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Reflective Summary for Internship Activities
Mentor Verification: As the mentor for the candidate in this course, I verify that the field-based activities in this course were completed under my supervision and direction. (Signed not typed)
Mentor Signature Date
Directions: You are to write a reflection that details what was learned from your field based experiences in this course. The course field based activities are listed and should act as the prompt for your reflection narrative. The reflection narrative must contain a minimum of 500 words. This template must be used. This reflection narrative must be signed and dated by your mentor.
Description of Activity:
Name of activity, Module located in, & Standard(s) Met: (completed by professor)
|School Board Activity: Adaptive Approach to Curriculum||Module 2||NELP 1.2a, 1.2b, 1.2d, 1.2e, 1.2f, 1.2g, 3.1d, 3.1e, 3.1g, 3.1h, 3.1i, 3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2e, 3.2f, 3.3a, 3.3b, 3.3c, 3.3g, 3.3h, 4.2a, 4.2b, 4.2d, 4.2e, 4.2f, 4.4a, 4.4b, 4.4c, 4.4e, 4.4f, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3
LEADS: 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 3E, 4D
|Scope and Sequence||Module 3||NELP: 1.2c, 1.2f, 4.4e, 4.4f, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3
LEADS: 1C, 3A, 3B, 3E
|Program Improvement Plan||Modul3 4||NELP 1.2a, 1.2b, 1.2c, 1.2d, 1.2e, 1.2f, 1.2g, 4.1a, 4.1e, 4.1f, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3; LEADS 3E|
|Field Experience Project: Technology to Support the Curriculum||Module 5||NELP 1.2a, 1.2b, 1.2c, 1.2d, 1.2e 1.2f, 1.2g, 4.1b, 4.1c, 4.1e, 4.1f, 4.4a, 4.4e, 4.4f, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3
LEADS: 1B, 2E, 3A, 3E
*Note: This assignment is for those pursuing the program of study for Special Education Director that leads to licensure to be a Special Education Director.
Description of Activity
Module 1: Survey of Children Served through IEP and 504; Person in Charge of ADA Compliance
Module 2: Case Management Interview – Personnel Involved in Conferencing: NELP Standard 3.1
Module 3: Inventory of Costs of Assistive Devices: NELP Standard 2.4, 3.2
Module 4: Teacher Licensure Inventory; Service Delivery Inventory: NELP Standard 3.1, 6.2
Module 5: Disabilities Serviced Inventory: NELP Standard 3.1, 6.2
Module 7: Staff Development: NELP Standard 4.1 (This may be added to the portfolio in 4.1)
Describe in detail how the activity was planned and implemented.
List the document(s) documents included as artifacts for this activity.
Power Point presentation on special education legal issues that impact classroom teachers. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504, Including but not limited to federal/state/local laws or regulations related to the activity; policies; forms; minutes/agendas for meetings; new documents produced. For course embedded activities the artifact is the assignment that was completed for the field experience.
Write a reflective summary of your knowledge, skills and understanding in planning and implementing this activity. The reflective summary should be a thoughtful and well-developed response using the following questions as a guide:
Enter your response below.
I learned that our district 504 Coordinator is our own Assistant Principal, Molly Brock. She supplied the numbers of students who are served with IEP’s and 504 Plans. Of our population of approximately 500 students, I learned nearly 90% of these students live in poverty as defined by the federal government. I was surprised to learn 9 of our students have 504 plans, and 61 students are served with IEP’s under the IDEA umbrella. I learned our district’s Deputy Superintendent for Personnel is our ADA compliance officer.
I have a much deeper understanding of the impacts of IDEA and Section 504. I now have a clearer delineation of the differences of a Section 504 plan and an IEP. It is clear the intent of the laws are designed so that a student with a disabling condition will not “fall through the cracks”, and not be covered for services due to Section 504. Therefore they are protected under this civil rights provision. Thus, they then have access to accommodations or modifications so they can learn in their least restrictive environment as those served with an IEP. It is also more evident to me the impact these laws have on schools, and certainly on students. This module was completed the week of March 9, 2015 and the information was collected via email, text, and personal conversations with Mrs. Brock.
