Special Education- Jessica Mason-

     Special Education provides an opportunity for students to improve their skills in school and the community.  Students receive instruction in the areas of reading, writing, and math, as well as social, emotional, behavioral, speech, occupational, and transitional skills.  

     The inclusive program implemented at Prairie School is in accordance to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provision to serve students in the least restrictive environment.  Prairie students who qualify for this mode of service delivery receive in-class support form the special education teacher and aids.  The decision to use the inclusive model is based on research which indicates the model is beneficial to students in special and regular education while students maintain in the least restrictive environment.  This type of service delivery proved to be effective during the school year for teachers and some students.  

      Other student recieve explicate, instruction in the resource classroom to best meet their individual student need. These service provide small group instruction in the areas or reading, writing, math, or adaptive skills.

      Differentiated instruction is also very beneficial to students.  During differentiated instruction classes students have the opportunity to work on skills, lessons, and programs to help them become more successful in core academics. Prairie Elementary continued with the implemented of swoop groups. These groups are based on student’s abilities and needs. These groups enhanced the learning of our special education students. The programs that are used during the instructional time are: Reading Sidewalks (intervention for Prairie’s Elementary core reading program Reading Streets), Sound Partners, VOWAC, REWARDS, Every Child a Writer, and Corrective Reading. These programs are researched based interventions.  Edmark is another program that we use with our younger students. This program is an advantage as students use auditory, spatial, and kinesthetic skills to help them improve reading skills.         

       The secondary students use specialized reading program, Rewards, designed to teach intermediate and secondary students a flexible strategy for decoding long words and to increase their oral and silent reading fluency. Corrective reading is another program that is used to help students in the areas of decoding/fluency and comprehension. Students also used Spellography to learn spelling patterns in our language.  EDGE is another program that Prairie uses for students that reading is below grade level. This program teaches reading strategies and advanced vocabulary. Students showed wonderful growth from all these programs as evident by the TOWRE, TOSCRF, and oral reading fluency monitoring.

While studying mathematics, students use the Touch Math program to assist them in improving upon their basic addition and subtraction skills. The Saxon Math series is the primary math program used for all grades.  Math games are used to motivate students, enforce skills inherit in state standards, and make learning a fun and rewarding experience. Students are given different manipulatives to use to help in their learning process.  The district continued with the Acellus math program. This program allowed for students to work on skills at their ability level taught by a highly qualified instructor. This program helped offer students with an alterative to the scheduled math courses.   Finally, students use word processing applications, educational computer games, the library, tape recorders, and the internet to increase their content knowledge and their technology skills

     Many recent changes in the area of Special Education are occurring. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) aligns IDEA closely to the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB), helping to ensure equity, accountability and excellence in education for children with disabilities. In August of 2010 schools were required to use the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach with struggling students. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Student’s progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further research-based instruction and/or intervention in general education, in special education, or both. RTI is the gatekeeper for special education qualification. The RTI approach has allowed for all students to receive a higher level of instruction at the student’s ability level.