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New teacher teams

  1. 1. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 16 Collaboration New Teacher Teams to Support Integrated Comprehensive Services Elise M. Frattura • Colleen A. Capper Most educators agree that students with changes, in turn, led to a reduction of that they do not have control over struc- disabilities should spend as much time resources and philosophical commit- ture, policy, or procedures. The work of as possible in the general education ment to inclusion. these four teams disrupts this assump- classroom. However, this expectation Our research and practice suggests tion. In this article, we first briefly frustrates many educators because they that sustaining ICS is possible when describe each team. Then, in the fol- do not receive support in ways that teachers are full participants in school lowing sections, for each team, we ensure the success of students. This decisions through membership in four delineate team goals, team membership, article describes an integrated compre- specific teams. Three of these teams are steps that the team can take to imple- hensive service (ICS) delivery model at the school level: a planning team, a ment ICS, and ways to evaluate their that uses four teams to provide educator service delivery team, and a grade-level efforts. support for the benefit of all students in design team; the fourth team, the dis- The Teams general education. trictwide service delivery team, func- Our extensive research and practice tions at the district level. These teams Overview with an ICS delivery model over the engage in In schools with shared leadership, a TEACHING Exceptional Children, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 16–21. Copyright 2007 CEC. past 12 years—in 10 different schools, at • Shared decision making, that is, pro- schoolwide team—often known as a the elementary, middle, and high school viding opportunities that allow indi- school learning team, site council, levels and located in rural, suburban, viduals in the school community to school planning team, shared decision- and urban districts—indicates that edu- be involved in implementation deci- making team, or educational planning cators need to rethink the team struc- sions. committee—frequently functions as an tures in their schools to implement and oversight committee for many school • Staff design, that is, strategically sustain ICS (see box, “What Is an Inte- decisions. In this article, we use the assigning teachers and staff to stu- grated Comprehensive Service Delivery term school planning team. In a school dents and classes in ways that build Model?”). These new team structures with shared decision making, such a teacher capacity and maximize stu- are necessary because research suggests team must be one of the essential teams dent learning. that sustaining inclusive practices over that deals with the entire school. The time is difficult. For example, in their 4- • Student support, that is, strategically school planning team is primarily year-long study of a middle school, Sin- assigning students to classes in ways responsible for collecting student-per- delar, Shearer, Yendol-Hoppey, and that do not segregate them, that formance data and school-specific data, Liebert (2006) focused on the sustain- maximize students’ opportunities to as well as setting annual or long-term ability of inclusive education. The study learn in heterogeneous groups, and goals for school improvement. indicated that changes in leadership, that create the conditions for optimal The second key decision-making teacher turnover, and changes in state student learning. team for initiating and implementing and district assessment policies resulted Educators frequently focus on ICS is the school’s service delivery in failure to sustain inclusion. Those instruction and curriculum and assume team. This team functions as an off- 16 I COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
  2. 2. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 17 shoot of the school planning team What Is an Integrated Comprehensive Service Delivery Model? specifically to analyze and redesign the way that services are offered. The serv- An integrated comprehensive service (ICS) delivery model is a model that organ- ice delivery team is also responsible for izes professional staff by the needs of each learner instead of clustering learners identifying the necessary changes in by label (Frattura & Capper, in press). An ICS model does not assign staff mem- school and district-based policy and bers to a unit or program and place them in separate classrooms. Instead, support procedures for implementing ICS. staff and general education teachers work collaboratively to bring appropriate The third type of key decision-mak- instructional supports to each child in integrated school and community environ- ing team consists of grade-level design ments. This model thereby establishes an integrated home base in support of teams. These teams include teams of belonging for all learners (Frattura & Capper). teachers at each grade level who are The word integrated refers to the environments that all students, regardless of responsible for setting up the specific need or legislative eligibility, access throughout their day in school and nonschool settings. That is, in integrated environments, students with a variety of needs and staff design for each grade level, as well gifts learn together in both small and large groupings that are flexible in nature. A as the instructional and curricular serv- school that uses an ICS delivery model has no spaces that are designated only for ices for that grade level. those students with