Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Redesign the redesign

The first year I taught in Oregon was the first year my school switched to an inclusive model for their middle school behavior programs. Previously, it was a self contained model in which the students spent all day in the same special ed class. The redesign has been working well at my school. However, there are some strains in the system due to the set up of general ed here. There are 6 academic teams, 2 at every grade level (6th-8th). Generally, students with IEPs are spread out evenly over the teams to avoid ability grouping and over-burdening a teacher with a group of really needy students. That works well for most students with disabilities because their case managers only work with 2 teams each. However, my students are spread out evenly too which means I have students on 6 different teams. This makes delivering service difficult, as you can imagine.
I met with the principal today to discuss a new design for the behavior program for next year. Since there are 3 staff members in the behavior program (myself and two assistants) and 3 grade levels, I proposed that we group the students onto three teams only and that each of us work almost exclusively with one team. That way we could attend all of the classes our students go to as well as well as all of the team meetings and we could even help teachers prepare for classes by planning curricula that is inclusive. Furthermore, we can move to a co-teaching model so that we're not just standing around in the classes we support waiting for someone to need help. We can be an active participant in the teaching.
I know what the teachers are going to say - we don't want all of the behavior students in our classes, we want them spread out. I hope they see the benefit of having another adult with them at all times. I'm guessing that this gets shot down though.

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