance of excellence in teaching remains the same.
We now have a listing of the characteristics of effective teachers.
This listing has been shown to generalize across most structured content ment and reprimands and ensures that the teacher can make timely
teaching and across the elementary and high school instruction. While and appropriate interventions to deal with management problems
this listing of the characteristics of effective instruction does not define when they arise.
the total act of teaching, the listing does identify substantive common
characteristics of our more effective teachers. Of interest to special educa- Effective Special Education Instruction
tors is the finding that the characteristics of effective regular classroom In response to the question: Is special education instruction effective,
teachers are also observed in the more effective special education teachers the answer must be “Yes, it can be if we build instruction on the charac-
of learning disabled, mentally retarded, and emotionally disturbed teristics of effective teachers.” The question is misleading because it
students (Larrivee, 1982; Algozzine, Algozzine, Morsirik, & Dykes, suggests that effective special education instruction is different from
1984; Bickel & Bickel, 1986). effective regular instruction. Such does not appear to be the case,
based on available research findings.
The Characteristics of Effective Teachers
The following is a very incomplete listing that has been provided to Those who would try to create a special education mystique through
exemplify rather than detail. the use of specialist jargon, exotic student classifications, and an emphasis
on ill-defined, internal, information processing dysfunctions may be well
1. Time-related characteristics. The most effective teachers intended, and at best, misguided. It is interesting to note that the following
actively direct classroom instruction to ensure that students are success- concluding observation on the importance and generalizability of the
fully engaged in the appropriate instructional tasks for as much time as effective teaching research literature was made by a regular educator
possible. These teachers are very concerned about the pace at which a (Hunter, 1984).
lesson is conducted and the pace at which the student moves through the
curriculum. Such teachers consider brisk pacing a goal, and slow pacing Current findings are in direct contrast to the former fatalistic stance
an indicator of underlying instructional problems. that regarded I.Q. and socioeconomic status as unalterable determinants
of academic achievement. Gone also should be the notions that different
2. Teaching functions. Effective instructional presentations are ages, ethnic derivations, or content to be learned require a completely
characterized by: different set of professional skills, or that effective teachers must be born
a. A concern for review and prerequisite checks at the start of a lesson. and can’t be made. While the form may be different, the substance of
b. The presentation of new content in small steps, with student practice excellence in teaching remains the same. Discoveries that dispelled
after each step. these previously held educational myths are not entirely new, but recent
c. Extensive guided practice in the initial stages of learning new content. translation from theory into teacher practice has effected the metamor-
d. Explicit preparation for and constant monitoring during the phosis from a reactive to a proactive profession of education (p. 169).
independent practice that follows guided practice.
References available upon request from the Utah Personnel Development Center n
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 27
Inclusion and Peer Buddies: M
Deanna Taylor, Educational Support
Services and Service Learning
Coordinator, City Academy
“My presence in the class has not only helped with the lack of one-
on-one attention due to a full class, but has also helped alleviate
the general pressure and frustrations, almost subconsciously helping
the student to realize that he is capable of succeeding.”
–Madison, grade 12, City Academy Peer Buddy
count. He has a fantastic sense of humor, and he’s just a generally
dynamic and interesting individual. He has helped reinforce my
understanding of the fact that given the opportunity, any two people
have the potential to be good friends. Working with him has taught me a
great deal of patience and understanding, and has helped me strike a
balance between empathy, and pushing him to do his best, which I think
are skills that will help me a great deal throughout my life.
The research supports the benefits to the peer buddies: “Parents of peer
buddies cite increased self-esteem, citizenship skills, and interest in others
among the benefits experienced by their children” (Carter & Hughes,
Students with disabilities are increasingly being afforded opportunities
to take courses that, until recent changes in legislation (IDEA 2004 and As Caleb’s case manager, I knew that he could handle the course
NCLB), were more the exception than the norm. Students were often material for chemistry, but without the proper support he would likely
isolated from their non-disabled peers, which not only secluded them from not make it through this rigorous course. I thought of Madison who had
the core curriculum, but also from the social benefits of belonging and not only successfully completed chemistry but was also known for being
being included in all aspects of school. Inclusion is now becoming more outgoing and friendly to everyone. I knew she was the perfect match, so
the exception. It presents challenges for educators, particularly at the high I told her about the project and she accepted without hesitation. Caleb
school level, to differentiate instruction while providing the support needed responded very well to her assistance and was able to progress through the
to allow students with disabilities access to the general curriculum. Carolyn course. The subject teacher was elated with the peer assistance provided to
Hughes and Erik W. Carter address these challenges in their book Peer Caleb, which aided in the flow of class for all the students. I attribute
Buddy Programs for Successful Secondary School Inclusion. “Peer Buddy Caleb’s success in large part to Madison’s work with him. After experienc-
programs represent an effective strategy for circumventing many of these ing this level of success, I proceeded to secure a few more peer buddies
challenges.” They cite research that supports the benefits of peer buddies to fill the voids in the services of Caleb and other students.
in the inclusive setting:
Parents whose children have peer buddies in their general education Anna , 11th grade, worked with Caleb on math once per week in his
classes report that their children experience more enthusiasm for study support class.
school, feel more a part of the community inside and outside of school,
and improve their academic performance and sense of self-esteem I’ve had a really good experience. Caleb is super funny and is very
(Garrick, Duhaney, & Salend, 2000). smart and doesn’t actually need any help doing math because he can
understand it no problem. The only thing is to take it step by step so
that he doesn’t get overwhelmed.
The Missing Link: Thinking Outside the Box
Brianna, 12th grade, and Ciara, 11th grade, both worked with 9th grader
After reading about and observing peer tutoring programs in special
Rhyan in American Sign Language (ASL) Class. Rhyan’s team determined
education resource rooms, I knew I wanted a program like this in our
that ASL might be a useful skill for her due to the nature of her disability.
school, which uses an inclusion model. While the peer tutoring models
Both Brianna and Ciara were veteran ASL students and enthusiastically
I studied provided a valuable service, there was still something missing.
accepted the role of Peer Buddy to Rhyan.
The “missing link” was the lack of peer assistance in core subject areas, in
the general education classroom for students who might not otherwise be I wanted a chance to work with someone, and see their progress, and to
able to succeed in such a setting. After considerable thought, conducting really see if I could make a difference,” says Ciara who served as
my own search for the research on Peer Buddy Programs in the inclusion Rhyan’s Peer Buddy the first semester of the course. “I have learned to
setting, and brainstorming with colleagues, my vision of the Peer Buddy be more nurturing, to step out for others, and to serve people with a
Program was realized. The pilot was carried out in the 2009-2010 school great attitude and heart.
year. The results were overwhelmingly successful...and not just for the
students being served. “I work with Rhyan at her own pace, covering each sign until I feel she
has grasped it thoroughly, instead of trying to work with the class as a
Madison served as a Peer Buddy for Caleb, a 10th grader whose next whole and moving on before she is ready,” said Brianna, who was a
logical course progression in science was to take chemistry. Madison found Peer Buddy to Rhyan for the second semester of ASL. “I focus more on
her experience to be invaluable. her learning what she can, and moving on when she’s ready, regardless
of the amount of content, instead of trying to rush her through learning
Not only have I enjoyed being a part of the chemistry class again, but a set list of content in a set time period.”
finding a friend in Caleb has been beneficial in more ways than I can
28 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Making the Exception the Norm
A Win-win Situation
Students who accept the invitation to be a Peer Buddy are eligible to use the experience
to satisfy their service learning requirement for graduation from City Academy. It is a
win-win situation. Peer Buddies complete their service and the research component that
accompanies the service, while students who receive the services benefit from peer
assistance in the general education setting. Peer Buddies receive training in confidentiality
issues and in the disability of the student with whom they are working. The benefits of the
experience of service and learning through the Peer Buddy Program are exponential.
Benefits are expected to be experienced by both recipients of the service project and
students who are providing the service. For example, positive impact from participating
in service-learning activities has been found for students in the areas of academic
learning, career exploration, attitudes toward schooling, civic responsibility,
and personal/social development (Billig, 2000, as cited by Hughes and Carter, 2008).
What Goes Around Comes Around
The impact of peer assistance extends well beyond the classroom. Prior to the imple-
mentation of a formal Peer Buddy Program at City Academy students were often the
recipients of peer assistance in their classes. Giovanni, a 12th grader with a disability,
expresses his appreciation for the way the school community comes together to help each
other: “The community as a whole at City Academy has helped me grow. Ever since 7th
grade there were my peers, especially the older ones, who helped me fit in to the school.”
Gio grew so much during his experience at City Academy that he decided to become
a mentor himself in 2008, through Big Brothers Big Sisters, a service learning partner of
City Academy. Giovanni was recognized for his dedication and service with BBBS at City
Academy’s annual Service Learning Awards Program last April. Gio served as a big brother
to Tyray who looked forward to spending time with Gio every week and was recognized as
an instrumental part of Tyray’s development as a child and preparation for Junior High.
BBBS honored Gio for the “shining example of what mentoring is and how one person
can be a positive influence in helping a child succeed in school and beyond.”
The pilot for the Peer Buddy Program at City Academy this year provided the missing
link that is helping to make the exception the norm for students with disabilities allowing
them to be part of the regular education classroom setting. Combining the Peer Buddy
Program with the Service Learning Program creates a win-win situation all around. The
commitment to keep all academic and social opportunities open for all students, disabled
and non-disabled, remains the vision of City Academy’s programs. Students are lining up
to be peer buddies as plans are in place to improve the program to provide optimum
service for all community members. The result ultimately will be well educated,
informed, confident graduates and civically engaged members of the larger community.
Deanna Taylor is the Educational Support Services and Service Learning Coordinator
at City Academy, a public charter school, serving students in grades 8-12 since 2000. More
information about special education and service learning at City Academy may be found at
Deanna’s website: http://my.uen.org/48778. Deanna may be contacted by emailing her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at 801-596-8489 n
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 29
25 Years and
30 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Peggy Childs, Program Specialist, Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
The 2010-11 school year marks the 25th year of the Utah Mentor Teacher Academy (UMTA).
UMTA is the longest running, state sponsored mentor program in the United States.
Congratulations! For 25 years, UMTA has fed the 14. Facilitation skills are enhanced as educators assume
educators’ passion for quality professional development that new responsibilities in Guilds.
enhances educational practice. The reasons for its success
are many. They include: 15. The Cracker Barrel Session is a place where educators
demonstrate what they have successfully put into practice.
1. A two-year journey that enables educators to connect,
collaborate and contribute. 16. Countless good ideas are taken back and shared in
2. Twelve hundred plus Utah educators acknowledge
proudly, “I’m an UMTA graduate.” 17. Strategies are taught to run effective meetings.
3. A large number of special education directors, 18. Enhanced interpersonal skills help develop and
coordinators and specialists are UMTA graduates. maintain cooperative relationships.
4. Another 40 Utah educators will join UMTA’s Track 19. Hard conversations are a cinch after UMTA training.
25 this year.
20. Got a problem? No problem when you know the
5. Dozens of dedicated UPDC staff members have
helped along the way.
6. Educators get the opportunity to develop professionally 21. Guild time expands the educators’ knowledge of
through a process of enhancing their own skills and presented topics.
22. UMTA is Utah’s largest Professional Learning
7. UMTA is the best place for educators to network with Community.
other educators from around the State.