disabilities. The districtwide service delivery The term comprehensive refers to the array of services and supports, in addi- team represents the fourth key decision- tion to a differentiated curriculum and instruction, that accommodate the various making team. This team’s primary func- learning needs of children to ensure their success in school. ICS results in the shar- tion is to ensure that service delivery is ing of resources and choreographed services on the basis of the needs, strengths, consistent across the district. The and interests of each learner. team’s primary responsibility is to share information from the individual school teams to develop consistency and fluid- school planning team—include commu- dents, other staff, and community mem- ity across the district for all students. nity members or families, these commu- bers. A school planning team typically For example, the team may want to con- nity members and families should rep- does the following (Conzemius & firm that a child moving from fifth to resent the cultural, linguistic, and O’Neil, 2001): sixth grade is able to maintain services income diversity of the school and dis- that are similar to those in the fifth • Focuses on student learning at the trict. To encourage families or commu- grade and are based on his or her indi- site. nity members to participate, schools vidualized service plan (ISP) or individ- should consider providing transporta- • Serves as a forum for diverse per- ualized education program (IEP). This tion, child care, and language inter- spectives from the school, home, and team is the glue that holds the service preters if needed (Lopez, 2003). community to ensure the exchange delivery model together in Grades K–12. All four of these teams must set of a variety of viewpoints. A primary consideration for all four ground rules for discussion and deci- • Provides participatory shared deci- teams is team membership. The teams sions. In addition, the teams must all sion making at each site to create the must represent a broad range of individ- decide in what ways and how frequent- individual school’s structure and cul- uals who typically support students ly they will communicate the progress ture (within the district mission). who struggle in the school. Such indi- of the team with the other three teams viduals might include the English as a • Promotes communication among and with other school personnel. Second Language (ESL) teacher, an at- Further, the teams must decide how parents, community members, pro- risk teacher, Title I staff, and special they will receive specific feedback from fessional and support personnel, stu- education teachers. In addition, team the other three teams and from other dents, and administrators. membership should ensure that teams school personnel about their work. The school planning team can be consist of individuals who are demo- responsible for curricular, instructional, graphically representative of the propor- School Planning Team and personnel budgets and can then tion of culturally and linguistically As previously mentioned, the school make difficult decisions in support of diverse people in the school and district. planning team is responsible for collect- the school and district mission. Often, a That is, all the teams should include the ing and analyzing student data, as well school planning team analyzes stu- same proportion of students of a specif- as school-specific data. Frattura and ic minority group as the proportion of dents’ scores, discusses areas of con- Capper (in press) suggests a set of ques- members of that minority group in the tions that can guide the evaluation of cern and resolution, and then creates school and in the district. Obviously, for services for students. The school plan- comprehensive school goals. example, if only 1% of the students are ning team can facilitate this evaluation. While the school planning team is culturally and linguistically diverse, Team membership must include repre- addressing the goals on the basis of the then 1% of the committee membership sentatives from all stakeholders of the data analysis, it can define and evaluate should be culturally and linguistically school community, including the school progress. The other three teams will diverse. When teams—for example, the administrator, teachers, parents, stu- also have their own goals and evalua- TEACHING EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN I MAR/APR 2007 I 17
  3. 3. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 18 tion strategies that they will share with • To better meet the needs of each 3. The team next draws a picture the school planning team. learner in a comprehensive manner describing how the school currently in integrated school and community meets the needs of children who are School Service Delivery Team environments. challenged—or the needs of children The school service delivery team con- • To take a clear look at the structural who challenge how we teach. That sists of teachers and administrators barriers to providing the most com- is, they draw a picture of the school’s whose primary focus is to assess how prehensive integrated services possi- current program delivery model. services are being offered to and for all ble and to reconstruct a model of This picture should address the learners. The primary responsibility of service delivery that will provide stu- question: What programs are cur- the school service delivery team is to dents with minimal fragmentation rently in place for students who assess the quality of ICS on an ongoing within the school day. struggle in our school? The picture of basis, with emphasis on equity, struc- • To attend to any symbolic and proce- this