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6 Things Special Education and Title I Have in Common and 1 Thing They Should

Virtually the same SPED & Title Support

From a teaching standpoint, there is little difference in what these two groups of teachers do.

6 things Special Education and Title I practices have in common:

  1. Isolation of skill gaps

  2. Depth of gap assessment

  3. Learning progression analysis

  4. Lesson planning from students gap entry point

  5. Progress monitoring

  6. Goal achievement

Example, material that is used for skill building math with 2 digit addition would be the same for both a Special Education Student with a specific learning disability and Title 1 students. Worksheets, progress monitoring, and assessments will all be almost identical.

So with this... Why are school administration teams separating these teachers at the school level? Two groups of teachers doing the same job but are not paired for lesson planning or professional learning communities (PLCs). Why are most Title teachers not given the tools or knowledge to isolated then target missing skill like a SPED teacher? Well that does not sound efficient, does it?

The bottom line is ... "a skill gap is a skill gap".

How they occur may be different but how they are backfilled and scaffolded can be very similar.

Using the logic behind smart goals for Title I just makes sense

Think of a smart goal as a promise between the school, teacher, student and parent where each agrees to do their part to progress the student's learning in required fluency.

The school promises to provide resources for differentiation and accommodation to different learning styles

  • The teacher promises to teach, pace and progress monitor each step of the way

  • The student promises to work hard and persevere through challenges

  • The parent promises to provide home support and additional practice times when challenges arise

Why setting IEP type skill gap goals for Title 1 students will work

Every intervention goal starts with an assessment to determine where exactly student skill gap resides and it's exact depth. Knowing that a student has difficulty adding and subtracting is not sufficient enough to make an appropriate smart goal with learning objectives. You must know what skills precede or lead up to the skill you trying to build. How far back does the student need to go before finding some foundation skills to start rebuilding from?

For example, if a student is having difficulty with adding two numbers up to three digits

453 + 764 = which is a third-grade math skill, an appropriate standards-based smart goal would have the following learning progression taken into account.

Base Skill > Learning Progression > Mastery

  • step one - regroup tens and ones

  • step two - add a two digit and one digit number with regrouping

  • step three - add two two-digit numbers with regrouping

  • step four - add two numbers up to three digits

The experts agree

All Title I teachers surveyed for this article agreed that, if their students could be progressed with pinpoint accuracy in the exact skills required to meet grade-level standards, teachers would have the advantage of knowing how to scaffold the learner appropriately without deviating into learning clusters that may be more tertiary in nature. The more accurate and focused each student goal is the higher the RTI numbers will climb. This is a win-win situation for all involved but mostly a win for the student.

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