Unlike some classrooms I have been in, we do not feature a "pull out" style in our classroom. The biggest reason is we do not want students who need specialized services or more time to be pointed out in the classroom. This is done by having the Intervention Specialist (me) teach all students Language Arts. With four to six students coming every half an hour for a lesson, students cannot pinpoint who is getting Intervention Services. The flexible schedule allows us to meet with one student who might need 90 minutes of Language instruction a day, in multiple short spans of time all throughout the day- while working across the table as someone who is there for their first time. Nothing "pull out" about us here.
It is crucial for the Intervention Specialist at the private school to attend all IEP meetings of their students. This is to ensure that proper goals that you can implement in the Montessori classroom are going to work for you and your students. Before a students IEP meeting, I try to get in touch with who would be writing it to offer suggestions since I cannot be the one who formally writes it. This often goes appreciated by the public school teacher who is in charge of writing it, as they usually don't know anything about the student or work with them on a regular basis. Sometimes we cannot get away from the goals being the way the Public Schools need them to be worded, but there is usually a lot of flexibility.
Tracking of data is essential, as well as being on top of your students progress and dates for their IEP meetings or ETR's that would be coming up. You can learn more about how I stay consistently organized, here.
We are not without our fair share of behavior goals that need monitored. Being in a private school, it allows us to be selective about the kinds of behaviors that we are staffed for. This would be a class by class basis and depending on the individual student and their family. We strongly suggest students who do have behavior goals do seek ongoing outside counseling to help the student be successful in and outside of the classroom. Family support is crucial, as well as an open and ongoing dialogue.
When you think about it, special education is one of the most beautiful things to occur in a Montessori classroom. Every child is technically on their own "IEP," with goals that are developmentally appropriate for the students level- not based on their age. It is just one simple extra step of filing different paperwork at different times for these students. I do not discourage getting students that do need an IEP on one though, even if we know they will continue being served at our Montessori school. This can ensure they are given the extra time and resources they need and prevent difficulties if they did have to transfer into a public school for whatever reason. It also helps ensure the family, school and school district are on the same team.
Our classroom reaps the reward of including students with a variety of disabilities and ability levels every year. It gives non disabled students the chance to interact, empathize and empower their peers with disabilities, who become their friends. On the other hand, the non disabled students can be a huge social motivation or inspiration to students with disabilities to learn from.
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