current delivery model must be ture of services, access to high-quality dural practices that perpetuate the as detailed as possible. teaching and learning, and development division between the haves and the 4. The team uses the information devel- of appropriate funding mechanisms and have-nots, for example, field trips, oped in the preceding steps to con- policies (Frattura & Capper, in press). school ceremonies, and banquets. duct a gap analysis. The team com- Services and programs provided pares the current service delivery Seven specific steps and processes within the school form the basis for model with the principles of ICS and help this team achieve its goals: membership on the school service deliv- evidenced-based practices. The team ery team. The team needs a representa- 1. The team must have the opportunity can then determine the locations of tive from each unit, grade level, depart- to discuss what integrated compre- any gaps between what ICS entails ment, or academy to give voice to all hensive services are and what they and what is currently happening stakeholders and to represent all chil- are not. They may want to share with the service delivery picture in dren in the school. In addition, teachers readings about ideas related to ICS the school. representing the different programs (see Peterson & Hittie, 2003, for a 5. Participants then list current prac- offered in the school (e.g., ESL, Title I, comprehensive list of research in tices in their school that focus on at risk) should constitute the remainder support of ICS). The team can then prevention and determine whether of the teacher leaders on the committee. reflect and think about what it these practices are comprehensive, As many studies confirm, the participa- means to move toward ICS for all integrated, and effective enough to tion of the school administrator is learners and decide by consensus build success for every learner. If essential to the operations of the team what moving toward ICS could these practices align with the ICS (Fullan, 1999). The school administra- mean. principles, then the school should tor should be an equal member of the 2. All team members must agree about continue these practices in the new team, with little or no veto power but the importance of adopting a philos- service delivery model. with the opportunity to use his or her ophy of ICS. Many school teams 6. The team members brainstorm their skills of persuasion. In many schools make decisions concerning the core vision and hopes for service delivery that have functioning school service principles of ICS without reaching a in their school, basing these visions delivery teams, the districtwide admin- consensus. Unless teams make such and hopes on the principles of ICS. istrator for student services and special decisions by consensus, they default Team members then draw a picture education and the director of curricu- to a traditional structure of programs of the future service delivery model lum and instruction may participate as and compliance-driven policy that on large paper. They list this vision equal members of the team. These indi- undermines growth and education and these hopes without considering viduals often have the ability to obtain for students who require additional any budgetary concerns, since such and reallocate resources to assist in the services. The team should not force concerns can limit recommenda- movement from programs to services; change. If team members cannot tions. Although every district has for example, they can facilitate the com- generate enough interest in ICS at budget limitations, administrators the school, they should continue to mingling of funds in support of all and facilitators are often able to cre- ask such questions as the following: learners. The school service delivery atively address financial concerns to team should not have more than 10 to – Why do the children who have support an ICS model by commin- 12 members, primarily so that all mem- the least ability to generalize have gling funds or by reallocating them. bers can participate in decisions. the most fragmented schedules? Limiting the model by using a finan- Individuals on the team should have – Could we do more for all learners cial formula can also limit recom- strong opinions about educational serv- if we worked together instead of mendations. Often staff members ices for all learners. in our own separate silos? find that drawing the picture of the The goals of the school service deliv- – When we say all learners, do we new model is difficult and instead ery team are simple: really mean all? use a table or diagram to outline it. 18 I COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
  4. 4. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 19 7. The school service delivery team port model by grades makes sense. If school service delivery team has com- then moves on to the final step, the school uses a structure that consists pleted. In addition, school social work- which is to develop a plan for of small learning academies, then pro- ers, guidance counselors, the school achieving the new service delivery viding services that are based on the psychologist, teachers of gifted and tal- model. At this point, the decision academy structure makes more sense. ented students, speech and language making needs to move to the grade- Either way, it is not logical to continue pathologists, and other support may level design teams that will be a model by specialization (ED, LD, at focus on particular grade levels for a responsible for turning the vision risk, English language learners [ELL], variety of reasons. For example, guid- into reality. Title I, etc.) in a school that uses a ance