Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 4: AT and Assessment

        As a school librarian, I do not attend IEP's or PPT's. I asked one of the Special Ed teachers to fill me in on PPT's at Abbott Tech.

    When reading about PPT meetings, it sounds like a smooth and wonderful process. Teachers with their various strengths and observations collaborate to determine the best interests of a student who has some kind of learning disability. Upon discussing it with Ms. H, the Special Ed teacher with a Masters' in Assistive Technology, with a few human glitches, it really does work that way.

     Time is one of the biggest obstacles to the PPT process. There just isn't enough time during a school day for a case worker who is co-teaching in specific classrooms to monitor the progress of all of her students. Ms. H's example was "Joe," who has a writing disability.  Ms. H is not the co-teacher in Joe's English class, where he does a lot of writing. Follow up must be done with that class' co-teacher who has her own caseload, and with the classroom teacher if the co-teacher did not collect samples. It is also difficult to find time to collaborate with teachers prior to the PPT.  Teachers often do not find the time to fill out the paperwork and must be reminded multiple times to get it in.

      According to Ms. H, the LD issues in our school aren't severe enough, in most cases, to require AT. A handful of students have their shop theory books loaded on a flash drive along with "text-to-speech" software. Many are not motivated enough to use the AT, but for those who are motivated, it makes a big difference.  Ms. H said that teachers here are very good at differentiating, so many of the students with mild learning disabilities have sufficient access to the information. AT is discussed at every PPT, but at this time, only students who come into the school with some kind of technology assistance actually use it.

      Personally, I was impressed with the WATI Assesment in the Bryant and Bryant reading. It looks quick and basic with room to expand responses. The AT specialist from Central Office handles that kind of paperwork.  Our district has 16 Technical High Schools, and one AT person who conducts specific AT testing and training.
      I am interested to read others' ideas for improvements. As I do not have experience, it would be hard to say.

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