The goal of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is to focus on the knowledge and skills needed by all students so they can be successful in college and career venues (www.corestandards.org). These new standards were developed with the idea that student learning would dramatically improve (www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc) and this long-range objective applies to all students including those who receive special education and related services.
With the advent of CCSS students with special needs will require an even greater emphasis on specialized instruction in order for teachers to tap into their full potential.
Students with a variety of learning profiles demonstrate the capability to learn when provided access to core curriculum and also when the appropriate specialized instruction, supports, and accommodations are consistently delivered.
Reports from the National Center for Educational Outcomes (NCOE) reveal that students with disabilities are exhibiting greater capacity to acquire all levels of knowledge than was previously expected.
Special education teachers are trained to implement specialized instructional strategies in the classroom. They have expertise in providing instruction to a diverse range of learners with varying abilities (http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/creds/special-ed.html).
In doing so, special education teachers are creative in their quest to modify the general curriculum to ensure that cognitive, emotional, and physical needs of each student are addressed while emphasizing quality academics.
Since all students are held to high expectations of learning based on college and career readiness skills, special education teachers should feel confident and comfortable in delivering instruction with their general education counterparts when implementing CCSS.
However, for special needs students there are specific methodologies that should be followed by special education teachers for students to be able to attain those high standards:
- Instructional strategies that support student engagement and applicability to the real world experiences
- Differentiated instruction
- Fluency in technology
- Integration of content areas
- Accommodations which do not alter the standards or lower the expectations for students to successfully accomplish the work
Linking the overall success for students with disabilities are special education teachers because they strive to instruct students with the best education possible by developing, managing, and instructing students.
The journey to the full implementation of the CCSS will be empowering for the success of both students with special needs and their teachers.
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