13 SMART Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

Do you work as a special education teacher and struggle to set practical goals in the classroom? If so, you are not alone. Many teachers face challenges when creating goals that align with their students’ needs.

However, developing SMART goals can make a significant difference in promoting student success and improving teaching practices . Here, we’ll explore 13 examples of SMART goals for special education teachers.

But before diving into the specific examples, let’s first understand what SMART goals are and why they are essential for special education teachers.

Table of Contents

What is a SMART Goal?

SMART is a framework for setting goals to enhance the quality of special education teaching. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

If you’re still unsure what these mean, let’s delve deeper into each component of the SMART system:

Vague goals can lead to a lack of focus, resulting in wasted time. However, crafting well-defined goals will clarify what needs to be achieved, thereby increasing your overall efficiency.

It’s crucial to outline the steps and identify those responsible for accomplishing them. This approach creates a clear roadmap for everyone involved in the task and aids in finding challenges early on.

Measuring your teaching goals is crucial for success. Regularly monitoring progress allows you to spot areas that require further enhancement. Without this aspect, it’s hard to ascertain whether your efforts are making an impact or are merely spinning your wheels.

While it’s natural to get swept up in the thrill of your desires, you might fall short of your goals without a solid plan and realistic expectations.

Considering your current circumstances, it’s necessary to evaluate what is genuinely achievable . Reflect on the available resources to meet your objectives. The idea is to balance between ambition and feasibility.

Establishing goals aligning with your values can inspire you to reach your desired outcomes. Your core values will be a compass during challenging times, helping you stay on course.

A clear timeline enhances your ability to adhere to your schedule and maintain focus on your targets. As success isn’t achieved overnight, setting a deadline can encourage sustained dedication over time.

1. Utilize Positive Reinforcement

“For 6 months, I’ll use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, encouragement, and rewards for students who display desired behaviors. I plan to observe student behavior before and after implementing this technique to measure its effectiveness.”

Specific: This goal specifies the reinforcement techniques the teacher will employ (e.g., praise, encouragement, and rewards).

Measurable: This can be measured by observing student behavior before and after implementing the technique.

Attainable: The timeline of 6 months is reasonable for a teacher to implement positive reinforcement techniques.

Relevant: Positive reinforcement is an important teaching tool to help students learn better and behave more appropriately in the classroom.

Time-based: The SMART statement should be achieved after 6 months.

2. Create an Individualized Education Program

“I’ll develop individualized education plans for every student in my classroom. This is a critical step to ensure that each student gets the best learning experience tailored to their needs. I will design all IEPs by the end of the school year.”

Specific: The goal clearly states what will be done and when it must be completed.

Measurable: You can measure success by looking at how many IEPs are created and how well they serve their purpose.

Attainable: This is possible because there is enough time to create individualized education plans for each student.

Relevant: This relates to creating the best learning experience for special education students.

Time-based: There is a one-year time frame to develop all IEPs.

3. Improve Students’ Reading Comprehension

“By the end of this semester, I want to implement a literacy program that will enable my special education students to enhance their reading comprehension. I’ll select a curriculum incorporating direct instruction and creative learning strategies, like story-building.”

Specific: You have precise actions available—implement a literacy program and incorporate direct instruction and creative learning strategies.

Measurable: Assess the student’s reading comprehension through formal and informal assessments.

Attainable: This is a reasonable goal if you dedicate time to research effective literacy programs.

Relevant: Special education students might often need extra help to develop reading comprehension skills.

Time-based: You should expect goal achievement by the end of the semester.

4. Expand Social Skills Development

“I want to focus on providing extra activities that encourage social skills development for my special education students. By the end of the school year, I’d like to see an improvement in how well students can communicate and collaborate with their peers.”

Specific: You will be working to provide activities that promote successful peer interactions.

Measurable: The teacher can measure students’ progress in interacting with peers through observation and assessments.

Attainable: Helping your students acquire these social skills is reasonable and achievable.

Relevant: This pertains to the overall development of these students , as socialization is an essential aspect of growth.

Time-based: You should see improvements by the end of the school year.

5. Strengthen Academic Performance

“I will work to improve the academic performance of my special education students by incorporating more hands-on activities into each lesson. I hope to have each student maintain an average grade of 75% or higher in each subject by the end of the semester.”

Specific: This SMART goal is explicit because it focuses on improving academic performance through a clearly defined plan.

Measurable: Take note of students’ performance in each lesson and make necessary changes.

Attainable: Enhancing academic performance is feasible if the special education teacher can implement their plan successfully.

Relevant: Boosting the academic performance of students is a priority for many teachers and is thus pertinent to their role.

Time-based: Four entire months are required for effective teaching.

6. Increase Parental Involvement

“I will use multiple strategies to increase parental involvement in their child’s education within three months. These strategies include weekly updates via email, face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and classroom visits.”

Specific: The goal outlines the strategies, when they should be used (weekly), and how long it’s expected to take (three months).

Measurable: You can count the updates sent each week, meetings held, calls made, and visits made.

Attainable: It is definitely possible to reach out weekly via multiple methods.

Relevant: Special education students benefit from having their parents involved in their schooling.

Time-based: The goal statement should be accomplished after three months.

7. Encourage the Inclusion of Special Needs Students

“I want to create an inclusive environment in my classroom this month. I’ll identify which special needs students can be included in regular activities and provide necessary accommodations. I’ll also ensure that students with special needs have the same access to resources as other students.”

Specific: The individual aims to create an inclusive environment in their classroom.

Measurable: Check which students should be included in regular activities.

Attainable: This is reachable because the teacher is taking proactive steps to ensure all students have access to the same resources.

Relevant: The statement is appropriate because it focuses on including special needs students in regular activities.

Time-based: The goal is time-bound because it has an end date of one month.

8. Implement Effective Behavioral Strategies

“Over two months, I will become proficient in implementing behavioral strategies for my students. I’ll read three books on the subject, attend a two-day conference about behavior strategies, and observe 5 classrooms in my school district to learn from their methods.”

