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Quality Teacher & Education Act Impact & Innovation Awards 2013

INNOVATIVE PRACTICE
Rationale / Priority (250 words) When SFUSD called for increased "inclusive practice" in service delivery models for students with disabilities, Sherman staff members looked with fresh eyes at the historically accepted yet out of date service options for our students with disabilities. Previously, Sherman had four special day classes (SDCs), providing separate, rigid learning opportunities for students whose needs fell within the broad umbrella of "speech and language disability." Forty-eight students with disabilities learned within these classrooms, learning in an almost entirely separate social and academic sphere from the rest of the student body. Our special education (SpEd) staff consisted of four SDC teachers, eight paraprofessionals, and an RSP teacher who served students in general education with an "RSP" designation. We recognized that teaching our students with disabilities in these rigid settings did not meet the district imperative for inclusiveness, federal requirements for providing students with the "least restrictive learning environment (LRE)," or even our commitment as educators to ensure that all of our students receive the highest quality education.

Strategies that were Implemented (250 words)

SFUSD did not provide a roadmap for improving inclusive practices. In order to make the necessary changes, we had to build a new model from the ground up. Instead of making minor adjustments, as many schools did, we chose to completely overhaul our special education program. We built a program that provides a flexible model of service delivery: services provided and IEPs change as student needs change. Designing and implementing this model required creative thinking, ongoing collaboration among staff and administration, and truly responsive teaching. In order to provide the full range of inclusive opportunities we had to enact fundamental changes. The first cruc when we moved past established programs we found that half of our students with disabilities should receive se

Our SpEd team came together in a series of collaborative meetings to restructure our model. We used student I parents to determine the LRE for every individual student. Instead of fitting SpEd services into existing schedule schedule and class lists based upon student need. We established a flexible special education staffing model, wh constantly re-evaluated again based on ever-changing student need.

Sherman's teaching staff pushed themselves to grow professionally and to take on these flexible roles. For many teaching between general education and special education colleagues. These teachers share all aspects of teach behavior management. Other SpEd teachers provide a range of services across the day-- from push-in support f The entire Sherman community was engaged to implement this model. The SpEd team provided trainings for the entire staff on the need for and the methodology of inclusive practices. School-wide best practices were collaboratively established for differentiation and behavior, with teams engaging in ongoing learning. Teacher teams provided informational sessions for families to explain changes and answer questions.

Quality Teacher & Education Act Impact & Innovation Awards 2013 Implementation factors: # people: - entire staff had to be on board - leadership team of Special Educators - of 61 students with disabilities, now 37 learn with support full time in general education.

# hours: (program design/redesign) - 5 hrs at the end of each school year - 3 hrs at the beginning of each school year (ongoing evaluation) - 1 hr monthly special education team meetings - 15 mins collaboration time at montly staff meetings - ongoing training and collaboration between teachers

Cost estimate: Cost neutral

Other(s): - investment & mindset: for this model to work, the entire community has to be invested in its success. Teachers need to be willing to learn and collaborate and be supported to do so.

Demonstrated Application & Measurable Outcomes (400 words)

This model redesign was targeted at improving our service delivery model for our students with disabilities, who make up approximately 15% of Sherman's student body. However, it had a profound impact upon the learning of all of our students and the teaching of all of our staff members. Previously most of our students with disabilities learned and played in entirely separate social and academic settings. Today many of these boundaries have been erased. Over 60% of our students with identified disabilities now learn full time in general education classrooms with support from special education teachers and paraprofessionals. Students who receive most instruction in special day classes attend enrichments with general education peers. The most powerful demonstration of the impact of this model can be seen in our data. The 2012-2013 roster of special education students at Sherman has shown dramatic growth in test scores from 2011 to 2013, in both English Language Arts and Math. The percentage of students with IEPs who scored proficient on the CST increased from 8% in 2011 to 25% in 2013 in ELA. The growth was even more dramatic in the CST in Math, where the percent of students with IEPS who scored proficient increased from 25% in 2011 to 71% in 2013. Dramatic growth was seen as well for students who took the California Modified Assessment (CMA). Between 2012 and 2013, student proficiency on the CMA increased from 20% to 36% in English Language Arts, and 67% to 79% in Math. These enormous academic gains for our students can only be attributed to our overhaul of our service delivery model. The impact of inclusion can clearly be seen as well on the Sherman play yards. Students with disabilities who were previously stigmatized and ostracized now play with friends from the entire student body. Students with disabilities attend all field trips and school assemblies. It is no longer possible for an observer to look out at the yard, or into a classroom, and identify which students have an IEP. Additionally, it clear that our flexible and responsive teaching model has had an impact on the learning of the entire school. General education teachers are applying improved strategies for differentiation in their classrooms even if no students with disabilities are present. Collaboration between colleagues is
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Quality Teacher & Education Act Impact & Innovation Awards 2013 reaching an even more advanced level, resulting in increased success for all of our students.

Sharing Best Practice (250 words)

Every SFUSD school has been mandated to implement "inclusive practices," and the district has been working hard to provide a model that works. Federal special education law and SFUSD mandate inclusive practice, however providing real, supported opportunities for inclusion can be a struggle. Our model, grounded in innovation, flexibility and responsive teaching, has been enormously successful and we believe it can be successful at other school sites. The first step in shifting practice at Sherman was shifting mindsets. We believe that this can happen if other school sites see our inclusion model functioning at Sherman and encounter our data. Sherman is more than willing to share this practice: whether with staff from other school sites attending visiting days or special education teams coming to meet and collaborate with our special education team. Sherman can share the materials it has designed around inclusion and collaborative, reflexive teaching. We believe in our model of service delivery as a step that is both actionable and just. It is possible to implement at other schools if the time for collaboration and planning is provided and if the community can get on board. In implementing our model, we believe that Sherman has taken an enormous step towards ensuring a quality and just education for all of our students, particularly students with disabilities.