In this module, I learned the intake process for children who may be learning disabled. I spoke with our special education teacher, who indicated the initial case manager for children who are referred for evaluations is the building level designee. In my building it is our assistant principal. She indicated our special education clerk prepares the parent notification and other documentation to set up the Data Review Conference, a special education teacher is assigned the file, and becomes the case manager for children in my building who are referred. The special education teacher and the assistant principal work in tandem during our evaluation conferences to review and complete all required documentation. Initially, I thought the special education teacher alone was in charge of this process. Then, the parent is informed by our building designee, Mrs. Brock, about their child’s eligibility for special education services at the evaluation conference. I learned it is the job of the building designee to attend and usually takes the lead in conducting the IEP conference. If that person is not available for any reason, the special education teacher then conducts the IEP Conferences. However, the committee works collaboratively through the meeting in the discussion and development of the IEP. This activity was completed on March 15th, 2015.
The implications of this lesson for me are two-fold. First, the recognition of the legal process that is incurred once the referral process has begun is very profound for the student, the student’s parents, and the school. Second, the process of referral, IEP, and placement is always part of a collaborative effort, and does not rest on the shoulders of the special education teacher. It must be a response to intervention at all levels to determine a child’s best learning need. This is even true of someone not needing services. Although I am a general education teacher, I have lots of opportunities to deal with students with special needs. In fact the last three years of my teaching career have comprised of a high percentage of students needing services ranging from 504 modifications to homebound. I have a greater understanding of the process which allows me to be more effective as I intervene and provide services for the special needs student.
I interviewed our special education designee to determine the numbers of children who are using assistive devices in our building. Out of our slightly over 500 student population, approximately 3.8% of our students use some sort of assistive device. It was revealed that one student requires a hearing aide, one needs an FM device, two students use a swing located in the special education room for cool downs, one student uses an Alpha-Smart to accommodate writing, four students use Velcro on the desks for sensory issues, 2 students use rubber balls for seating, and two students use rubber “foot” bands around the desk chairs again for sensory.
I was surprised to learn the cost of special education can be quite expensive for a school district. Although the special and unique needs of students with disabilities are first and
foremost considered before all costs associated with implementation of the IEP, it is evident the committee must seek efficient means to allocate funds needed. I also learned an extremely effective IEP committee or team who develops an excellent relationship with parents of a child
with disabilities, is more likely to agree on the most appropriate accommodations, reasonable
devices or modifications required in the education of their child. This information was collected during the week of March 30, 2015 with the assistance of the assistant principal/building designee and the self-contained special education teacher.
Again I interviewed our building designee/assistant principal to determine how many of our special education teachers were licensed to teach children who were diagnosed as emotionally disturbed and behavior disordered. Our designee informed me, we have two special education teachers who are certified. One is certified in Pre-K to 6, and the other is Pre-K to 12. Both teachers have additional licensure requiring training in behavior management planning and implementation. This license requires teachers to study and practice effective ways of managing behavior. Additionally, our district provides on an as needed basis, a behavior specialist to support students with emotional disabilities and mental health disorders.
I also asked how many children in the building were placed in the self-contained setting and how many were in programs of full-inclusion. In our building, we have one student who is served as emotionally disturbed. His instructional setting is Self-Contained (1:12) class. When he goes to his classroom, he goes without an instructional assistant (IA). He attends specials, lunch, and recess without the IA. The emotionally disturbed student goes to the general classroom for a block of time in the morning and a block of time midday in addition to specials, lunch, and recess.
Upon reflection, I learned that a behavior intervention plan is extremely relevant to a student’s IEP. It can and should change to meet the students changing needs and goals. I also learned that a functional behavior analysis is beneficial for students who have adaptive behavior needs. A challenge or perhaps improvement for our school could be to provide training for general education teachers in managing behaviors of students who may have emotional or behavioral disorders or for that matter any other qualifying condition. I feel that some teachers who interact with children of special needs may not provide the most appropriate response or interaction to produce a desirable behavior for lack of training. This information was gathered during the week of April 6th, 2015.
