TEA released an Instructional Continuity Detailed Guidance for Students with Disabilities on April 23 to help districts launch “at-home schools” that support students with disabilities who require special education support to access academic content.

The guidance supplements the Instructional Continuity Framework that TEA released March 20 to help districts launch “at-home schools” that maximize the amount of instructional time for students this school year and support student mastery of grade level standards, and includes the following phases:

Phase 1: Conduct Landscape Analysis

1.1 Assess At-Home Learning Access: How is special education integrated into the district /campus/grade level technology plan?

What software options are available for teachers to create infographics needed for visual supports for students (low incidence, DHH, AU)?

  • Flipgrid
  • Nearpod
  • Educreations
  • Edulastic
  • Flocabulary
  • Lino, Piktochart
  • NoRedInk

1.2 Assess Instructional Delivery Methods based on existing licenses/free resources and access to instructional support for all learners. For students with disabilities, review IEPs to determine the devices and supports available to students with disabilities.

Additional Resources:

1.3 Assess Access for Quality Instructional Design for students with disabilities.

  • Considerations for Selecting Online Education Platforms for Special Populations (4/22/20): Teachers should do their best to incorporate a mix of instructional strategies and not rely on one online platform. They should also consider robust discussions and collaborative work via chats and virtual meetings, video and audio clips, and hands-on exercises completed either together or individually. To determine the most appropriate learning platform, consider if your district already has an online learning platform or program used at school for instruction and is accessible to all students. If so, maximize learning through the programs students are already familiar with to avoid the lost time it would take for them to learn a new platform. This may not be the case for your district, or the current online platforms may not cover all areas of instruction needed. In this case, steps to consider which online programs could provide the most value add for your district:
  1. Is the online program design backed by research?
  2. If this program will be new for your students and they will have to log in remotely, does it have a simple interface that can be easily navigated?
  3. Does the program utilize tenets of direct instruction that are needed for students with disabilities?
  4. Does the program allow for direct teaching of new concepts and multiple opportunities to practice new skills?
  5. Does the program provide immediate error correction when wrong and an opportunity to practice correctly? Consider HOW the program provides feedback and whether this is appropriate for the student and the teacher. A higher quality program meets the needs of both the student and the teacher. Some programs simply indicate the answer is wrong (i.e., X), and the student can try again without any support or reteach. Some programs present the student with easier problems and scaffold up based on the questions he or she answers correctly. Some programs will play a video that explains the concept behind the misunderstanding prior to presenting the student with a new question.
  6. Does the program include a diagnostic assessment to place students with the appropriate content/skill level, or does it provide guidance to teachers on determining the most appropriate starting point for each student?
  7. Does the program utilize adaptive software so that students are engaging with material at their independent learning level? Does the program allow the teacher to assign activities based on the student’s skill level?
  8. Is the program design age-appropriate and engaging for students, especially those who may be working independently at home during this time?
  9. What accessibility features does the program have, and do they meet the needs of students who will be using the program?
  10. Can the teacher (and the student) easily track student progress?

Additional Resources:

Phase 2 – Determine At-Home Instructional Model and Monitoring – Guiding Questions

2.1. Determine At-Home Curriculum and Instructional Model by grade, eligibility category, delivery, IEP accommodations, and individualized student goals and objectives.

TEA Resources: At Home Learning Resource for Students with Disabilities

Additional Resources:

2.2. Set Grading and Progress Monitoring Policies/Procedures

TEA Resources: Progress Monitoring Checklist

COVID-19 FAQ: Special Education Emergency Contingency Plan

Phase 3 – Operationalize the At-Home Model – Guiding Questions

3.1: Determining At-Home Learning Schedules and Attendance Plans.

Additional Resources:

3.2: Adapting Staffing Models for Students with Disabilities.

TEA Resources:

3.3 Create a plan for parent communication to ensure students with disabilities receive materials

3.4 Provide Model Aligned Professional Development: Guiding Questions

  • If school districts are conducting ARDs virtually, what training is necessary to support this process? (teacher expectations, evaluation staff expectations, administrator expectations, privacy).
  • If school districts determine assessment components can be completed virtually, what training is necessary to support this process? (district leadership, assessment personnel, parents).
  • Which trainings are necessary to ensure FERPA, HIPPA, and FAPE requirements for supporting students with disabilities? (district leadership)
  • Do special education/general education teachers need general training on delivering online content instruction?
  • Will special education staff require training on assistive technology a student may be accessing?

Phase 4 – Provide Monitoring and Support – Guiding Questions

4.1 Monitor Student Progress.

Additional Resources: Progress Monitoring Tools

4.2 Providing Ongoing Teacher Supports Guiding Questions

  • Has the school district provided a design process for school leaders, special education teachers, assessment personnel, related/ancillary service providers, and paraprofessionals to have a check in system in place of their instruction expectations?
  • What new systems or processes does the school district need to implement to support students with disabilities and providing FAPE?
  • What daily routines and expectations will need to be created or adjusted to check daily attendance or presence of special education teachers?
  • What expectations will be mandatory across the district?
  • What expectations will be determined by individual campus leaders and how will ARD meeting expectations be reviewed? (special education staff, campus leadership, district leadership)
  • Who is responsible for supporting special education staff? (campus leadership, district leadership)

Additional Resources: Council for Exceptional Children, planning for virtual instruction during COVID web resources

4.3 Troubleshoot problems

4.4 Support Ongoing Operations

TEA Resource: Tips for Managing Behaviors at Home – English version or Spanish version

4.5 Continuously improve the instructional model