Laurence T. Spring

Report
School Psychologists
&
School Administrators
Bringing Mental Heath to the
Forefront
Laurence T. Spring
Superintendent of Schools
Schenectady City School District
Follow me @schnctdysuper
About me…
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Social Studies Teacher
Professional Developer
Assistant Principal
Director of Student Learning
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
Superintendent
About Schenectady
• 10,000 Students
• Racially Diverse
– 35% Black
• Small City School District
– 35% White
• 80% Free and Reduced
– 18% Latino
Lunch Rate
• 18% Classification Rate
• 13th Highest
(and falling)
Concentration of Poverty
in US
• High Rates of Anxiety,
Depression and PTSD
Current State
• School Administrators
Generally See Psychologists as
Testers, Report Writers, and
Meeting Attendees
• PPS Is a “Black Box” that “does
some stuff”
• What Psychologists do is a
mystery
• Mental Health, in particular, is a
Mystery
How Some Admins See the
School Psychologist…
“Please, Please,
Please
Classify….
C’mon… lucky
Sevens!!”
Current State continued…
• Common assumptions held that feed this perception
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The pathology rests within the child
Intelligence is fixed and immutable
Learning disabilities are a function of intelligence
Behavior is a choice
Mental Health issues are feared
Someone else, somewhere else, has a magic wand that will fix this child
Disability is not a protected class of citizen
The Part 200 Regulations are optional
SWDs are in control over their disability
Students with disabilities are not capable of higher order thinking
Placements are often for the adults
A Preferred State
• School improvement design begins with SWDs and
keeps them at the center
• School Psychologists are seen as critical to whole school
improvement efforts
• Prevention of classification is a major goal of the system
• Mental Health is seen like all other aspects of health
• The system adjusts to the needs of the students
The Problems With That…
• What School Admins Often Misunderstand
– In accountability systems, where students with disabilities go, so
goes the system
– The pathology rests within the system, not the child
– Students with disabilities are protected by the Civil Rights Act… just
like race, religion and other classes of citizenship
– Intelligence is effort based
– Behavior is communication and serves a function
– No one is learning disabled until they get to school
– Mental Illness is far more prevalent and treatable
 If you design a system that serves SWDs well, all students are
likely to do well
Problems….
• So many disabilities are invisible
• Misconceptions about mental illnesses are rampant and
persistent
• Social stigma associated with mental illness is powerful
• Cultural and gender differences contribute to under identification
• There are environmental factors that can increase or exacerbate
mental illness
• Because mental illness is such a mystery to many people, there
is great fear when they encounter it
Braiding Together Knowledge, Values
and Policies
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Leadership
Part 200 and IDEA
Instructional Leadership
Child Advocacy Orientation
7/17/2015
Leadership is...
...an influence relationship among leaders and
followers who intend real changes that reflect their
mutual purposes. (Rost)
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Leadership involves influence
We lead for change
Followers are active participants
Purposes are shared
Knowledge
• Building administrators need to know special
education well enough to push the system, adapt
it, and produce new knowledge
• Knowledge allows for the formation of new
partnerships
Instructional Leadership
• Administrative development is targeted at helping
leaders develop the skills to help teachers reach
all students
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Trauma Informed Care
Restorative Justice
Functional Behavior Approaches
TCIS
• The Professional Development Plan and CSPD
become one plan
Having a Child Advocacy Orientation...
• Variation not deviation
• Leaders of the system must
ensure all students have
advocates
– The true test of the system is the
kind of advocacy EBD students
receive
– There are always people who
advocate for the other students (or
staff)
– Ensure balance
Organizing for Shared Standards,
Authentic Learning, Inclusive
Pedagogy
– “Students with disabilities are entitled to have
access to district curriculum, but the curriculum
cannot be so narrowly defined that it creates
‘casualties’ who become the referrals to special
education…” - McLaughlin
Leading up the Ladder is Tougher…
• How to lead your
supervisor… when they
don’t know that they need
to be led.
• Understand the structure
for IDEA, Pt. 200, District
Policy, Vision, Mission and
Goals
• Link conversations to this
structure
Actions
Beliefs
Values
Assumptions
Beliefs, Values, Assumptions
• Accept the charge that your job is to bring assumptions
about student behavior and socio emotional health to the
surface
• Organizational cultural assumptions are tough…
• Use concrete examples, vision statements, and research
• Be relentless
• Build allies
• Mutual support and re-energizing activities
The Areas of Difficulty….
