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Shift Happens: New IEP Language for a Common Core World

Shift Happens: New IEP Language for a Common Core World



The transition to the Common Core has kept special education administrators busy helping their staff learn to align IEPs with the new standards. So how does an IEP read in our new Common Core world ...

The transition to the Common Core has kept special education administrators busy helping their staff learn to align IEPs with the new standards. So how does an IEP read in our new Common Core world — especially with respect to speech and language goals? How does your staff need to change their work with students?



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    Shift Happens: New IEP Language for a Common Core World Shift Happens: New IEP Language for a Common Core World Document Transcript

    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 1new realitiesnew choicesSHIFT HAPPENS: NEW IEP LANGUAGE FOR A COMMONCORE WORLDDr. Judy MontgomeryJudy Rudebusch, Ed.DPerry Flynn M.EdA transcript of a live webinar on 9/18/12 sponsored by PresenceLearningINTRODUCTIONWe know that the new world of Common Core Standards is about the real world. It is aboutpreparing students for college and for careers --- basically for life -- with skills needed tosucceed in a globally competitive workforce. It means cross-disciplinary skills; it means tak-ing a new look at what we have been doing before.The new world of the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) has a domain that dependson student’s communication competence. Before, it was reading. In fact, reading has beenthe focus of the past decade. But with CCSS, reading is part of an integrative model that isintertwined with writing, speaking, listening, and language. Again, for the last ten years wehave focused on helping students learn to read, but the new world of Common Core Stan-dards offers much more about what we call communication competence.This integrative model is what we want to look at, and its impact on what is being taughtand how it is being taught. We will in fact look at the needs to build skills, at the foundation,and finally at ways that we can improve upon what is being taught, how we can do it in dif-ferent, better and with more integrative methods.Dr. Judy MontgomeryTHE NEW LANGUAGE OF THE COMMON CORECommon Core places an emphasis on the word language, on the concept of language.Reading is language, writing is language, so is speaking and listening -- the oral languagecomponents. All of these modalities serve as a communication function depending on theirpurpose and they have a foundation in the area of oral language. Oral language is the coreof the core. The modality of speaking and listening make up oral language. We use oral lan-guage from birth to communicate our needs, to express our feelings, to ask questions, andto carry on conversations. We tell our personal experiences, we retell stories. Sometimes wetell stories that have been read to us, and of course later on, we read them ourselves.Dr. Judy Rudebusch, Ed.D and Perry Flynn M.Ed
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 2new realitiesnew choicesWe use oral language and think aloud when preparing during the writing process. This shiftin language is having an impact on the process of writing and aligning IEPs with the Com-mon Core.Judy Rudebusch provides her perspective on this new language. One of the exciting fea-tures of the CCSS for speech language pathologists is that the standards require studentsto use a variety of grammatical elements at the appropriate grade level. Not only are welooking at complex syntaxes and semantics that are now overtly represented in the stan-dards, but there are also metalinguistic skills that are woven throughout the Common CoreStandards. All of these are areas that the speech language pathologist who practices in theschool setting attends to when working with a student who has a language disorder. Thestandards address the student’s ability to think about and also discuss the features of lan-guage. You can see how important the learning of academic language is to learning contentknowledge in the CCSS.Sometimes there are learning gaps between what a student is supposed to learn in termsof the content of the course or the grade-level across the four core subject areas and somegaps are represented in terms of difficulty with the language learning process. Learningcontent and learning academic language at high levels encircles the system that we canuse to participate as speech language pathologists and address the modalities of language:speaking, listening, reading, writing so students become successful in meeting grade-levelcore standards.The new language of the Common Core Standards has a significant ripple effect with thespeech language pathologist in terms of working with a school-aged student. The standardsdemand a focus on educational relevance when working with students on speech and/orlanguage skills. What we work on is clearly spelled out in the CCSS. How we work on thelanguage basis of learning is represented, or may consist of, a shift towards a new way ofoperating in the schools. We need to shift to the use of language in student products thatare similar to or embedded in expressions in the classroom. We need to help our studentsuse the expected standards for complex syntax and semantics, metalinguistics, and all ofthe language modalities as they write their stories, as they give oral presentations, as theyproduce written work in an interactive notebook, as they complete essays or any other as-signment of the classroom.Educational relevance related to the Common Core standards pushes us to move away fromactivities, games, and use of materials in therapy settings that are not closely tied to thelanguage target. The next thing that we do in our shift to using the new language of theCommon Core standard is to consider the student’s language along a continuum of needs.The speech language pathologist examines the student’s language level and compares it tothe level of what other students at the same grade are doing with language. We have to askourselves: What are the student’s strengths? What are the student’s weaknesses? Where arethe gaps between the student’s language level and the academic language? What is neededin order to master the content, to understand the textbook, to understand the language theteacher is teaching and the concepts of the classroom?
