online_classThe Learning Differences FREE online course is designed for educators including teachers, coaches, administrators, or allies who play a role in meeting the needs of all students.  There are also additional modules specifically for leaders that target coaching of teachers in working with diverse learner types.  If you’re interested, register here.  Everyone who registers and submits their course completion certificate will be entered into a raffle and that will be awarded at the last district-wide PD.  If you register by 2/12, you will be entered into a raffle that will take place at 2/23 district PD (you must forward a copy of your registration to Toni Barton).

  • Deepened your understanding of learning differences and the related constructs of motivation, executive function, and working memory.
  • Explored relevant strategies for supporting students with learning differences.
  • Applied strategies in your classroom and provided a more personalized learning experience for all students. 

Course Outline

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Unsung Heroes!

NSCW     Did you celebrate your counselor this week? Our counselors are unsung heroes! The work that they do touches every aspect of the school and their value cannot be understated. Thank you to Angela, Ashley, Natasha, Natalie, Melody and KB! We love you all!

Check out this awesome letter from Arne Duncan celebrating and highlighting the importance of school counselors.

Key Policy Letters from the Education Secretary and Deputy Secretary
June 30, 2014

Dear Colleague:

As educators across the country work to empower all students to meet the academic and career preparation demands of the 21st century, the role of school counselors has never been more important.  School counselors are often the vital link between students’ aspirations for the future and tangible opportunities for postsecondary success.  They are also particularly important for our neediest students, who require expert and accessible guidance as they navigate a challenging and complicated college admissions and career preparation landscape.  As State and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) prepare for the start of the 2014–2015 school year, I want to call attention to the urgent need for highly effective school counselors and discuss the importance of amplifying the impact of school counselors on students’ academic success, social-emotional well-being, and college and career readiness.

If the nation is to meet President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, it is imperative that all students have consistent access to school counselors who possess the training and skills to help students reach their highest aspirations.  School counselors are pivotal in helping students manage their academic programs as well as the inevitable life events that may threaten students’ ability to succeed in school.  Yet, as the Civil Rights Data Collection recently found, one in five American high schools operates without any school counselors on staff (  This is an untenable situation for millions of students who need the support of site-based school counselors, whose job it is to ensure their students’ success.

Schools that do employ counselors may not use them to full advantage.  Despite the critical role school counselors play in supporting students’ college and career readiness, they often are asked to perform many “non-counseling” duties that can distract from their core work and ultimately leave students without the individualized attention they need to complete their academic course work, successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes, and/or prepare for productive careers.  Increasing the number of students who graduate from high school ready for college and careers requires that all students benefit from a holistic support system that ensures consistent access to effective school counselors.

Schools and LEAs should support their school counselors by providing them with the time, space, and resources they need to work effectively on behalf of students, while also holding them accountable for measurably improving the college and career readiness of the students they serve.  Doing this well will require that SEAs and LEAs make wise investments in professional development for school counselors, create or provide data platforms that can enable school counselors to extend their impact and reach all students, and provide high-quality training for principals and teachers so they understand how to most appropriately utilize and build on the capacities of school counselors.

Additionally, schools and LEAs can further support student success by engaging school counselors in a leadership capacity to serve as trainers and providers of professional development designed to improve all educators’ understanding of the college awareness, admissions, and financial aid processes.  This strategy could help school counselors focus their energies on meeting students’ academic, social-emotional, and college- and career-readiness needs, especially those of the many first-generation college-bound students who are now graduating from our high schools.  A systemic and sustainable approach to supporting school counselors in meeting increased professional demands should include a consideration of how federal funds and programs can help improve and expand the reach of school counselors.  To that point, please find attached a list of federal initiatives and programs that may support the hiring, development, and retention of effective school counselors, including school counselor-led professional development activities.

Decades of professional experience confirm—and an emerging body of research indicates—that school counselors play a critical role in helping to ensure that our nation’s students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.  Without the support of school counselors, millions of students would neither graduate from high school nor fulfill the essential requirements of the college admissions and financial aid processes.  I urge SEAs and LEAs to use the summer months to strategize and develop policies and programs that enable school counselors to become more effective at helping greater numbers of students—especially low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners—successfully access postsecondary education or career opportunities.

I am grateful to you and our nation’s school counselors, who strive to meet the varied and complex needs of students and their families.


Arne Duncan

February Updates for ESL Teachers (ESTs) and Special Educators (SETs)

PROGRESS REPORTS ARE DUE:  Progress reports should go home with regular report cards next week.  SETs, please note, if you have any students with a grade of ‘NO PROGRESS,’ you must reach out to Laura or Michelle for guidance before finalizing in SEDS.  Calendar reminders for 3rd (April 3) and 4th quarter (6/5) progress reports have been sent out.


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Poll: Special Education Teachers & Leaders Only

Please complete the poll so that we can ensure that the 2/13 Special Education PLC is targeted to your needs.  If there are other things you would to cover, please comment on this post.