Specific: This goal is straightforward because you plan to become proficient in behavior strategies for students with special needs.

Measurable: Evaluate your progress by checking off boxes after completing each step in the plan.

Attainable: The teacher has identified a realistic deadline to implement effective behavioral strategies.

Relevant: This relates directly to student success and classroom management, making it an appropriate goal.

Time-based: Completion of this goal is anticipated after two months.

9. Reduce Student Anxiety Levels

“The teacher will reduce their students’ anxiety levels by 15% within a month. They plan to teach students stress-reducing exercises such as yoga , deep breathing, guided meditation, and mindfulness activities.”

Specific: The statement outlines what the teacher will do to reduce students’ anxiety levels and how long they must do it.

Measurable: Document a baseline of each student’s anxiety levels and track the reductions over time.

Attainable: This goal is doable if the teacher provides interventions to reduce stress levels.

Relevant: The goal applies to a special education classroom environment because it focuses on improving student mental health.

Time-based: There is a time limit of one month for meeting this certain goal.

10. Boost Vocational Skills Training

“I will increase the vocational skills training of my special education students by 15% by the end of the school year. I’ll implement new strategies and activities to develop their skilled trades in carpentry, plumbing, auto repair, etc.”

Specific: This is specific because it explicitly states increasing the vocational skills training of special education students.

Measurable: This SMART goal is quantifiable as it requires increasing the training of special education students by 15%.

Attainable: Boosting vocational training by 15% is possible if the right strategies and activities are implemented.

Relevant: Increasing special education students’ vocational abilities is essential for their successful career paths .

Time-based: Goal attainment should be expected within a school year.

11. Nurture a Supportive Learning Environment

“I will create a safe and inclusive learning environment in my classroom so students feel comfortable asking questions and participating. Within four weeks, I will commit to 30 minutes each day to listen to all of my student’s concerns and needs.”

Specific: The SMART goal is clear—to foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment for the students.

Measurable: You will commit to 30 minutes each day to listen to the student’s concerns .

Attainable: Creating an inviting learning environment with the right resources and commitment is possible.

Relevant: A supportive learning environment is essential in special education.

Time-based: There is a four-week deadline to reach the desired outcome.

12. Integrate Technology in the Classroom

“I aim to integrate technology into the curriculum of my special education students by utilizing online resources. I’ll also use various technological devices to boost engagement levels with the subject material and enrich learning experiences within 7 months.”

Specific: This goal sets out what is required (integrating tech into the curriculum and utilizing online resources) and how long it will take (7 months).

Measurable: You could count the number of times you use the new tech in class.

Attainable: Integrating technology into a classroom is just a matter of research and preparation.

Relevant: Harnessing the power of tech will help special education students become more engaged in their learning experience.

Time-based: Achievement of goal is expected by the end of 7 months.

13. Promote Self-Advocacy Among Students

“I will create an open and supportive environment in my classroom for students to become comfortable with advocating for themselves. I’ll roleplay self-advocacy scenarios with my students and provide opportunities for them to voice their opinions in class for 5 months.”

Specific: The aim is precise since the teacher wants to create an open environment in the classroom to promote self-advocacy among students.

Measurable: Ensure you roleplay scenarios with their students and provide opportunities to voice their opinions in class.

Attainable: Not only is this a realistic goal but also an important one, as it can improve student confidence and communication skills.

Relevant: Self-advocacy is vital for special education students to build self-confidence and develop relationships with others.

Time-based: Five months provides enough time for the teacher to succeed.

Final Thoughts

Recognize that each goal should be tailored to meet the unique needs of your classroom. Following the SMART template, you can set incredible goals to positively impact your students’ learning experience.

So start creating SMART goals for your special education classroom today. And don’t forget to review and revise them as needed regularly. Progress is essential in any teaching journey.

Keep striving towards continuous improvement in all aspects of your work with these SMART goals. Hopefully, this guide has helped you better understand how to establish goals for your special education classroom.

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Free IEP Goal Bank With 110+ Goals and Printable Tracking Sheets

All the goals you need, when you need them.

special education teacher goals

There are as many IEP goals as there are students. But the longer you teach special education, the more you’ll find yourself searching for just the right reading comprehension goal for a student with a learning disability or a behavior goal for a kid who has ADHD. That’s where an IEP goal bank, also known as a goal database, comes in.

Below you’ll find a list of over 100 IEP goals covering a variety of focus areas. Plus be sure to fill out the form on this page to get access to a free, editable Google Doc version of the goal bank along with a bundle of free editable goal-tracking sheets. The bundle includes daily and weekly goal-tracking sheets, as well as trial tracking and progress tracking sheets for data collection.

IEP Goals 101

  • Reading Comprehension Goal Bank
  • Math Goal Bank
  • Writing Goal Bank
  • Behavior Goal Bank
  • Social Skills Goal Bank
  • Social-Emotional Goal Bank
  • Executive Functioning Goal Bank
  • Self-Advocacy Goal Bank

IEP goals should be specific enough to be implemented by anyone who reads them. They should address aspects of the general curriculum but at the student’s functional level. And the goals should be actionable and measurable.

The goals should also include the accuracy and number of trials that the student needs to complete to show mastery. The accuracy and number of trials will depend on the student’s ability, strengths, and skills. (Typical accuracy and trials are 80% 4-out-of-5 trials.)

Finally, the goals should include the level of support the student needs. Should they be demonstrating the skill independently, or do they need a few prompts or maximum support? Build that into the goal too.

So, a finished goal might be: When given a pile of coins (all one type), Jaime will count the coins and find the total with no more than two prompts with 70% accuracy in 3 out of 5 trials.

Daily goal tracking sheet.

IEP Goals for Your Database

A lot of thought goes into each IEP goal, so here are more than 100 goals that every special education teacher should have in their bank.

Reading Comprehension IEP Goal Bank

Reading comprehension is a skill that many students struggle with it. Choose a goal that helps students reach the next level of reading comprehension so they can understand and enjoy what they read.