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 3new realitiesnew choicesWe look at the student’s rate of learning in order to adjust the intensity in the speech pa-thology services we provide, and then compare that information about the child to thelanguage standard and the CCSS. Then we develop a standards-based plan to fill in the gap.We look at the language standard and pull out significant language areas. For example, atsecond grade, in the conventions of standard English, students are expected to demonstratecommands of the convention of English grammar when writing or speaking. There is a list ofkey grammar elements that are expected of second graders. At third grade, students are ex-pected to explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. You cansee a shift to explaining language elements moves over into quite a bit of heavy metalin-guistic work in terms of the student’s understanding of, thinking about, and ability to articu-late how they are manipulating language. This represents a significant shift for us in terms ofwhat we do as students.The next step in aligning with the Common Core Standards is to develop a plan, to imple-ment the plan and then monitor progress related to the plan. You want to look for improvedlanguage skills. You want to look at how the child is doing in terms of progressing throughthe expectations of the CCSS related to language represented in each of the four core sub-ject areas.Finally, you want to document student outcomes for the language target in order to get tothe output of our system, which is increased student performance that can be measured. Allof this focuses heavily on, in a new way, the language elements that are required at each ofthe grade levels.In thinking about how to shift to the new language of the Common Core, there are four keythings that you can do to facilitate moving into delivery and the use of the Common Core.You can develop and/or acquire tools that make it easier to dig into and understand theCommon Core Standards and the expectations at each grade level or for each course. Youcan use, for example, a crosswalk to synthesize or summarize the key expectations acrossgrade levels and across different modalities of language. Using the crosswalk makes it easyto develop IEPs and intervention plans. You can call out the power standards for language,form, content, and use by grade level.Another important element is to establish distinct but complementary roles between thespeech language pathologist, the classroom teacher and the special education teacher. Youwant everyone working together, each one bringing their special perspective to the workwith students on language. We suggest and encourage participation in professional learningcommunities so you can focus on the language element in the Common Core Standards,and then whatever extent possible, we encourage an ever-increasing reliance on automatingfunctions. Automation increases our efficiency so we can focus on the higher-level compo-nents of working on the Common Core analysis and developing customized plans for stu-dents.
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 4new realitiesnew choicesPerry Flynn offers his advice about the ideal IEP process. First, the team, together, will re-view all the assessment information on a student. This includes not just standardized as-sessment information, but a variety of assessment tools, including artifacts that may alreadyexist in a portfolio that a teacher keeps on a student. The team will collaborate in advance,including the parent, through methods like email or phone conferences. It is important thatparents know that this is a draft of the IEP, not set in stone yet, that we are brainstorming inorder to have the best information from all parties when we really get to the IEP table.To evaluate the students’ strengths and areas of need as they are related to the CommonCore we need teacher input. Teachers tell us, he is able to do this skill or she is not able todo that skill as it relates to the Common Core. This is very important, educationally relevantinformation for the speech pathologist and the whole IEP team to have. Finally, we author acomprehensive PLAAFP (present level of academic and functional performance).A well-written present level of performance drives the entire IEP. It talks about the strengthsand needs and it leads to functional goals, functional accommodations and modifications,and functional service delivery in the least restrictive environment. That’s why the presentlevel is a very important piece of the IEP to spend some time on.When considering the Common Core process and the IEP process, offer goals that underliewhat is needed for students to acquire the skills of the Common Core, rather than directlywriting Common Core goals. For example, if a student is at third grade level and we writeexactly third grade goals in the IEP, that suggests that there is not a need for special educa-tion. We provide the underlying skills that help kids acquire the goals of the Common Core.We may need to review previous grade levels in a developmental perspective to know whatthe student needs to master first, before he or she can master third grade goals.It’s important to involve the entire team in offering the goals. They should not come fromthe discipline perspective. For example, the speech pathologist should not just offer speechgoals, the OT shouldn’t just focus on OT goals, and it should be collaborative. We should, to-gether, offer all the goals the student needs. Then, secondarily, we determine the service de-livery providers. Sometimes teachers are doing speech language pathology kinds of thingsand occupational therapy skills all day long, so it does not require the specially designedinstruction of a speech pathologist to accomplish those skills.We then need to provide an environment where the student can most effectively accom-plish these goals. For many students - not everyone, but for most -- it is in the classroom.We need to provide functional accommodations and modifications that are going to sup-port the student in being successful.What’s the biggest impact on special education as we shift to these Common Core Stan-dards? Perry Flynn believes that the Common Core creates a level playing field for specialeducators across the country. It’s a tremendous opportunity to tie our skills and our differ-entiated instruction to the universal design that the Common Core provides.
