Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

I was reading an article at Edutopia about resources for teachers with readers at different ability levels and they were recommending this software, Rewordify.

Rewordify.com is powerful, free, online software that improves reading, learning, and teaching. This site can:

  • Intelligently simplify difficult English, for faster comprehension
  • Effectively teach words, for building a better vocabulary
  • Help teachers save time and produce engaging lessons
  • Help improve learning outcomes
 What's interesting is that you don't have to download anything:
The site is a web app, which is great for you, because you get almost-daily site updates automatically—so you can read and learn, not download and install app updates.
And:
Rewordify.com requires no personal information. Student accounts are completely anonymous and cannot post or share anything.
Anyone ever use this?

Boston schools are taking a bold step - new maps.   Worth thinking about in terms of using the racial equity lens and the (hopefully) soon new ethnic studies curriculum.

Thoughtful article from the New York Times on implicit bias of overweight children and adults. 
Decades ago, researchers found that weight-based bias, which is often accompanied by overt discrimination and bullying, can date back to childhood, sometimes as early as age 3.

The prejudiced feelings may not be apparent to those who hold them, yet they can strongly influence someone’s behavior. A new study by researchers at Duke University, for example, found that “implicit weight bias” in children ages 9 to 11 was as common as “implicit racial bias” is among adults.
Bellevue parents are trying to find reforms for oversight of high school athletics.  From the Tri-City Herald:
 Angry Bellevue residents who accused the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association of racism, intimidation and harassment have asked the Legislature to impose some control on the organization that oversees high school sports in Washington state.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/latest-news/article167934382.html#storylink=cp
Seattle Schools announced that later this month that they will be filing a friend of the court brief in the McCleary case.  Surprisingly Superintendent Reykdal of OSPI is not.

Interesting story in the Times this morning about the scramble to fill teacher positions in district throughout the state, especially for Special Education.
In Washington state, one in five principals last fall said they were in a "crisis mode" as they tried to find enough teachers to fill every classroom.
How to solve that issue of Special Ed teachers?  A new law will allow new rules to be written by OSPI on how school districts prepare paraeducators as well as simplify how those paraeducators could become teachers.

What's on your mind?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've used the Peters' projection map for years. Students find it fascinating. The version I have also compares Mercator and points it the problems. -TeacherMom

Anonymous said...

http://www.alternet.org/real-estate-school-segregation

Interesting article that ties into neighborhood schools and equity.

Poor Me

Anonymous said...

Sped teachers and related service providers will continue to jump ship due to the increasing amount of time spent on IEP related paperwork. If such staff were surveyed, I bet that would be the number 1 reason teachers move to gen ed or, in the case of OT/PT/SLP staff, leave the school system altogether.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

More than a few of us are wondering why Superintendent Reykdal didn't file a brief. To me, this looks like a serious political mistake.

DWE

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sped Staffer, your comment is reflected in the comments at the Times' article.

Anonymous said...

"well as simplify how those paraeducators could become teachers." Just the opposite of what needs to happen.

Just Foolish

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Foolish, it might be helpful to expand on why you don't think this is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

SPS 2017-18 Academic Calendar arrived in the mail today. Each month lists a number of dates with one hour early dismissals. Both my children's schools have communicated that the early Wednesday dismissals are 75 minutes early.

Details matter

Anonymous said...

Ok it's simple, those "paraeducators" can be any joe blow off of the street. So it sounds like OSPI want's to remove the needed educational qualifications so these IAs can then be "teachers" and meet the IDEA requirements. Teachers who want to work with special ed need MORE training than a gen ed teacher not less!. The idea that an IA could leap frog that process is wreck less and irresponsible. This is clearly an OSPI idea to give districts legal cover to screw over families. No short cuts!

Just Foolish

Anonymous said...

Just Foolish,
On the other hand, some of the best Special Ed teachers I know started as paraeducators. If they've been working in a strong classroom, they've essentially had a multi-year apprenticeship. Even the best teacher training programs don't cover all the minutiae of running a self-contained class, and honestly, that knowledge is a lot more valuable than taking a statistics course or doing a lit review.
Chip

Anonymous said...

Chip I believe you, but let's think it though. Let me start off and say that I don't believe the majority of teachers are properly trained to serve the wide spectrum of needs in special ed. The data shows that on a whole SPS SPED students are getting little to no meaningful benefit from the service they receive.SPED graduation rates are terrible. There have been 4-5 successful cases brought against SPS were it was determined by OSPI that the teacher assigned to provide SDI was not qualified to work with SPED students due to lack of training in a specific area.

Sure some IAs are fantastic working with autistic students were expectations are different then let's say a very bright student with EBD or SLD. You see those are the students that need the teachers that are highly skilled. I would suggest the requirements to teach special ed be increased and that unlike in Gen ed the SPED teachers must be experts in a focused area of need. Having a teacher who works with low incidence students suddenly take on SLD students is likely to fail, it just doesn't work and isn't fair to the teachers or students.

You have pointed out one of the known short comings of the special educational career path, lack of training. Skipping formal training in exchange for on the job experience only works in a few rare situations.

