Laying The Groundwork For Focused Direction

With increased involvement from the state and federal government, school districts are requiring more accountability on the part of special education teachers.

From meeting or exceeding state standardized assessments to demonstrating progress on individualized goals and objectives, mandates handed down have resulted in an ill-conceived obsession with test results. As a result, special education leaders need to be able to build capacity and cultivate intentional ways to collaborate and learn. Whether it is leading staff in the direction of adopting new programs, approaches, or practices, leaders are responsible for establishing a clear, focused direction connected to student learning.

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For this Discussion, you will assume the role of the special education leader. Considering the case scenario, address Fullan and Quinn’s elements for focusing direction as you begin to design a learning plan for addressing the mandates handed down by the district.

To Prepare:

· Review the four elements of “Focused Direction” in Chapter 2 as you consider the mandates handed down by the district. Reflect on teaching and student learning and how you will involve everyone.

· Review the Case Scenario, focusing on the school’s current academic progress for students with exceptionalities.

· Review Choi et al. article focusing on the school-wide implementation of inclusive practices to improve student outcomes.

A learning plan addressing the elements of focusing direction:

Purpose Driven:

· How will you develop a shared moral purpose and meaning focused on building relationships and getting all teachers to have a shared understanding?

· Identify the steps you will use to connect regular education teachers around the purpose.

Goals That Impact:

· Using the four-step approach to addressing the problem, outline your learning design plans to collect and monitor IEP goals and objectives.

· Clearly identify the purpose and goals for data collection and progress monitoring of IEP goals and objectives.

Clarity of Strategy:

· Identify the new collaborative plans for progress monitoring and data collection. Be sure the strategy/plans and steps are clear, specifying each member’s roles and responsibilities.

Change Leadership:

· Explain how you will facilitate the change process.

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Chapter 2, “Focusing Direction” (pp. 17–46)
Florian, L. (Ed.). (2014). The SAGE handbook of special education (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.

Chapter 23, “Researching Inclusive Classroom Practices: The Framework for Participation” (389–404)
Chapter 31, “Assessment for Learning and the Journey Towards Inclusion” (pp. 523–536)
Adams, C.M., & Miskell, R.C. (2016). Teacher trust in district administration: A promising line of inquiry. Journal of Leadership for Effective and Equitable Organizations, 1-32. DOI: 10.1177/0013161X1665220

Choi, J. H., Meisenheimer, J. M., McCart, A. B., & Sailor, W. (2016). Improving learning for all students through equity-based inclusive reform practices effectiveness of a fully integrated school-wide model on student reading and math achievement. Remedial and Special Education, doi:10.1177/0741932516644054

Sailor, W. S., & McCart, A. B. (2014). Stars in alignment. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 39(1), 55-64. doi: 10.1177/1540796914534622

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