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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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Adding gen ed students to sped groups (long)
Old 08-09-2020, 09:09 PM
 
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In previous years, during grade level intervention blocks I agreed to take on gen ed students if they needed the skill my group was working on, while some of my identified students also participated in different groups based on skill need. The groups are fluid and change at least every 6 weeks.

For true sped pull out groups (not during an intervention block/students miss gen ed instruction) I have always put my foot down and said gen ed students can't just be added. They can be a "guest" only if we decide in an MTSS meeting to do that as a pre-referral intervention with parent consent. Otherwise, I feel like it becomes a slippery slope where tons of kids are basically receiving sped services with no documentation.

This year, there are no intervention blocks due to covid rules, so all services will be pull outs. Each cohort (1-2 grade levels) will be assigned one interventionist OR sped teacher. Interventionists will meet IEP minutes for kids in their assigned cohort (allowed under ESSA), but seeing as how they're not actually sped teachers and under no obligation to worry about documentation, they will also add gen ed students who need intervention.

Since I'm only working with 2 grade levels and many of our kids signed up for online, I currently have only 9 students I'll be doing direct services for (crazy, because I usually work with 35+). Obviously, I will look terrible in comparison if I say my cohort gets no intervention other than those 9 students. I also worry that I'll end up with tons of "free time" in my day and end up being stuck with far less desirable tasks such as subbing, pushing in, or dealing with meltdowns/severe behaviors in my cohort.

Do I say "this is a crazy year" and agree to take on other tier 3 kids, referring them to MTSS myself if I feel like they're a candidate for an actual IEP? Or keep insisting that they go through MTSS first? The issue is that it would be a very slow process as there is only 1 meeting per month, and there are only like 8 slots for all needs/all grade levels combined. OTOH, if I do this now, will it be too hard to "go back" in future years?

What do you think I should do?


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readandweep readandweep is offline
 
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How many end up in sped?
Old 08-10-2020, 02:18 AM
 
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In your experience how many of those regular ed kids do end up qualifying for special ed?

Do you think you will see more referrals with the learning loss around Covid?

I would think of it as a chance to get out ahead of possible new students.

Maybe it is because I live in an area where we have a case manager that runs IEP meetings, but I would rather take on more intervention/case load kids that to get pulled into dealing with severe behaviors.

Also, when Covid is over/calms down, if anyone tried to add more students who did not have IEPs you could honestly say "but that was during Covid."
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:57 AM
 
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I think it’s OK to include tier 3 students with the strong understanding on everyone’s part that this shift in services is due to the crazy reality you are currently in but will shift back when things return to normal. I would also want to avoid some of those less desirable tasks—best to use your skills on small group intervention as students need that now more than ever!
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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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Old 08-10-2020, 07:51 PM
 
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Thanks for the thoughts. I talked with my P today and she seemed less enthused with that idea than I thought. She said we'd look at the data and if there were kids that really fit in with mine, perhaps they could be added. I think she's underestimating how many kids that will be- we've been out of school for 5 months.

She thought it would be great if I could use extra time to "triple dip" my kids and just give them the most time as possible. Sure, I'd love to do that- but technically I'm not allowed to see them for more time than the IEP states.

In a previous district, we'd explain to parents that the minutes listed on the IEP were the minimum the child would receive, and I would schedule students for way more minutes than that. My current sped director is super serious about not "over serving" and making sure our kids have access to gen ed.

So I don't know if I should try to schedule my kids for more time "under the table" (can't imagine a scenario where sped director would find out) and just log the minutes on the IEP, or what. When we had the intervention blocks, my lowest kids would see an interventionist for that, which technically didn't have to be logged since the interventionist isn't a sped teacher, and then get the time on the IEP from me in a separate pull out block. I'm wondering if maybe I can get away with saying one block with me is an "intervention block" that's a gen ed time/same as pushing in (possibly if classroom is doing small groups at that time?) and one time is their pull out minutes.

Otherwise I think I get stuck pushing in. Not only do I totally hate that and think it's a giant waste of my skills, but also seems far more risky with the virus. I would be exposed to 100+ kids with going into full classrooms.
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Assignment support?
Old 08-11-2020, 07:26 AM
 
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This is a very old-school suggestion and may no longer be best practice, but could you set up office hours for teachers to send kids who are struggling with or need more support with independent practice/work?