23. New friendships are forged.
8. Action Plan goals guide the educators’ personal growth.
24. Students benefit as educators practice their newly
9. Knowledge of research-based educational practices is acquired skills.
25. The UMTA Conference is a place where past mentors
10. Mentoring skills are taught that nurture other can recharge their educational batteries.
educators as they improve personally and professionally.
26. Nothing says “professional” like a graduation
11. Coaching skills go deeper to improve specific skills certificate from Utah Mentor Teacher Academy
and performance. hanging on your wall.
12. Effective instructional strategies are taught that strive
Applications for Utah Mentor Teacher Academy are
for improved student outcomes.
accepted in May through the district special education
13. Some of the best national presenters share their directors. Think about joining! n
expertise at UMTA.
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 31
Kit Giddings, Program Specialist, Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
Running Start is an ongoing comprehensive induction program for new, classroom for a minimum of one half-day prior to the start of school.
unlicensed special education teachers. It has been designed to meet two Together, the coach and teacher refer to a predetermined checklist to make
major induction goals for new special education teachers. Nationwide and in sure the following items are in place: classroom set up including furniture
Utah approximately 50% of all new special education teachers stop teaching and materials, classroom rules, expectations, procedures, scheduling,
by the end of three years. So the first goal of Running Start is to increase curriculum, routines, and a progress monitoring system.
new special education teacher retention rates to greater than 70% after three
years of teaching experience. Our second goal for new special education The coach makes at least two classroom observations during the first
teachers is that the performance of students with disabilities taught by new four weeks of school and is expected to contact the teacher either in person,
special education teachers will improve. through e-mail, or via telephone. The coach also assists the teacher with
lesson planning and helps determine an action plan to focus goals toward
As part of Running Start, new teachers receive regular classroom visits the next observation. Monthly observations via flip video cameras or class-
from their assigned instructional coach. During these classroom visits, the room visits start in October and continue throughout the school year. It is
coach observes the teacher while he or she is teaching. Data is collected through these visits and communications that the coach provides needed
on praise rates, response opportunities, and error corrections made within a support to the new teacher.
designated time frame. Together, the teacher and coach collaborate on what
classroom strategies are working well, any challenges and concerns Second, each instructional coach is observed either by the district induc-
the teacher or coach may have, suggested activities the teacher might tion coordinator or a selected representative. Feedback is provided to help
implement, and what the coach can do to support the teacher in this process. each instructional coach improve the quality of his or her coaching support.
This interaction between teacher and coach is an instructive, collaborative, It is during these feedback sessions that the coach strengthens his or her
and facilitative process requiring supportive and honest feedback from both vital coaching behaviors.
the teacher and coach.
Third, each coach must complete periodic online reflections, evaluations,
The instructional coaches meet for a coaches training prior to Running and surveys as part of the data-collection process. Support for each instruc-
Start where they learn how to support new teachers through interactions, tional coach is evaluated and modified through this process to ensure best
observations, and collaboration. Instructional coaches learn to identify and practices are being implemented. Pre and post conferences include guiding
apply vital coaching behaviors, components of the coaching cycle, the seven questions that promote self-reflection. Coaches also identify strategies for
partnership principles, and other coaching tools. Coaches are also taught improving teaching efficacy through action plans.
how to complete observational data forms so new teachers can receive
During the intensive, one week summer Running Start session, instruc-
appropriate and valid feedback while administering effective praise,
tion consists of several basic but important topics: lesson planning, delivery
providing student response opportunities, and giving error correction to
of instruction, data collection, curriculum-based assessment, and classroom
behavior management strategies. This affords teachers and coaches the
Coaches must fulfill three areas of responsibility during the school opportunity to collaborate on their school’s strengths and needs, planning
year. First, each instructional coach is expected to visit the new teacher’s as a team from the onset of their professional relationship. By the time a
32 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Running Start: Helping Brand
Spankin’ New, Teachers Teach
with Confidence and Skill
coach visits his or her teacher’s classroom prior to school starting, there is can pause the session, collaborate with others on different ways to
a shared partnership of respect and trust already growing between team address the problem, and go back and fix it. I think this is a valuable
members. resource and I hope that it will be a part of the Running Start training
for many years to come.
Teachers and coaches attend Running Start together so they can meet
and begin building a working relationship. Also, by participating as a team, It is the goal of Running Start to help new teachers and their coaches
both coach and teacher learn the same material so there is no ambiguity identify and implement vital teaching and coaching behaviors in each
over what the teacher is expected to teach and what the coach will be classroom. When special educators understand how to effectively engage
observing. Personal opinions and routines are changed if they do not match in vital teaching behaviors, they are able to increase their effectiveness in
the vital coaching and teaching behaviors presented and practiced. Running teaching children with disabilities. They also sustain higher levels of job
Start also offers the opportunity for these teachers to meet and interact with satisfaction. It is heartbreaking to see new teachers leave the profession
other new, unlicensed teachers creating a support network of colleagues because they did not receive the ongoing support necessary to help them
that potentially will last throughout their careers. survive the first few years of teaching. Running Start helps prevent this
from happening. n
Feedback from Running Start participants helps the Running Start
team make adjustments, as necessary. Sarah Sumsion, an unlicensed
special education teacher from Liberty Academy said this about her The UPDC has meticulously tracked new Utah special education teacher
experience during the August 2010 Running Start: retention for a number of years supported by State Personnel Development
Grant evaluation efforts. This process resulted in the following profile of
I had the opportunity to be a part of the Running Start training for new
Utah’s 2009-2010 brand new special education teachers:
special education teachers this last week. I am entering my second year
as a special education teacher. I started my first year of teaching having • There were a total of 227 new special education teachers.
only been a paraeducator for half of a school year. I had no idea how to • 46% of these new teachers were unlicensed; down from 59% the
run a classroom but I worked hard and did what I needed to get the job previous year.
done. At times, I felt that if I could just get to the end of the year, the next • 50% of all new preschool teachers (N=16) were unlicensed; 46% of all
year would be better. Going into this training, I didn’t really know what new teachers in the area of Mild/Moderate disabilities were unlicensed;
to expect. I didn’t know what type of information I would be given but I and, 40% of all new teachers in Severe disabilities were unlicensed.
figured that whatever I got would be good. Now, looking back on what • There were 266 new teachers in the 2008-2009 cohort. Ten percent of
was covered in this training, I can’t believe I made it through a year these new teachers did not return to teach for the 2009-2010 school
without it. It was very intense having all that information given in one year. It should be noted that only 5% of the Running Start teachers did
week but it gave me a clearer idea of what I needed to do for this school not return.
year. The presenters were well prepared and gave a lot of really good
insight and examples. My two favorite parts of this training were the data We also tracked retention of new special education teachers from the
collection day and the Teach Me lab. My biggest problem my first year 2007-2008 school year (i.e., the first project year of this SPDG). There
was collecting data. I didn’t really know how to do it or understand the are no Running Start teachers in this cohort since the first cycle of RS
importance of it. This training gave me some really good insight and was not implemented until the summer of 2008.
ideas. I will definitely be implementing more data collection into my
classroom this year. My other favorite part of the training was having the • There were 240 brand new special education teachers employed in
experience at the Teach Me lab. I didn’t know that anything like this Utah school districts for the 2007-2008 school year.
existed, but now that I do, I believe that it should be implemented into • Fifty-one percent of these teachers were unlicensed.
every teacher’s training and not just for special education teachers. I • 88% of the total number of new teachers (N=211) were teaching in
believe that regular education teachers could benefit from something like Utah school districts at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.
this as well. It gives teachers a great opportunity to analyze their teach- • 82% returned for the 2009-2010 school year.
ing abilities. It also gives them an opportunity to work on the parts of • There were small differences in retention rates of new licensed
their teaching that need improvement without having to be in front of a special education teachers (85%) and unlicensed special education
live class. If something goes wrong while they are teaching a lesson, they teachers (91%).
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 33
It’s So Old, It’s Precision teaching. During the early 1980’s many articles about
Jeri Rigby, Program Specialist, curriculum-based measurement (CBM) appear in the professional
Utah Personnel Development literature, reflecting a number of conceptual and practical similarities
to precision teaching. (Ogden Lindsey, student of B.F. Skinner at
Center (UPDC) Harvard, invented the term “precision teaching,” and later provided
To take a trip back in time, many of us may visit a museum or rifle the framework used in our current work with curriculum-based
through the treasures at an antique store. Perhaps we watch an old measurement—CBM).
movie or discover a former friend on Facebook, and reminisce about 5) Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers, in 1980, suggest that coach-
favorite activities shared in an earlier time. I can do all this—but my ing, following initial training, will result in much greater transfer than
favorite version of “time travel” is to simply visit my childhood home training alone. Their work is supported by further research conducted
in southeast Idaho. Walk into any room in the home, and you’re by Robert Bush in 1984.
immediately transported into an earlier time...
But wait a minute...I knew Madeline Hunter’s work was decades
The year is 1980. I’m in high school in a small Idaho farming old—she is often thought of as “the mother” of direct teaching, and
community, with the closest town five miles away. I’m keenly aware I understood that there were years of research on characteristics of
of who we’re playing at the high school basketball game on Friday (Go effective schools. I even knew that in order to have a change of attitude
Cougars!), but I am completely oblivious to most of the outside world. you often have to go through the process of changing your behavior
I may be aware that the U.S. hockey team stuns the world by winning first (my husband fondly refers to it as, “fake it ‘til you make it”). In
the gold medal during the 1980 Winter Olympics, or that John Lennon addition, I received training early in my career on Precision Teaching,
is shot outside his New York apartment. Perhaps I’m tuning the radio and I realize that Precision Teaching and CBM both represent a set of
to listen to Chicago, Queen or ABBA and anticipating a great game procedures for deciding if, when, and how an instructional program
between L.A.’s Magic Johnson and Boston’s Larry Bird. I’m not might be improved to facilitate pupil learning, based on mastery of
concerned that my clothing will one day be vintage or that my music timed measures. But isn’t instructional coaching a new idea?
may be retro. Apparently not. Like so many educational practices—it’s so old,
it’s new again!
I’m also not aware that practices in education are emerging that
will impact students and teachers for decades to come, and will clearly Joyce and Showers are credited with the initial work behind what
shape the future of my life’s work. Here are just a few examples: we now know as instructional coaching, outlining five components of
a model. These five components include: 1) presentation of theory,
1) In the early 1980’s Dr. Madeline Hunter’s theory of “mastery” 2) demonstration or modeling, 3) practice, 4) corrective feedback
teaching describes eight sequential steps for every teacher to follow (structured and open-ended feedback about performance), and 5)
in any given lesson. This is clearly the beginning of the “I do it,” coaching—onsite and in context. Other researchers, including Robert
“We do it,” “You do it” mantra. Bush, Steve Barkley, Joellen Killion, Rob Horner and Jim Knight (to
2) In 1982, Ron Edmonds identifies Correlates of Effective Schools name just a few) have furthered the work in coaching. Regardless of
after searching for successful schools dominated by poor and minority which body of research you may review on coaching—the findings
students. His findings suggest that strong instructional leadership, a are primarily the same . . . there is increased transfer of skills to the
clear and focused mission, a climate of high expectations, frequent classroom setting, and thereby greater impact on students when
monitoring of student progress, and the opportunity to learn and coaching support is provided following initial training.
student time on task are critical elements for student success. Given that an entire monograph edition of The Utah Special
3) Thomas Guskey, in 1986, describes the process of teacher Educator was dedicated to coaching in March 2010, I’d suggest that
change, particularly through staff development programs. The readers refer to this journal for additional insights on coaching.
process is, first: professional development is provided, second: there (www.updc.org/assets/files/utahspecialeducation/Pdfs/mar2010.Pdf)
is a change in classroom practice, third: a change occurs in student However, I do want to emphasize one critical aspect within the
learning, and fourth: a change in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs. His context of the mentoring relationship. Just providing technical support
model emphasizes that significant change in teacher attitudes and (coaching) is NOT enough to ensure that employees actually imple-
beliefs occurs primarily after the teacher gains evidence of ment in practice what they have learned in trainings. Joyce and
improvement in student learning. Showers acknowledge that NO ONE will take the risks of growing in
front of another person, or their advice and coaching unless they first
4) In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Ray Beck reports findings
have a relationship of mutual trust with that person. We must develop
of the Great Falls, Montana’s Sacajawea Project involving The
relationships within which effective coaching can lead to risk-taking
34 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
It has been said that, “for any significant change to occur, there has to be a significant relationship.”
and growth. Only when coaching and mentoring are provided is it because her students are more engaged in their own learning and
reasonable to expect that staff members be able to adopt strategies her pacing has supported better management. She has been very
learned in training, solve the problems associated with adopting new reflective of her own growth and realizes the same thing I have come
strategies, and implement new strategies into existing settings. to realize—when a teacher (classroom or coach) is reflective of their
teaching, the changes and the joys of teaching go deeper.
