Area of Nomination: Special Education
School: Fonda Fultonville Middle School
District: Fonda Fultonville Central School District
Grade Level: Middle School
The 5th grade English Language Arts teacher and special education teacher at Fonda Fultonville Middle School understood that middle school students with disabilities need strong instruction and intervention to achieve proficiency, but still need to remain grounded in the general education curriculum and environment. Together they developed and have maintained a model of fully shared responsibility that results in engaged and successful students.
Fonda Fultonville School District is located about an hour Northwest of Albany. Fonda Fultonville Middle School serves about 465 students in grades 5 through 8, about 21% of whom are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches. The middle school student body is also about 97% Caucasian.
Fonda Fultonville Middle School staff have implemented and maintained a co-teaching model in English Language Arts at the 5th grade level. The ELA team and special educator practice a fully integrated responsibility for instruction, intervention and evaluation of effort. The school is supporting replication of the practice across content areas.
Why was the practice initiated:
This rural school district has been moving from a model in which special education services were primarily delivered in special class environments. The special education teacher and 5th grade English Language Arts teacher knew that ELA skills were at the heart of success for middle school students, and initiated this model aligned with effective collaborative teaching practices.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
The fifth grade team has designed and implemented a model for co-teaching that features effective differentiation for need and interests, engaging instruction, and integrated data based decision making for instruction and intervention. Station teaching allows immediate formative assessment and adjustment of instruction, with tasks designed to practice new skills and cement previously learned skills as well as to provide opportunities to gauge student understanding. In addition to the New York State Assessment in English Language Arts and analysis of work samples, staff use tests of oral reading fluency to inform instruction.
Although co-teaching is less well established in other content areas, the practice of data informed instruction is established throughout the grade 5 level team (social studies, science, math); all 5th grade staff have taken ownership of all students. The entire 5th grade team uses data as a point of discussion to make instructional decisions, inclluding decisions about transitioning students in and out of the "travel group/intervention group" model for increased levels of support.
Since implementation of the co-teaching model, the percent of time
students with disabilities spend in general education settings has
increased significantly. Proficiency outcomes also have improved
significantly. Seventy-five percent of students who were 4th graders in
2005-06 scored at level 1 on the New York State Assessment in English
Language Arts; by 6th grade, no students in the cohort scored at level
1. The percentage of students in the cohort scoring at levels 3 and 4
rose during that time frame from 13% to 29%.