inclusion program at Chelsea Vocational High School concluded
its fourth year in June 2002 with eleven students, five paraprofessionals
and a District 75 special education teacher. (District 75,
services students with moderate to severe disabilities in
New York Citys five boroughs.) Having a variety of strengths
and areas of concern, three students were fully included in
general classes and eight received the support of one study
period per day; all received full or part time paraprofessional
assistance in their general education classes and the help
of the special education teacher during study and/or as needed.
75 provided paraprofessionals with individualized support
and weekly group meetings for training in observation, strategies
and adaptations. The role of the inclusion paraprofessionals
was many-faceted: they encouraged all learners in the class,
adapted class work to inclusion students needs, and monitored
the process-oriented goals of each inclusion students Individual
Education Program (IEP) .
often state that the IEP is a dead document because it is
isolated from the realities of the classroom. Breathing life
into the IEP is the responsibility of a committed educator.
The IEP should be connected to the teaching and learning process
so that students strengths and needs are identified, built
upon and addressed.
fulfill that aim, the inclusion teacher listed abbreviated
short-term IEP goals on the students Priority Goal (PG) sheet;
these were distributed to the student, paraprofessionals and
classroom teachers at the beginning of each semester and after
an annual review. General education teachers were encouraged
to incorporate these goals into their daily lessons (this
is easier to write than to see actualized), thus creating
a curriculum within a curriculum. Twice a week, paraprofessionals
observed and graded their students progress in reaching their
IEP goals; some students learned to self monitor their targets.
District 75 inclusion teacher maintained students numerical
averages to provide an indication of a students comfort with
a particular objective. These statistics also allowed a comparison
of the mastery of an aim in different settings, thus clueing
the educator to question causes of success/ failure in a particular
environment. A two- semester average of six insured that the
student mastered that goal and no longer needed continual
oriented IEP goals and the ongoing assessment of these skills
can encourage the teacher to review how (s)he approaches her
or his work, give the student a rubric for success, and encourage
self-mastery. Incorporating the goals into our lessons provides
all classroom participants with the sense that the difficult
is indeed manageable.#
Berti is a special education teacher at PS721M at Chelsea
HS. She recently received a Phi Delta Kappa award for excellence
in inclusion teaching.