Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Service Delivery and the Common Core

On Friday I attended a conference put on by Health Ed: "Service Delivery and the Common Core Standards  - Connections for the Speech-Language Pathologist" presented by Perry Flynn, M.Ed, CCC-SLP.  He is an Associate Professor at UNC Greensboro, Member of the ASHA Board of Directors, and if I listed the rest of his C.V., I wouldn't have time to actually tell you about the conference!  This will be a brief summary.  I highly recommend attending if you want more information - as of right now, there are two more scheduled dates (Colorado and New York).

Did you know that 45 states have already adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?  To see which ones are still holding out, click here.  By the way, I'd say that the workshop touched on the CCSS, but was geared a little more toward service delivery.  So, here's what I took from it...

Key Points I Took From This Workshop:

  • CCSS came about partly because some states were actually lowering their standards to increase the number of students who were performing according to standard!
  • It was suggested that future educational funding/grants will be tied to the CCSS, so those states that have been holding out on adopting the common core will probably jump on board sooner or later. 
  • The ELA CCSS are not drastically different from the things we work on already, so aligning therapy to the common core shouldn't be a stretch for us!
  • CCSS should NOT be IEP goals or objectives!  (I was just discussing this with some other SLPeeps recently). If a child is on an IEP, chances are, you are not expecting them to perform at grade level!  You can and should use goals and objectives that will help a child to achieve standards, but not the standards themselves.
  • North Carolina has downward extension of the CCSS for children with special needs. Other states are likely to follow suit (if they don't have the downward extensions already).
  • The clinical and education models for service delivery are supposed to be different.  I know, this isn't earth shattering information!  However, I think many of us lose track of this.  We want to help kids.  We want them to make amazing progress.  We want them to excel!  According to the educational model (i.e., the law), the goal of Speech/Language services in schools is to support educational performance (i.e., to allow the child to fully access the curriculum) in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT. Which brings me to...
  • Our speech rooms are RESTRICTIVE!  They take kids away from the general education setting.  I typically provide a combination of inclusion and pull-out services and that's great.  But, it's not "least restrictive" for all of my students.  I know that parents typically see pull-out service as "better," and that type of service really is needed for some kids.  However, there are many benefits to inclusion services as well.
  • Most of us write IEPs for X amount of service per week.  My favorite quote from the workshop "For those of you who write IEPs for 2x30 minutes/week, you are flat-out lying to parents. Unless you and the kid never get sick, you never attend TEAM meetings, and you never take a day to attend a conference like this one, it's not going to happen!"  My district recently asked us to consider writing monthly service delivery rather than weekly to take this into account.  It's so hard for us to change our mindsets and some SLPs in my district continue to write weekly minutes for service delivery, but I'm trying the monthly and finding it makes it a little easier!

Perry also gave us a bunch of CCSS resources.  Here they are:

Did you know there's an app for that?
Mastery Connect's Common Core App is available on the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store.  Find out more here:  http://www.masteryconnect.com/learn-more/core-app.html

Mastery Connect even has a widget that can be embedded into blogs!  Here it is:

And that about sums it up!  Check out the resources, especially on Perry's page.  If you get the chance, he's definitely worth catching on the seminar circuit!

PS, I'd love to hear your experiences with the common core and/or service delivery!
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