It’s Almost Too Late (MUST READ)

Quick Guide to STAT

Do you have students who are struggling? The answer is YES.  Have you implemented the below?   Please DON’T WAIT.

  1. Students will only grow if appropriate Tier 1 Instruction is happening.
  2. Students will only grow if you STOP and respond to data and implement appropriate supports for targeted students. Interventions are temporary band-aids, if #1 is not in place.
  3. Students can only be referred to special education if 1 and 2 have happened.

See 1/4/2015 post for interventions and strategies!

If you have students performing below the 15th percentile on MAP & are RED on Dibels or AIMSWeb & have a D or an F in reading or math, you should have or need to immediately enter them into the Pre-STAT problem-solving process.

This process is required before any student is referred to STAT. Click HERE for the process outlined. This process must start in the next few weeks in order to ensure you can implement interventions in a timely fashion.

Note that in the following example, if you do not start the Pre-STAT process NOW, any student who may need to be referred will not receive supports until next school year. Referrals to special education are not permitted if this protocol has not been followed and there is clear documentation to support the process. Documentation requirements are outlined in the handbook that can be found by clicking the flowchart above.

January 29 – Pre-STAT Problem-Solving (4-week cycle)

February 26 – Formal STAT Referral

March 2 – Formal STAT Meeting

March 2-April 10 – Student in STAT process (6-week cycle)

April 13 – STAT Meeting – Decision about formal referral to special education

April 13 – Referral

April 27 – AED Meeting (within 10 days of referral)

June 20 – Eligibility (60 day process)

S3 News Winter Edition

Bus Lines (1)

Focus on Intervention 

How have you spent the last 16 weeks?  Did you know that Tier 1 interventions should happen before a student is referred to STAT?  Are all of your students on grade level? Have you responded using research-based strategies or interventions? Do you know what Tier 1 interventions consist of? Did you know that if you have had students who have been struggling, they should be through their first cycle of STAT interventions by now?  Well, S3 is here to help. Here is your quick ‘What Do I Do Now?’ guide…

YOU SHOULD KNOW!  Tier 1 interventions should be implemented before referring a student to STAT (see below for the best resources ever).  Check out THIS really cool Intervention Planner that allows you to select a specific area of concern in reading or math and select from a bank of interventions. Once you select your chosen interventions, a customized academic intervention plan is developed that you can download in text or PDF format.

YOU MUST READ… the ‘For More…’ section under the reading and math sections below. We have SEARCHED & HUNTED & SEARCHED & HUNTED AGAIN for the best comprehensive resources to provide you only with explicit interventions for specific issues that provide you with everything you need to implement the intervention – an explanation of the strategy, an explanation of how to use and teach the strategy, in some cases, lesson plans for implementation and in some cases, a corresponding assessment.


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Reading A Lot Redefined! A Powerful & Easy-to-Implement Comprehension Intervention

Higher achieving students read more! Make sure your students are READING A LOT! Reading a lot is MORE THAN scheduling a daily time for silent reading.  It is MORE THAN establishing a number of pages or books to read.  In order to be effective, it must consist of (1) careful reading (2) of a large volume of text in and out of school (3) at gradually increasing levels of difficulty (4) with personalized accountability.  This is particularly helpful for our ELLs an has huge impact on their English acquisition.

Teachers must provide daily scaffolded silent reading instruction, defined as noted above, and must create opportunities that will motivate students.

Stay tuned for Student Support Services’ ‘Battle of the Books:  Teachers vs. Students!’  

ESL After-the-Bell

ESL After-the-Bell is expanding. Beginning second semester, our after school ESL extension program will be in place at three campuses. Petworth was the flagship location for this program for the last two years, now thanks to support from our Exec. Leadership Team, we are expanding the program to Brightwood and Shaw. This program led to great results for our ELLs at Petworth and we anticipate the same outcome for our new campus programs. These students will also have the opportunity to gain technology skills that will help them to be PARCC ready. Special shout out to A. Passante for all of her efforts to get this program off the ground. The campus leads will be Hannah Groff (Petworth), Alison Gilmeister (Shaw) and Valery Dragon (Brightwood).

Behavior: REAL Interventions That Work!

Behavior can be changed! Repeat it out loud to yourself.

B-E-H-A-V-I-O-R  C-A-N  B-E  C-H-A-N-G-E-D!

Long-term behavior change must consist of 1) Identifying the function of the behavior, there are only 4, and minimizing behavior triggers 2) Reinforce desired behavior 3) Teach replacement behavior 4) Respond to inappropriate behavior that matches the function.  If you do not follow this protocol, the behavior W-I-L-L  N-O-T  C-H-A-N-G-E!

Check out these resources!

  • “Did I Do That?” Great article by Jessica Minahan, author of The Behavior Code, on supporting students with behavior challenges.
  • SUPERB resource, that not only provides a comprehensive list of Tier 1, 2 and 3 behavior interventions, but provides an explanation of each intervention along with all of the resources and documentation needed to implement each intervention. Not to mention for the Tier 2 resource, behavior plan, it provides pre-written behavior specific plans for 8 separate behavior issues. BAM!