Just Foolish

Anonymous said...

Sped teachers need much more planning & collaboration time. At least half the day. Their caseloads are too big & they can't do what they know is needed for all their students.

I would also like to see some of them have time to spend as specialists in gen ed classrooms to help gen ed teachers be more successful addressing the sped students they have.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

Just Foolish,
I agree with you on a lot. As a SpEd teacher, it would be great if there were more specific training for the assorted settings. That being said, when I started my SpEd program, I would have sworn up, down, and sideways that I wanted a Resource Room position. But I spend some time subbing, and discovered that I'm a great fit for the Behavior classes and I'm just about to start my first year in one. If I'd taken an RR-specific program, I know I would have missed out, and I would hope that five years from now, I could say that my students would have missed out as well. For what it's worth, the issues you cite are the reasons I didn't apply in Seattle, despite the large number of openings.

I think that what I'm envisioning is a paraeducator, with multiple years of experience in a setting, who has the skills for dealing with the kids (despite the utter lack of training offered), and WANTS to take on the extra work of being the teacher, but maybe hasn't because they're worried about cost, or fitting in the classes, or feels they have other barriers standing in their way. In which case, they take the classes needed to teach the legalities, IEP writing, etc., and have had an extended student teaching experience. Plus, an experienced para in a "hard" classroom knows what they're getting in to.
-Chip

monkeypuzzled said...

"Sure some IAs are fantastic working with autistic students were expectations are different then let's say a very bright student with EBD or SLD. " There are some interesting assumptions in this statement.

Anonymous said...

"Sure some IAs are fantastic working with autistic students were expectations are different then let's say a very bright student with EBD or SLD. "

Yep. Those pesky, undeserving, in-bright students. Oh yeah. The students with Autism. Now the students with EBD or SLD need specialized teachers unlike those Autism students who are fine with IAs... because why? They're so hopeless to begin with?

Gee. Haven't we heard the illiterate bashing of Autistic students here before?

Its Old

Anonymous said...

Seeing lots if portables going in at nearby schools...wondering what's planned for 2018-19 school year.

sardine

Anonymous said...

" illiterate bashing of Autistic students here before"

Well just to let you know an IA was beaten so severely by an autistic student that she had to be hospitalized. IAs are placed in very difficult situations when working with students. Some autistic students need more than just a weight vest to calm them down.The vast majority of special ed students just need help with academics but 20% need much more and 7% probably should not be at SPS.

I've seen how SPS thinks all IAs are interchangeable which is a dangerous mistake.

Just Foolish

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Of wow Just Foolish! You are really in the know. Was this hospitalized IA in Seattle? The only case like that was 16 years ago when a the Times reported on an IA that was "attacked" in Seattle , and then the paper went on to lament the high cost of out of state placement. The one where the district went months without serving the kid, neglecting him until OSPI intervened. Then national organizations noted that SPS was the ONLY district to simply try to pay its way out of serving students with disabilities by simply shipping them off. Or were you talking about the case 10 years ago from Bellevue? The reality on that one was that the IA had been badgering the nonverbal student for a long while, the parents had requested updated a different service arrangement to meet the child's needs. Predicably the kid lashed out. The AutismSociety of America reports that around 20 students, mostly Autistic, have have been killed by inappropriate restraint in the last 5 years.Overwhelmingly, the people in danger are the students. Restraint and isolation are hardly isolated cases. They are routine, and they are used on students as some sort of perverse compliance training. Not sure why you think that's so great. But oh well, it's not your kid so who cares. Right?

Your numbers make no sense. Why should 7% of Sped students be shipped off? Where should they be sent? The cost of out of district placement is at least 300k. If we did that, there would surely be less for academic help. Btw, academic tutoring is not a requirement of special ed. There's no science disability or history disability. Special ed is not the service that is going allow any kid to ace subjects, and therefore there's never going to be the super-history sped teacher (or IA). It makes no sense. The state sets up certification processes to teach in a wide variety of situations. Nobody would sign up for limited specialization certification, and no district would want to hire people that it could only use for limited purposes. All students, regardless of where they are educated in public schools, get teachers with fairly general certifications. And, that's a good thing. Can you imagine the quality of applicants if a history-visual-perceptual-disorder certificated teacher was required? What about when the next DSM shows up and there are 20 new disorders, and 15 removed? Are we supposed to change certifications? What would happen to Aspergers Certified professionals now? Aspergers was removed as a distinct disorder from the DSM 5. Your comments are predictably Just Foolish.

Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know it all but you might want to reference the states Labor and industries data for claims filed by teachers who are injured by students. You also might want to know only a small percentage of incidents are ever known by the public or the press.

It's a hot potato issue that many teachers know of. Yes I'm sticking with 7% of SPED students do not belong in the gen ed setting.

Just Foolish

Anonymous said...

