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EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION

Assistive Technology 

GRREC’s Assistive Technology services are designed to embed support within Transformation Cycles for co-teaching/inclusion, literacy, mathematics, and writing. In addition, a variety of professional development sessions are offered as well as coaching, mentoring, and consultation. The GRREC Assistive Technology Network meets 3 times per year and provides an opportunity for network members to discuss, collaborate, and problem solve. Professional learning is related to assistive technology tools, curricula, augmentative-alternative communication devices, accessibility, and other topics as requested by the network members. The AT network not only provides a means for members to learn more about AT and AAC, but it supports increased capacity in the area of AT and moving from an expert model to a capacity model for services within individual districts. We also have a Lending Library to provide educators access to high-quality assistive technology devices and tools to utilize with students on a trial basis, in order to help inform district decisions regarding assistive technology purchases for students. Please see the GRREC Lending Library List and the GRREC Lending Library Materials Request Form.

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Behavior and Mental Health 

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)  Systems Framework is a proactive approach for assisting school personnel in building systems capacity for adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for students with disabilities, underrepresented students, and all students.  Implementation of the critical features of PBIS with fidelity affords schools the opportunity to meet the needs of all students including those with IEPs and 504s, supporting the reduction of office discipline referrals, suspensions/expulsions, and seclusion/restraint while promoting improved success with academic and social outcomes and graduation/dropout rate.  The multi-tiers of PBIS serve as a foundation for all behavior, social-emotional, mental health, and trauma-related supports while creating an equitable, safe, predictable, and positive school climate. We can support your district in the development of effective systems, using the principles of Implementation Science, for the establishment of climates in which positive culture and appropriate behavior are the norms. Training and coaching is provided to member districts for PBIS, ISF (PBIS and Mental Health), Classroom PBIS, EBD/PASS, Behavior Intervention Planning, Trauma-Informed Practices for Educators, and Youth Mental Health First-Aid.


In addition, we support and provide training, coaching, technical assistance, and a network of resources for structured behavioral programming to behavior interventionists, EBD/PASS program coaches/teachers, support staff,  school-based mental health providers, and administrators who work with students at risk or identified with emotional and behavioral disabilities. At GRREC, we have a number of schools implementing a structured behavior program using the Positive Approach to Student Success.  PASS provides behavior education for our most intense students. Please see this linked document for additional research on the core components of PASS implementation and the effective components for EBD programs.

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Communication Disorders

GRREC’s service delivery options for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other professionals who support students with communication needs are designed to promote the use of evidence-based practices for assessment and treatment, eligibility, due process and IEP development, workload, augmentative-alternative communication, and specialized populations. Supports are provided in a variety of ways including in-person and asynchronous regional and in-district professional development, coaching and mentoring, and consultation. We also offer a Community of Practice for SLPs and a regional SLP Network. The Network meets 4-6 times per year to engage in shared professional learning, collaborative problem-solving, and community building.

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Co-Teaching/Inclusion

Building a strong, effective co-teaching system of support is beneficial for both students and teachers. Effective co-teaching allows districts to meet the individual learning needs of students academically, linguistically, and social-emotionally while exposing them to grade-level content. Effective co-teaching promotes inclusion and ensures that students with disabilities have the same level of access to core content as their non-disabled peers. The GRREC team provides robust training and coaching to schools in the development, implementation, and sustainability of sound co-teaching practices. We can support your district with co-teaching and inclusion through a Transformational Cycle. Additionally, please find co-teaching resources on the Growing Inclusive Practices site.

Due Process

The GRREC Team supports special education teachers, Directors of Special Education, consultants,  Admission and Release Committee chairs, Speech Language Pathologists, and other special education staff in meeting compliance indicators and ensuring meaningful progress of students with disabilities. Areas of support include IEP Development, Progress Monitoring, Specially Designed Instruction, Indicator 13, and ARC Chair. We offer on-site coaching and technical assistance for member districts engaged in sustainable systems change through Transformation Cycles.