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Organizing for Shared Standards,
Authentic Learning, Inclusive Pedagogy
Organizing for Shared Purpose and
Accountability
Establishing High Expectations and
Accountability
Inclusive Ed Models
Creating an Inclusive Culture
Educational Practices that Support
Diversity
Strategies to Accommodate Specific
Barriers to Learning
Consider deep policy and practice
implications of IDEA provisions
Consider the meaning of “curriculum”
Challenge traditional notions of
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“disability”
Focus on collaboration and crafting
instructionally relevant IEPs
Make general education “special”
Clearly defined standards - not
standardization
Integrated approaches to curricular
content
Instruction delivered to capitalize on
different ways of learning
Teaching for thinking, problem solving,
and learning
Assessment integrally connected to
teaching and learning
Strategies to accommodate specific
barriers to learning
Have A Game Plan… From The
Principal’s Perspective
• Your goals…
– Keep your principal out of trouble with SED (you
are her / his child find specialist)
– Help your principal look good… thoughtful,
cohesive programming, resourcing etc…
– Increase the achievement of SWDs
– Decrease the discipline referrals of SWDs
– Staff management / climate
Have A Game Plan… From A
Principal’s Perspective
• You are in a position of influence, but not control
– You need to supervise upwards… very hard to do
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Compliance
Values alignment
Program coherence
Disproportionality
Building management / climate issues
– You need to influence colleagues… without ever having been in their
shoes… not easy
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High quality instruction as the best intervention
Pathology rests with the system
Disability advocacy – grading, behavior…
Education & advocacy
Have A Game Plan… From The
Principal’s Perspective
• Audit all IEPs and Schedules for compliance
• Ensure that all staff have reviewed the IEP of every child they
teach
• ID all students who need behavior plans – review for quality and
effectiveness
• Monitor discipline / suspensions – looking for suspicion of
disability
• Review SWD achievement, discipline, and attendance with case
manager
• Meet with staff to discuss implementation of IEP & IST / SBST
plans
Have A Game plan… From The
Principal’s Perspective
• Make sure the principal
knows what your game
plan is… Be their
Guardian Angel
Embracing the Concept of Accountability
• Accountability is New York State’s Lever for
School Improvement
• Accountability Produces Change - if you pull the
right levers to get it
• What gets tested gets taught - Who gets tested
gets taught
Organizing for Accountability
• Special Education Decentralization
– Demands the ownership of special education by the
administrators that matter - principals
– Building Administrators accountable for district special
education goals
– Don’t wait for the invitation – it won’t come
Organizing for Accountability
• Special Education Data as part of each building shared
decision making plan
• PDP and CSPD as one plan
• APPR articulates learning expectations for special
education students
Organizing for Accountability
• Modes of Communication
– Symbolic - Special Education is in the same office as G & T
and Professional Development
– Explicit - All district communication articulates the inclusion of
all students
– Inclusion begins with messages sent by the superintendent
and principals as incidents arise
Organizing for Shared Standards, Authentic
Learning, Inclusive Pedagogy
– Unified Standards, flexible curriculum, flexible
instructional approaches
– Balanced assessment
– School-to-Career focus to promote integrated,
authentic learning experiences for all students
– Standards for teaching and learning
– Standards for leading the learning
Organize for Shared Purpose and
Accountability
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Mission statement that supports inclusion
District policies and procedures that support LRE
Special education leadership shared by all (school-based)
Sub committees and building level ISTs
Key Performance Indicators reported by individual schools and used by
individual schools in the comprehensive planning process
Establishing High Expectations and Accountability
• Organizing for Shared Standards, Authentic
Learning, Inclusive Pedagogy
– Unified Standards, flexible curriculum, flexible
instructional approaches
– Balanced assessment
– School-to-Career focus to promote integrated,
authentic learning experiences for all students
– Standards for teaching and learning
– Standards for leading the learning
Inclusive Ed Models
• Organizing for Student Access and Support for
Learning
– General Ed Instruction
– Special Education Services
– Special Programs
Creating an Inclusive Culture
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Leadership and Symbolic Communication
Professional development
Special programs
ISTs
Induction
Hiring
Creating an Inclusive Culture
• Leadership and Cultural / Symbolic
Communication
– Professional development for district leaders has an
inclusive focus
– District communications explicitly refer to all
learners (Sign and Symbol)
– Special education and inclusive practices are
rewarded and celebrated
Creating an Inclusive Culture
• ISTs
– Are powerful tools to advocate for children…
– But… they are also powerful tools to develop staff