Ok Mikey, show us the Labor and Industry report where it shows all the teachers hospitalized by "The Autistics." I challenge you to do it. Until then, I call bs on your claim. Actually I don't believe you that only a small percentage are of these alleged attacks are reported. The media is pretty efficient at ferreting out drama. So now you're changing your claim. First you said 7% of Sped students didn't belong anywhere in SPS (they need to be shipped out of town). After that was shown to be completely ridiculous, you state that 7% shouldn't be in "gen ed". Well, what exactly are you saying? Far more than 7% are excluded from general ed right now. So are you saying we should put MORE in general ed to get down to your 7%, or are you just too ignorant to know how many are already in self contained classrooms. Sounds like you're just beating the same old "Autistics ate my kid's lunch" horse. Poor you, Just Foolish.

Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

I agree the very dangerous percentage of the SPED students need to be taught but not in our local schools gen ed setting. You should maybe examine the various assaults committed by SPED students against both students and teachers?, read the reports, and you will see just how difficult it is to remove violent ASD students. I suggest you go and speak with the IAs that document and report on these incidents. You're more than capable of requesting the incident report from SPS. I'm not going to try and out the schools nor the students. I'm stating that in my opinion 7% of the autistic students (ASD) are prone to violence. The net is full of data supporting that 7% of the ASD population is prone to violent outburst. BTW 7% is the low side of the normally accepted range of 7%-11%. Now aggressive tendencies appear in upwards of 56% of ASD children.

We are not talking about lunch, we are talking about the safety of students and teachers, including the ASD students. Only a fool would believe SPED teachers or IAs should be placed at risk in a general ed or even a self contained classroom. I think your emotions cloud your judgment, it's heartbreaking but even worst when innocent people are attacked.


Just Foolish

Anonymous said...

You made the claims, you provide the data. Oh. Just saying "You're capable of finding the report" that doesn't make the report exist and that doesn't make your claim true. It's "even worst when innocent people are attacked". No kidding! Here we all thought innocent people were supposed to get attacked. You are both illiterate and ignorant. Calling other people "emotional " doesn't provide evidence or make you right. Now, is that danger rate 7%, 11%, or 56%? Maybe it's 100%. And IAs shouldn't work in regular ed or self contained. Gee. Let's get rid of them before they all die. Now back to evidence. Where is that L&I report of all the hospitalized teachers vs The Autistics????? We don't want any more dead teachers. Are the Feds really coming?

ANother Sped Par

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Are IAs protected by a union? It seems they do a lot of the dirty work in SPED but do they have the same level of protection? Teachers,IAs or anyone else should not be assaulted at work.

SPED Parent.

Anonymous said...

No IAs are not in a union, they are casual labor. The IAs are treated like subs and in fact they are sometimes used in gen ed rooms as subs (not legal). An IA might be subed in to a situation were they are unfamiliar with a child's EBD nuances and accidentally trigger the child to become agitated or worse. One of the examples I read about was where an IA who usually worked with ELL students was subed into a self contained classroom. One of the students became aggressive and she was told to restrain the child. One thing lead to another and both the IA and the child were injured. The IA quit and the child's family sued the school district. If you doubt this as fact you're free to do the research, I'm not going to out these folks just to prove a point to you.

Getting back to the original point, IAs need to be trained in dealing with the various disabilities both physical and mental. How is it possible to find people willing to do this work for the low wages they are paid? I would think many IA positions should include hazard pay and others not.

Just Foolish

Anonymous said...

I miss the old days when teachers just taught and disruptive students were expelled.


-Good Times

Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Times, those were sometimes ignorant times when we were less aware of socio-emotional needs as well as the spectrum of autistic behavior.

Anonymous said...

Were you there Just Foolish, when an un-named ELL IA was subbing in an EBD room and was made to restrain someone? I didn't think so. More anecdotes without substantiation. Heard it through the grapevine. Where's the L&I report? Still waiting.

Yes IAs are in the union. More ignorance from Just Foolish. It's a branch of SEA, and they have their own elected union rep. Here's some actual information Paraprofessional Collective Bargaining agreement are listed here. Believe it or not, subs are unionized too. Not sure what the union has to do with anything. The students the district serves come as they are, and there's not much anybody can do about that, including the SEA.

Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

Read this current job opening for a IA

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/seattleschools/jobs/1830234/arbor-heights-special-education-assistant-ise-203-days-1-0

Not a lot of education going on. No wounder they can't find people.

PBJ

Past SPS IA said...

Are IAs the same as paraprofessionals? If so then the only language in the last contract was to protect certified teachers from being replaced by paraprofessional.

Read the contract, maybe I'm misinterpreting the meaning. I was never in a union nor was I asked to join one. Things might have changed, so tell me where can I find the IA contract with SPS?

As far as I remember the pay is very low. IAs many times are treated as "inferior" in comparison to the other certified teachers. No paid sick days and holiday breaks are unpaid (Christmas break, thanksgiving, spring break). No opportunities for bonuses.

Anonymous said...

Uh???? This really simple.

Yes. IAs are paraprofessionals.
No. Every contract cycle includes contracts for all union employees. Google SEA paraprofessionals CBA
Yes. You don't have to join, most IAs are badgered by the building SEA rep to join. If you do join you pay dues. If you don't join you pay a negotiation fee which is deducted from your paycheck. The cost to you is the same.
Yes. Pay is low, but bennies are good. Healthcare, retirement, hours the works.

Current IA