Whether that training is in a classroom and face-to-face, or
e-learning on the web, these coaching and relationship principles are Clearly, the old tools that were emerging 30 years ago have
at work and the results will be the same. Except for those cases when implications for my future (and yours) in educational settings. Too
increasing awareness is the goal (when little or no implementation is often we forget to look back before we go forward. Perhaps you
expected), professional development offerings should be designed to learned these powerful education practices that are so old, are new
include the coaching support people deserve to assist them with again. Focus on explicit, direct teaching, have high expectations,
implementation. provide lots of opportunities for student learning by increasing time
on task, and monitor student progress. Change your behavior first
It has been said that, “for any significant change to occur, there
(your attitude will follow as you see your students improve) and use
has to be a significant relationship.” I firmly believe this to be true
formative assessment to make instructional modifications. Lastly,
and to illustrate the power of a relationship in the context of coaching,
provide coaching support through building a meaningful relationship
I want to share the following excerpt from Brenda Robinson, a coach
with your colleagues.
in Millard School District who was working with a new high school
English teacher. She writes,
In my 20 plus years in education, I’ve come to realize that we must
embrace the future and push forward with great passion; however, this
My reflections are that coaching is powerful for all teachers who are
should not be at the expense of hanging on to what works for students.
willing to become better and improve their teaching. Coaching was
So pull out the vintage tools of past educational practices, refine your
not only motivating to this new teacher, but it was really motivating
skills in using them, and expect great things in your classroom. I’d also
for me. What a joy to be able to support and reflect with her on her
suggest you download some classic Queen on your iPod. “We are the
teaching, to listen to what she felt she needed to work on, and
Champions” is a great theme song for educators!
reflectively add to her knowledge and skills base when she was not
sure what to do next. The GREAT thing about this coaching experi-
For more information regarding Utah Coaching Network (UCN)
ence with her was the progress she made from the first time until the
offerings, please visit: www.updc.org/coaching/ n
present. She is doing much better in her classroom management
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 35
Rigorous New Academic Standards:
The Role for Special Educators
Change is coming for both general and special educators. In August, help improve access to mathematics and English language arts (ELA)
the State Board of Education adopted the academic standards developed standards for all students, including those with disabilities. Specifically,
by The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National they argue that for students with disabilities to participate with success
Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) that were in the general curriculum they may be provided additional supports and
revealed in final form earlier in the summer. The Common Core stan- services, such as: Instructional supports for learning―based on the
dards for English language arts and mathematics outline the knowledge principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)―which foster student
and skills that high school graduates need to succeed in college and engagement by presenting information in multiple ways and allowing
careers. In a word, the change is about “rigor,” according to Reed for diverse avenues of action and expression.
Spencer at the Utah State Office of Education. Utah joins the majority
of states in embracing the new standards. The Common Core
The new Common Core is extensive and comprehensive. The stan-
Raising the Bar dards include those for English Language Arts; Literacy in History/Social
In general, everybody will have to get better at what they do in their Science, and Technical Subjects; and Mathematics. To get a sense of how
classrooms. “These common standards provide an historic opportunity the Common Core and the current Utah Core differ consider those for
to improve access to rigorous academic content standards for students writing proficiencies. In the Utah Core, the early focus is learning the
with disabilities,” the CCSO and NGA Center state in their document writing process; that is developing the ability to prepare, to compose
regarding the common standards’ impact on those students eligible under and then to revise and edit writing. Students are expected to be able
the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The organizations also contend to develop their understanding of the writing process as they proceed
that the continued development of understanding about research-based through their educations. In addition, the standards promote what are
instructional practices and a focus on their effective implementation will called the traits of writing, including ideas, organization, voice,
36 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Kristin L. Nelson, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Weber State University
conventions, sentence fluency and word choice. In first grade, students planatory texts, and narratives in all the grades. Students are to be able to
begin to write personal writings such as fictional stories. In third grade, write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning,
students begin to produce both informational and persuasive writing. In and relevant evidence by high school graduation. As early as first grade,
fifth grade, students are tested for the first time on the state level on their students are to begin to learn how to develop opinion pieces that include
ability to write persuasively. The focus on persuasive writing continues the naming of a specific topic. In third grade, students will support their
through ninth grade; by the 12th grade, students are expected to be able opinions, reasons and a supporting organizational structure. In high
to develop and refine their thinking through writing by evaluating and school, the writing of opinions becomes the writing of arguments in
critiquing informational and literary texts. which students use sophisticated evaluative skills. The rationale for
emphasizing these skills is that they are considered vital to success in
By contrast, the Common Core focuses clearly and specifically college and the challenges of the contemporary workplace.
on students mastering the ability to write arguments, informational/ex-
Grade UTAH CORE: WRITING COMMON CORE: WRITING
First Prepare to write by generating ideas; compose an organized Write opinion pieces in which they introduce topics or name the book;
draft; revise for details and word use; edit for conventions. write informative/explanatory texts in which they name the topic,
Produce personal writing such as journals; traditional and supply facts and provide some closure; write narratives in which
imaginative stories; functional texts such as lists. they recount some sequence, details and sense of order of events.
Third Prepare to write by generating ideas and narrowing a topic. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting with reasons.
Use a variety of graphic organizers. Compose a written draft Introduce topics and create organizational structure. Write informa-
with beginning, middle and end. Use voice to fit the purpose tive/explanatory texts to examine a topic. Develop topic and provide
and audience. Revise by elaborating and clarifying. Edit closure. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experience or
written draft for conventions. Produce personal writing, events. Establish situation, use dialogue, provide a conclusion.
traditional and imaginative stories, informational text,
persuasive and functional texts.
Ninth Compare multiple ideas and perspectives to extend thinking Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive
through writing. topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient
evidence. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from
Compare/contrast significant or essential ideas, facts, or alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establish-
events. Write to persuade others, including a thesis and es clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and
refutation. Revise and edit to strengthen ideas, organization, evidence. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from
voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions. and supports the argument presented. Write informative/explanatory
texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and informa-
tion clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organiza-
tion, and analysis of content. Write narratives to develop real or
imagined experiences or events.
Twelfth Evaluate ideas and information to refine thinking through Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive
writing. Evaluate the merit of varied ideas and opposing opin- topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient
ions. Evaluate ideas and examine causes and effects. Evaluate evidence. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and
connections between texts, between texts and self, and convey complex ideas, clearly and accurately through the effective
between texts and different world connections. Write selection, organization, and analysis of content.
to critique literary text and to evaluate informational text.
Analyze information and systematically organize to support Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support
central ideas, concepts, and themes. Convey a particular analysis, reflection, and research. Write narratives to develop real
tone and voice through deliberate word choice. or imagined experiences or events.
The Roll Out clearer what type of professional development the state will need to
produce to promote the standards. The best projection is that there will
The roll out of the standards will take place over the next few years, be a full pilot of the common standards during the 2014-2015 academic
starting with a presentation of a transition plan in the spring by the state’s year, Spencer said. At this point, the most important task for educators
superintendent, Larry Shumway, to the State Board of Education. The is to read the standards and to begin to understand them, he added.
plan will be developed in conjunction with a task force organized to To do so, visit the website: www.commoncore.org. n
consider by grade how the state’s current academic core correlates with
the common standards. Once their work is completed, it will become
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 37
Making the Switch to
Every once in a while you come across an idea that
completely changes your perspective and behavior. I recent-
ly had such an experience. I discovered a book that has
quickly become a framework through which I view much
of what I do in education and in my personal life. The book
is titled, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is
Hard (Heath & Heath, 2010).
As educators we are all about change. We seek to bring
about change in the behavior of students, parents, and other
educators. It can take place at an individual level such as
working to get an individual student to stay on task, or at
a systems level such as getting an entire department or
district to change their practice. Whatever the level, one
thing is consistent: change can be hard.
One such change that can be difficult is the shift
toward progress monitoring students. Gone are the days
of relying solely on periodic summative assessments or
anecdotal reports to summarize student progress. We are in
a new age of education with greater accountability, and the
moral imperative is to monitor the impact of our instruction
and interventions on students and make necessary changes
based on students’ responses. Progress monitoring allows us
to do so in an easy and efficient manner.
Throughout the upcoming year I would like to address
all of you, the readers of The Utah Special Educator, on
how to make the switch to progress monitoring in your
setting, whether that be for you as an individual or in
helping your whole school or department make the switch
to progress monitoring. In each edition of The Utah Special
Educator this year, I will address one of the three major
components of the Switch framework with a focus on
how this applies to progress monitoring.
38 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Devin Healey, Program
Specialist, Utah Personnel
Development Center (UPDC)
We are in a new age of education with greater accountability,
and the moral imperative is to monitor the impact of our
instruction and interventions on students and make
necessary changes based on students’ responses.
The principles of Switch are based on one simple have to feel the importance of it. On the other hand,
analogy involving a Rider and an Elephant. As the authors we can’t solely rely on our emotional side to drive our
explain: Each (person) has an emotional Elephant and a behavior, unchecked and uncontrolled. We have to have
rational Rider side. In order to bring about change in a the logical understanding of how to bring about change.
person you’ve got to reach both sides of the person, as This is why the Rider is so important. The Rider provides
well as clear the path to help them change. You have to: the direction to the Elephant toward the desired direction.
If left alone, however, the Rider will spin his wheels,
Direct the Rider over-analyzing the situation and all of the available data.
• Follow the Bright Spots It takes both the Rider and the Elephant to bring about
• Script the Critical Moves the meaningful change we wish to see.
• Point to the Destination
Follow the Bright Spots. To bring about meaningful
Motivate the Elephant change, you first need to identify others who are already
• Find the Feeling successful in accomplishing your desired goal and clone
• Shrink the Change what they’re doing. There are outstanding districts and
• Grow Your People schools in Utah that are already effectively progress-
monitoring students across all three tiers. They understand
Shape the Path its value and have figured out how to collect the data in a
• Tweak the Environment way that is most beneficial to their decision making about
• Build Habits student learning. We will continue to share what successful
• Rally the Herd districts are doing so that others may replicate their
approach.This saves time and money. It allows us to make
The Elephant provides the emotional drive that those changes more easily and quickly, which means
is required to begin and stay committed to change. improved instruction and practices that reach our students.