  • When given a story at their reading level, [STUDENT] will use a storyboard or story map to outline the story’s main elements.
  • When given a nonfiction text at their reading level, [STUDENT] will select and use the appropriate graphic organizer to identify key information.
  • When given a paragraph at their reading level, [STUDENT] will apply the RAP strategy ( R eading a single paragraph, A sking oneself to define the main idea and supporting details, P utting the information into the reader’s language).

Reading IEP Goal Bank

  • When given a passage at their reading level, [STUDENT] will use an outline strategy to summarize the content or retell the story.
  • When given a text at their reading level, [STUDENT] will read and demonstrate literal knowledge by answering five literal questions.
  • [STUDENT] will demonstrate understanding of text using total communication (AAC devices, PECS, verbalization, sign language) to answer five literal questions about the text.
  • When presented with a passage at their reading level, [STUDENT] will use context clues to identify the meaning of unknown words.
  • When given a passage at their instructional level, [STUDENT] will make a prediction and read to confirm or adjust their prediction with information from the text.
  • When given a text at their reading level, [STUDENT] will identify the main idea and two supporting details.

Math IEP Goal Bank

  • Given a sentence, [STUDENT] will combine background knowledge with information from the text to infer the author’s meaning.
  • Given a passage at their reading level, [STUDENT] will answer five inferential questions.
  • After reading a passage with visual supports (e.g., highlighting), [STUDENT] will answer literal questions with minimal assistance.
  • After reading a passage at their reading level, [STUDENT] will identify the author’s purpose for writing.
  • Given a list of author’s purposes and a text, [STUDENT] will select the correct author’s purpose for writing.

Math IEP Goal Bank

Students may be working on numeracy or word problems. Whatever their focus, choose a math goal that helps them progress.

  • [STUDENT] will identify a one- or two-digit number (verbally, pointing, written).
  • [STUDENT] will rote-count from 1 to 25 (or higher).
  • [STUDENT] will skip-count by 2, 3, 5, 10 to 50 (verbal or written).

When given up to 10 objects, [STUDENT] will count and state how many objects there are (verbally, pointing).

  • Given 10 addition problems, [STUDENT] will independently add single-digit numbers with (or without) regrouping.
  • [STUDENT] will independently subtract a single-digit number from a double-digit number with (or without) regrouping.
  • Given 10 subtraction problems, [STUDENT] will independently subtract double-digit numbers from double-digit numbers with (or without) regrouping.
  • [STUDENT] will independently tell time to the half hour (or quarter hour, etc.) on an analog clock (verbal or written).
  • [STUDENT] will independently identify the next dollar amount when given a price, determine how much is needed to make a purchase, and count out the necessary amount using school money.
  • Given a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny, [STUDENT] will identify the coin and value.
  • Given a random amount of coins (all one type or mixed), [STUDENT] will independently count the coins.

special education teacher goals

  • When given two-digit (or three- or four-digit) numbers, [STUDENT] will round to the nearest tens (or hundreds or thousands).
  • Given two numbers (pictures, groups of items), [STUDENT] will determine which number is greater than/less than/equal to by selecting or drawing the appropriate symbol.
  • Given data and a graph (bar, pie), [STUDENT] will complete the graph to display the data.
  • Given a graph (bar, pie, line), [STUDENT] will answer three questions about the data.
  • [STUDENT] will identify the numerator and denominator in a fraction.
  • When given a picture of a shape divided into parts, [STUDENT] will color the correct number of sections to represent the fraction given.

Math IEP Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will solve one-step word problems using addition and subtraction (or multiplication and division).
  • [STUDENT] will independently solve 15 multiplication facts (up to 9).
  • Given a fact-fluency tracker, [STUDENT] will track mastery of multiplication facts up to 12.
  • Given a problem-solving checklist, [STUDENT] will use the checklist to solve a one-step or two-step word problem.

Writing IEP Goal Bank

Here are writing IEP goals for organization, fluency, and editing.

  • Given a topic, [STUDENT] will write a sentence that accurately addresses the topic.
  • Given a word bank, [STUDENT] will select the appropriate words to complete a sentence or paragraph about a topic.
  • [STUDENT] will use a keyword outline to write a paragraph with at least [number of] sentences, including an introduction/topic sentence and conclusion sentence.

Writing IEP Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will dictate a response to a question and use talk-to-text to communicate at least three sentences about a topic.
  • [STUDENT] will write a three-paragraph essay about a topic that includes a clear introductory sentence, main idea, supporting details, and conclusion.
  • [STUDENT] will select and use the appropriate graphic organizers to organize ideas in response to a writing topic.

Writing IEP Goal Bank

  • When given a paragraph to revise, [STUDENT] will add transitional words and phrases to connect ideas in sentences (or paragraphs).
  • When given a prompt, [STUDENT] will maintain writing for [amount of time] as measured by observation and student writing output.

Behavior IEP Goal Bank

Everything we see in school is behavior, from working to engaging in class to maintaining self-control and managing emotions. If a student has an IEP for ADHD, an emotional disability, autism, or other categories, they may be working on behavior goals to improve their ability to succeed in school.

  • Given a self-monitoring checklist, [STUDENT] will demonstrate self-regulation during [# of sessions] across [# of months].

Behavior IEP Goal Bank

  • Given a token board, [STUDENT] will follow class rules to earn [# of tokens] for each 30-minute period in special and general education settings.
  • Given a self-regulation strategy (e.g., zones of regulation), [STUDENT] will identify when they are moving from green to red, and apply a self-regulation strategy to maintain their self-regulation.
  • Given support and a visual model, [STUDENT] will implement an organizational system for their locker/desk/backpack/binder.

Behavior IEP Goal Bank

  • Given scripts and reminders, [STUDENT] will manage frustration and disruptions to their routine during classroom activities.
  • Given a social story, [STUDENT] will be able to adjust to new routines and procedures in the classroom.
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will manage conflicts, independent of teacher support, 4 out of 5 occurrences over a ___ time period.
  • Given a work assignment, [STUDENT] will initiate work tasks as measured by observation and work completion.
  • Given a work assignment, [STUDENT] will complete work tasks as measured by observation and work completion.
  • Given a token board and visual or rules, [STUDENT] will follow rules and earn tokens throughout the total school environment.