counselors may become part of a structure by grades, houses, academies, grade-level design team and provide or some other configuration. Educators service only to students at that particu- Limiting the model by using should therefore avoid configuring sup- lar grade level, or a speech and lan- port in a manner that makes particular guage clinician might be assigned to a a financial formula can also teachers responsible for groups of kindergarten–first grade cluster, since limit recommendations. labeled students across grades; that is, the language needs are high in those the school should not configure support two grades. The grade-level design team so that one teacher is responsible for all specifies the role of these personnel, but The school service delivery team students with the ED label across three, the role should include direct support to meets as often as necessary at the four, or more grades. That practice dis- beginning of the change process but students in heterogeneous groups. connects teacher specializations and Finally, a representative of the school may reduce its meeting schedule when the graded structures of schools and the grade-level design teams begin their service delivery team should serve on results in fragmentation and failure- work. The school service delivery team each grade-level design team as a liai- based programs. is then primarily responsible for evalu- son between the two teams. A primary responsibility of the ation activities and may reconvene to The goals of the grade-level design grade-level design teams is to assign discuss feedback or major concerns teams are to meet the individual needs students and staff in ways that support regarding the efficacy of the model. In of each learner, from children with mild ICS principles. The school planning so doing, the members of the school learning disabilities or third-year ESL team completes the ICS analysis; but the service delivery team should examine students to students with severe and school service delivery and grade-level what is working and what is not and profound cognitive disabilities or design teams develop, implement, and determine options for creative solutions extreme behavioral challenges caused evaluate the service delivery design. without reverting back to an old model by mental illness, as well as children These latter two teams are the ones that of segregating children. To prevent the with average or above-average abilities bring the vision to life. The school serv- marginalization of any child, all educa- and skills. These teams therefore strate- ice delivery team suggests to the grade- tors have a responsibility to educate the gically assign staff to courses and class- level design teams possible ways of sup- next generation of children together— rooms and place students to ensure that porting students. The grade-level design structurally, symbolically, and academ- teams are responsible for the actual students are not segregated and to max- ically. Therefore, the pendulum must implementation. These grade-level imize student learning. not swing back to segregation. None- design teams make big schools small, The grade-level design teams have theless, we cannot discount the possi- make large numbers of students indi- three additional functions. First, they bility of strife in the process. Change is viduals, and minimize such bureaucrat- must determine the professional devel- difficult, and there will be times when ic measures as programming students opment that is necessary to build the teachers and administrators need sup- en masse or clustering students by label ability of teachers to teach a range of port from the school service delivery or by statutory regulations. learners in their classrooms. Second, team members. The grade-level design teams should they must help staff include planning include all individuals who are assigned time in their work days and weeks so Grade-Level Design Teams that staff members can collaborate to to a specific grade level or have volun- As previously discussed, most school teered at that level to provide service to meet student needs. Third, they must service delivery teams provide recom- students with disabilities, students who help secure the resources to carry out mendations that result in a grade-based speak English as a second language, stu- these first two functions. A representa- model of service delivery. For example, dents who are deemed at risk of failing tive of each grade-level design team one team of teachers and staff may to complete school, and other students. then takes the professional develop- work with a range of learners at 8th Each grade-level design team must ment, planning time, and resource grade and other teams may work with a include the general educators, special needs to the school service delivery range of learners at 10th and 11th grade. educators, at-risk teachers, ESL teach- team, which can then coordinate pro- If grade level is the primary basis for ers, and other teachers assigned to the fessional development and planning school structure, structuring the sup- grade-level team by the process that the time, as well as obtain resources for TEACHING EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN I MAR/APR 2007 I 19
