“A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers.”
Students that qualify for special education can fall into a number of categories. While the most severe and visible categories of special education are usually displayed and discussed, as noted in my first post, special education is broad, complex, and includes a number of services for each individual’s circumstances.
When I speak with non-educators, or when I have watched the news, the students who need special education services are limited in understanding–the range and diversity of students is not evident in the discussion, nor adequately represented in any forum.
Therefore, let me list some categories, demographics, and populations to illustrate the wide-range of need, services, and students that qualify for special education:
Within each of these categories, there is an abundance of diversity. For instance, five students with language delays in the 2nd grade can have 5 different levels of severity in their language delays due to previous support at home and at school, as well as other factors such as the underlying cause of their language delay.
Technically, IDEA has 13 broad categories for special education (autism, blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment). That’s not to say that these categories cannot overlap, will not change over time, or be renamed. Our understanding of health and education is constantly evolving, and so are the labels and practices tied to them.
These categories do not touch on a student’s gender, age, primary language, first language, religious orientation, place of birth, citizenship, family structure, or overall schooling experience. All of these individual factors influence the best placement, ideal service, and the development of academic goals.
The point in all of this is to emphasize that special education services are incredibly vast because the range, diversity, needs, and abilities of students is equally vast. So, in the next conversation on funding, on who will teach what, on where students should be placed, on what constitutes special education, on who needs special education, etc. extend that discussion as far as possible–because that’s how far special education extends.
I know it’s the first week of May, but I need everyone to start planning for summer now.
Write a list of things for families to do over the summer, local and easy recommendations, to inspire and ignite creativity and learning over the summer.
Recommend free options as much as possible so that all students can participate and see themselves as active participants in their own learning. Start now, ask around for more ideas, build a nice long list.
Need inspiration? Here are some ideas:
This list is not complete. It includes items that span the K-12 spectrum. Some ideas require parental approval, supervision, and added effort. Some ideas are easily left to the child. This list is meant to be a springboard for a personalized list for your students as they embark on their summer journey–remember even though classroom learning has ended, their life is filled with learning opportunities and they should seize each moment to grow and learn.
Teacher Appreciation Week is one week away!!
May 6-10, 2019
If you’re not a teacher, or if you’re the teacher involved in planning Teacher Appreciation Week, here are some celebration suggestions:
This is just a small list, but it’s a start–if you have any ideas, or success stories, make sure to share them too!
In Henrico, Virginia, USA, Henrico’s Career & Technical Education program, has a special, one-of-a-kind, celebration:
Letter of Intent Signing Day
On their website, and in the news, this school, and this program, believe that high school graduates who are going to college, or going to play at the collegiate level, are not the only students worth praise and recognition; upon graduation, “students entering the workforce with benefits that include, but not limited to, great pay, health benefits, retirement benefits, and even receiving continuing education benefits from their employer also deserve recognition.”
This year, on April 23, 2019, today, the event is scheduled to take place. It’s time to celebrate, and it’s time to consider replicating this ceremony at your nearest high school.
We have an urgent skills gap to fill in our country. We have great jobs, with great benefits and stability through all economies, going unfilled. Any person willing to learn a skill, and go to work, should be applauded. Much love to Henrico for recognizing a segment of students and graduates long underappreciated.