Social Skills IEP Goal Bank

Social skills may not seem academic, but how students engage with others can be an important outcome for students who have deficits in this area. Here are goals that can support their progression in forming relationships with peers and adults.

  • During unstructured class time, [STUDENT] will engage in respectful conversation with peers (maintain personal space, use respectful voice).
  • During unstructured class time or play time (e.g., recess), [STUDENT] will engage with peers (participate, share, follow rules, take turns) for > 10 minutes with minimal adult prompting.

Social Skills IEP Goal Bank

  • During a preferred activity, [STUDENT] will invite a peer to join in during recess.
  • During a preferred activity, [STUDENT] will engage in appropriate conversation (ask appropriate questions, respond to questions, take turns) for > five turns.
  • When frustrated or involved in a conflict, [STUDENT] will resolve the conflict without aggression but will apply a problem-solving strategy (walk away, tell a teacher).
  • [STUDENT] will demonstrate five back-and-forth exchanges with peers during structured play activities.

Social Skills IEP Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will engage in appropriate turn-taking with peers in classroom discussion.
  • [STUDENT] will decrease inappropriate verbal comments to once per day (or week) or less as measured by teacher observation and behavior checklist.
  • Given a pre-activity checklist, [STUDENT] will identify one peer they would like to engage with and how they are going to engage (e.g., ask a question, invite to play).

Social-Emotional Skills IEP Goal Bank

Identifying and managing feelings is another important school outcome for students who have deficits in this area. Here are goals that help students advance in social-emotional skills.

  • [STUDENT] will work cooperatively with peers in small-group settings (e.g., share materials, engage in conversation, accept others’ ideas).

Social-Emotional Skills Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will identify appropriate social rules and expectations for various social situations.
  • [STUDENT] will refrain from interrupting others.
  • [STUDENT] will identify emotions presented in picture form.

Social-Emotional Skills Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will engage in communication with others by asking questions when provided with the opportunities.
  • [STUDENT] will increase or maintain conversation about a preferred or nonpreferred topic.
  • Given a strategy and visual prompts, [STUDENT] will identify the signs of anxiety and apply a strategy to address feelings of anxiety in real and simulated situations.
  • Given a picture scale, [STUDENT] will identify the level of anxiety they are feeling.

Executive Functioning IEP Goal Bank

Executive functioning skills are skills like planning, working memory, attention, problem-solving, mental flexibility, and self-regulation that help kids be successful in school. Students with poor executive functioning have a hard time with time management, organization, getting started with or finishing work, and connecting past experiences with current actions. (Know any kids like this?) Here’s a list of goals for helping students with executive functioning.

  • Given visual cues, [STUDENT] will implement a system for organizing their backpack (locker, binder).
  • Given a task and a list of materials, [STUDENT] will gather the needed items to complete the task.

Executive Functioning Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will arrive at class with necessary materials (paper, pen, computer).
  • [STUDENT] will use a checklist (visual schedule) to independently complete classwork.
  • [STUDENT] will respond appropriately to oral commands.
  • [STUDENT] will ask for clarification and further explanation when needed.
  • [STUDENT] will request desired objects or instructional materials and equipment using [picture prompts, sign language, AAC device, etc.].

Executive Functioning Goal Bank

  • [STUDENT] will express needs, wants, and feelings using [picture prompts, sign language, verbalization, etc.].
  • [STUDENT] will create a daily visual schedule (or checklist or to-do list) and complete it.
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will demonstrate the ability to follow multiple-step directions (two or three steps) with minimal (one or two) adult prompts.
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will refer to their checklist for task completion to finish assigned work.

Self-Advocacy IEP Goal Bank

Self-advocacy goals are for skills from decision-making to goal attainment, asking for help, and speaking up for yourself. These are important skills that students need to develop, especially as they transition into independent living, college, and career.

  • [STUDENT] will effectively communicate their needs and preferences in the classroom by [raising their hand, writing a note].
  • [STUDENT] will use a communication notebook to write questions and concerns to the teacher one time per week.
  • [STUDENT] will identify a goal, create a list of steps to achieve the goal, and work through the steps.
  • Given a challenging situation to solve, [STUDENT] will define the problem and come up with two possible solutions.
  • Given a task that involves a choice (e.g., the school lunch menu, a list of books), [STUDENT] will select between the options available.

Given a task that involves a choice (e.g., the school lunch menu, a list of books), [STUDENT] will select between the options available.

  • [STUDENT] will create a list of three personal strengths and three areas for improvement.
  • [STUDENT] will actively participate in the development of their IEP goals and accommodations.
  • [STUDENT] will identify one IEP goal and three objectives to support that goal.
  • When faced with an academic challenge, [STUDENT] will seek assistance by raising their hand or using the classroom procedure for seeking help.
  • [STUDENT] will advocate for accommodations and/or modifications in the classroom using an appropriate time, tone of voice, and language.
  • [STUDENT] will demonstrate understanding of their learning preferences using a checklist, verbal communication, or another method of communication.
  • [STUDENT] will engage in positive self-talk daily with and without teacher support.
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will learn and apply two self-advocacy strategies.

By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will learn and apply two self-advocacy strategies.

  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will demonstrate the ability to ask for help when needed.
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will identify and communicate two environmental requirements (e.g., “I need a movement break”).
  • By the end of the IEP, [STUDENT] will engage in three conferences and/or meetings where the student will communicate their educational needs.
  • [STUDENT] will explain and advocate for testing accommodations through the classroom teacher, testing center, school counselor, etc.
  • [STUDENT] will reflect on their academic progress and will determine which accommodations are supporting their learning.

Get Your Free Editable and Printable IEP Goal Bank and Goal Sheets

Just fill out the form on this page to get instant access to an editable Google Doc with all the goals mentioned above as well as a bundle of four printable and editable goal-tracking sheets. Save your goal bank and access it any time to cut and paste goals into your IEP software and/or into the editable and printable goal-tracking sheets provided. The bundle includes daily and weekly tracking sheets, as well as trial tracking and progress tracking sheets for data collection.

