Separating Difference and Disability - long Powerpoint

Separating Difference
& Disability
Navigating the Student of Concern
(SOC) Process
Renton School District
Student of Concern Protocol Team
Melissa Barga – Science Teacher, SIOP Lead Teacher,
Renton High
Anne Sylte Bloom -- ELL Teacher, Elementary-various
Claire Engelbrecht – Speech Language Pathologist, Hillcrest
Leah Gipe – ELL Teacher & SIOP Coach, Hazen High School
Jill Johnson -- Second Grade, SIOP Lead Teacher,
Honey Dew Elementary
Mary Nassif -- Psychologist, Honey Dew Elementary &
Cascade Elementary
Ami Schroeder – ELL Teacher, Elementary-various
Carmen Unti -- Instructional Facilitator & SIOP Lead Teacher,
Sierra Heights Elementary
I am concerned about the academic
progress of a language diverse student.
I think that a Special Education referral
might be appropriate, but
I’m not sure. What
process is in place
to help me figure
out what to do?
Access to Education
ELL programs and Special Education programs both
are designed to help students access education.
However, Special Education identifies a child as
having a disability.
Language Impact
The Washington State ELL population is growing at
5-6% each year.
More than 35% of the students in the Renton
School District speak a language other than English
and 14.5% are designated ELL.
How many of the
students you/your
team/your school has
referred for Special
Education are language
diverse students?
Is this number
proportionate to your
overall school
With Special Education programs, each district must report its
proportionality (or disproportionality) data to the state, and each state then
must report the data to the federal government, as part of the Special
Education laws.
Data has been collected over many years and we know that, historically,
minorities are over represented in certain areas and under represented in
others (ex. Latinos over represented in Specific Learning Disabilities).
Special Education Facts:
The most recent IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
documents show that…
O Roughly 50% of all students qualified in the U.S. for Special Education
services are qualified under the category of Specific Learning
O Roughly 80% of all Special Education referrals are based upon reading
Research Shows:
Having a diverse language background does not have an inherently
negative effect on students. In fact, if they are properly supported, it
has a huge benefit.
However, if they are not properly supported and given the tools they
need (accommodations, differentiated instruction, tutoring, support at
home, etc.) to learn academic
language, they will not be able
to keep up and will fall further
and further behind.
Their performance may become
similar to that of children with
disabilities. It can become
increasingly difficult to tell them
Why does it matter?
Isn’t more help better?
O Special Education is a service to be provided to children who have a
documented disability and requires specially designed instruction.
O Placing students in Special Education programs who do not actually
have a disability overburdens the Special Education department,
diverting resources away from identified students with disabilities.
O Special Education limits access for those students to the General
Education classroom and curriculum, and normally developing
language models.
O It also can impact students for the rest of their lives: students who
are qualified for Special Education have higher dropout rates.
Difficulty learning language is not unusual.
In this classic clip Lucy talks to Desi about
how to read English:
What does “typical” learning
look like for ELL students?
Natural Progression of Language Acquisition De Avila
Goals & Expectations
WA State standards in Writing for EALR 2.1
“Demonstrates understanding of different purposes for writing.”
5th Grade General Education
Standards GLE 2.2.1
• Writes to analyze
informational text or data
(e.g., explains the steps of a
scientific investigation).
• Writes to learn (e.g., math
learning logs, reflections,
double-entry logs, steps/
strategies used to solve math
problems), to tell a story, to
explain, and to persuade.
• Writes for more than one
purpose using the same form
(e.g., a letter used to explain,
to request, or to persuade).
• Includes more than one mode
within a piece to address
purpose (e.g., descriptive
details or narrative anecdote
within an explanation).
ELL Proficiency
Beginning (L1)
Beginning (L1)
Grades 3-5 ELL Standards
GLE 2.2.1
• Draws pictures or writes words for own purposes (e.g., to
communicate with others, reminders to self)Identifies an
intended audience
• Writes to a frame to retell, inform, and entertain
• Identifies purpose of writing
• Writes for different purposes (e.g., tell a story, explain,
respond to a question) using simple sentences
• Writes to respond to literature in some detail using simple
Advanced (L3)
• Writes to learn (e.g., math learning logs, reflections using
simple sentences
• Identifies purpose of writing
• Writes to respond to literature in some detail using descriptive
• Writes for different purposes (e.g., tell a story, explain,
respond to a question) using descriptive sentences
• Writes to learn (e.g., math learning logs, reflections) using
descriptive sentences
• Incorporates more than one purpose using a form
Social Language
Listening & Speaking
6 months-2 years
Academic Language
Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing
3-9 years
From OSPI:
“A formal referral to special services is only justified
after it has been determined that a child’s behavior
and performance cannot be explained solely by
language or cultural
differences, the
process, or the
pg. 22, OSPI pamphlet
The Right Questions to Ask
The Student of Concern Matrix was created to guide discussion
around these 16 important variables which can impact a student’s
language history and educational story. A clearer understanding
leads the team to making quality intervention and referral decisions.
16 Important Variables
approach taken with regard to ELL
L1 Interference
other languages spoken by the student
rate of growth on the WELPA
code switching/language confusion
intervention description
expected years of education
expectations in the general education
parental education in primary language
classroom observation
student did not learn to read in the
primary language
comparison student data
years learning English
the parent interview
attendance history
developmental history
The Matrix
O Provides a structure for organizing information about the
student, which should be considered prior to referral
O Visually organizes the information which supports referral
and/or supports more intervention
O Designed to be used by a team – for both data gathering
and decision making
O Does not eliminate special Education referrals for ELL
students…just helps to ensure that they’re appropriate.

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