It’s that time of the year again. New school year…new goals for the year. Usually I have two or three goals that I really want to work on in a given year, but somehow this list got to 10 all of a sudden.
The reason I have this Special Needs blog and my special educator website is to share what’s in my mind and my hard drive in hopes that it can help other educators. In that spirit, here are my goals for myself for this school year in no particular order:
1) Push-in more into classes like Social Studies, Science, and others
While the expectation is that we provide push-in support (i.e. co-teaching in a sense) to just English and Math, I want to help out more based on needs for a given project, assignment (i.e. science lab), student need, etc.
Get a schedule going and when looking at project plans and unit plans, rubrics, and things like that you should ask when you can come in, etc.
The goal is to help the students that process things slower, need a fair amount of scaffolding, etc. And this in turn can free up the teacher to help out other students that maybe they wouldn’t help out as much if I wasn’t there….or I help the other students and the students with needs get that one-on-one.
I can also do things like some people were asking for such as come through and re-teach a lesson but in a different modality. Or come through and present it in a different/more scaffolded way.
“Help more in difficult classes” (ie. be proactive, maybe set a schedule, let teachers know you are available, etc.)
You can’t be everywhere and help with everything, but the goal is to support learning wherever it may be.
2) No students fail a class
This may mean that some cats are on a modified program, but that means that you have been through a rigorous process of supports and interventions in order to get to that point.
It also means that those low-key, non-squeaky wheel cats don’t slip through the cracks and you reach a point in March when they are failing and it’s almost impossible for them to get out of the hole they are in.
3) Differentiate more in math
– More differentiated homework based on their readiness
– More differentiated warm-ups
– More differentiated lessons based on formative check-ins throughout a unit (i.e. if a student shows that they don’t understand the lesson in a Ticket out the Door or a warm up, what alternative ‘paths’ can you help create in the class the following day?). You have started with the scaffolded worksheets, and small groups, but this has to be consistent. There has to be a steady culture of students showing proficiency at a given level before moving on, and when they don’t, we need to have systems in place!
4) Be tighter with student goal-setting and progress monitoring with students…especially struggling students
This comes from some of the recommended reading from my principal about helping to develop more intrinsic motivations for cats who are severely disengaged from school and shun the adaptive behaviors needed to do well.
From one of the things I am reading it says that I can help them engender the intrinsic and in turn not threaten them or cajole them with the extrinsic by having them set the goals and then realize the goals and feel good when they get there. You do a lot of that already, but maybe that can be more built into your behavior plans for cats and you can tighten up that process.
And make it more visual! Have graphs and maybe have students shade bars to mark progress and stuff like that. For example, one student was really proud to see his MAP score growth.
5) Maybe try to go to into more partner planning meetings of different content areas
At least stick with English, and try to get to the Math meetings if you can make it this year. But still keep rapping with them upon request, through email, during push-in classes, and “in the hallway”.
Also keep your participation up in the meetings, review all available docs (i.e. ATLAS, Google Drive, etc.), support during Resource class. Keep it moving!
6) No student will pass a unit summative assessment in one of the classes you are pushing into and not have the basics down at a proficient level
This is because historically there are some times where cats get passed through with a grade like a 74 and they really aren’t skilled at the skills they should be learning. But they passed and all parties just move forward.
But this year, through collaboration, push-in, resource, and other interventions I want all my students to have a legit understanding of all the content this year. Legit!
7) More assistive tech….(AT)
You eb and flow with this. Make it tight. Make it your hidden curriculum. Make it your explicit curriculum. Be a boss!
Get cats used to using things like voice to text, text to speech, spell prediction, etc. Do more of your Tech Talks!
8) Build relationships!
– be more empathic
– learn more of the names of the students in the classes you push into, and then use them explicitly when you’re working with them so they know you know.
– keep explaining to the students why you do certain consequences, interventions, actions (i.e. calling parents), etc.
– less focus on work at times and a little more chit chat about their sports, life, etc. This goes for when chatting with teachers too. You don’t have to be in work mode 24/7
– chat and make small comments to students while on duty, in the hallway, and maybe drop their name when you can (i.e. D in Washington couldn’t believe I remembered his name and he became a lot more open after that interaction and a bit goofy)
– release the tension in your face LOL. Meditation erday is helping.
– and keep doing the surveys at the beginning. It’s only week 2 and you have already dropped some sports and music references based on the info you gleaned and it’s helping build those relationships for real
9) Make sure ALL accommodations are in place
Some kids have a lot of accomms and it’s hard to sometimes keep them all in place.
And while my goal is to also make sure they are giving 100% effort whilst we are giving 100% for them, we also have to make sure we are doing all those small things like checking for understanding, reformatting assessments, highlighting key terms on a worksheet, etc.
It can take a lot of work to keep track of everything, and sometimes it feels a little futile when you put in a lot of work and the student doesn’t even use, or want to use the accommodation….but this is our job HAHA.
The goal is to knock out all the accommodations available before we have to resort to using modified approaches…
10) Math scores will be even better this year
Last year all the students on my caseload except for one passed 8th grade math. It was not easy, and many were failing for many months, but we got them all above the 70% threshold which is passing at my school. But this year I want them to have less assessment scores below 70% early on and I want to make sure students can do things like hit their goal of getting 80’s and above in all classes.
How will you know they are doing better
– Use last year’s progress monitoring Excel spreadsheet to compare assessment scores.
– Compare quarter grades from last year’s students to this years.
– Everyone on your caseload will pass math this year!
Sometimes I wonder about my role in a school.
Sometimes me and the gen ed teacher put in so much work for maybe just one student, or one small assignment for a class, and it makes me wonder. But my goal is that every student will pass. And my goal is that every student will grow.
I don’t want to be in a situation where a teacher jokes that students aren’t really getting it, but we move on. I don’t want to be working with a student this whole year and they are only growing minimally. None of that!
That’s why we work so hard. That’s why I have these goals this year.
I got my goals and I’m sticking to them!