Willing ourselves or others to do something may work
momentarily but for lasting change to take place, people Continued on page 40
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 39
Scripting the Critical Moves. This involves iden- terms. These goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific,
tifying the specific behaviors that will get us to the goal. Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). We should
A district may script the moves of training its teachers know what we’re working toward and know when we
on math probe administration, providing them with a data have reached the goal.
management system, and providing a district level instruc-
tional coach to help them implement progress monitoring In addition to these aspects of Directing the Rider we
in the area of math. An individual teacher may identify have to Motivate the Elephant.
the probes needed and schedule a weekly block of time
to progress monitor her students. Find the Feeling. Beyond simply knowing how to
accomplish a goal, we have to experience a feeling that
Point to the Destination. We need to identify where will drive us. It is not enough to know how to get to
we’re going and why it’s worth it. “Every teacher in our Energy Solutions Arena. We go because we feel excited to
district will progress monitor their students on their IEP watch the Jazz beat the Lakers. We may know how to
goals.” “I will progress monitor all my students on a progress monitor but we are driven by feelings: passion
weekly basis by the beginning of the third term.” The for helping students learn, optimism for the impact of our
destination is identified in observable and measurable instruction on students, and pride in implementing best
40 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Shrink the Change. When we look at a big change
we can easily be overwhelmed by the perceived enormity
of the task at hand. Progress monitoring, to somebody
who has never done it before, can seem overwhelming.
basis, it doesn’t take a tremendous amounts of energy. We
simply recognize that during individual reading time on
Fridays, we pull aside our students to progress monitor
their reading. We are accustomed to looking at the data
By breaking it down to manageable parts we feel greater and making decisions regarding student progress.
confidence in our ability to do it. Don’t think about every-
thing that is involved in effective progress monitoring. Rally the Herd. We have to encourage others, and
Identify the first step that needs to be taken: selecting ourselves, frequently to persist and stay on the course
appropriate probes. Start there. Then when this is we’ve mapped for ourselves. Making a switch that
accomplished you can identify the next step. involves a lot of people rallying the herd means helping
the behavior be contagious. It involves spreading the
Grow your People. Similar to shrinking the change, this enthusiasm for progress monitoring and sharing successes
is a process to make the perceived task seem more man- to help get others on board. A number of people who
ageable. We help others identify themselves as the kind of will be reluctant or even resistant to our efforts. As we
people who do the behavior we’re striving for. experience success, we can share that with others to
We help them establish a growth mind-set in which they rally them around the change we seek and build greater
recognize that it will be a challenge but that they will consensus and implementation for the practice of progress
overcome those challenges and be successful. monitoring.
The third major component to Switch is Clearing the In subsequent articles in this journal, I will address
Path. In addition to providing direction and motivation, we each of these principles in greater detail. December’s
can increase the likelihood of change in others or ourselves article will address how to “Direct the Rider” in imple-
by making the path easier. menting progress monitoring. February’s will deal with
“Motivating the Elephant” and April will address how
Tweak the Environment. With students we recognize to “Shape the Path.” I encourage you to read Switch and
the importance of structuring the environment to make think about the change you are trying to make in your
expected behavior more likely to occur. Adults benefit classroom, your school, or your district. Progress monitor-
equally from a tweaked environment that allows us to ing is the direction we are headed in education. It is best
behave more successfully. To make the switch to progress practice. It allows us to quickly and easily make decisions
monitoring we can tweak the environment to make it about student learning and make changes about instruction
possible for educators to be successful in implementing and intervention that will improve student learning. That’s
this best practice. why we are in education. That’s why we progress monitor.
Build Habits. “When behavior is habitual, it’s ‘free’—it For information on Switch, please go to:
doesn’t tax the Rider” (Heath & Heath, 2010). We can http://heathbrothers.com. n
build habits in progress monitoring by setting up regular
data team meetings that allow us to consistently and
frequently analyze student learning and make decisions
that will help them make progress. Once we get into the
habit of progress monitoring our students on a weekly
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 41
Richard Fry, Senior Researcher,
Pew Hispanic Center, June 26, 2008
major student groups. In each of the five states exam-
PEW HISPANIC CENTER ined, about 90% of the ELL students who took the state
assessment test were educated in public schools that had
A Pew Hispanic Center analysis of public school at least a minimum threshold number of ELL students.
data from key states finds that English language learner ELL students tended to make up either a majority or
(ELL) students tend to go to public schools that have substantial minority of the student populations of these
low standardized test scores. However, these low levels schools. For example, in the California public schools in
of assessed proficiency are not solely attributable to which ELL test-takers were concentrated, they constitut-
poor achievement by ELL students. These same schools ed 45% of all test-takers. In the other California public
report poor achievement by other major student groups schools (where the number of ELL students was below
as well, and have a set of characteristics associated the minimum threshold), ELL test-takers were just 6%
generally with poor standardized test performance—such of all test-takers.
as high student-teacher ratios, high student enrollments
and high levels of students living in or near poverty.
In all five states investigated and irrespective of
grade levels, ELL students were much less likely than
When ELL students are not isolated in these low- white students to score at or above the state’s proficient
achieving schools, their gap in test score results is level. However, when ELL students attended public
considerably narrower, according to the analysis of schools with at least a minimum threshold number of
English Language Learner
newly available standardized testing data for public white students, the gap between the math proficiency
schools in the five states with the largest numbers of scores of white students and ELL students was consider-
ELL students. These five states—Arizona, California, ably narrower, the analysis found. This suggests that
Florida, New York and Texas—educated about 70% of the lag in test score achievement of ELL students is
the nation’s 4 million ELL students in the 2003-04 attributable in part to the characteristics of the public
school year. Prior analyses of assessment data uniformly schools they attend.
indicate that ELL students are much less likely than
other students to score at or above proficient levels in ELL students perform better on the state’s standard-
both mathematics and reading/language arts. The new ized math assessment test if they attend a public school
report quantifies the extent of ELL concentration in with at least a minimum threshold number of white
low-achieving public schools and the degree to which students. For example, among eighth-grade ELL students
this isolation is associated with the large achievement in Florida, about 30% score at or above the proficient
gap in mathematics between ELL students and other
42 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
level in math if they attend a middle school that has a whereas just 67% of the white California third-graders
minimum threshold number of white students. Among who attend schools with the minimum threshold number
Florida ELL eighth-graders at middle schools that do not of ELL students score at or above the proficient level.
have a sufficient number of white eighth-grade students,
only about 10% scored at or above the proficient level The average proficiency rate in math for black third-
graders who attend California public schools without the
minimum threshold number of ELL third-grade students
The relatively poor proficiency levels at public is 46%. In contrast, 34% of black third-grade students
schools with high concentrations of ELL students is who attend California public schools with the minimum
underscored by comparing the standardized test scores threshold number of ELL students score at or above the
of white and black students who attend the schools in proficient level on the state’s mathematics assessment
which ELL students are concentrated with the scores of test.
white and black student who attend other public schools.
In California, 75% of white third-grade students who Most of the new Pew Hispanic report’s findings
attend public schools without the minimum threshold are based on analyses using three U.S. Department of
number of ELL students perform at or above the profi- Education databases. The analysis of mathematics
cient level on the state’s mathematics assessment test, Continued on page 44
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 43
performance on state-designed assessments across white students to score at or above the proficient level
different types of public schools utilizes the new in mathematics. The measured gaps are in the double-
National Longitudinal School-Level State Assessment digits. For example, in Florida 45% of ELL third-
Score Database. The NLSLSASD maintains state graders scored at or above the proficient level on the
standardized assessment test results for every public math assessment, compared with 78% of white third-
school in a state. Because the NLSLSASD is a school- graders, yielding a white-to-ELL gap of 34 percentage
level data set, we can identify for the first time which points.
public schools tested English language learner students
and thus measure at the state level the degree of concen- ▪ELL students who took the state mathematics
tration of ELL students in particular schools. Using the assessment were heavily concentrated in the public
NLSLSASD’s standardized testing results by subgroup, schools that had to disclose publicly the English
the analysis illuminates the potential role of school language learner testing results—that is, public
isolation in student test score performance. schools with a minimum threshold number of ELL
students taking the test. White test-takers and black
Previous Pew Hispanic Center analyses of standard- test-takers were much less concentrated in the public
ized testing data for public schools revealed a large schools reporting ELL testing outcomes. For example,
achievement gap between ELL students and other in New York more than 90% of the fourth-grade ELL
students in math and reading proficiency (Fry, How students taking the math test attended the 763 ele-
Far Behind in Math and Reading are English Language mentary schools that reported their test scores. The
Learners?, Pew Hispanic Center, June 6, 2007), and that New York public schools that reported results for ELL
black and Hispanic students are increasingly isolated fourth-graders educated less than 20% of white
from white students in the public schools (Fry, The fourth-grade test-takers in the state and slightly more
Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of U.S. Public than half of black fourth-grade test-takers.
Schools, Pew Hispanic Center, Aug. 30, 2007). The
new report builds on those findings by illustrating that ▪In the five states with large ELL student populations,
the educational isolation of ELL students is associated the public schools in which ELL test-takers are
with the math proficiency gap between English language concentrated are much more likely to be central
learners and other students. It also shows that white and city schools.
black students who attend the public schools in which
ELL students are concentrated are doing worse than ▪The public schools in which ELL test-takers are
their peers who attend public schools with few English concentrated have a much higher enrollment, on
language learner students. Among the report’s other average, than other public schools in the state.
▪The middle schools in which ELL test-takers are
▪Nationally, the English language learner student concentrated have, on average, significantly higher
population is expected to grow rapidly. The projected student-to-teacher ratios than other public schools in
number of school-age children of immigrants will the state.
increase from 12.3 million in 2005 to 17.9 million in
2020, accounting for all the projected growth in the ▪The public schools in which ELL test-takers are
school-age population. A significant portion of these concentrated have, on average, a substantially greater
children of immigrants will likely require ELL proportion of students qualifying for free or reduced-
services. price school lunches.
▪In the five states with large ELL student populations, ▪The public schools in which English language learner
the proportion of ELL students scoring at or above the students are concentrated are significantly more likely
proficient level on the state mathematics test is often to be designated Title I schools. A Title I school has a
below the proportion of black students scoring at or student body with a large proportion of economically
above the proficient level. For example, in Texas 22% disadvantaged students and receives additional federal
of ELL eighth-graders scored at or above the funding. For example, in Arizona 92% of the schools
proficient level on the math assessment, that reported test results for ELL students on the third-
compared with 44% of black eighth-graders. grade math assessment were eligible for Title I funds.
