State and federal laws require that every effort be made to accommodate a student's learning needs within the regular education classroom prior to any referral for a special education evaluation. These efforts must be documented, and documentation which becomes part of the student record. Specific accommodations may include modifications to the curriculum, use of specific teaching strategies, adapted teaching environments or materials, and/or the use of support services, consultation or any other regular education initiative that may help the student to progress effectively.
Services provided by the Reading Specialist as well as Teacher Assistance Team activities are often considered pre-referral activities. Documenting how the student responds to these interventions is generally the determining factor in whether or not a referral for a special education evaluation is made.
New regulations require the School Principal, in conjunction with the School Council, to develop a Curriculum Accommodation Plan (CAP). As this plan is developed, additional activities will be identified and provided to students so that the diverse learning needs found within the regular educational program will be better met.
Teacher Assistance Teams
For the past several years, considerable energy and concentration has been devoted to supporting the regular education program through Teacher Assistance Teams (TAT's). TAT's are comprised of inter-disciplinary professionals in the school who meet together to gather and discuss relevant information about the learning and behavioral needs of students.
A teacher may request assistance from the TATeam whenever they would like the team's input regarding a specific student or situation. Concerns may focus around academic difficulty, failure to respond to a specific learning approach, or difficulty with behavior management, etc. This process provides a valuable support system for teachers to help them meet the diverse learning needs of the various students in their classrooms.
Title I is a federally funded program that is new to Carlisle. At this time, the focus of the program is tutoring ‘at-risk’ students in grades 3 – 5 in the area of math instruction. Part-time Title I teachers will be working directly with students, as well as consulting with teachers with the goal of improving instructional techniques and ultimately student performance in all areas of math.