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11 SMART Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

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Being a teacher is a fulfilling and rewarding profession. One thing I learned from my time in the classroom is that you can never plan too much as a teacher. Setting realistic goals for yourself and your students is the best way to get everyone on the same page and have a basis to measure the smallest accomplishments by.

This is especially true when it comes to special education. With over 700,000 special education teachers in the United States in 2022, these professionals must have the preparation and support needed . Every day, these teachers are tasked with the challenge of helping their students reach their full potential … despite any physical, mental, or developmental difficulties they might face.

Special education is not a one size fits all approach . So, teachers need to create goals tailored specifically to their students’ individual needs while thinking of the overall classroom. Whether you have students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) , learning disabilities , or other challenges, setting smart goals for them can help ensure they get the quality education they deserve .

Table of Contents

What Are SMART Goals?

Setting SMART goals is one important way that special education teachers can measure the success of their educational plans , and ensure that they are staying on track .

So what do we mean by SMART goals in education ? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This acronym helps educators to ensure that goals are precise, achievable and measurable within a certain timeframe.

For example, simply setting a goal of having students read more isn't SMART. However, setting a goal for students to read one book a month for the next six months is SMART!

What To Consider When Planning Smart Goals

S stands for Specific

When setting smart goals in special education, it is important to make sure your goals are as specific as possible. Goals should be clear and describe exactly what you and the student are working toward.

M stands for Measurable

Measurability is key when creating smart goals for special education. Without measurable milestones, you can’t track progress or see success. You can measure data by way of tests, surveys, observations, and other forms of assessment.

A stands for Attainable

Setting smart goals also means making sure that they are attainable. Stretch goals are great, but they should also be realistic and achievable within the specified timeframe. Remember, some special education students may be more severely disabled and require more time to reach their goals.

If a student is on the non-verbal autism spectrum, speaking goals aren't feasible. However, you can always consider assistive technology such as adaptive computers, VOCAs, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Systems), and more for communication related goals.

R stands for Relevant

Smart Goals have to be relevant to the special education student and their individual needs. Relevant smart goals are contextual, and applicable to the classroom or even the student’s home or general environment. The goals can also apply to your career advancement as a special education teacher; the more you know, they more you can teach or adjust your methods.

T stands for Time-Bound

Most smart goals have a timeline, or an estimated time of completion. Time limits help ensure that there is a sense of urgency, and that smart goals are accomplished in a timely fashion.

Your time limit may be weekly, based on the school semester, or the whole school year. Some goals may be attainable daily such as a student answering five math questions correctly.

Now that you have a detailed understanding of the type of smart goals that special education teachers should strive for, let’s take a look at 11 smart goal examples!

11 Smart Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

Setting SMART goals is an effective way for special education teachers to create objectives that will help drive student success . By creating Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Specific (SMART) goals, educators can track progress and maintain focus on the tasks at hand.

1. Increase Attendance Rate

By increasing attendance rates among students with disabilities by 10%, educators can ensure that all students are present and able to access the materials being taught.

“I will start reviewing attendance from previous semester or year to see where there are gaps and create plans to fill them. I will increase attendance rate by 10% within the next four months. I may have to confer with the administration to make sure “tardy” students were not marked late.”

S – The specific goal is to increase the attendance rate by 10% after reviewing previous attendance issues.

M – The measure for success is attendance rate. Teachers start by taking attendance daily.

A – An increase of 10% is attainable and realistic.

R – This smart goal is relevant to the special education classroom, as all students should be present and able to access the materials being taught.

T – This smart goal should be accomplished within the next four months. Four months is the average amount of time between each school semester, and should be an achievable timeline.

2. Create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Each Student

As a special education teacher, IEPs are a vital resource for providing each student with the proper individualized instruction they need.

“I will dedicate time to see how each student learns, and create lesson plans tailored to their unique needs. I will create an individualized education plan for each student within one month.”

S – The specific goal is to create an IEP for each student.

M – The measure for success is the completion of individualized education plans.

A – This smart goal should be achievable within one month.

R – Creating an IEP is relevant to special education, as each student has unique needs that must be accounted for.

T – Creating an IEP should be achieved within one month, as this is sufficient time to assess each student and craft lesson plans tailored to their individual needs.

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3. Increase Number of At-Risk Students Reading on Grade Level

Learning to read is a fundamental skill, and one that all students should be proficient in by the end of their elementary education.

“I will strive to increase the number of at-risk students that are reading on grade level by the end of the school year.”

S – The specific goal is to increase the number of at-risk students reading on grade level.

M – The measure for success is the number of at-risk students reading on grade level.

A – Increasing the number of at-risk students reading on grade level is attainable and realistic.

R – This smart goal is relevant to the special education classroom, as students with disabilities need extra assistance to read on grade level.

T – This smart goal should be achieved by the end of the school year, as this is a reasonable timeline for students to learn to read and become proficient. In some cases, some students may achieve this goal sooner, but the school year allows for enough time to ensure all students are reading on grade level.

4. Increase Student Vocabulary

By increasing student vocabulary, special education teachers can ensure that their students are better equipped to communicate effectively with others .

“I will work to increase my students’ vocabulary by 50% within three months.”

S – The specific goal is to increase student vocabulary by 50%.

M – The measure for success is the amount of words students can recognize.

A – Increasing student vocabulary by 50% is attainable and realistic.

R – This smart goal is relevant to the special education classroom, as students with disabilities need assistance in order to be able to communicate effectively with others. Even if students are non-verbal. teachers can use assistive technology tools to grasp student comprehension of new words.

T – This smart goal should be accomplished within three months, as this is a reasonable timeline for students to learn the necessary words to communicate effectively. This timeline also allows for review and reinforcement of previously learned vocabulary. 

5. Provide At-Risk Students with Accessible Reading Materials

Special education teachers can help at-risk students increase their reading comprehension by providing them with materials that are accessible.

“I will provide at-risk students with accessible reading materials by way of audio recordings or simplified texts within two months.”

