Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Principal's Suggestion Box #1

These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make some adjustments. Principals have the best chance to do that.

Dear Principal,

You probably don't know me. I sub for the Special Ed. classes. Everything's okay, but I would like to ask for a little more information in the lesson plans. The instructional assistants (who are very nice and helpful) usually tell me who the difficult kids will be (for example, who is likely to throw a tantrum or a chair), but isn't there supposed to be a behavior plan or something? I would like to try to keep things consistent for the students. I was told I wasn't on the list to read the IEP.

I'm okay. For a retired teacher I'm pretty spry, and caught the stapler midair. I hope the referral was written adequately.

Rather Shaken Substitute

The best resource concerning the legalities of Special Education is the site Wrightslaw 

Here is a quote from the page on Discipline & Discipline Problems:

Discipline is a hot topic. When the federal special education law was passed in 1975, Congress found that most handicapped children were not receiving an appropriate education - and that millions of children were excluded from school altogether.
Students miss classes every day because of suspensions and expulsions, sometimes for only a minor infraction. Office for Civil Rights data shows that minority students and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted.
Today, schools continue to suspend and expel students with disabilities for behavior caused by their disabilities. If you are advocating for a child with behavior problems, the articles and resources collected on this page will help.

Other resources:

Positive Behavioral Supports and the Law

Substitute Teachers Gain National Voice

 Substitute Teachers Gain National Voice

Routines help children with special needs 

My suggestion: Have a specific section in the lesson plans that indicate special interventions with students that have behavior needs but not necessarily include the exact section from the IEP. If a student has history of tantrums or violent outbursts he/she needs a Behavior Support Plan, and a substitute definitely needs input from the classroom teacher in writing, not instructions from an instructional assistant.

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