Areas of Nomination: Literacy
& Special Education Instruction
School: Geyser Road Elementary School
District: Saratoga Springs City School District
Grade Level: Elementary
The staff at Geyser Road Elementary welcomed placement of a special class for students with emotional disturbance, but wanted to ensure that these students were fully engaged in the general education curriculum and to the extent possible, the general education environment. Together with a strong data based approach to literacy instruction and tiered intervention for all their students, they have built an effective program that successfully addresses academic, social, and behavioral needs and results in positive outcomes for their students, including those with emotional disturbance.
Saratoga Springs City School District is located about 30 minutes North of the Capital Region. Geyser Road Elementary School serves about 397 students in Grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5, about 63% of whom are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches. The elementary school student body is about 93% White.
The special education and general education staff at Geyser Road Elementary School have designed a wrap-around data driven decision-making practice for literacy instruction/intervention and special education for students with significant issues relating to emotional disturbance.
Why was the practice initiated:
These practices were developed by school staff to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and ensure successful inclusion of students with emotional disturbance into the school community. A special class based on evidence based practices for students with challenging behavior serves as a home base and a point of support for students who move into general education classes for instruction as their skills increase. In addition, instruction and tiered intervention decisions for students with disabilities and those at risk are firmly rooted in analysis of data from progress monitoring and assessment; staff skills in data analysis and instruction continue to grow through professional development opportunities.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
Students served in the special class for students with emotional disturbance participate fully in the general education curriculum and participate in the general education environment to the fullest degree possible to address their goals. These students are always considered on their way to full general education environment participation. Supported movement into the general education environment is anticipated and celebrated. The school culture and philosophy is inclusive; when students with disabilities are served with support in general education classes, the general education teacher is the teacher of record. All staff accept ownership of all students.
The staff at Geyser Road Elementary School, both in the special class
setting and the general education environment, collect and analyze data
from multiple sources to determine the effectiveness of their
instruction and to identify areas where groups or individual students
need more instruction or increasing levels of intervention. Students are
supported through tiered interventions; based on continual analysis of
data in weekly grade level and building level meetings, teachers,
service providers, psychologist and principal gather to discuss the
implication of data and next steps. Data are analyzed at the individual
student level, classroom level and building level, with collaborative
effort to understand and act on the data's implications. These practices
have been successful in reducing the number and severity of behavior
referrals for students with emotional disturbance, and have resulted in
positive outcomes in literacy for students with disabilities and
students at risk.