Of the other Arizona elementary schools, half were
▪In both elementary grades and middle school grades
Title I-eligible. n
in these states, ELL students are much less likely than
44 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 45
and Ecological Framework
for Response to Intervention
with English Language Learners
46 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Julie Esparza Brown, Portland State University and Jennifer Doolittle,
Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education
Response to Intervention (RTI) has been heralded by many as the Less than 20% of the 56% of public school teachers in the U.S.
long-awaited alternative to using a discrepancy formula for special who have at least one ELL in their class are certified to teach ELLs
education eligibility decisions. Use of the discrepancy formula for (Waxman, Tellez & Walberg, 2004). Thus, most teachers lack the
eligibility decisions has commonly been called a “wait to fail model” training, expertise, and experience in teaching reading and other sub-
(Donovan & Cross, 2002; Fuchs, Mock, Morgan & Young, 2003; jects to ELLs. The second issue is that most multidisciplinary school
Mellard, 2004) because in this paradigm, students proceeded through teams charged with making special education eligibility decisions for
long pre-referral, formal referral, and assessment processes prior to ELLs also lack the training and experience in differentiating language
getting help in special education programs. By the time students difference from a learning disability (Collier, 2001; Flanagan Ortiz,
received assistance, they were often too far behind to ever catch 2001; Klingner, Artiles, & Barletta, 2006; Ortiz, 1997). Consequently,
up, even with individualized support. the use of RTI without a foundation in culturally and linguistically
appropriate instruction may lead to greater disproportionality (both
RTI instead focuses on intervening early through a multi-tiered under and over representation) of ELLs in special education.
approach where each tier provides interventions of increasing intensi-
ty. It includes the practice of screening all children early in their To summarize, an appropriate foundation for RTI must include
education to identify those who are not responding to classroom knowledge of each child’s particular set of life experiences, and
instruction and providing support through the use of research-based how these experiences may facilitate learning in an American school
interventions at each tier while monitoring progress frequently system. It is essential to address teacher-related and school-related
(Batsche, Elliott, Graden, Grimes, Kovalcski, Prasse, et. al., 2005). issues as well as child traits. Further, all educators must be knowl-
RTI has the potential to affect change for English language learners edgeable in first and second language acquisition principles and
(ELLs) by requiring the use of research-based practices based on indi- culturally responsive pedagogy, as well as have access to specialists
vidual children’s specific needs. All ELLs, however, need culturally who are well-trained in differentiating cultural and linguistic
and linguistically appropriate instruction no matter the educational differences from disabilities. We provide an initial framework
setting. In other words, instruction and interventions must consider for understanding children’s backgrounds below.
a student’s cultural background and experiences as well as their
linguistic proficiency (in both English and the native language) in
order for instruction to be appropriate. The focus of this brief is to
provide an initial framework in the use of RTI that considers students’ Personalized instruction lies at the very heart of RTI in that
life experiences, including their language proficiencies in their first each child’s unique needs are evaluated and appropriate instruction
and second language, as well as the contexts in which they are taught. provided so that all children have opportunities to succeed in our
schools. As evidenced by the current achievement gap as well as the
disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse
Opportunity to Learn children in special education programs, many of these students are
As conceptualized, RTI is predicated upon effective, research- underachieving. To ensure that RTI does not become one more
based and appropriate instruction in the general education classroom discriminatory system, a framework for RTI addressing the needs
or Tier 1. That is, it is assumed that all students are provided with of ELLs is required. This includes: (a) a systematic process for
scientifically validated instruction delivered with a high degree of examining the specific background variables or ecologies of ELLs
fidelity to the curriculum, and thus all children are provided with an (i.e., first and second language proficiency, educational history in-
equal opportunity to learn. This, however, is problematic for ELLs cluding bilingual models, immigration pattern, socioeconomic status,
in several ways. First, since RTI currently focuses on literacy, it is and culture) that impact academic achievement in a U.S. classroom;
important to examine the existing reading research for ELLs. (b) examination of the appropriateness of classroom instruction and
Although there is a growing body of research on effective reading the classroom context based on knowledge of individual student
instruction for ELLs with and without disabilities (Artiles & Klingner, factors; (c) information gathered through informal and formal
2006; Linan-Thompson, Bryant, Dickson, & Kouzekanani, 2005), it assessments; and (d) nondiscriminatory interpretation of all
appears that not all ELLs are receiving appropriate literacy instruction assessment data.
(D’Angiulli, Siegel, & Maggi, 2004; Saenz, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2005).
Continued on page 48
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 47
RTI: A Tiered Intervention Approach
Experts promote two distinct RTI models (Bradley, Danielson,
& Hallahan, 2002; Fuchs, Mock, Morgan & Young, 2003): a
standard treatment protocol model and a problem-solving model,
though in reality most school districts use a combination of the
two (National Association of State Directors of Special Education
[NASDE], 2006). According to NASDE, both models outline tiers
or stages of interventions (Figure 1). In the standard treatment
protocol model, the same empirically validated treatment is used for
all children with similar problems, and achievement is measured
against specified benchmarks. The problem-solving model is more
flexible, as explained by NASDE as well: problems are defined
behaviorally, interventions are planned specifically for the targeted
student and provided over a reasonable period of time, performance
is measured in the natural setting, and students’ progress is
compared to that of peers.
Beyond the approach to intervention planning, another differ-
ence in the various RTI models is the number of tiers. Generally,
models include three or four tiers. In this brief, a three-tiered frame-
work is outlined, which considers students’ ecologies, cultural and
linguistic needs, and the skills that members of an educational team
must possess when an ELL student becomes a focus of concern.
Universal Screening and Researched-based Instruction
At Tier I, baseline data through universal screening are gathered
for all students and achievement is monitored regularly. An RTI
system relies on the use of evidence-based curricula that is taught
in a manner consistent with its authors’ intent (treatment integrity).
It is assumed that effective and research-based instruction already
occurs in the general education classroom for all students. For
ELLs, as discussed earlier, for instruction to be “effective and
appropriate,” assessment as well as instruction must be both
linguistically and culturally congruent. That is, the teacher who
wants to teach ELLs appropriately and effectively must know their
levels of language proficiency in their first language (L1) and sec-
ond language (L2) when planning assessment and instruction, and
provide culturally relevant curricula that reflect the background and
experiences of the students (Delpit, 1995; Gay, 1989; Macedo &
Bartolome, 1999). Appropriate instruction for ELLs requires that
48 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
teachers embrace a pedagogy that is “rooted in the cultural capital of • Has accurate baseline data been collected on what the student can
[their students] and have as its point of departure the native language do as well as what he/she must still learn?
and culture” (Freire & Macedo, 1987, p. 151). In other words, a • Are L1 and L2 language proficiency monitored regularly?
child’s language and culture are never viewed as liabilities but rather • Have the ecology of the classroom and school been assessed?
as strengths upon which to build an education. When an ELL student • What were the child’s pre-school literacy experiences, if any?
becomes a focus of concern, the instructional program itself must • Have hearing and vision been screened?
be examined to determine the match between the demands of the • What tasks can the student perform and in what settings?
curriculum and the child’s current level of proficiency in the language • Have specific Tier I RTI interventions that are culturally,
of instruction. It is important to examine the achievement of the linguistically and experientially appropriate been developed?
student’s “true peers” (similar language proficiencies, culture and
experiential background) to see if they are excelling or not. If several Instruction/Intervention
“true peers” are struggling, this is an indication that the instruction • All students receive high-quality, research-based instruction
is less than optimal for that group of students. by qualified staff
• Universal screening of academics and behavior of all students to
At Tier I, once instruction is adjusted to meet each student’s identify those who need close monitoring or intervention
individual or personalized needs, progress is closely monitored and • Progress monitoring compares ELL student to other true-peer
decisions are made as to whether students are meeting predetermined ELLs since their rate of progress cannot be compared to that of
targets or benchmarks. If, after providing instructional modifications English-only group
that could include re-teaching, smaller groupings in the general • Appropriate instructional interventions are developed such as
education classroom, or perhaps some instruction in a child’s L1, the individually designed instructional units, or different instructional
student does not make the targeted gains, it may be recommended that units, or different instruction using the general education
the student receive Tier II support. A table is provided below to help curriculum
delineate factors that must be examined for ELLs at Tier I, as well as • Background knowledge is built
the kinds of instructional support and personnel who can provide the • Research-based interventions are implemented for at least 8-12
needed instruction. weeks and progress is monitored
• Culturally responsive instruction is fundamental (attention given
TIER I: to language forms and functions)
Population: All Students • Strategies appropriate for instructing ELLs such as Total Physical
Settings: General Education Response, visuals, real objects, modeling, repetitive language and
gestures must be used
Student Characteristics • Instruction includes language activities and explicit instruction in
Achievement is both at a lower level when compared to “true- phonological awareness, the alphabetic code, vocabulary
peers” (same levels of language [proficiency, acculturation, and development and comprehension strategies
educational background) and occurs at a substantially slower rate. • Instruction in the native language is provided
Guiding Questions Service Provider
• Is scientifically-based instruction in place for the target student • If the course topics remain the same, what new research,
and consideration given to his/her cultural, linguistic, socioeco- examples, and writings can illustrate these topics?
nomic and experiential background? • Is there a new thematic approach to this material that will help
• Is instruction targeted to the student’s level of English to put cultural diversity in the foreground?
proficiency? • How do I integrate new material so that it is not simply an
• Is the concern examined within the context (i.e., language of “add-on”?
instruction, acculturation)? • What teaching strategies will facilitate student learning of this
• Have the parents been contacted and their input documented? new material? Continued on page 50
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 49
Necessary Service Provider Skills—Able to: Instruction/Intervention
• Provide developmentally, culturally, linguistically and experien- • Option of receiving different curriculum from Tier I (time and
tially appropriate instruction and assessment to all students intensity) which would be systematic and explicit instruction with
• Deliver culturally responsive instruction modeling, multiple examples, and feedback
• Describe behaviors/areas in observable terms and establish • This supplemental instruction is in addition to the time allowed for
baselines core reading instruction in general education
• Identify the elements that will lead to success in the identified • The curriculum addresses the student’s specific learning needs and
problem area progress is carefully monitored and reported
• Identify instructional and student variables that may contribute • Observation should occur across settings and be of various
to a solution activities/tasks
• Understand that no student characteristic (e.g., disability label, • If the student does not respond to Tier II interventions, consider
race, SES, cultural group) dictates a priori what intervention referring to Tier III
• Collaborate with other service providers and parents Service Provider
• Use tools that assess L1 and L2 skills • Specialist (Title I Teacher, Reading Teacher, Special Education
Teacher, Related Service Provider) or General Education Teacher
• General education teacher responsible for integrating all tiers of
Tier II: instruction into the classroom and monitoring instruction
More Intensive Support
Necessary Service Provider Skill—Able to:
In Tier II, interventions, rather than just instructional adjustments • Ensure that culturally and linguistically appropriate classroom
to the general curriculum, are provided to the student. Tier II interven- instruction was provided in Tier I and continues in Tier II
tions are often delivered in a small group setting and may be provided • Accurately monitor and report student’s progress and adjust
by a specialist (i.e., Title I teacher, reading specialist, special educa- instruction accordingly
tion teacher, speech and language specialist), or by the classroom
teacher. Tier II interventions are supplemental to the general education
curriculum. In other words, students should receive a “double dose” Tier III:
of instruction targeted at specific goals based on students’ needs Intensive Individual Instruction
identified by Tier I screening. As stated previously, instructional
In Tier III, interventions are more intensive and may be delivered
interventions for ELLs should be both linguistically and culturally
individually or in small groups. The student’s progress continues to be
appropriate. School personnel continue to collect and monitor the
closely monitored. RTI models vary in their conceptualization of Tier
student’s achievement and assess the learning environment and
III. In some models, Tier III would be considered special education
suitability of instruction. A Tier II student who fails to reach identified
and students who progressed to this tier would automatically qualify
instructional targets is a candidate to move to Tier III once it has been
for special education services. In other models, children would be
established that he or she truly has received an adequate opportunity
provided intensive and individual interventions at this tier while
to learn. Conversely, a student who makes the expected gains may
concurrently undergoing an assessment for special education eligibili-
cycle back to Tier I with close observation of the student’s continuing
ty. In models with four tiers, students would receive intensive and
progress. Below is a table outlining Tier II for ELLs.
focused interventions in Tier III, and if they fail to make adequate
TIER II: progress, be moved into Tier IV. Tier IV might then be considered
Population: Students Who Need Different and More special education. Below is a table summarizing Tier III for ELLs.
