Special Education Support
The Special Education and support staff at Evergreen Charter School is team of educators who are dedicated to meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of each student through a multi-sensory approach to learning. Evergreen Charter School is one that prides itself on differentiating instruction to meet the specific learning styles of each and every one of their students. Evergreen Charter School believes that each student has a different, unique style of learning. It is Evergreen’s goal to identify each student’s learning style so that the curriculum and academic content can be presented in a way that is easily understood by the students. To ensure that this goal is achieved, lessons are presented to meet the visual, auditory and kinesthetic (tactile) learners.
At Evergreen Charter School, it is our vision that all students are provided with the tools they need to succeed emotionally, socially, physically and academically. We believe that while most schools seek to identify areas of weakness in a student, we aim to identify the areas of strength and teach toward them. For this reason, teachers at Evergreen Charter School are provided with the most relevant professional development on a weekly basis. Professional development provided to the teachers comes from Aussie: Partners in Professional Development. The Aussie consultants coach our teachers weekly in the areas of Literacy and Mathematics. They provide teachers with the tools and resources necessary to provide differentiated instruction to the students as well as observe teachers in the classroom and provide them with constructive feedback. Additionally, the special education teacher works closely with Evergreen’s teachers, modeling teaching strategies and techniques for working with students of varying abilities. She provides teachers with manipulatives to ensure that learning is presented to meet needs of the visual, auditory and tactile learners.
Screening: Child Study meetings are held weekly to discuss the progress of our students. The team is made up of the special education teacher, classroom teacher, school social worker, data and learning specialist as well as both the assistant principal and building principal. Other teachers such as Physical Education, English as a Second Language (ESL,) Reading and Math specialist are invited to attend. It is an opportunity for teachers to discuss student progress and concerns. When a child is brought up to the child study team, we make it our mission to look at the entire student. The team takes a close look at the student’s academic achievement, functional performance as well as their learning characteristics. The students’ social-emotional and physical development are reviewed as well. Collaboratively, the team identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each student and creates a plan of action to best support the students’ learning.
Testing: When a student is referred to the child study team by the classroom teacher and/or learning specialist, the student then undergoes a variety of assessments. Assessments administered include, but are not limited to:
The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS): An assessment which evaluates student reading and comprehension ability with a reliable and universal screening. This system allows us to collect, analyze, record and share data on individual and class progress over time. It is aligned to Leveled Literacy Intervention, and determines each child’s instruction level for guided reading according to the Fountas & Pinnell A-Z Text Level Gradient for guided reading. (Fountas and Pinnell)
Journeys Diagnostics: Aligned to the New York State Common Core Standards, the Comprehensive Screening Assessment is group-administered assessment that provides initial screening of the previous year’s skills for comprehension, vocabulary, language arts, decoding, and writing. It also includes passages for comprehension screening and an optional group spelling screening. The Diagnostic Assessment is individually administered assessment that provides diagnosis of basic reading skills. It includes passages for reading comprehension check. (Houghton Mifflin)
Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT – R3): An assessment used to measure a students’ reading ability. It is comprised of 200 words ranging in degree of difficulty. Words are presented in groups of 20 words beginning from Pre-primer continuing through high school level vocabulary.
IOWA: The IOWA is a third party state approved assessment aligned to the Common Core. It measures the national percentile in all content areas. The assessment measures our students’ performance and compares it to the national average.
Data Based Decision Making: Through careful analysis of the students’ results on the IOWA assessment, grade level Journeys Reading assessments, teacher made assessments, and the student’s performance on the tests listed above, at risk students are identified as candidates for intervention.
Parent Involvement: Evergreen believes that students and their parents must be viewed as active participants in the planning process. It is Evergreen’s responsibility as well as the responsibility of the students’ home district to inform parents of their rights. Therefore, parents must give their consent for formal evaluation by the home school district and should be invited to participate in any conferences held on behalf of their child.
A parent/ guardian and/ or Evergreen Charter School can make a referral to have the student evaluated by the home district; however, parental consent is required. The home district has to acknowledge the evaluation of the request within 90 school days. Batteries of tests and evaluations administered by the home district include:
- Psychological evaluation
- Evaluation by Speech and Language Pathologist
- Evaluation by Occupational Therapist
- Evaluation by Physical Therapist
Once all testing is completed, at no cost to the parent, a meeting is held at the home district. Parents are to be provided with advanced, written notice and are required to attend. Others required in attendance include: Evergreen’s special education teacher, data specialist, the students’ classroom teacher and support service providers directly working with the student and an administrator.
Based on the results of the above mentioned tests and evaluations, as well as detailed documentation of RTI, a student may be eligible for special education services which will be documented in the form of an individualize education plan (IEP). Student who may not qualify for special education services may be entitled to special accommodations documented in the form of a 504 Plan.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP): Students who qualify for the learning disabilities classification are entitled to a formal plan that describes how the school will support the students’ educational needs. This is a legally binding document that states exactly what special education services the student will receive and why. It will include the students’ classification, placement, and services. The IEP contains annual goals that the student will be expected to achieve by the end of the year. The IEP is planned with parental involvement at special education meeting taking place in the students’ home district. Any services a student qualifies for will be provided by the students’ home district at no cost to the parent/guardian. Students will receive these services in Evergreen Charter School unless the student requires an academic setting which Evergreen Charter School is unable to provide i.e. Self-contained classroom or integrated inclusive classrooms.
504 Plan: A 504 plan explains the accommodations and modifications that will be needed for students with a physical or mental impairment to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers. Physical or mental impairments are those which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This can include illnesses or injuries; diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; physical impairments; and learning problems.
Services Provided By Home District On An IEP May Include:
- Speech and Language: The service provider will aim to strengthen proficiency in the use of all forms of communication, comprehension and expression of spoken and written language, as well as the development of thinking and reasoning skills.
- Occupation Therapy: Occupational therapy is designed to maintain, improve, or restore function of students in all education-related activities, including neuro-musculoskeletal function, motor function including fine motor, oral motor and visual motor integration, sensory and perceptual function, cognitive, and psychosocial function. Activities emphasize independence in daily living skills and school participation in various settings including classroom, bathroom, cafeteria, and playground.
- Physical Therapy: According to the NYS Department of Education, physical therapy emphasizes physical function of gross motor skills and independence in different settings. Physical therapists increase a student’s ability to participate in various school functions by remediating or compensating for musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, or cardiopulmonary impairments. Physical therapists employ various techniques including addressing deficits in body structure and function, suggesting adaptations to physical tasks, recommending assistive devices, and adapting the environment.
- Resource Room: The resource room service provides supplementary instruction focusing on compensatory and organizational skills acquisition. This helps student meet the daily demands of the general education classroom setting.
- Behavior Intervention Plans: A plan written by the home district school psychologist. It identifies underlying reasons for undesired behaviors exhibited by the student. The plan states specific strategies teachers should use to decrease the undesired behavior and encourage more positive behaviors.
Accommodations on a 504 Plan or IEP May Include:
- Preferential Seating
- Separate Testing Location
- Tests read
- Extended Time on Test and Assignments
- Modified assignments
- Assistive technologies such as FM Trainer (device used to aid students who have difficulty hearing various sound frequencies.