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 5new realitiesnew choicesAnd Judy Rudebusch adds that there is a new sense of urgency related to the high expecta-tions at the grade level or the course of CCSS. There is accountability for results. Students withlanguage disorders and students who struggle with language and learning are held to the samestandard, so the pressure is on us as educators and as speech language pathologists to providea framework and the infrastructure to allow students to master these language standards inorder to produce that high level of learning.HOW TO WRITE A CCSS ALIGNED IEP?We know that IDEA requires that all students have access to the general curriculum. Thathasn’t changed with the advent of Common Core Standards. The standards provide state-ments of outcome that all learners must achieve, and those outcomes have indeed changed.So what has changed, if anything, about writing IEP goals as we shift to the Common Core?Perry Flynn points out that the Common Core Standards are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Ifyou look at the standards themselves, many of them begin with a Bloom’s Taxonomy word.In our effort to unpack the standards, it is helpful to reference the levels of Bloom’s Taxono-my.In the past we have taught and tested comprehension for our students at the first, lowestlevel -- the remembering level -- which is “wh..” questions. But the new Common Core Stan-dards require that students comprehend material at higher levels. In fact, assessments willbe for the higher-level comprehension tasks. For the understanding level, you will want tohave students paraphrase things. At the applying level, they’ll need to interpret informationand make it their own. At the analyzing level you might have students do experiments thatdemonstrate their comprehension of the knowledge. At the evaluating level, perhaps havestudents judge or defend their view of something. Finally, at the highest level of compre-hension, students construct or create new products based on the information that they havegathered.Use the very words from Bloom’s Taxonomy in offering IEP goals that are connected to theCommon Core. It is going to help kids meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) far better thanthe old school, traditional kinds of things. Another thing to do is to analyze the deep struc-ture of the standards. Have teachers identify what Common Core skills a student is able todo or not able to do. Then the speech pathologist, perhaps together with the team, shouldanalyze those skills to determine the underlying, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, phonolog-ical, and even morphological underpinnings of the standards that only speech pathologistswill see. The standards on the surface may not have syntactic or pragmatic implications, butas a speech pathologist reviews them with the knowledge of a particular student, some ofthese semantic, pragmatic, and other areas, may come to light. The goals will be offered inthose particular strands that we deal with where we know students are showing weakness.
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 6new realitiesnew choicesYou might also analyze the standards for what they subsume in the areas for reading, writing,speaking, and listening. Again, the surface structure of the standard may not suggest that it isa speaking or listening standard, but it may be applied well to those domains through a speechpathology lens.Judy Rudebusch recommends a seven-step process for writing a stated goal or objective. Thefirst step is to assess the student’s present level of performance, looking at both academiclanguage and functional performance for the communication skills needed to perform well andindependently at that level. Your assessment of the present level of performance as it relates tolanguage, and the language standards embedded in the CCSS is the pivot point for leveragingchange to move into the standards-based IEP goal or objective. Looking at where the child iscurrently performing is key.The next step is to choose your power standard. Take fourth grade, for example. There is a listof grammar elements that are needed or expected. Under the conventions of standard Englishpart of the language standard, students are supposed to be able to use relative pronouns,progressive verb tenses, motor auxiliaries, order adjectives within a sentence, use prepositionalphrases, use complete sentences, correct fragments and run-ons, and correctly use frequentlyconfused words. You have assessed the student’s performance level in step one, you are choos-ing a power standard in step two, which might be for this particular child, that the child willproduce complete sentences, which would be all forms, simple, compound, and complex, andrecognize and correct fragments and run-ons.Step three is to unpack the standard by looking at the component parts of that standard inorder to move towards mastery of the standard. If the fourth grader is okay with simple andcompound sentences, unpack the standard to look at what elements the child needs to learn inorder to use complex sentences. They are going to have to subordinate conjunctions and useclauses well.Then you move into analyzing sub-skills, step four, which is more of a task analysis level. Inorder to then get to step five, developing the overarching goal in writing the short-term ob-jectives and, step six, determining bench marks. All of that ties around or loops around what isexpected at a grade level in the Common Core State Standards relative to language.Finally, step seven is to monitor the students progress as you implement the intervention planor the therapy plan, as you work on the target objectives that you have determined for the stu-dent.Again, starting by assessing the present performance level and by shifting our language in or-der to write the present level of academic achievement and functional performance statementson the IEP document will be pivotal for leveraging change. An example is to say, “At this pointin the school year most fourth grade students have mastered “X” or they are able to do “X,”relative to the language targets that we have identified.