  5. 5. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 20 needs in the caseload of one Student Placement in Classrooms teacher is not logical, because the The concept of natural proportions should guide all decisions about student place- teacher will never be able to proac- ment in classrooms. For example, if 12% of the students in a school have special tively support 10 or more students needs, then no more than 12% of the students in a single classroom should have with significant high needs in two special needs. If English language learners (ELLs) comprise 10% of the school or three different classrooms. population, then the proportion of ELLs in any single classroom or course should However, placing 1 or 2 students be no more than 10%. Educators should balance the percentage of students with with high behavioral needs on the special needs across classrooms, in the same proportion as in that grade. caseload of a teacher with 8 other In addition, a continuum of support should guide student placement decisions. students who do not have such That is, not all students who require support need direct support from a specialist. needs is logical. Some students need the support of a team-taught classroom where a general edu- cation teacher and a support teacher (e.g., a special education teacher or a bilin- 5. After determining the primary gual teacher) teach the course together. The goal of such a teaching arrangement areas of need and the necessary should be to build the teaching capacity of the general teacher so that team-teach- support, the team determines the ing support is not necessary. Some students may require direct instruction from a schedule for each student, on the support teacher for part of the school day in the general education classroom. basis of the typical learner’s sched- Others may benefit from the support of a teaching assistant or school volunteer for ule at that grade level. For each stu- part of the school day. Still other students may only require a support teacher to dent’s schedule, the team identifies check in with the general education teacher on a regular basis for feedback and areas where the student is receiv- assistance or for on-call support. Some students can receive high-quality support ing individual, small-group, or from their peers in collaborative learning classrooms. Educators should not place large-group instruction with or students in particular classrooms with the assumption that they all need direct sup- without support. Students with the port from a specialist; the primary purpose of support teachers is to build the capac- greatest needs often have the most ity of general educators to teach to a range of student needs in their classrooms. transitions. Therefore, to prevent Also, the school should not place students in different classrooms at a grade level later problems and to allow stu- in a manner that does not allow them to receive the support that they may need. dents to begin their year with a schedule that is likely to remain unchanged, educators at the mid- these needs in collaboration with the IEP. To assist the team in determin- dle school and high school levels school planning team. ing needs and calculating the opti- should hand-schedule students The grade-level design teams use 10 mal amount of individual, small- with specific needs before they processes and steps: group, and large-group support, the begin the mass scheduling by grade 1. The school service delivery team grade-level design team should cre- level and subjects. first determines the membership on ate an ISP for each of the struggling 6. After developing a schedule for each grade-level design team. For students who is not eligible for spe- each student, the team drafts a example, if all first-grade teachers cial education. teacher schedule to determine in a school comprise the first- 4. The grade-level design team then when and where teachers need to grade-level design team, then the strategically assigns students to provide appropriate support. school service delivery team may particular classes or courses. Where conflicts occur, the team suggest assigning a special educa- Grade-level team members often members decide how they can tion teacher and a bilingual special- divide the group of students into work together to support and ist to serve all first-grade students. smaller caseloads to enable each resolve the conflicts. As the planning process continues, staff person to better determine 7. After support staff members have team membership may change, specific needs. Most teams attempt identified their caseloads and out- depending on the configuration of to place students with teachers lined schedules for students and the new service delivery. whose expertise matches the stu- staff, the real work begins. Support 2. The grade-level design team lists dents’ needs or to place students teachers and general educators the students within that particular with a staff member who is familiar need to determine exactly how grade level who struggle. This list with the student and is willing to their work together will look, includes students eligible for special continue with that student, as long including determining when they education, Title I students, at-risk as students are naturally placed will team teach, when the support students, ELLs, and other students into integrated classrooms and teacher will be in the room for sup- who are struggling but have not caseloads are balanced (see box, port only, and when the support met eligibility criteria for a program. “Student Placement in Class- teacher will assist with flexible 3. Each of the students who is eligible rooms”). For example, placing all groupings. After organizing the for special education must have an students with high behavioral teaming schedule, support teachers 20 I COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
