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Haley23 07-05-2020 01:58 PM

Update to "questions for pull out teachers"
I've gotten a little bit of information from my district. They are putting together plans for fully remote, hybrid, and fully in person. Almost all districts in the area have announced they're going back fully in person, at least for elementary. Mine isn't announcing until late July because they're afraid plans will change.

It looks like they want kids with IEPs clustered to minimize exposure between cohorts. In some grade levels that would be almost half of the class with IEPs if we have to put them all in one, and it would mean completely redoing the class lists teachers spent a long time on this spring. Sigh.

It looks like our intervention block model won't be happening. They want the groups that are happening to be on a consistent schedule and the groupings not to change. Okay, I can just see my IEP kids I guess, but what happens when new kids get identified? And what happens when someone from a non-sped cohort class gets identified? Do they move gen ed classes? Are we going to accept that kids aren't going to make as much progress because of these safety modifications, or per usual are teachers going to be just expected to work miracles?

If we do pull out, the room must be sanitized between each group. My previous schedules definitely did not allow time between groups for cleaning. I'd have to either cut IEP minutes (we know that will never fly) to make time in the schedule or make the groups bigger in order to still meet minutes yet have time in between groups.

If we do remote services, it looks like there is an expectation that they will be "live" via zoom. That worked really well for the couple of kids whose parents agreed to that this spring. 2 kids out of 25. Again, sigh.

The suggestion is that students in self-contained attend every day if we do a hybrid model. They would be assigned to one gen ed cohort and only attend gen ed activities on the days that cohort is attending.

We got lucky and didn't have to make changes to IEPs this spring. Now it looks like we will be adding "remote learning plans" to IEPs. Great.

elspeech 07-05-2020 02:43 PM

Interesting how different places do things. I've been in 2 schools in my district and they've both had all / most IEP students in one class, unless there were unusually high numbers, in which case they were split between two classes. I think much of that may have started due to the push for push-in services. It has actually worked well in both of the schools. In my current school the K, 1st and 2nd grade teachers with the SPED students have stayed the same, while the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades change out which teacher has those students each year.

The only time it really changes is if there are several "high-needs" / behavior students in a grade, in which case they are split up.

We generally have 3 teachers at each grade, with a high ELL population, so one of the other teachers at each grade level gets most of the ELL students.

Overall, it seems to work well, so the SPED and ELL teachers really only have to collaborate and concentrate on 1 class.

WalkDontRun 07-05-2020 03:18 PM

So my first thought is I’m so glad I decided to retire this year! Putting all SPED students in one classroom per grade level is a very short term solution as you well know because students are identified throughout the year and most likely will be in different classrooms. My group going into 4th grade is super tough and need to be separated for the good of everyone. Is the gen ed teacher getting additional support (para maybe) to support the high level of needs? Are you being given additional support?

Our strong union would probably fight grouping SPED students in one classroom per contract, but then again I know they are looking for “creative” solutions.

Bigger groups or fewer minutes—neither is ideal and I can’t imagine the pushback and paperwork to reduce minutes. Can you even do bigger groups with the need to social distance?

Nothing is ever easy in SPED! Please take extra good care of yourself, you can only do so much even in the best of circumstances.

Haley23 07-05-2020 11:19 PM

Extra support LOL. The education budget was cut by 15% in my state, and we were already incredibly underfunded. I honestly can't believe they didn't get rid of the 2nd sped position at my school. I know for a fact that we have similar numbers to other schools in the district that only have one teacher.

Honestly I think social distancing is just not going to happen. Six feet even with a hybrid model isn't possible unless maybe kids come just 1 day per week or something, and then there is the issue of actually getting kids to stay apart all day. My district wants to have a plan in place for all scenarios, but hybrid models around here have fallen way out of favor as they were very poorly received by both parents and teachers.

It's exactly right that clustering kids is going to be very temporary unless they move kids into the "sped cluster" every time a kid gets identified- which will make things even harder on the one unlucky teacher who already has half of her class on an IEP. A few times we've tried the cluster idea with certain grade level cohorts that happen to have low sped numbers for whatever reason. It's always ruined by October with new kids moving in with IEPs we don't know about right away and new identifications.

One of my major concerns is that different kids will be quarantining at different times. The idea behind the cohorts is that if someone in Ms. Smith's class gets it, only Miss Smith's class has to quarantine and not the whole building. Firstly, does anyone care that I've also been exposed to Miss Smith's class and in turn exposed the other classes I work with? Do I have to quarantine every time a class I work with does? Even if I don't, I'll then be dealing with teaching some of my students online while others are still there in person. District has said teachers won't be doing both at once/there will be dedicated online teachers. In the cohort scenario, a gen ed teacher may have to teach online if her cohort is quarantined, but will only be doing that, not in person also.

I also have major concerns that none of this will be taken into consideration as far as expectations with academic data. We'll be expected to get the same results even though it's impossible to teach the way I'm used to AND do all of these safety precautions at the same time.

Enjoy your retirement! That was good timing!

readandweep 07-06-2020 12:11 PM

Yeah, that hybrid model is what I fear. What about student privacy? :)

We did remote learning plans this spring and were actually encouraged to make goals as vague as possible and to be very realistic about possible minutes that student could do work.

It was a big CYA and parents also had to option to refuse remote services.

Some overachievers made very detailed and elaborate goals and were abruptly shot down. A lot of them literally read something like "math concepts 15 minutes per week."

Haley23 07-06-2020 11:02 PM

I really hope our remote plans are like that! In the spring my director originally was insistent that we meet all of the minutes on the original IEPs. I pointed out that made no sense because the gen ed hours had been significantly reduced. Not only was the school day reduced to 4 days per week, but teachers were only supposed to be sending a few hours of work each day. She wasn't buying it until I said it would change LRE if we didn't lower our time with students as well.

Now she's saying remote services need to be "scheduled with the family." To me, that sounds like 1:1. If that's going to happen, the minutes are going to have to be significantly reduced as there aren't enough hours in the day. No way can I coordinate 5-6 families to all agree on a time for their group to meet via zoom. Not that I expect most students to show up for those anyway...

Some of our related service providers did the zoom services last time, but they only see each of their students for 30 minutes per week even in a regular school schedule. Meanwhile my kids see me for 3-5 hours per week. I also know that they would often have a decent number of kids sign up for time slots for zoom services, but then not show.

readandweep 07-07-2020 03:50 AM

Yeah, I am not sure if our RLPs will change if/when we do remote learning again. The big thing was to make sure we offered parents the option so they could not come back and sue later.

Our special ed administrators could barely keep up with doing IEP meetings remotely.

As far as our scheduling 1:1 meetings, our union fought for us to have set hours during remote learning.

A lot of parents in my building were essential workers and even if they wanted to participate, they could only be available during evening hours. Even regular ed was told the kids could not Zoom without a parent around.

I noticed my students that did do the work posted it in the evening or on the weekends.

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