S – The specific goal is to provide at-risk students with accessible reading materials .

M – The measure for success is the number of students who have access to reading materials.

A – Providing at-risk students with accessible reading materials is achievable and realistic.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as students with disabilities may require alternative forms of learning materials in order to increase their reading comprehension.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within two months, as this is a reasonable timeline to find and provide accessible reading materials for these students. Additionally, this timeline allows sufficient time for the teacher to assess each student's individual needs and source materials accordingly. 

6. Get Another Special ED Certification

Ongoing professional development for Special ED specialists is vital. This smart goal is relevant for all special education teachers, as it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in special education.

“ I will get certified within six months as a one of the following: Special Education Generalist, Special Education Administrator, Certified Disability Management Specialist, and Special Education Teacher Leader. ”

S – The specific goal is to get another certification within 6 months.

M – The measure for success is the successful completion of courses and exams towards the chosen certification.

A – Getting another certification within six months is achievable and realistic, providing the teacher has the necessary resources to complete courses and exams in the allotted time.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as teachers need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in special education.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within six months, as this is a reasonable timeline to complete courses and exams for the chosen certification. This timeline also allows enough time for the teacher to study and prepare for exams.

7. Increase Parental Communication

Special education teachers must ensure they are actively communicating with parents and guardians. This smart goal is relevant for all special education teachers, as parents and guardians need to be informed about the progress of their children.

“Within one month, I will create a system wherein I regularly update parents on any changes or advancements of their children in the classroom.”

S – The specific goal is to increase parental communication within one month.

M – The measure for success is the number of parents and guardians that have been updated on the progress of their children.

A – Increasing parental communication within one month is achievable and realistic, provided the teacher has a system in place to facilitate communication.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as keeping parents and guardians informed about the progress of their children is an important responsibility for teachers.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within one month, as this is a reasonable timeline to put in place a system for communication and contact every parent or guardian of students in the class. This timeline also allows enough time for the teacher to arrange meetings or develop a suitable system of communication.

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8. Facilitate Collaborative Learning Activities

Collaboration with other students is just as important for special education students as it is for any other student. This smart goal is relevant for all special education teachers, as it is important to nurture group dynamics and collaboration amongst students.

“ I will facilitate regular collaboration activities like group projects, interactive games, and other social activities within two months.”

S – The specific goal is to facilitate regular collaborative learning activities within two months.

M – The measure for success is the number of collaborative learning activities completed by students.

A – Facilitating regular collaborative learning activities within two months is achievable and realistic, provided the teacher has access to suitable resources for such activities.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as collaboration is still vital to students of any and all abilities.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within two months, as this is a reasonable timeline to introduce new and engaging activities for students to work on collaboratively. This timeline also allows enough time for the teacher to plan, organize, and implement collaborative activities in the classroom. The teacher can see what works best, what the students enjoy most, and then adjust activities accordingly.

9. Implement A Positive Reinforcement System

Positive reinforcement is an important tool for special education teachers. This smart goal is relevant for all special education teachers, as positive reinforcement helps to encourage good behavior and reinforces the importance of good behavior.

“I will implement positive reinforcement through verbal praise, reward systems, or incentives within three months. The type of reinforcement I will use can vary depending on the student's comprehension level.”

S – The specific goal is to implement a positive reinforcement system within three months. Adjust reinforcement on age, grade level, comprehension level, and other factors.

M – The measure for success is the number of students who respond positively to the reinforcement system. Teachers can also measure success in terms of the number of rewards or incentives given out daily or weekly.

A – Implementing a positive reinforcement system within three months or sooner is realistic.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as positive reinforcement is an important tool for reinforcing good behavior and encouraging students to work towards their goals.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within three months, as this is a reasonable timeline to implement a system of positive reinforcement. This timeline allows enough time for the teacher to research and develop an appropriate system of positive reinforcement, as well as trial and adjust the system if necessary. 

10. Attend at Least One Special Education Conference

Staying up-to-date on special education practices is crucial for any special education teacher. This smart goal is relevant to all special education teachers, as attending special education conferences can help to keep up with changes in the field and stay informed on new research.

“I will attend at least one special education conference or seminar related to my field within the year.”

S – The specific goal is to attend at least one special education conference within the year.

M – The measure for success is attendance at a special education conference.

A – Attending at least one special education conference within the year is achievable and realistic. The teacher may have to confer with the administration for time off and or funding. There are also virtual ones that provide access to conference lectures and journals.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as attending conferences can help teachers stay up-to-date on special education practices, changes in the field, and new research.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within a year, as there are several conferences in-person and online.

11. Incorporate Relevant Technology into Classroom Activities

Technology can be a great tool for special education teachers, as it provides an engaging and interactive way to teach students. Tools may include smart boards, tablets, timers, video monitoring of progress, and where budget permits – virtual reality .

“I will learn to use and incorporate relevant technology in my class by the end of the semester.”

S – The specific goal is to incorporate relevant technology into classroom activities within the semester.

M – The measure for success is the number of activities that incorporate technology. The amount of activities can vary based on budget and teacher comfort level using such tools.

A – Incorporating relevant technology into classroom activities is achievable and reasonable within the semester. Teachers will need to work with their administration to allocate a budget for technology as well as plan out activities that incorporate the technology. Tools may be as simple as timers for students with attention disorders or advanced options like virtual reality for collaboration.

R – This smart goal is relevant to special education, as technology can be an effective and engaging teaching tool for students with special needs. It also provides a way for teachers to monitor student progress or enhance lessons.

T – This smart goal should be achieved within the semester, as this is a realistic timeline to plan and prepare activities that incorporate technology.

Final Thoughts on SMART Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

SMART goals are an effective tool for special education teachers as they provide a framework for teachers to set and measure their goals . Teachers stay focused on the most important areas of special education and keep track of their progress. SMART goals also help to ensure that goals are achievable and realistic with a timeline for completion.

Being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs, and special education teachers have even more on their plate than the average teacher. However, with solid and measurable planning , special education teachers can set and reach their SMART goals in a structured and effective way.

