This is actually a question, or two...with an implied vent.
Does your school or district mandate that all sped students be combined into one general ed classroom? What if there is a large number of sped students that year, or extremely needy students? Does that change anything?
Also, how is their placement decided? Principal choice? Sped teacher rec?
I have a feeling that I am looking at eight sped student placements this year or more if there are new enrollments or qualifiers (there always are). We have no aides and use the push-in model, usually an hour per day.
There are so many loopholes. I've seen one year there were 12/22 sped students in an inclusion room. All the sped/IEP students are placed in one classroom with an regular teacher and an inclusion teacher. The other students are usually the high students and are left to their own devices. The high kids end up teaching themselves, so the two teachers can focus on the other students. We have no pull-out and we hardly ever send a student to another placement.
My principal stays away from all class placements...
For the most part, all the CD kids are placed in one room and all the LD kids are placed in one room. However, this is much easier in the older grades, as in the primary grades, many of those kids are just going through the diagnostic process for LD...so it's not uncommon for there to be mixing at the lower grades with LD kids (some LD in one room, some LD in another).
How do we decide who gets what? New teachers and old teachers work together to do placements and the new year's teachers decide if they want LD or CD...their choice. It normally stays that away year after year. We have some teachers with cross-cat. licenses or inclusion emphasises, and those are the ones who usually take the CD.
There have been a few exceptions. Last year in my grade, there was an extra section (3 instead of 2). There was also a HUGE group of CD and LD, so one class took some LD, one took some CD, and then me being new got some of each. Another exception is in the classes that have low numbers for both (say only 2 or 3 total)...then they usually go into just 1 room, and again, the new year's teachers decide that.
When the numbers are managable, all IEP kids are placed in one homeroom to make it for feasible for the intervention teacher to be able to support them in the classroom. (We have to share intervention teachers with other grade levels, so the support they get is already limited.) I think the greatest number of IEP kids I've ever had in one class is 9.
Last year, the needs were so great, and the numbers were so high that we had them split among all 3 homerooms and I still had 7. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is it's pretty commonly done here.
Usually the placement is decided among the previous year's teachers, the next year's teachers, and the intervention teacher. Our principal is not a micromanager and trusts us to do what's best for kids.
where we either have a full time inclusion teacher per grade level or depending on numbers, we may have to share an inclusion teacher. 'Each grade level has their own aide. (This may change this year, though) They try to have no more than five students in an inclusion classroom. If there are more, they split them up. Also, if a student is found to be special ed mid-year, they may stay in their original classroom and be pulled out, rather than uproot the student.
Lately, the numbers of inclusion students have been high, so they are split into two classrooms. It may be that there are high needs students, and they try to split those between the two classrooms evenly. However, that doesn't always guarantee an even classroom, because new students are divided evenly in numbers, but it is often not possible to determine that a student is highly needy until after they have been placed.
In our school, if the students are in two classrooms, the grade level aide will split her time, and the special ed teacher will split her time as evenly as possible, usually in alternate classrooms.
I had that happen in one schol I was at. We had 5 teams (with 4 teachers on each team) and one teacher/team got all the Sped kids for each team. My first (and last) year in the building I got all the Sped kids for the kid--9/24 kids were SpEd. I had the SpEd para in my room for an hour a day and other than that I was on my own.
The principal made the decision based on?????
I think it sucks! I think that SpEd kids should be evenly distributed. It was NOT an inclusion model, kids were pulled out for resource.
I completely disagreed with how it was run, how it was decided, etc. I don't think it met the kids needs, it didn't meet their IEP goals, etc, and I wasn't able to meet all the students' needs in my class because more than a third of my kids had such high needs.
In all my other buildings the kids have been evenly distributed.
I always seem to get the special needs but this includes everything from LD to extreme behaviors. I have a special education minor but I am a generalist. I finally said something this year and was finally given an even distribution of students. I only really have an issue with getting most/all extreme behaviors.
We have no inclusion teacher- that would be awesome!
At my school the sped students are clustered together into a few gen ed classes so that way they only need a few pars for those rooms. (selfish, I know)
The year before last I was given the "sped team" because I was new and the lowest on the totem pole. (this is how our principal decided - who is newest and can be thrown under the bus). In my remediation English class EVERY student was either 504 or sped; in my regular English classes, 1/3 - 1/2 of the kids in every class were sped or 504. It was a very rough year and I am glad it's over.
We have been saying for years how unfair it is to "stack" classes with all the sped/504s, but our concerns fall on deaf ears. Luckily for me, there are at least 3 English teachers that are newer than me, so I guess they will get those classes now.
Last edited by missenglish; 07-24-2012 at 01:10 PM..
We cluster, too. Who wants this for their reg. ed kids? Not me and not the parents. I had 1/3 of my class last year as sped kids (our state max.) I had help for less than one hour a day and we don't do any pull out. The reg. ed kids get left behind and lost in the shuffle of the huge needs of the sped. kids. I could vent about this all day, but I made sure my own kids would not be in one of the cluster rooms in our school.
Not to hijack, but I think we also have to look at the grey area kiddos who receive no support because they don't qualify! Last year, because I was the extra section, I not only took overflow CD and LD, but I also had ALL of the grey area kids who didn't qualify for special ed. services. Next year because both of the LD and CD kids are in one room (1 and 1), I get ALL of the grey area kids (10+). These are kids who have been tested for LD and do not qualify (no discrepancy-low IQ, low achievement scores) and yet are not "low enough" for our math and reading support services because our district is really cutting back on this, they have to be REALLY low for this. Last year, I had a kid over 2 years behind in reading at the beginning of the year and he didn't qualify for any support because he wasn't one of the "lowest" in my class. At my school, you only get an aid if you LD or CD kiddos in your room. I will have neither, but all the grey area ones, which is 10+ kids out of 25-and no aid!
It all depends on the number of SpEd kids. Typically they try to group them because it's easier for para support and teacher push-in, but if there's a larger number or some need to be separated/are needier, then they are separated over two classrooms.
As far as who decides the placement, it's kind of a team decision-SpEd teachers and principal. Typically we are not asked if we would like SpEd, and it seems like they place kids with teachers who they feel will be a good fit (with keeping in mind not to put them with the same teacher for several years in a row if that person needs a break).
Yes, our district shoves them in to a regular ed classroom (appropriate placement or not). This is a 'soapbox' issue for me...as you now no longer have an inclusion classroom. What you have now, is a modified special environment.
At my school, we have no self-contained classrooms for SPED. So, the LRE is a Gen Ed class. In order to be fair to every team, the kids are split up evenly. Each team decides who gets what student. In our middle school (5th-8th), the only time our SPED kids are lumped together is for their core classes, unless their IEP says they don't need the minutes.
This year was difficult for us in 6th grade, because we had 15 SPEDs. Having them in core classes with our ELLs made us pull our hair out.
Are evenly as possible with input from the special ed teacher. Of course this year we will only have three classes at each level. Our principal and district are concerned that it will look like a special ed class when it is general ed. This past year I had two that were special ed. One teacher had three and the other teacher none. I don't think it's fair to the general ed students that have a class that is so weighted like that and it's certainly not fair to the teacher if there isn't a lot of support.