Intensive Instruction Than Provided in Tier I
Settings: Small Group Setting TIER III:
Population: Students Who Need Different
Student Characteristics and More Intensive Instruction
Achievement continues both at a lower level as compared to Setting: Alternative Setting
“true-peers” and occurs at a substantially slower rate
Guiding Questions Achievement continues both at a lower level than like-peers, occurs
• Will instruction in a small group setting lead to success? at a substantially slower rate, and the student needs individualized
• Has the student’s progress been compared to him or herself using instruction in order to learn
data collected over time land across settings?
• Does the child’s learning rate appear to be lower than that of Guiding Questions
an average learning “true peer”? • How many rounds of Tier II instruction has the student had?
• Is the child responding to interventions? • Is there evidence of progress from previous interventions?
• Will an alternate curriculum help the student succeed? • Is the student successful with different curriculum, teaching
• Is scientifically-based instruction in place for the target student approaches and an individualized setting?
and consideration given to his/her cultural, linguistic, socioeco- • Does the student differ from like “true peers” in the
nomic and experiential background?
50 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
following ways This collaboration is particularly critical, because the research base
• Level of performance? for all educational fields, including instruction for ELLs, is growing
• Learning slope? rapidly. Third, students who are struggling can be identified early
• What are the child’s functional, developmental, academic, and supported before falling too far behind to ever catch up.
linguistic, and cultural needs?
• If additional assessments are used, are the instruments technically Our future rests on the promise of the next generation. Accor-
sound, valid, and used appropriately for the ELL student? dingly, we must develop the capacity to respond to an increasingly
• Are test results interpreted in a manner that considers student’s diverse student population, and ensure that these and all children
language proficiency in L1 and L2 and their level of acculturation? develop to their fullest potential. By building on the cultural wisdom
• Do assessments include information in the student’s home and linguistic knowledge students bring with them, we can help all
language and English? children succeed. n
• Has the student received continuous instruction (i.e., absences
do not make up a good portion of the student’s profile)?
• Option of receiving different curriculum from Tier I and II
• Curriculum and instruction address the specific learning needs and
progress is carefully monitored
• Standardized cognitive and academic assessment should be conduct-
ed at this tier to identify processing profile
• If cognitive assessment is conducted, native language assessment
should be included
• Any standardized test data must be interpreted within the context of
student’s language proficiency and acculturation
Necessary Service Provider Skills—Able to:
• Ensure that appropriate instruction was provided in Tiers I and II
• Accurately monitor student’s progress
• Develop culturally and linguistically appropriate IEP and
plan appropriate individualized instruction
Instruct appropriately to the student’s development level and
needs, level of language proficiency and acculturation
NOTE: Parental rights and consent may be required at this tier
because the student is removed from the general education environ-
ment for instruction. Student could be qualified to receive special
education services under the eligibility category of Specific Learning
Disability and have an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
developed at this tier without further assessment.
No More “Business As Usual”
After the above discussion, it should be apparent that we cannot
continue “business as usual” when ELLs are struggling in our class-
rooms. There is great promise, though, in using an RTI approach, for
many reasons. First, the universal screening and progress monitoring
called for in the RTI process allow for comparison of students to other
similar or “true” peers in their local cohort rather than to national
norms. Second, an effective RTI model requires collaboration among
all educators (e.g., speech and language therapists, school psycholo-
gists, counselors, English as a second language/Bilingual specialist),
thereby providing increased opportunities for professional dialogue,
peer coaching, and the creation of instructional models integrating the
best practices of the various fields of education and related services.
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 51
Report C Multi-Tier System of
Supports (MTSS) 2009-2010
Report Card Summary
The following is an excerpt from the report card created by the UMTSS (formally ABC-UBI) State Team to report on project activities.
For more information on UMTSS or participating districts, please visit us on the web at www.updc.org/abc.
Participating Districts and Charters
54 Participating Sites (11 Secondary, 43 Elementary)
The UMTSS Initiative welcomed a new State Implementation Team: Heidi Mathie Mucha (UPDC), Devin Healey (UPDC),
Jeri Rigby (UPDC), Glenn Dyke (UPDC), Carol Anderson (USOE), Janet Gibbs (USOE), Lowell Oswald (UPDC),
Bruce Schroeder (UPDC, USPDIG) and Leanne Hawken (UofU).
52 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Heidi Mathie Mucha, Program Specialist, Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
UBI Advisory Council was changed to the UMTSS Research and Policy (R&P) Group. This group meets quarterly and is made
up of the state implementation team, partners from Utah State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the Utah
State Office of Education and representation from participating school districts. The R&P Group collaborates on the direction of
the initiative, problem solving, research ideas and influencing policy at the district and state level.
UMTSS Support Team
MTSS District Team MTSS District Team
Research projects for the 2009-2010 school year included:
• SWPBIS Sustainability- The sustainability of SWPBIS principles and practices in schools post UMTSS training.
(Sarah Clarke-Smith, U of U)
• Social Skills & Literacy- Elementary educators participated in a literacy project using children’s literature as a basis for teaching
social studies, social skills and literacy. (Buddy Alger, BYU)
• Comparison of MTSS schools and non MTSS Schools in local school district- The four schools will be compared using indicators
of academic performance, school-wide behavior, and school climate. (Ben Belnap, U of U)
• Implementation of PBIS- Comparison of SET scores to other indicators of PBIS implementation, such as meeting notes and data
summaries. Facilitators and barriers will be discussed. (Julia Helzer, BYU)
• Social Validity of PBIS and Student Survey. Results from the school-wide student survey compared to the SETs scores.
Validity of the survey will also be examined. (Christian Sabey, U of U)
This year the school teams were fortunate to hear from Dr. Donna Gilbertson from USU, Dr. Bill Jenson from the
U of U and Dr. Randy Sprick from Safe and Civil Schools. School teams also had the opportunity to
attend Dibels trainings and effective instruction training by Anita Archer.
Report Card Continued on page 54
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 53
In an effort to examine school climate, nine of the participating schools had their students anonymously complete a student
survey. The survey was developed by the state team and was based on the Safe School Survey developed by the University of Oregon.
A total number of 4,134 students completed the survey. These figures are a summary of the results.
The two CRT graphs represent high implementing MTSS schools compared to the state average.
54 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 55
Ray Beck, Ed.D.
Most teachers have little difficulty identifying students 50 video demonstrations. Interventions are further grouped
(Pre-K – high school) who present behavior problems in the by Grade Level (Pre-K, elementary, middle and high school)
classroom. Teachers frequently report students who are overly and Type of Intervention (Antecedent, Instructional and
aggressive, disruptive, off-task, non-compliant, come to class Consequence).
unprepared, have inappropriate social skills, etc. The challenge
is how to intervene and teach appropriate behavior, often 2) For the beginning teacher or those needing a refresher
within the framework of RtI (Response to Intervention) and in behavior management, a series of helpful hints are
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). The provided in: a.) preventing inappropriate behavior;
2010 revised RIDE Behavior Intervention Bank offers a menu b.) determining the function of the behavior, or why the
of 104 research-based interventions written in straight-forward behavior occurs; c.) determining if the student is a “can’t
practitioner language and accompanied by 50 video demonstra- do it...or won’t do it;” and d.) a seven step process from
tions. One of the most helpful innovations to the Behavior “describing behavior, implementing an intervention,
Intervention Bank software is the option to monitor the monitoring the progress of the intervention, to making
progress of individual student’s social behavior. data-based decisions.”
The origin and development of RIDE (Great Falls MT 3) A Professional Resources and Research section providing
Public Schools) over 20 years ago was largely influenced a list of additional products that focus on behavior inter-
by the pioneer behavior intervention work of Bill Jenson ventions and a listing of currently funded “behavior
(University of Utah) along with Richard West and Richard intervention research projects” with contact information.
Young (Utah State University). After being validated by the
From the bulky stack of VHS videos and floppy disks in the early 90’s to CD’s
and DVD’s in the late 90’s (often housed in libraries, closets and media center
shelves), the revised Behavior Intervention Bank has recently found its way to
immediate access via the Internet having the potential of reaching every
classroom teacher and building staff in the country.
U.S. Department of Education as a research-based model, 4) A unique Progress Monitoring element offering users
RIDE was subsequently supported by the leadership in the five measurement options including: Frequency/Rate,
Utah State Office of Education (Steve Kukic, Cy Freston, and Percent, Latency, Duration, and Magnitude. Graphic reports
Ken Reavis) resulting in the first of six state-wide adoptions. are generated showing: a.) goal lines (either increasing or
decreasing targets or both), b.) visually displayed daily,
From the bulky stack of VHS videos and floppy disks in weekly or monthly data points and c.) student behavior
the early 90’s to CD’s and DVD’s in the late 90’s (often housed plans can be changed using data-based decisions and stored
in libraries, closets and media center shelves), the revised for further reference.
Behavior Intervention Bank has recently found its way to
immediate access via the Internet having the potential of reach- Training opportunities include a one-day agenda focusing
ing every classroom teacher and building staff in the country. on 1.) specific interventions, 2.) development of individual
behavior plans, 3.) progress monitoring of social behavior and
The Look and Feel of the Behavior Intervention Bank - Four 4.) data-based decisions. The BIB model and training maintains
headings guide the teacher and/or support staff in using the a close alliance with the efforts and key elements of RtI
BIB Website, including: and PBIS. n
1) Six Behavior-Problem Areas grouped by Aggression,
Disruptions, Non-Compliance, Off-Task, Unprepared and
Social Skills directly linked to 104 written interventions and
56 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
New Web-based RIDE
(Responding to Individual Differences in Education)
Behavior Intervention Bank
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 57
Looking Back...The U
Moving Forward... T
Tom Johnson & Michael Herbert, Program Specialists,
Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)
58 September 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Utah Special Educator
The Essential Educator
The Essential Educator:
boldly going where no Utah Special Educator has
gone before! For decades, we have used the term
BOLD MOVE to challenge ourselves to step up our
game and take a training or initiative to a much higher
level. Today we are pleased to offer you the Essential
Educator, an online companion journal to The Utah
Special Educator, with several unique features
• Utah Special Educator articles, news and videos
available on-demand as they become available—
All killer, no filler! This content can be accessed
• A continuous stream of articles being released as
they become available.
• Embedded links to topical information, conferences,
webinars and videos.
• Commenting sections for each article are available
to continue the conversation, and engage in an
interactive professional learning community where
learning and sharing are encouraged.
• The content is now in html format and supports
tagging, and the site has a new search feature for
finding the content and topics that you are
• Over the coming months, articles from back issues Essential Educator E-mail Newsletters
of The Utah Special Educator will be reformatted, The UPDC will soon be sending out invitations to join the
tagged and added to the new site. new Essential Educator Newsletters. Register easily by provid-
• An RSS feed is now available; to be used by RSS news- ing your email address and indicating through checkboxes which
readers and other applications for a more customized differentiated content you would like to have delivered to your
experience. inbox. You may also subscribe at any time at: www.updc.org.
• In the near future, RSS technology will lead to construction Our goal is for you to target certain topics or job-related disci-
of mobile apps, such as iPhone, iPad, and Android. plines that you are interested in, and we’ll send you targeted arti-
• Links to popular social networks are now included: Twitter, cles, announcements and content from the Essential Educator, as
Facebook, and digg.com, to share with your professional well as from a myriad of professional organizations and publica-
network of colleagues and friends. tions. One more thing, did we mention that it’s free? The
Essential Educator: where all educators are special!
