Aug. 5, 2019

Exceptional Ed Teacher Pre-planning

Let's bet, if you are an exceptional education teacher (we used to call ourselves Special Ed Teachers), then your pre-planning week may look a bit different. If you are a co-teacher, you may not even have a classroom. I am fortunate enough this year to have my own room, but bulletin boards and files aside, there is just not as much classroom readiness involved as my fellow content teachers. Besides all of the pre-scheduled meetings and trainings, open house and team building activities, I have created a list of things I need to get done during this precious time before my kids arrive. This is what I need.

  • Complete names of students under my case management and all of their services, service providers and times served
  • Complete names of students I will be teaching (these may seem like the same thing, but I don't always teach students in my case management, and I also teach and provide accommodations for students identified as ESOL, Section 504, some RTI and ex ed under someone else's case management)
  • Complete names of any other students that will be in my co-taught classes, since we work as a team and serve all of the students in our general ed setting
  • For each of these students, I need their date of birth, parent/guardian contact information, address, bus numbers if applicable, bus drivers' names, the area(s) that qualifies them for supports or accommodations (thats the ex ed eligibility such as SLD, OHI, and the other areas of qualification such as ESOL, Secion 504, and RTI), the segment(s) I will directly serve them, or whether they are gifted or general ed
  • I also need to know if any of the students have medical conditions that I need to be aware of
  • I list each student with a Behavior Intervention Plan and include a copy of each plan
  • I also like to make some sort of note of any affiliations each student has such as band, chorus, sports, cheerleading, dancing, drama, art (both in and out of school). With this one I may need to add items as time goes along
  • I set up a sheet with each student, their classroom accommodations, their testing accommodations and any transition needs
  • On a separate sheet, I make a list of each student's goals, both academic and transition goals, their due dates and methods, their success expectations and methods of collecting this data. I will keep my data collection sheets with these as they are completed
  • I will copy and paste this data into segments and/or subjects I will pull the students for small group instruction or testing
  • I create a documentation log folder to document each date and time I serve a student outside of the typical setting (for me that is usually In-School Suspension)
  • I create a documentation log folder to document each date, time and reason I contact a student's parent/guardian
  • A list of my caseload IEP beginning and ending dates

By taking my time now to get as much of this data collected and organized, I find it simplifies my life immeasureably. Now for you techies, yes, yes, yes, I KNOW all of this is typically available on-line, so why duplicate all of this information again, right? Well, I find creating it in the style and order I need it in eventually saves me time throughout the school year. I usually put most of my information in some sort of sheet document (our school system uses the Google Suite so Google sheets is my go-to), but Excel or any other sheet will work. I can create a master document to copy and paste from to group it as I need it, and if needed, I can print out a hard copy. However, when our district coordinator meets with me, I can pull up requested data quickly and easily, and data collected consistently and accurately backs me up every single time! I can show students, parents, administrators and myself exactly what has been taking place, evaluate effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Since I am still registering for my professional learning training classes, I have probably forgotten something. I know I have not included making sure that I plan with each teacher I am co-teaching with so we are both on the same page as school begins and can effectively CO-TEACH. And I also contact every parent/guardian either personally, by REMIND (a great communication tool we utilize), e-mail, snail mail and Meet the Teacher event. But, please, add any suggestions, additions or advice that can assist us all. Don't feel isolated...let's stand united! 

Forever forward...Vee