For more on the topic of education, check out this article with 87 Education Quotes: Inspire Children, Parents, and Teachers . 

And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:

  • 15 Teacher Professional Goals Examples
  • 10 SMART Goals Examples for an IEP (Individualized Education Program)
  • 10 SMART Goals Examples for Education and Educators

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

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Professional Goals for Special Education Teachers

Every year in our school district (public schools), we're required to submit professional annual goals and our plan to achieve them. These professional development goals may be associated with a content area we were looking to improve in and apply to our current school setting or a long term goal aligned with a degree program. While these goals may vary from one educator to another, there are some common teaching career goals that many special educators strive to achieve.

special education teacher goals

If you're a new special education teacher looking for a bit of inspiration, here are seven ideas for professional goals.

  • Improve IEP implementation. One goal that many special education teachers have is to improve the IEP (individualized education program) process. Short term objectives may include steps you'll take to involve more general education teachers, communicate next steps with families, and providing more support in the general education curriculum.
  • Help students make progress. Another common goal is to help students make progress on their IEP goals. This may involve exploring different methods for differentiating instruction, using data-driven decision making (progress monitoring), and providing targeted interventions.
  • Meet the challenges of the school year. All teachers face challenges during the school year, but special educators often have additional challenges due to the diverse needs of their students. Some common challenges include behavior problems, lack of resources, and time constraints. Special educators may set goals to address these challenges by seek ing out professional development opportunities or collaborating with other professionals in the field.
  • Learn about new technologies and how to integrate them into the classroom to support students' needs. Technology has changed tremendously in the past few years, and it is important for teachers to be on top of new trends wther this is in the area of assistive technology or using technolgy as an engagement tool. If this is an area of interest already, this additional information would be helpful to overlap with your annual goals.
  • Develop strategies for collaborating with families, community members, and other professionals. A long-term goal may be focused on positive relationship development with key stakeholders. What systems could you put into place to make sure everyone is informed throughout the school year? This goal could involve researching best practices and then gathering the implementation tools.
  • Explore new ideas to promote student independence and self-advocacy. Whether you're teaching at the elementary school, middle school, or high school level, student independence is every special education program's top goal. This free webinar shares ideas for implementing a work system in the resource room to promote independence – Check it out here .
  • Training and managing support staff to create a positive learning environment. New teachers (and veteran, too) often find themselves in situations with supporting other staff members with little to no preparation. This would be an ideal professional goal since it's an area that would benefit EVERYONE. Here's a fast way to achieve this goal – transform your classroom in a weekend with this mini-course: Positive Paraprofessional Partnerships .

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How to Design a Plan to Achieve Professional Goals in Special Education

Now that you've selected a goal that supports your educational needs, what action steps will you take to achieve them?

Especially in already-packed school hours?

Here are some options I've used when constructing my own professional goals – feel free to borrow or mix and match any of these ideas!

  • Attend workshops and professional conferences on special education topics. Ongoing participation was something that was already required as a certified special education teacher, so it was beneficial to overlap with my annual goal implementation plan. Don't forget to check out online options, too. There are many webinars and masterclasses available that will hopefully count towards credit. Click here to check out my free masterclass on IEP Data Tracking .
  • Read professional books and articles. Is there a special education book you're already eyeing? If you're having a hard time fitting in more workshops, a book study spread out throughout the school year may be more feasible. Choose a book that closely aligns with your professional interests, i.e.: classroom management, developing effective lesson plans, and understanding severe disabilities. Many of these titles may already have a set of critical thinking questions available as a book companion.
  • Observe other special education programs. This is my favorite way to learn! Is there another special education classroom setting in your school or district? If you're an inclusion specialist, you may benefit from observing self-contained classrooms or networking with a resource room teacher. Another idea is to look beyond the classroom and schedule a consultation with occupational therapists or social workers. These professional relationships can help develop the “bigger picture” as we look for the best ways to support our students.
  • Continuing formal education. In your first years of your career, you may already be required to earn continuing education credits. It's already such a busy time, so I highly recommend checing our the syllabus and aligning your professional goals with something you'll already be focused on throughout the school year. This should already be thoughtffully planned study, so there's no need to add MORE to your plate.

special education teacher goals

While there are many goals you could set for your professional development this school year, these seven ideas are a great place to start. And the best part is that they don’t require a lot of time or energy to implement. My biggest piece of advice is to choose a topic you're either already focused on or aligned with your professional interests.

I can't wait to hear which goal you're choosing! Leave a comment below on which goal you’ll be focusing on this school year.

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I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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Professional Goals for Special Education Teachers

special education teacher goals

Teachers play an important role in the lives of their students, and they also have an impact on society as a whole. As such, it is essential that teachers be prepared to meet the challenges of their profession head-on. The best practice is to set professional goals for special education teachers for instruction and interventions.

Here are four examples of general goals that special education teachers should strive for when working with special needs students: 

1. To develop positive relationships with students and families. 

2. To foster academic success for every student. 

3. To ensure social and emotional growth for every student. 

4. To advocate for individualized education for all students with disabilities. 

DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

Building positive relationships with the students and families in your classroom is key to a successful learning environment. It is important to take the time to get to know your students and their families. This includes finding out what their interests are, what they like to do for fun, and what their goals are for the future. When you have a good relationship with your students and their families, they will be more likely to trust you and feel comfortable coming to you for help.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS – FOSTER ACADEMIC SUCCESS FOR EVERY STUDENT

No two students are the same, so it is important to be flexible in your teaching methods. As a special education teacher, it is your job to help every student in your classroom achieve academic success. This may mean adapting your teaching style and using different resources to meet the needs of each student.

Take the time to learn and focus on each student’s strengths.

ENSURE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL GROWTH FOR EVERY STUDENT

All students need to feel socially and emotionally supported in order to learn and grow. As a special education teacher, it is your responsibility to help every student in your classroom feel accepted and valued. This may mean providing social and emotional support through classroom activities, or by referring students to counseling services if needed.

Social Emotional Skills Checklist

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Advocate for individualized education for all students with disabilities.