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Literacy 

 

The GRREC Special Education Literacy Consultants work with leaders and educators to impact literacy instruction for all students, including those with disabilities. Our goal is to equip leaders and educators with high yield, evidence-based strategies that build capacity and sustainability in quality literacy instruction and access for all students. Throughout all the services and supports provided, we stress the use of explicit instruction, specially designed instruction, opportunities to respond, executive functioning, and cognitive engagement.

 

We support GRREC member districts in the following areas and practices, with priority given to districts involved in literacy Transformation Cycles: Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness, Dyslexia, Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, The Writing Revolution, Kansas Writing Strategies, and Four Square Writing. Our support is provided across multiple entry points, including Community of Practice, professional learning, coaching and mentoring, classroom walkthroughs/instructional rounds, data analysis, next steps action planning, resource sharing, virtual calls and support sessions, online modules, and regional and district professional learning.

 

We encourage leaders to participate in any of the following leadership development opportunities at GRREC to grow their skills and capacity in leading implementation of effective literacy instruction and transformation cycles in their schools and districts, including but not limited to:

The following links may be helpful to your literacy instructional programming: 

Mathematics

The GRREC Special Education Mathematics Team partners with educators and education leaders to create sustainable systems that empower all students to develop as mathematicians. Our goal is to build the capacity of educators in meeting the needs of all students, particularly those with learning disabilities and other struggling learners, as they develop their ability to think critically and solve problems. Training and coaching opportunities are designed in partnership with  districts to meet their particular needs. Our work is founded in evidence and research-based approaches to mathematics education, including:

  • Creating a culture of learning and engagement

  • The 8 Mathematics Teaching Practices (National Council for Teachers of Mathematics)

  • The 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice (Kentucky Academic Standards)

  • The mathematics content standards (Kentucky Academic Standards)

  • Universal Design Learning

  • Developing a conceptual understanding of mathematics

 

It is our goal to partner with district and school teams to provide learning opportunities that emphasize evidence-based instructional strategies to address achievement gaps and address the needs of ALL students, specifically those who experience learning challenges. Please contact us if you would like to engage in a Transformational Cycle for Foundational Numeracy or Fluency through Conceptual Understanding.

Mentoring for New Directors of Special Education

The Director of Special Education (DoSE) faces many rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that are challenging and demanding. These administrative tasks require specific knowledge and skills as identified in the State Standards for the Director of Special Education. New directors can benefit from support and technical assistance through the mentorship of an experienced director. The GRREC New DoSE Mentorship Program is an interactive process which provides assistance with IDEA regulations, laws, reporting, finances, and compliance as well as supporting students and parents. The experienced DoSE facilitates, supports, and encourages the new DoSE through the challenges of the first year as well as being a resource to gain understanding and expertise during the second year. The New DoSE Mentorship Program, which GRREC has offered since 2014:

  • Provides a network for new special education administrators;

  • Supports professional learning of new special education administrators;

  • Provides guidance, facilitation, and encouragement to the new administrator.;

  • Conveys procedures of the state Standards for the Director of Special Education

Section 504

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. GRREC offers annual professional development for district personnel who oversee or support Section 504 planning. In addition, we offer a Section 504 Network that meets virtually 4 times a year. All activities are designed to ensure district staff are equipped to ensure compliance with the law.

Transition

GRREC has recently received American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds through a grant opportunity provided by the Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSSEL). These funds will be used to increase support to GRREC districts in transition services for students with disabilities. Through family engagement, student skill development, and interagency collaboration, it is our goal to positively impact chronic absenteeism and dropout rates, increase in-person transition services, and improve graduation rates and post-school outcome indicators of students with disabilities, all of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Activities through this grant will include:

  • Professional development for special education teachers, general education teachers and employers

  • Informative family engagement nights and transition workshops

  • Student field trips and career awareness events

  • Supporting districts in creating meaningful and sustainable systems of support for person-centered planning leading to improved postsecondary outcomes

GRREC will continue to have regular meetings with the Regional Interagency Transition Team to promote shared professional learning, collaborative problem-solving, and community building.

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