in what advocacy looks and sounds like
– Every IST meeting IS staff development for
everyone sitting at the table and everyone who
receives the plan
Educational Practices that Support Diversity
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Responsive Instructional Practices
Clearly defined standards - not standardization
Integrated approaches to curricular content
Instruction delivered to capitalize on different
ways of learning
• Teaching for thinking, problem solving, and
understanding
• Assessment integrally connected to teaching and
learning
Strategies to Accommodate Specific Barriers to
Learning
• Explicit instruction about “how to learn”
• Curricular modification and accommodation
• Planning for the full range of learners at the design point of
instruction to minimize “retrofitting”
• Linking instruction to real situations to expand the concept of
classroom, curriculum, and community
Educational practices that support
diversity
• Responsive Instructional Practices
– Clearly defined standards - not standardization
– Integrated approaches to curricular content
– Instruction delivered to capitalize on different ways
of learning
– Teaching for thinking, problem solving, and learning
– Assessment integrally connected to teaching an
learning
Consider deep policy and practice
implications of IDEA provisions
• IDEA essentially means that special education is a
service not a place
• It is becoming less acceptable to find alternative
placements for students - even for parts of the day
• All providers are expected to be knowledgeable in
dealing with learning difficulties
• Providers are expected to find a way to change the
system to meet the needs of the students, as opposed
to figuring out where to put the students that don’t fit the
system
Consider the meaning of “Curriculum”
• We need to look at the “Big Picture”
– Declarative knowledge, Procedural Knowledge,
Conditional Knowledge
– Make decisions about what makes up the curriculum what are the essential knowledges that students need
before they can leave school (SCANS Report, etc…)
– Do all students need to experience the same
curriculum? Could they, even if we wanted them to?
Challenge traditional notions of “disability”
• Students that are labeled as disabled tend to be
those that do not fit in the traditional notion of
instruction and achievement
• If we change those notions, we change who is
disabled
• If we expect classrooms to meet all learning styles
and teach what it means to be intelligent or gifted we
almost eliminate “disabled”
Focus on collaboration and crafting
instructionally relevant IEPs
• Partnerships between stakeholders
• All stakeholders must understand the nature
of the work - standards and how to achieve
them
• All stakeholders must see education as a
flexible service that recognizes individual
differences and is designed to accommodate
Make general education “special”
• Inclusion:
– Getting general education teachers to act like special
education teachers
• Individualized educational plans
– Assess needs and design instruction accordingly
• Regular education teachers are teachers of all students
– They are responsible for and expected to modify their
instruction and curriculum to meet the needs of all learners
Clearly defined standards - not standardization
• Rather than demand all students know the same things, an
impossibility, demand standards of performance
• Standards are not “more things to know” (declarative knowledge),
but defining what acceptable standards of performance are and
clearly communicating them
• Demystify Success - to many students, success is random
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Performance assessments
Rubrics
Models
Explicit Instruction
Integrated approaches to curricular
content
• Making content more relevant and authentic
– The content students come into contact with in the
real world is not segmented into “subject areas”
– Complex problems with value to real audiences
and multiple solution paths engage students and
teach real skills and knowledge
• Finding connections in the curriculum
• Finding the curriculum in the community
Instruction delivered to capitalize on different
ways of learning
• Differences in learning are strengths
– Unit and lesson design models that take advantage
of differences (4MAT, Differentiation, Understanding
by Design)
– Include all students in the design
– Each student has a time to shine and a time to
stretch
Teaching for thinking, problem solving,
and learning
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Performance Assessment
Multiple Solution Paths
Critical Thinking Standards
Being explicit about what “Intelligence” is and
what “Gifted” looks/sounds like
• All students can learn gifted behavior
Assessment integrally connected to
teaching and learning
• Not teaching to the test, the teaching is the test Formative assessment increases in importance
• All assessment has one purpose - to increase the
performance of the learner
• How does the learner benefit from the assessment
results?
• All assessment teach, do they teach what we
intend?
Strategies to accommodate specific barriers to
learning
– Explicit instruction about “how to learn”
– Curricular modification and accommodation
– Planning for the full range of learners at the design
point of instruction rather than “retro-fitting”
– Linking instruction to real situations to expand the
concept of classroom, curriculum, and community

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