• Personalized, differentiated content, based on user preferences.
http://essential educator.org/ n
The Utah Special Educator • September 2010 59
to Support Students with
Disabilities and Other
A Policy Forum Proceedings Document
Prepared by Paula Burdette, Ph.D.
learning. Yet despite this critical role, principals have received
Background minimal policy attention from school reform initiatives.
Principals face increasing demands to create learning environ- Based on the importance of principals’ roles in supporting
ments that support the needs of all students. Both the Elementary students with disabilities and other diverse learners, Project
and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2001 Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special
as the No Child left Behind Act, and the Individuals with Education (NASDSE), in collaboration with LeadScape, held a
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (most recently reauthorized in policy forum on this topic as part of its cooperative agreement
2004), place great emphasis on improving student achievement. with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special
The tightrope principals walk between instructional leadership Education Programs (OSEP). The forum was held virtually
and management creates a challenge for the operation of schools through iLink@, a web-based conference platform, during five
(IEL, 2000). As noted in the IEL report, “Principalship as it is two-hour sessions. Participants had the opportunity to share more
currently constructed—a middle management position overloaded information through email between sessions. Participants includ-
with responsibilities for basic building operations—fails to meet ed current and retired principals, principal preparation faculty,
this fundamental [challenge]...the demands placed on principals researchers, parent group representatives, principal technical
have changed, but the profession has not” (p.3). DiPaola and assistance providers, special education administrators, local
Walther-Thomas (2003) point out, “Research has demonstrated superintendents and other knowledgeable stakeholders.
that principals who focus on instructional issues, demonstrate
administrative support for special education, and provide high- The expected outcomes for the forum were to:
quality professional development for teachers produce enhanced • define challenges to the availability of prepared principals
outcomes for students with disabilities and for others at risk for (i.e., principals with the skills and knowledge) to serve
school failure” (p.9). students with disabilities and other diverse needs; and
• identify policy and practice changes to address these
The link among the preparedness of principals, quality challenges.
teaching and levels of student achievement is a strong one.
Principal leadership is a key factor in the recruitment and reten- Background readings for the participants included:
tion of quality teachers and supporting quality instruction; teacher • The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC),
quality, in turn, profoundly influences improvements in student Educational Leadership Policy Standards (CCSSO, 2008);
60 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
• School Leaders for Inclusive Education: Roles,
Responsibilities, and Competencies Views from the Field
(IRIS Center, 2009)2; and
• The National Association of Secondary School Principal’s
(NASSP) recommendations for the reauthorization of IDEA.
Principal leadership is a key factor in the
recruitment and retention of quality teachers
and supporting quality instruction; teacher quality,
in turn, profoundly influences improvements
in student learning.
The forum began with a discussion of the roles, responsibili-
ties and standards for school leaders/principals. Participants
noted a conceptual change during the last several years from
a management focus to an educational leadership focus.
Roles, responsibilities and standards not covered sufficiently
Participants believed that this has opened the door to more shared
according to the forum participants included:
leadership within school buildings. Another possible conceptual
• a perspective on continuous learning about current trends and
change noted by the participants was a broadening perspective of
legal aspects in special education; and
who comprises the ‘community.’ The term ‘parent’ appears to be
• how principals can exercise leadership in supporting students
frequently replaced by ‘community,’ which could signal a
with diverse needs given sometimes competing pressures from
marginalization of the importance of family in education.
teachers, parents and the district office,
While each of the ISLLC standards was seen as important
for preparing principals to serve students with disabilities and
Challenge 1: A lack of ongoing professional development
(pre- and in-service) including internship, mentoring, networking
other diverse needs, two standards were seen as the most relevant
opportunities, leadership academies, and other strategies to
for the discussion of challenges that are particular to preparing
improve a principal’s ability to serve diverse populations.
principals—Standard 2 (promoting success for every student by
• Expand the research base regarding what is needed from
advocating, nurturing and sustaining a culture conducive to learn-
leadership to support diverse populations in schools and build
ing) and Standard 5 (promoting success by acting with integrity,
on what is working for all populations of students.
fairness and ethics). These standards were seen by participants as
• Fund or work across technical assistance providers, state
key to the role of principal as the ambassador of the vision to
education agencies (SEAS) and universities to support this
support all students, including students with disabilities.
research (e.g., federal IDEA Part D funds, Institute of
Participants agreed that the principal must be the one leader to
Educational Sciences [IES] research).
sustain the school vision because teachers and other leaders in
school buildings are not in a position to do so without the
Continued on page 62
principal’s leadership and support.
The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 61
• Mandate this type of research and dissemination of the results who are good leaders and are familiar with the context of
in current and subsequently funded projects (e.g., one study is working in a school system.)
currently evaluating the National Institute for School • Recruitment strategies at the university level must reject, or be
Leadership [NISL] a district level strategy for improving prepared to provide extra support to, those applicants who are
student achievement by developing principals’ knowledge not suited for principalship—particularly to support diverse
and skills). learners by including an assessment of skills, possibly
• Leverage the work from a previously federally funded modeled on the NASSP assessment.
technical assistance project, the National Center for Culturally • Provide a system within preparation programs that encourages
Responsive Educational Systems, the current Region IX principal candidates to avoid principalship if, after ample
Equity Alliance Center at Arizona State University and opportunity, they show a lack of knowledge, skill or disposi-
LeadScape. This work has included equity work and tion to support diverse learners as demonstrated by a
professional development to improve preparation for structured evaluation process (e.g., based on the NASSP
principals and their staff and is available on line. assessment).
• Ensure that this work is available to the IDEA Partnership’s • Develop research studies to determine whether and how
“Building Local Capacity,” a web based repository providing continuous work in schools and communities for principal
free professional development resources from state and candidates improves outcomes.
national agencies and organizations. • From the beginning of principal training, embed continuous
• Make university preparation programs, LEAs and SEAs opportunities to work in schools and community settings with
aware of these free resources. parents, students, LEA staff and related groups.
• Embed within principal preparation programs the requirement
Challenge 2: A lack of targeted principal preparation through that candidates be provided appropriate experiences to develop
induction programs, including core components of leadership strategies for how to ensure opportunities for diverse students
(i.e., what is needed to prepare principals to serve diverse popula- to succeed in a struggling, but successful school community.
tions, and what is needed in internships and in induction. There is • Integrate into the licensure standards the requirement that
often a lack of opportunity for interns to learn from principals principal candidates work continuously in schools and
62 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
• Tie internships to coursework. For example, East Carolina • Encourage LEAs to offer targeted professional development
University’s principal preparation program requires candidates by using principal associations’ legal conference materials,
to interview both a special education director and a principal developing mandatory online training that can be accessed at
about how to serve students with a range of educational needs, will and providing state credit for completion (e.g., continuing
compare the two viewpoints, and develop their own education points), and including personalized learning as part
conclusion about how to best serve these students. of each principal’s evaluation/growth plan process.
• Integrate a method within university faculty content acquisi-
tion that ensures the knowledge, skills and dispositions Challenge 5: The lack of training/skills in how to ‘lead from the
necessary to prepare principal candidates to support diverse middle’ (i.e., lead teachers and work with the LEA’s central office
learners. For example, faculty must work in local schools for a based on LEA staff expectations of the principal).
certain number of hours per year. Integrate this requirement • Develop and provide situational training at different levels
into the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher (e.g., LEA central office staff, building leadership, teachers)
Education (NCATE), Educational Leadership Constituent but with the same vision (i.e., to support students with
Council (ELCC) and other state and national accreditation disabilities, in particular students with low incidence
program approval standards. disabilities, and other diverse learning needs) to develop
• Include outcome measures for how well the preparation coherent plans across the LEA.
program works for principals in an evaluation tool. For • Develop incentives that encourage principals to support low
example, how many candidates graduate, how many graduates incidence populations and any other populations who are not
work as principals, how successful are these principals? being well served.
Include this requirement in the accreditation organizations’
program approval standards. Model follow up studies of Challenge 6: A lack of sensitivity to issues that diverse
graduates on those used in teacher preparation. populations encounter in education.
• Create ‘caring’ schools to develop individuals who have
Challenge 3: The lack of alignment among principal evaluation, concern for those who are in need (e.g., develop community
principal preparation and principal standards (including schools).
state standards) and the considerable amount of knowledge • Use Parent Training and Information Centers as presenters
needed to be prepared to serve students with diverse needs. and/or adjunct faculty to present in leadership preparation
• Individual states must develop and/or enhance leadership programs and share personal experiences of what in the public
programs to work with their legislative authority to develop a schools has worked well for their family, what has not worked
cohesive plan integrating standards, training and principal well and the long term costs on society of not preparing
evaluation. For example, a prekindergarten through 20 council students with disabilities and other diverse learning needs.
that includes the higher education commission, the profession- • Ensure principal internships are arranged with mentor
al certification office and other relevant groups could develop principals who have shown exemplary skill and dispositions
the plan and work with the legislative authority to codify it. for working with diverse populations.
• States should adopt ISLLC standards or ensure that their state
principal standards align with them. Currently many states Challenge 7: Working conditions make it difficult to recruit and
announce the adoption of ISLLC standards but add to or retain high quality principals who have the ability to serve diverse
revise them to a point where they are considerably different students.
and therefore vary by state. • Create an information base on developing culturally and
linguistically diverse education leaders.
Challenge 4: The relative lack of knowledge among principals s Identify university programs that are targeting culturally and
about current trends in special education (e.g., need for school linguistically diverse personnel, especially principals.
practices to keep up with shifting court findings; need to create Document and highlight these programs in efforts to scale
a climate of academic excellence for all through the use of up to other universities and to extend to high school students
Schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, considering entering education (i.e., future teachers, future
response to intervention, etc). teacher leaders, peer tutors, etc.).
• Use the LeadScape newsletter, Equity Matters, to disseminate
current information to principals. Continued on page 64
The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 63
s Request information from LEAs and community colleges Participants developed recommendations for four of the
about what they are doing to recruit culturally and challenges identified under these categories: School
linguistically diverse students. Climate/Culture and Miscellaneous Influences
• Create an information base on developing educational leaders
with sensitivity to diversity in the areas of culture, linguistics, Challenge 1: A need for principals to focus on designing their
ability and other areas. vision for students from diverse populations and then determine
s Focus on developing dual certification (general and special
those structures that vary by context (e.g., scheduling, co-teach-
education) teacher programs to build teacher leader capacity. ing, collaboration, response to intervention, instructional support
s Request information from LEAs and schools about how they
teams, teacher learning centers) which need to be in place.
are developing the skills and capacities of teacher leaders • Through professional development and preservice training,
including sensitivity to diversity as a means of creating a encourage principals to set up structures in their schools, such
climate for entering the principlship. as leadership teams or Professional Learning Communities
• Identify and break down barriers to recruiting and retaining (PLCs), prior to developing a plan.
high quality principals who have the ability to serve students • Include training on how to develop and actualize a plan that
with disabilities and other diverse learning needs. includes students with disabilities and other diverse needs in
s Call for information to identify barriers to entering the
principalship. • Include training on how to include itinerant staff in the school
s Create incentives for people with sensitivity to diversity to
vision and how to work with PLCs. It is imperative for
enter the field, perhaps through connections to such principals to understand the importance of and strategies
organizations as the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), for including related services and other itinerant staff on the
the National Urban League (NUL), the Rural School and school-based team.