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 7new realitiesnew choicesMore specifically, we could say “At this point in the school year, most fourth grade studentshave mastered using complete sentences that are simple, compound, or complex sentences.STUDENT’S skills in this area are either on grade level, commensurate with his peers, or STU-DENT understands complex sentences, however, she is unable to use complex sentences inwritten work.”Another example is: “STUDENT struggles to do “X” or has difficulty doing “X.” This is a for-mula for writing your present level statement that’s matched to a point in the school year for agrade level against the Common Core Standards. You state what is expected in the standards,you describe where the student’s skills are and what the student has difficulty with, and thenyou move on to identify the instructional priorities that are recommended for the new goal andobjective in the IEP.When you are writing IEP goals and objectives, there are four things that you need to specifybased on IDEA: the timeline, the conditions of performance, the observable behavior, and thelevel of performance. For example, if you are specifying the timeline in an IEP goal or objective,you state by when the child is going to demonstrate the skill -- by the time of the next annu-al review, by the end of the next grading period following the annual review, within 9 weeks,etc. You are establishing the timeline for which you are going to be responsible and student isresponsible for measuring mastery of the particular goal or objective. Then you will state thecondition of performance, which ties back to the Common Core State Standard and powerstandard that you have identified back in step three of the seven steps for developing the IEPlanguage. The condition of performance would be to demonstrate use of complex sentencesin written narratives. The observable behavior is the condition of performance by doing. It is astatement of how the teacher or the speech language pathologist will know that the child hasmet the standard. Finally, the level of performance is stated at a specific measurable value like70% accuracy, 15 out of 20 trials, or seven out of ten opportunities. The level of performance iswhat you are going to state for the wording of your measurable goal or objective.QUESTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR CCSS ALIGNED IEPSWhat role will technology play in aligning IEP goals and objectives to the CCSS? JudyRudebusch believes that it will be an important role as we move forward in the 21st century.She says, “We need to automate as much as we can. I think we will see development appsfor monitoring progress or providing a variety of different carrier phrases to word our goalsand objectives against the standards. We will be able to use technology to quickly referencethe language standards represented at a certain grade level. We will be able to the same forareas of language represented in the Common Core standards across conventions of En-glish, including knowledge of language and vocabulary acquisition and use, and of course,listening and speaking.”
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 8new realitiesnew choicesPerry Flynn points out that the Common Core Standards reference technology frequent-ly, and in fact, there are standards that deal with technology. “I think as much as speechpathologists can incorporate technology in the therapy that we do with students, eitherthrough use of iPads or interactive whiteboards, or computers to do research -- any waywe can tie our services to technology -- we are doing much more to improve student out-comes,” he says.When setting a goal with CCSS, should the goal be aligned to the grade level for the child orto their instructional level? “Language goals in the CCSS spiral,” says Rudebusch. “You canbe working on language goals at the fourth grade level, but presenting the material at an-other. You can be working on complete sentences at fourth grade standard and be workingat the first grade instructional level starting with simple sentences or compound sentenceswith first grade level conjunctions.” We can target grade level goals while the instructionallevel of what we do and how we provide the material is at the child’s instructional level. Thisis using the zone of proximal development. You can’t provide something that is out of reachfor the child and expect to make progress. Just a stretch, with your help, and the child willmake good progress and move toward grade level mastery of the CCSS. In terms of math-ematics, it is the same idea. If an eighth grade algebraic reasoning concept is at kindergar-ten or first grade, you would take the child’s instructional level, but you would be stretchingtowards a grade level standard.Perry Flynn sees an important implication of the shift to Common Core for speech languagepathologists. “CCSS offer many opportunities to tie our skills to educationally relevant goals.It provides speech language pathologists with what is academically relevant to tie our thera-py to. We have never had this kind of blueprint for educational relevance across the coun-try.”Judy Rudebush has also been delving into the CCSS, and considering the urgency withspeech language pathologists need to approach the educational relevance of their work.“We need to respect much more of what goes on in the classroom and the types of presen-tations that the child is expected to give at each grade level to show their learning, whetherthat’s an essay or a presentation with the use of technology to express themselves, or anoral presentation or a written story,” she observes. “With CCSS, we need to imbed ourselvesmuch more in educational relevance in terms of what we do and how we spend our time intherapy. Getting in line closely with the CCSS is key. Really knowing what it is that a thirdgrader, seventh grader, or twelfth-grader is expected to do is critical to providing services.Doing so will be highly valued by the student because the child will be a stronger communi-cator and a stronger learner throughout his lifetime having a strong basis in language.She also stresses the importance of a team approach to determining the best level of di-rect and indirect services to meet CCSS-based goals. “Get together with the child’s teamof educators, “ she says. “Look at the data about the child. Then decide who is going to dowhat in terms of meeting the language needs that the child has, and how best to close thegap between academic functional performance and communication and what is expected atthat grade level.”
