16 Nov

Holiday Shopping on Amazon.com?

If you are going to be doing some holiday shopping on-line this year, we have a great suggestion for you that will help out a terrific school. Amazon.com is working with the Vista School in Pennsylvania to donate a percentage of your purchases directly to the school. Click the link to amazon.com at the bottom of the Vista School webpage and as you purchase gifts, you to help Vista provide services to children. Every little bit helps!

19 May

Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement – Pt. 5

The last in our series examining the five, “Framing Questions for Decision Making” in using ARRA funds for school reform and improvement.

5. Foster continuous improvement? Will the proposed use of funds include approaches to measure and track implementation and results and create feedback loops to modify or discontinue strategies based on evidence?

YES. The CLM contains an Implementation Accountability Process (IAP) to assure that everyone on the ‘Site Team’ knows what is happening in a given setting and who’s responsible for the tasks. This allows persons to measure and track implementation and results. Everyone knows exactly what their priorities are when putting the CLM in place.

11 May

Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement – Pt. 4

4. Avoid the cliff and improve productivity? Will the proposed use of funds avoid recurring costs that states, school systems, and schools are unprepared to assume when this funding ends? Given these economic times, will the proposed use serve as “bridge funding” to help transition to more effective and efficient approaches?

YES.

*School districts in the state of California have been fiscally overwhelmed by the over 13% average yearly rise in diagnosis of autism over the past 20 years. There are no signs of the autism epidemic slowing, nor the costs associated with autism education declining. ^Studies show that effective early intervention programs can save school districts over $275,000 over the course of a students enrollment. By implementing the CLM, schools can utilize stimulus funds to provide high-quality early intervention while building the in-house capacity necessary to replicate ‘best practice’ instruction.

*http://www.dds.ca.gov/AUTISM/docs/AutismReport_2007.pdf
^Jacobson, J., Mulick, J., Green, G. Cost-benefit Estimates for Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism, Behavioral Interventions, 1998, Volume 13, 201-226

7 May

Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement – Pt. 3

Next up in our 5 part series looking at how to use the CLM and ARRA funds to drive school reform and improvement – Framing Question #3

3. Accelerate reform? Will the proposed use of funds advance state, district, or school improvement plans and the reform goals encompassed in ARRA?

YES. The CLM can accelerate school improvement. The CLM’s in-house capacity building is endorsed by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, State Director of Special Education John Tommasini, and multiple administrators, teachers, para-professionals, and parents who have implemented the CLM in their schools.

You can view their endorsements here.

6 May

Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement – Pt. 2

Next up in our 5 part series looking at how to use the CLM and ARRA funds to drive school reform and improvement – Framing Question #2

2. Increase capacity? Will the proposed use of funds increase educators’ long-term capacity to improve results for students?

YES. *West Virginia University trained teachers in the Competent Learner Model and found that after training, their instructors had increased their capacity to meet the educational needs of their students. The teaching strategies instilled within educators trained in using the CLM, can positively affect learners and the classroom as a whole.

*Warash, B., Curtis, R., Hursh, D. & Tucci, V., (2008) Skinner Meets Piaget on the Reggio Playground: Practical Synthesis of Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmentally Appropriate Practice Orientations, Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education, 22(4), 441-453.

4 May

Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement

The US government has generated a document titled “Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement” The document is intended “to spark ideas about how districts and schools might use ARRA funds.” Districts generally have up to two years to obligate these funds. While many school districts may need to use a portion of their ARRA funds to save jobs, every district and school should be considering how to use these funds to improve student outcomes over the next two years and to advance reforms that will have even longer-term impact.

Over the next week or two, the CLM blog will be looking at all five of the, “Framing Questions for Decision Making” contained within the document found here. Because the government website is constantly changing, you may have to search for the original article by title on the US Department of Education website.

In considering how to best spend ARRA funds, decision makers should consider whether they can answer “yes” to these five questions:

1. Drive results for students? Will the proposed use of funds drive improved results for students, including students in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners?

YES! The CLM contains “Competent Learner Repertoire Assessments” or CLRAs for Learners. Primarily, the CLRA is used to determine the repertoires that are ‘missing’ and to track the learners’ progress through the CLM Curriculum. The CLRAs assist educators to appropriately place a learner in validated curricula by providing a profile of the learner’s strengths and weaknesses across seven key “learning-to-learn” repertoires. The CLRA has been shown to have concurrent validity with the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, be sensitive to change in learner behavior, and have high inter-observer agreement among educators using it to assess their learners.