Community Trust, the National Alliance of Black School • Develop best practices and research briefs concerning how to
Educators (NABSE) or Excelencia in Education. develop a vision and how principals can carry out the plan.
• Build or enhance a system that encourages high quality • Encourage principals to provide workshops throughout the
distributed leadership within buildings (e.g., building year for teachers and parents to share the vision, plan and
leadership teams, three person leadership teams, etc.). other content.
s Use North Carolina’s state mandate on distributing leadership
• Preparation must include providing candidates with a deep
across school buildings as a template. understanding of families and communities from typically
s Use LeadScape’s Collaborative Leadership Teams
underserved or diverse populations including students with
professional development training module. disabilities. This should come from field work outside of
s Use Boston’s pilot schools program as a model for the three
person leadership team. • Induction processes should start early, possibly prior to
• Recuit local candidates and midcareer changers for the acceptance into a principal preparation program. Universities
principalship to enlarge the pool of principals, address local and LEAs should develop partnerships to prepare principals
priorities and broaden active community involvement with the candidates completing fieldwork and internships in
with schools. the LEA.
s Pull together current recruitment strategies that are working
• Develop state policies that force linkage between university
and disseminate widely. Encourage this work as a topic for preparation and LEAs to work together to prepare principals
the Institute of Education Sciences’ What Works and possibly other education staff.
Clearinghouse. • Encourage LEAs to develop structures for principals to work
s Include mentoring and a cohesive induction process
with other principals in a community of practice (within or
s in principal training programs.
among LEAS). Link less experienced or less able principals
s Build on scaffolding structures already available (i.e., Future
with ones who have had success working with diverse
Teachers of America, links to community colleges, peer populations.
tutors, etc.) to support students from diverse backgrounds • In order to be accredited, principal preparation programs
and with sensitivity to diversity to enter the field of education (located at universities, LEAS, etc.) must include coursework
and possibly move from paraeducator, to teacher, to principal. on how to develop and work in PLCs; best practice in family
engagement policy and practice; a variety of community and
64 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Challenge 2: The tension between teaching all students and • States should develop policies that ‘incentivize’ LEAs to place
completing the curriculum (i.e., demands for grade promotion, the most experienced and able leaders in the most difficult,
high scores on statewide assessments) in a timely manner creates needy, or diverse schools to break the cycle of the most senior
stress between equity and excellence and often marginalizes principal receiving the simplest position.
people, including students from diverse populations. • Always assign a proven effective principal to schools identified as
• Within principal preparation course content, include knowl- having ‘disproportionate representation’ in special education.
edge and skills for including students across the range of • LEAs and SEAs should work together to design incentive
disability and supporting research on inclusive practices programs to keep capable principals at, or encourage capable
including Schoolwide Positive Behavior Systems and other principals to move to, schools with more diverse populations,
resilient classroom research. including students with disabilities and other learning needs.
• Ensure that all certified principals have been prepared to work • LEAs should assign new principals to schools with effective
with teachers on how inclusive environments and differentiat- leaders already in place.
ed instruction function in a classroom. • LEAs should provide a mentor/protégé experience for new
principals to work with principals experienced and skilled at
Challenge 3: Principals often must take on many roles beyond working in schools with diverse populations.
principalship and therefore experience frustration, discouragement
and other morale problems (i.e., leaves principal scattered, not
able to work in depth). Conclusion
• Shared leadership should be an expectation through state The major points emphasized during this forum revolve around
policy (e.g., peer decision making) with an exemption that principal recruitment, preparation and retention. These include:
preparation programs must train principals and other educators • The importance of addressing issues related to students with
for this role. disabilities and other diverse learners as an essential
• Using the university/LEA collaborative preparation model, component of principals’ initial training and ongoing skill
PLCs will carry a shared leadership model following the development.
foundation laid through preservice training. • The need to ensure dissemination and use of resources that
already exist to improve principal preparation.
Challenge 4: The practice of assigning the least prepared/most • The significant benefits that can be derived from university
inexperienced principals to the most difficult buildings (e.g., often training personnel maintaining an ongoing relationship with
schools with a diverse student population). local schools and districts to support community contact as a
critical component of the principal’s role.
• A well-developed induction process can have exceptional
long term positive effects.
This expert group on principal preparation emphasized that the
education field must acknowledge that the change in principals’
roles from facilities managers to educational leaders must under-
lie both the work they do and the support that districts provide to
principals as they strive to improve student outcomes. The group
also stressed that the vision for student equity needs to be at the
forefront of principal work; that thoughtful preparation, a thor-
ough induction process, and ongoing mentorship and learning is
of utmost importance.
This report was supported by the U.S. Department of Education
(Cooperative Agreement No. H326F05000 1). This document, along with
many other Forum publications, can be downloaded from the Project Forum
at NASDSE web address: http://www.projectforum.org
To order a hard copy of this document or any other Forum publications,
please contact Nancy Tucker at: NASDSE, 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 320,
Alexandria, VA 22314 • Phone: 703-519-3800 ext. 312 or
Email: email@example.com n
The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 65
Administration Changes at the USOE levels. In addition, she facilitated a demonstration and training pre-
Recently, the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) announced two school classroom specifically designed to serve students with autism
administration changes; the naming of Glenna Gallo as the new State using the principles of applied behavior analysis based on the ASSERT
Director of Special Education, and Leah Voorhies, as the Compliance model at Utah State University. Welcome aboard Amy!
Coordinator, State and Federal Compliance Officer.
Ginny Eggen, UPDC Program Specialist (again)!
Glenna has been at the USOE since 2005. Ginny is back! For the past year she worked as
Previously she served as Coordinator for State induction specialist in the Canyons School
and Federal Compliance/Monitoring and prior District. Her new UPDC assignment will involve
to that she served as the Monitoring Specialist planning, delivering, and facilitating personnel
responsible for the implementation of the Utah development activities on a year-round basis for
Program Improvement Planning System (UPIPS) new teachers (uncertified and certified) hired by
monitoring process, and technical assistant to Utah school districts and charter schools.
school districts and charter schools. Before We celebrate her return to the UPDC!
coming to the USOE, Glenna worked in the Jordan School District
as a special educator in a variety of settings.
Utah Coaching Network (UCN)
Leah Voorhies worked at the Utah Schools for the • What: Second Year of Two-Year Training Cycle for UCN
Deaf and the Blind for almost 15 years, first as a Audience: Special educators, administrators and related servers
school psychologist and then for several years as who participated in the 2009-2010 UCN
coordinator of Psychological Services. For the • When: Northern Utah:
past six years, she has served as the director of • October 19 & 20 • January 20 & 21 • March 17 & 18
Related Services, which included the responsibility • When: Southern Utah:
of special education compliance monitoring. Leah • November 4 & 5 • January 18 • March 31 & April 1
was also an instructor at Salt Lake Community • Where: North – Provo Marriot & South- Iron County District Office
College for seven years in both the Education and Social Sciences • Information?: http://www.updc.org/utah-coaching-network/,
departments. She currently chairs the Child Abuse Prevention Action or Jeri Rigbi, UPDC, firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-272-3431
Committee sponsored by the Department of Child and Family Services
and is a board member for the Utah Deaf and Blind Children’s Fund, a
United Way nonprofit organization. Leah is a past president of the USOE Sponsors Statewide Early Childhood Conference
Utah Association of School Psychologists. She’s excited to become a
member of the USOE special education team and looks forward to • What: Utah Early Childhood Special Education Conference
meeting all the district and charter special education folks that she “Growing the Future”
doesn’t know yet. • Audience: Parents and persons working with the birth to five popula-
tion within the state of Utah including early intervention providers,
Very Cool: New Utah Personnel Development special education teachers, para educators, related service providers,
Center (UPDC) Specialists! and administrators.
We are pleased to announce the addition of two new specialists to the • When: October 28-29, 2010
UPDC, Amy Peters and Ginny Eggen. • Where: Provo Marriott Hotel, Provo, Utah
• What: Keynote Speakers: Susan Sandall “Building Blocks” and R.A.
Amy is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, McWilliam “Engagement of Every Child in the Preschool Classroom”
and recently earned a Board Certification in • Cost: No cost for districts and charter school special education
Behavior Analysis (BCBA). Prior to joining the personnel or early intervention providers. For all others a cost of
UPDC team, Amy worked for Weber School $35 is required.
District for 15 years. Her work included serving • Registration Information: Register online at
children with a variety of disabilities, including http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/servicesinfo/preschool.htm
preschool-age children. Most recently, she worked • More Information?: Contact Connie Nink, Preschool Specialist,
as the district autism and behavior specialist con- USOE, 801-538-7948, email@example.com
sulting in general and special education classrooms across all grade
66 May 2010 • The Utah Special Educator
Utah State Office of Education
Special Education Services
• Glenna Gallo • Director of Special Education...........................................801-538-7757 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Peggy Milligan • Coordinator of Special Education.............................801-538-7589 • email@example.com
• Leah Voorhies • Coordinator, State & Federal Compliance Officer................801-538-7898 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Lisa Arbogast • Coordinator, Law & Policy..............................................801-538-7568 • email@example.com
• Carol Anderson • Specialist, Emotional Disturbance/Mental Health...801-538-7727 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Wendy Carver • Specialist, Assessment and Accountability....................801-538-7639 • email@example.com
• Janet Gibbs, Specialist, Literacy, SLD, Access to the General Curriculum.......801-538-7716 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Susan Loving • Specialist, Transition, OT/PT Services.....................................801-538-7645 • email@example.com
• Cal Newbold • Specialist, Fiscal and Data Issues.......................................801-538-7724 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Connie Nink • Specialist, Preschool...........................................................801-538-7948 • email@example.com
• Tiffanie Owens • Specialist, Monitoring.................................................801-538-7806 • firstname.lastname@example.org
• Jocelyn Taylor • Specialist, TBI, Autism, Communication Disorders....801-538-7726 • email@example.com
• Christene Timothy • Education Specialist, Significant Disabilities, Deaf/Blind/Deafblind
...........................................................................................................................801-538-7576 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Utah Personnel Development Center
2290 East 4500 South, #220 Salt Lake City, Utah 84117 • 801-272-3431 or 800-662-6624
Peggy Childs, 435-817-6616........................................................................................................................email@example.com
Glenn Dyke, Ext. 210...................................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Ginny Eggen, Ext. 217..................................................................................................................................email@example.com
Kit Giddings, Ext. 209........................................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Devin Healey, Ext. 205...............................................................................................................................email@example.com
Michael Herbert, Ext. 207.........................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Johnson, Ext. 243.....................................................................................................................................email@example.com
Cathy Longstroth, Ext. 223............................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Mathie Mucha, Ext. 257.....................................................................................................................email@example.com
Lowell Oswald, Ext. 206.............................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Peters, Ext. 204....................................................................................................................................email@example.com
Jeri Rigby, Ext. 208...........................................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Schroeder, Ext. 212.............................................................................................................................email@example.com
Suraj Syal, Ext. 247........................................................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
Utah State Personnel Development Grant
2290 East 4500 South #260, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117 • 801-272-3431 or 800-662-6624
• Bruce Schroeder, Project Director, Ext. 212...................................................................................email@example.com
Utah Parent Center
2290 East 4500 South, #110, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117 • 801-272-1051
• Helen Post, Director...............................................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org
The Utah Special Educator • May 2010 67
Check out the new Essential Educator! Info on page 58!