For this module, I interviewed our building designee and our self-contained special education teacher. I discovered there were 25 students with IEP’s in full inclusion. How many were in programs of full-inclusion. We also have 12 students with IEP’s in a 1:15 self-contained classroom with one instructional aide. I already knew we had 9 students with a 504 plan, but was told we currently had two students under referral. I also asked if the district had a written protocol for students with IEP’s participating in extracurricular activities. According to my building designee, there is no particular protocol in place for students with IEP’s to access extra-curricular activities. However, it is incumbent on the IEP team to ensure that a student’s disabilities are acknowledged in academic, behavior, social, and other non-academic settings, and a proper placement, accommodation, modification, or supplementary aids are written into the IEP and available to the student. This information was gathered during the week of April 14, 2015.
Module 7: Staff Development
I held a staff development on April 30th for the faculty at Lee Elementary from 3:30-4:30 in the school library. All classroom teachers, special education teachers, other specialty teachers, and building administrators were present. I presented “What Classroom Teachers Need to Know about Laws Impacting Special Education Students”. My focus was on special education law for students being served with an IEP or 504 program. I presented behavior options under the law that exists for schools to respond to adverse behavior from students being served with IEP’s or 504’s. I researched ten major special education decisions made by the U. S. Supreme Court and by U. S. Courts of Appeals. I prepared a power point presentation reviewing behavior options for classroom teachers. I created an announcement for the training, an agenda, sign-in sheet, and two handouts- one for an activity and the other which cited cases involving special education students. I highlighted the courts’ decisions and implications for classroom teachers, IEP teams, schools, and school districts. The interactive activity was designed for teachers to identify students they now know or have known with any of the 13 exceptionalities according to IDEA. This information was not shared with each other, the activity was meant to create a mental picture for each individual teacher of the students we know and serve at Lee. At the end of the training, the activity handouts were collected and promptly shredded. The presentation sparked lots of questions and conversation concerning responses to behavior issues with special education students. Fortunately, my assistant principal happens to be the elementary 504 district coordinator for our district. Along with our special education teachers, she was invaluable answering questions during our discussion. Based on these discussions and feedback from subsequent conversations and emails from colleagues, I feel teachers left with a better understanding as to why special education students are often treated differently when it comes to discipline issues. In fact, the Kindergarten team of teachers asked if I could either provide or find, for them, a training on appropriate classroom interventions for disruptive behaviors of special education students. At the request of my administrator, I shared an electronic copy of the power point presentation with my faculty.
Fortunately, I had constant access to our district 504 Coordinator since she is an assistant principal in our school. Therefore, I experienced few challenges accessing information for these activities. My principal, as well as the special education staff, and assistant, were very helpful and cooperative in assisting me with gathering information and arranging the staff development activity. I was very grateful to my principal for allowing me to present the staff development. In fact, there wasn’t going to be any staff meeting for the rest of the school year unless there was a need due to the very active end of the school year. However, the principal informed me he was actually going to do a similar type of training in August, but thought this was an ample opportunity to speak to our staff of the very sensitive and serious nature of special education law, and how it pertains to our school.
I was surprised to learn a majority of general education teachers like myself were either misinformed or had misguided understandings of behavior management concerning students with IEP’s. Through this process, we were able to clarify some misconceptions, and ultimately put the issues of special education at the fore front of the minds of educators in our school.
As I seek to become certified as a special education teacher, it will be very important for me to become familiar with issues and interventions concerning discipline, suspension, and expulsion of students with disabilities. Thus relying on the expertise of district leadership concerning special education services. It would also be beneficial to stay current on special education issues through a professional organization such as the National Association of Special Education Teachers and/or the Council for Exceptional Children. As I serve children with special needs, I realize that I may be there only advocate. Therefore, in the spirit of collaboration, I may have to help build capacity for the professionals where I work to ensure we know what we are allowed and not allowed to do concerning IEP and 504 students.
All the documents and artifacts from these activities were contained within the actual course modules. Each module, except Module 6, had an application portion in which internship activities were completed.
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