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 9new realitiesnew choicesYou need to look at rate of learning, the significance of the gaps of where the child is interms of pragmatics and social communication, and look also at adult variables. We want toknow how experienced the teacher is and how objective the teacher is at working intuitivelyand naturally beyond the language component, representing the CCSS. We need to considerhow much time it will take for the adults to blend as a team on behalf of the student you areworking on together. If a young child has a significant language disorder, more than an houra week of therapy or more than an hour a week of service targeting the language standardsmay be in order, but it is an individual decision. The older the child gets the more emphasisthere is on social use of language. We expect older children to communicate well and toexpress themselves for school-based tasks or for moving into a job or career task. Olderchildren with gaps can do more independently and less direct time is needed. There is un-fortunately no formula that works for all children in terms of direct time versus indirect time.Should all IEP goals be aligned to the CCSS? Flynn says no. “There might be some thingsthe SLP does that are connected with the Common Core, but aren’t tied directly to it. Therecan be a mix of things that are directly tied to the Common Core and it is easy to find thegoals that they come from, but there might be some things that are more in the functionalperformance area that might not directly tie to the Common Core. I think you will be hardpressed to find speech language pathology goals that are not tied to the Common Core.The goals need to meet individual needs in every case, and the decisions are up to the IEPteam. I would encourage the IEP team to consult the kids as much as possible in determin-ing the goals that they feel are most important for them to achieve.”
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 10new realitiesnew choicesAt PresenceLearning, we love to see children thrive, which is why we are making thepromise of live online speech therapy (sometimes called telepractice) come true.With the ongoing shortage of SLPs (speech language pathologists) and budget pressuresin school districts reaching crisis proportions, innovative modes of delivery have becomeessential for giving children the speech therapy services they need.A large and growing body of research, starting with a seminal study by the Mayo Clinic in1997, demonstrates that live online speech therapy is just as effective as face-to-face therapy.Our mission is to make live online speech therapy practical, affordable and convenient whileproviding an extraordinary therapy experience for each child. The PresenceLearning solutionincludes:• access to our large and growing network of top-notch SLPs• the latest video-conferencing technology• the most engaging games and evidence-based activities• time-saving collaboration and practice management tools targeting SLPs and educatorsJoin the growing group of SLPs, educators and parents committed to seeing children thriveas part of the online speech therapy revolution.About SPED headAbout PresenceLearningSPED Ahead is an opportunity for school administrators and special education specialists tocatalyze discussions about new ideas and promising practices that help exceptionalstudents achieve. With a series of free interactive online events and related multimedia web-based resources, we will explore answers to tough questions and shape effective leadershipstrategies for addressing special needs students’ challenges for literacy skills, scholasticachievement and peer relationships.
    • A Forum for School Leaders© PresenceLearning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.580 Market Street, 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 | www.presencelearning.com 11new realitiesnew choicesAbout The AuthorsJudy Rudebusch, EdD, CCC-SLPSPED Ahead is an opportunity for school administrators and special education specialists tocatalyze discussions about new ideas and promising practices that help exceptionalstudents achieve. With a series of free interactive online events and related multimedia web-based resources, we will explore answers to tough questions and shape effective leadershipstrategies for addressing special needs students’ challenges for literacy skills, scholasticachievement and peer relationships.Perry Flynn, M.Ed. CCC/SLPPerry Flynn, M.Ed. CCC/SLP is an Associate Professor at University of North Carolina/Greensboro and consultant to the NC Department of Public Instruction in the area of SpeechLanguage Pathology. He is a member of ASHA’s Board of Directors and the Chair of theSpeech-Language Pathology Advisory Council. He is co-author of ASHA publications: Devel-oping Educationally Relevant IEPs and Conducting Educationally Relevant Evaluations andhas presented several ASHA webinars on topics related to Federal and State Law.Judy Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLPJudy Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP, is professor and program director at Chapman Universityin Orange, California. She administers and teaches in a graduate-only CSD program with aninnovative clinical education program utilizing authentic school, private practice, and medi-cal settings in the community. She worked for 23 years as an SLP in three school districts inOrange County, California, and as a school principal and director of special education. She isa board-recognized specialist in child language and editor-in-chief of the journal Communica-tion Disorders Quarterly.