- English Language Learners
The term English Language Learners (ELLs) refers to students whose first language is not English, and encompasses both students who are just beginning to learn English (often referred to in federal legislation as “Limited English Proficient” or “LEP”) and those who have already developed considerable proficiency.
As the number of English Language Learners increases in our schools, so does the need for guidelines on how to address this group’s unique learning needs. Because English Language Learners are learning academic content, skills and information in a new language, teachers must use strategies and techniques ensuring that instruction are comprehensible for them.
The first step in the implementation of the RtI model for linguistically and culturally diverse students is to ensure that instruction is conducive to academic success in the general education classroom. Classroom differentiation and scaffolding techniques are non-negotiable in the mainstream content environment. Culturally responsive, quality instruction will serve as the educational foundation for English Language Learners in all content areas.
- Students and Trauma
Trauma is not an event, but a response to a stressful experience which can leave a person to feel hopeless, helpless, fearing for their life/survival and their safety. Studies estimate that two-thirds of all students experience a traumatic life event before the age of 16. Trauma can affect a student’s ability to learn, form relationships, and function appropriately in the classroom.
The first step in supporting students who have been traumatized is taking a step back and evaluating your perspective on their behavior. Your perception is relayed through your words and actions, so it is important that one learns to see behavior in terms of communication rather than disobedience.
PBIS and Trauma Informed Care
- Gifted and Talented
The current federal definition for gifted and talented students located in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is as follows: Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
A tiered model of programming is a historical framework for the field of gifted and talented education. Levels of intensity in programming allow for the diversity of individual needs of students who are gifted and talented. Training on differentiation of curriculum, instruction and assessment is essential for meeting the needs of students who are gifted and talented.
Response to Intervention provides support systems for students with exceptional ability or potential. Students who are gifted require special provisions because of their strengths and above grade instructional level or potential. In gifted education, strength-based interventions or strength-based programming, are used to describe tiered instruction. RtI supports setting targets or trend lines for students.
Long-term planning and monitoring of student progress will allow students to learn and grow toward accelerated expectations. The pace of acceleration is based upon individual experiences and needs; RtI also embeds gifted education into the daily focus of quality instruction. Academic and behavioral outcomes become critical targets for students.
The RtI framework uses data, strengths and interests of students to implement appropriate, rigorous and relevant curriculum and instruction. Progress monitoring continually contributes new data so that learning is dynamic and adjustments are made for pace, depth and complexity of the research-based practices utilized. Milwaukee Public Schools will increase their focus on addressing the gifted and talented population as we move into additional years of implementation.
MPS Gifted and Talented Information
- Students with Disabilities
A very general definition of special education refers to a range of educational and social services provided by the public school system and other educational institutions to individuals with disabilities who are between three and 21 years of age.
As defined by IDEA, the term “child with a disability” means a child: “with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.”
Because RtI encompasses all students, students with IEPs are serviced within the three-tiers. There is not another tier or place for students if they are identified as special education.
However, because interventions from RtI are utilized for the identification of a Specific Learning Disability, understanding how the model fits with eligibility of special education is important.
RtI/ PBIS Tier 2/3 Students with Disabilities FAQ
- Culturally Responsive Practices
Culture is defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts with which the members of society use to understand their world and one another (The National Center for Culturally Responsive Education Systems).
How do you become culturally responsive?
Develop cultural self-awareness
Appreciate the value of diverse views
Avoid imposing your own values on others
Examine your own teaching for cultural bias
Build on students' cultural strengths
Discover your students' primary cultural roles; incorporate culture into your teaching
Learn what you can about various cultures