That way you are supporting general ed but not exposing yourself to the other kids.

I say old-school because when I student taught and my first years of teaching there seemed to be some teachers that thought this was what resource was for in elementary.


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Old 08-11-2020, 03:30 PM
 
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Oh, I should have known better than to make plans . Just received a message that everything is changing literally as I was typing my reply here.

Readandweep, I was going to say that I really like that suggestion. It would be useful but much safer as well, and would avoid the "standing around watching the teacher teach" that sometimes happens during push in. Thanks anyway for the good idea.

Quote:
I say old-school because when I student taught and my first years of teaching there seemed to be some teachers that thought this was what resource was for in elementary.
I laughed because I know exactly what you mean. In my first position, when I picked up kids teachers were constantly trying to send work and asking if I "had something planned." Umm yes, I plan my lessons just like you do. I distinctly remember one asking me when I would ever have time for the child to bring some reading packet they did every day. She was pretty miffed when I told her we would never have time for that...
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My Motto has always been...
Old 08-13-2020, 12:49 PM
 
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to take care of IEP students first. That means in past years when I had large groups, there were instances when I would have to decline additions from reg. ed. or even drop a reg. ed. student when I have another IEP student added to my caseload.

It sounds like with remote learning you're able to. Even with 15 students this past spring, I still took on a few reg. ed. kids. So, if you're able, go for it. If not, don't feel the guilt. Heck, we have enough guilt thrown at us lately anyway.
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That would not fly here, even with Covid...
Old 08-16-2020, 10:27 AM
 
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I am not sure if it is a State thing, Federal, Title I or what, but I am requires to sign a paper each year stating that 100% of my instructional time was/is spent with SpEd students only.

Some of the grants I receive for my classroom also say that I will use the products purchased by them 100% for SpEd only.

When a colleague was assigned as half time interventionist/half time SpEd, she had two separate contracts for each part of her day and it was clearly defined that the two halves where independent of each other.

In my state, RTI is a general ed initiative, not SpEd so we don't get offically involved until the child is official referred for evaluation.
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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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Old 08-16-2020, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
I am not sure if it is a State thing, Federal, Title I or what, but I am requires to sign a paper each year stating that 100% of my instructional time was/is spent with SpEd students only
I used to be required to sign a similar paper- something about acknowledging spending 100% of my time dedicated to the education of students with disabilities. I asked when we first started our intervention block and my sped director said that I was covered as long as at least one student in the group had an IEP- that was still "spending 100% of my time with students with disabilities" or whatever. For whatever reason, I haven't been asked to sign that paper in years.

Once ESSA was passed and interventionists were allowed to meet IEP minutes, that really made things better for me. Back in the day when kids with IEPs were only with me, sometimes my intervention group would have 9 kids because they all legally had to be there while the title 1 groups had 3 kids . Now things are much more equitable and groups are more homogeneous because they're based on skill need and not label. When the interventionists are taking my kids I don't feel like I can turn around say I won't take others, especially within those intervention blocks where all of the kids are shared anyway.
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Update
Old 08-16-2020, 11:37 AM
 
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Well, for now we are back to the original plan where I am only doing actual instruction with 1st and 2nd grade. I'll spare you the details.

I made my schedule and I actually did fill up the whole day with groups- considering I now need 10 minutes in between because the room has to be sanitized between each group. I also added on 5 minutes to each group because students have to wash their hands coming to and leaving the group, and I have to "sign in" to each classroom every time I pull kids for contact tracing.

Because grade levels no longer have the same specials time (again, I'll spare you the details) I also had to split things up by class rather than taking say a 2nd grade group with kids from multiple rooms like I normally do.

One "group" is 1:1- and ironically, that's the kid that needs it the least. She happened to be the only one in that class with an IEP. So I plan on saying 3 others could join her. I have a couple of other groups with 2 kids and I will plan on saying 1-2 others will join. Since our school psych is now in charge of MTSS (don't get me started- more covid plans) it will be easy for me to say so and so really needs to be on the schedule if I think we should be doing the referral process.


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