As is our custom this time of year, we are seeking nominations of teachers, or other school personnel, for our Reagan Sisters Excellence in Education award. We hope that you’ll take the time to send us a nomination if you have had an especially good teacher (or counselor, principal, speech therapist, etc.) during the past school year. We want to reach out to the schools and to recognize those educators who really believe all kids can learn, who go the extra mile to assist and to challenge our kids in special education, those who have made sure that parents are kept in the information loop and have been well-informed as to the progress their son or daughter has made.
The person nominated can be a special education teacher, or a general education teacher. He or she can hold other positions—such as one of those listed above. The important thing is that they have been helpful to your child and supportive of you as the parent. This is a parent nomination. Send us a paragraph or two describing how the person has helped your child. Also, please send us the person’s full name, position at school, and the name of the school and the name of the principal at the school. If you know it, the address of the school (or phone number) would also help us.
You can email us the information to email@example.com and you can call us at 479-927-4100. You can also mail it to us at 614 E. Emma, Suite 219, Springdale, AR 72764. Thanks for taking the time to help us recognize outstanding school personnel in our area. We will notify you, if your nominee is selected.
Family Support Director
Arkansas Support Network
SO many great resources and articles in this newsletter. If you have a child with a Sensory Impairment or a professional who works with children that do, it's a definite MUST READ.
FAQ Friday: Are these good IEP Goals?
My child is a freshman in high school. Her IEP includes this goal and objectives.
Judy will improve reading comprehension skills by using graphic organizers to access the curriculum with 70% accuracy per quarter.
The short term objectives are:
1. Judy will summarize or bullet important information in a variety of reading material with 70% accuracy.
2. Judy will recall specific facts, information & details after reading a variety of texts with 70% accuracy.
3. Judy will summarize a passage or story, relating essential components with 70% accuracy.
4. Judy will use vocabulary to identify the characters, setting, events, problems & solution in a story passage with 70% accuracy per quarter.
This goal doesn’t make sense to me. It seems vague. Shouldn’t an IEP goal include the child’s present levels of academic achievement or functional performance?
Writing Measurable Goals
You are right. This IEP goal makes no sense. Yes, before you can create any goal, you need to know the child’s present levels – that is the starting point.
Your child has problems with reading comprehension. How can teachers work to improve her reading comprehension skills by using “graphic organizers to access the curriculum with 70% accuracy? “ Even this goal was appropriate, how would you and the IEP team know if she “improved to 70% accuracy”? What will happen if her improvement in using graphic organizers was 62% or 57%? What do these numbers mean?
Change the facts. Assume that a goal states that the child will type 40 words-per-minute. She currently types at a rate of 38 words-per-minute. While improving typing skills by 2 words-per-minute may be acceptable as a weekly goal or objective, it is completely inappropriate as an annual goal. If a child’s present level of performance in typing is 20 words-per-minute, then an annual goal of 40 words-per-minute may (or may not) be appropriate.
How will a child ”summarize with 70% accuracy?” How will we know that she didn’t “summarize with 40% accuracy?” In addition to being inappropriate, you cannot measure progress with this goal.
Barbara Bateman wrote an excellent book about Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives.
She also wrote Writing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Success.
Check out this material about Writing IEP Goals - this is from a school district so it may be more acceptable to the IEP team members.
You’ll answers to your questions about present levels of performance and how to write IEP goals in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.
Study the two articles about writing IEP goals and objectives.
1. Print the articles. Review each goal.
3. After you revise the IEP goals, you need to review your child’s most recent evaluations.
Looking Forward to Graduation
Since your child is in high school, she may need an extended day or extended year program so she can get the specialized instruction she requires without missing classes she needs to earn credits toward graduation. If your child plans to attend college, make sure you know what classes the college expects applicants to have, so she has time to meet these expectations before graduating from high school.
At age 16, a child’s IEP is driven by the transition plan. Make sure the transition plan is comprehensive and complete. Barbara Bateman’s article addresses transition. You will find answers to questions about transition plans and transition assessments in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.
The New Hampshire Department of Education publishes a Transition Manual that includes a checklist and a good worksheet that you can use to review transition issues. Note: This document is from NH where the age for transition planning is 14. You need to check your state special education regulations to find the transition age requirements in your state.
Has your child had a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation recently?
When you review her recent evaluations, you may see that the “comprehension goals” in her IEP should really focus on weaknesses in decoding, oral language, or phonological awareness.
The Wrightslaw Multimedia Training on CD-ROM - Understanding Your Child’s Test Scores - will help you understand the bell curve, mean, and standard deviations on tests. You will also learn about standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, composite or cluster scores, and subtest scatter. You will learn how to draw the bell curve and how to use your child’s test scores to create powerful progress (or lack of progress) graphs.
Appropriate Annual Goals by Sue Whitney
- Provided by Wrights Law http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=6751
FAQ Friday: Filing a complaint
Before you file a complaint, be very, very certain that you will never want to file for a hearing on the same issue.
In 18 Tips for Filing Complaints, Pat Howey shares strategies for filing a complaint with the state department of education.
Please take some time to watch this video -- it helps parents decipher all the terms under the umbrella of special education.
Staff of the Family Support Program (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)