  6. 6. Frattura.qxd 1/30/2007 4:30 PM Page 21 and general educators need to developing a service delivery model that Final Thoughts develop the curriculum and assess- meets the needs of every possible stu- If ICS is to become a reality in schools, ment for each section of the day. dent. When implementing ICS, districts educators need to be deliberate about 8. Each grade-level design team should therefore institute a districtwide decision making and team structures. should meet at least weekly to eval- service delivery team to work through ICS moves far beyond typical team uate its efforts, including determin- issues that may affect the district as a structures in schools; it can use general ing how the support is working and whole. education–based grade-level teams, discussing where more support The districtwide service delivery department teams, or strategic planning may be necessary. Teams at one team should include a representative teams. In addition, team structures that grade level may need to meet with from each school service delivery team support ICS also move beyond typical teams at other grade levels if they throughout the district. In addition, the special education teams. Such struc- cannot work out the necessary district director of special education or tures can use prereferral intervention small-group or individual support student services and the district director teams and special education evaluation within their grade level. Such meet- of instruction should also be team mem- teams. The simple structure and func- ings can help give students full bers. tion of the three school-based teams support across their grade levels and the district-level service delivery (horizontally) and throughout all team described in this article can trans- the grades (vertically). form how decisions are made, who is 9. If the school service delivery team Educators at every school must involved in the decisions, how the has recommended that grade-level be responsible for developing a school uses its resources, how it assigns design teams follow their students teachers, and how it serves students. to the next grade and return to their service delivery model that meets This transformation can move far beyond compliance—it can result in a original grade in the third year the needs of every possible student. (called looping), then teams should high-quality education for every student begin planning for the next school in the school. year in February by using the steps The goal of the districtwide service References outlined in the preceding para- delivery team is to “take care of the Conzemius, A., & O’Neil, J. (2001). Building graphs and by using feedback whole.” That is, the districtwide team is shared responsibility for student learning. obtained from data analysis. responsible for clarifying differences Alexandria, VA: Association for Super- 10. Grade-level design teams frequent- vision and Curriculum Development. across school service delivery teams Frattura, E., & Capper, C. (in press). Leading ly collect student achievement data and working toward developing a con- for social justice: Transforming schools for as a prime determinant of their suc- tinuous model for kindergarten through all learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin cess. They also work with the 12th grade throughout the district. Press. school service delivery team to Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. Students then do not need to fit into dif- obtain feedback that shows how Philadelphia: Falmer. ferent models that each individual Lopez, G. R. (2003). The value of hard work: parents, students, and staff experi- school develops. Lessons on parent involvement from an ence the evolving changes of the Districtwide service delivery teams (im)migrant household. Harvard Educa- service delivery structure for all tional Review, 71, 416–437. typically meet four times each year. learners. In addition, they update Peterson, M., & Hittie, M. M. (2003). Inclu- After the team clarifies areas of need or sive teaching: Creating effective schools for the school service delivery team on concern, the team sets its agenda and all learners. San Francisco: Allyn & Bacon. their progress and any concerns Sindelar, P., Shearer, D., Yendol-Hoppey, D., moves forward. At times, the team may that they should take to the school & Liebert, T. (2006). The sustainability of ask staff or administrators to join it so planning team. inclusive school reform. Exceptional that the team can obtain more detailed Children, 72, 317–331. Districtwide Service Delivery Team information regarding a specific con- Elise M. Frattura (CEC WI Federation), Asso- Students may receive services in an ele- cern. An example might be determining ciate Dean, School of Education, University of mentary school that meets their individ- how an elementary school uses a senso- Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Colleen A. Capper ual needs (such as time in the day for ry room and how such a room might (CEC WI Federation), Professor, School of Edu- work at the middle school level. cation, University of Wisconsin–Madison. sensory integration or inclusion with peers for most of the day). However, The districtwide service delivery Address correspondence to Elise M. Frattura, when these students advance to the team monitors the status of service School of Education, University of Wiscon- sin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI (e-mail: next grade level or school, their ISP or delivery at each school. The members of IEP may change because the staff has the school service delivery team on the designed a model that cannot meet districtwide committee use the ICS eval- TEACHING Exceptional Children, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 16–21. those individual needs. Educators at uations to assess their progress toward every school must be responsible for ICS. Copyright 2007 CEC. TEACHING EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN I MAR/APR 2007 I 21