Equity and Alternative Strategies of Support (DRAFT)
Even with the best research-based practices in place, there are groups of students who will need specialized approaches and alternative instructional options to address their needs regardless of the reopening model. Long-term support strategies are critical to the success of any reopening plan for student group populations unable to attend school due to ongoing health risks and those who may not thrive in a virtual/distance learning program.
Each student’s IEP team will reconvene to review the student’s needs, goals, services, and level of engagement in the online/distance learning environment to consider a Continuing Education plan. Alternative materials, methods of support, and interaction strategies should be put in place to help mitigate the impact on students. IEP meetings to discuss Continuing Education needs for students with the most significant needs will be held first. All other IEP meetings will follow.
- Special education staff will be trained in COVID-19 safety protocols.
- Instruction - Students who receive mainstream instruction, in-class support, or co-teach instruction will continue to participate in the general education curriculum with their individualized accommodations/modifications being implemented by the special education teacher. Students who receive resource instruction will have access to modified general education curriculum at their instructional level. Students who are on an alternate curriculum will receive instruction of prerequisite skills at their instructional level. Manipulatives, charts/graphs, hands-on materials will be provided to parents should a closure occur. Special education teachers will provide direct instruction via a district selected platform.
- Parent video training sessions on the special education platforms will occur early in the school year. Should a closure occur prior to the start of school; video training sessions will be provided via Google Meet or Zoom.
- Related and/or Other Services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and/or vision services) will be provided via telehealth, telepractice and/or teletherapy. Some related and/or other services such as vision, orientation and mobility, and adapted physical education may be provided via consultation and not as a direct service. If the students are receiving in-person instruction, therapies will be provided in person as well.
- Student devices will be sent home with students should a closure occur.
- PreK students and students with special needs served in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) would attend four days for Be with us HERE (In-person) Instruction. Be with us at HOME learning is an option upon parent request during enrollment.
- Special education support staff will all receive training on virtual methods of service delivery.
- All therapists will participate in telepractice training.
- Parent training with therapists regarding strategies and techniques will occur early in the school year. Should a closure occur prior to the start of school; training will be provided via Google Meet or Zoom.
- Students who receive mainstream instruction, in-class support, or co-teach instruction will be assessed by methods determined by curriculum and instruction with their individualized accommodations/modifications being implemented by the special education teacher.
- Students who receive resource instruction will be assessed by curriculum-based tests, STAR, CBAs, semester exams, standards-based tests.
- Students who are on an alternate curriculum will be assessed by STAR goal-based activities, IEP goal data, parent reporting, and other Dynamic Learning Maps resources.
- Regression will be addressed through IEP meetings.
- Most IEP goals can be addressed through distance learning. If current goals cannot be addressed through distance learning (walking from classroom to cafeteria, interacting with a peer, positioning at a desk, etc.) the IEP team will outline a plan (walk 400 ft, interact with parent/sibling, positioning at the kitchen table, etc) utilizing Continuing Education plans.
- Manipulatives, charts/graphs, hands-on materials will be provided to parents should a closure occur. Special education teachers will provide direct instruction via a district selected platform.
- Special education transportation services will be provided as written in the IEP for in-person services.
- Additional PPE for staff and additional sanitization procedures in the classroom since these students will be unable to practice social distancing or wear PPE will be provided for Be with us HERE (in-person) services.
Language Minority Families and ELL Students
BSD will be utilizing a support service to ensure that all teachers and staff have fast and efficient communication with families who speak a language other than English. Additionally, all English learners are connected with their ESL teacher as a case manager and advocate for their access and support in the online environment. We take measures to mitigate language gaps and support appropriate language acquisition. Special care will need to be taken in developing a master schedule which allows for language support in the various plans proposed.
Economically Disadvantaged Students
The generosity from the community and the Belton Education Foundation supported the purchase of several internet hot spots during the spring closure. However, we learned participation in online instruction can be a challenge when parents work multiple jobs. We also understand many of our families live in areas where internet service is neither available nor consistent. We will continue to research alternative options and additional layers of instructional support for students who need it.
Early Childhood/Preschool Students
Distance Learning for our youngest learners who have not yet acquired the developmental skills to be engaged in an online forum presents a significant obstacle. Our early childhood staff have provided hands-on activities and learning packets to families as an alternative. The focus of distance learning for preschool students requires intensive collaboration with parents, including coaching for parents.
Parents as Teachers will continue their visits virtually for the near future.