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Separating Difference & Disability Navigating the Student of Concern (SOC) Process.

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Presentation on theme: "Separating Difference & Disability Navigating the Student of Concern (SOC) Process."— Presentation transcript:

1 Separating Difference & Disability Navigating the Student of Concern (SOC) Process

2 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

3 Question: 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?

4 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.

5 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.

6 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 population? Reflection

7 Disproportionality 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).

8 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 Disability. O Roughly 80% of all Special Education referrals are based upon reading concerns.

9 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 apart.

10 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.

11 Difficulty learning language is not unusual. In this classic clip Lucy talks to Desi about how to read English:

12 Natural Progression of Language Acquisition De Avila What does “typical” learning look like for ELL students?

13 Goals & Expectations WA State standards in Writing for EALR 2.1 “Demonstrates understanding of different purposes for writing.” ELL Proficiency Levels Grades 3-5 ELL Standards GLE 2.2.1 Beginning (L1) Draws pictures or writes words for own purposes (e.g., to communicate with others, reminders to self)Identifies an intended audience Advanced Beginning (L1) Writes to a frame to retell, inform, and entertain Intermediate (L2) 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 sentences Writes to learn (e.g., math learning logs, reflections using simple sentences Advanced (L3) Identifies purpose of writing Writes to respond to literature in some detail using descriptive sentences 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 5 th 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).


15 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 acculturation process, or the learning environment.” pg. 22, OSPI pamphlet


17 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.

18 16 Important Variables 1 L1 Interference 9 approach taken with regard to ELL services 2 other languages spoken by the student 10 rate of growth on the WELPA 3 code switching/language confusion 11 intervention description 4 expected years of education 12 expectations in the general education classroom 5 parental education in primary language 13 classroom observation 6 student did not learn to read in the primary language 14 comparison student data 7 years learning English 15 the parent interview 8 attendance history 16 developmental history

19 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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