It is important for special education teachers to be advocates for their students. This means fighting for the right of every student to receive an individualized education that meets their specific needs. As a teacher, you know your students best and are in the best position to make decisions about what is best for them.

This can be done by writing letters to school administrators or by talking to other teachers about how they can help improve a student’s education. By advocating for individualized education, a teacher can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS – USE RESOURCES TO TRACK A STUDENT’S PROGRESS

A special education teacher’s goal should be to help every student succeed. One way to do this is by tracking a student’s progress. This can be done with resources such as a learning management system (LMS) or an individualized education program (IEP). An LMS can help track a student’s academic performance, while an IEP can track a student’s physical and emotional progress. By tracking a student’s progress, a teacher can adjust their teaching methods to help the student succeed.

Another example of professional goals for special education teachers, is to help teach their students to set their own goals and track their own progress. This is a lifelong skill that is very beneficial for students.

Positive Goal Setting

Positive Goal Setting

Use classroom resources to teach students life skills.

A special education teacher’s goal should also be to teach students life skills. This can be done by using resources in the classroom. For example, a teacher can use worksheets to teach students how to budget their money or use flashcards to teach students about different types of jobs . By teaching students life skills, a teacher can help them prepare for adulthood.

WORK WITH OTHER TEACHERS TO HELP STUDENTS SUCCEED

A special education teacher’s goal should also be to work with other teachers to help students succeed. This can be done by collaborating with other teachers in the classroom or by sending reports about a student’s progress to other teachers. By working with other teachers, a teacher can help ensure that all of the students in their class are able to succeed.

TO ADVOCATE FOR INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

A special education teacher’s goal should always be to advocate for individualized education for all students with disabilities. Teaching your students to advocate for themselves as they get older is critical as well.

Self-Advocacy for Students

Self-Advocacy for Students

Maintain the appropriate paperwork for a learner’s iep.

A special education teacher’s goal should be to maintain the appropriate paperwork for a learner’s IEP. This can be done by keeping track of when the paperwork is due and by making sure all of the information in the paperwork is accurate. By maintaining the appropriate paperwork, a teacher can help ensure that a student’s IEP is always up-to-date.

When setting professional goals for special education teachers, it is important to keep these four general goals in mind. But, don’t feel limited by them! Be creative and come up with goals that are specific to you and your classroom. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

-To develop a classroom policy that respects the diversity of all students.

-To create a positive learning environment where students feel safe to take risks.

-To develop a curriculum that is tailored to the needs of each student.

-To become a certified autism specialist.

-To learn a new technology that can help me better serve my students.

-To attend a conference on special education law.

-To read 10 new books on inclusionary practices.

Professional goals for a special education teacher can vary, but should always include helping students succeed and advocating for individualized education for all students with disabilities. By using resources in the classroom and collaborating with other teachers, a special education teacher can help every student in their class reach their potential.

Get inspired – watch this great interview with an experienced special education teacher.

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Why Every Special Education Teacher Should Have Goals

Different types of career goals for special education teachers, educational and certification goals, student-centered achievement goals, professional leadership and advocacy goals, collaborative and interdisciplinary goals, personal development and well-being goals, what makes a good career goal for a special education teacher , career goal criteria for special education teachers, student-centered impact.

  • Develop Individualized Learning Plans
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Measurable Progress in Inclusive Practices

  • Set IEP Improvement Targets
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  • Track Inclusion Milestones

Continuous Professional Development

  • Pursue Special Ed Certifications
  • Engage in Inclusive Ed Workshops
  • Earn Advanced Degrees in Ed

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  • Initiate Inclusive Policy Reforms
  • Develop Peer Training Programs
  • Contribute to SpecEd Research

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12 Professional Goal Examples for Special Education Teachers

Develop individualized education program (iep) expertise, enhance behavioral management techniques, cultivate inclusive classroom practices, pursue professional development in assistive technology, build collaborative networks with other professionals, advance your understanding of special education law, obtain additional certifications or endorsements, implement data-driven instructional strategies, foster parental involvement and communication, lead professional learning communities, advocate for policy changes and resources, master differentiated instruction techniques, career goals for special education teachers at difference levels, setting career goals as an entry-level special education teacher, setting career goals as a mid-level special education teacher, setting career goals as a senior-level special education teacher, leverage feedback to refine your professional goals, utilizing constructive criticism to enhance educational strategies, incorporating parent and student feedback to drive instructional excellence, leveraging performance reviews to shape professional development, goal faqs for special education teachers, how frequently should special education teachers revisit and adjust their professional goals, can professional goals for special education teachers include soft skill development, how do special education teachers balance long-term career goals with immediate project deadlines, how can special education teachers ensure their goals align with their company's vision and objectives.

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More Professional Goals for Related Roles

Shaping young minds, fostering growth and curiosity in early learning stages

Shaping young minds, fostering creativity and curiosity in the foundation years

Shaping young minds, fostering creativity and curiosity in early education stages

Supporting educational growth, fostering student engagement in a dynamic learning environment

Empowering students' academic growth through personalized learning and mentorship

Shaping young minds, stepping in to ensure seamless learning during teacher absences

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Resources for Special Education Teachers

As a special education teacher, your focus should be on your students-- not the paperwork. our goal at spedhelper is to be your iep helper and make the paperwork both easier and more useful to you and students' families. the website has free resources for quickly writing high-quality ieps, from iep goals to assessment resources and iep tips, so you can get back to what really matters., find special education teaching tips, browse present level & assessment tools, see common core aligned goals.

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IEP Goals for Multiplication & Division

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Socioemotional & Behavior IEP Goals

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Instruction

Table of contents.

HLP 11 Identify and prioritize long and short term learning goals.

HLP 12 Systematically design instruction toward a specific learning goal.

HLP 13 Adapt curriculum tasks and materials for specific learning goals.

HLP 14 Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence.

HLP 15 Provide scaffolded supports.

HLP 16 Use explicit instruction

HLP 17 Use Flexible Grouping.

HLP 18 Use strategies to promote active student engagement.

HLP 19 Use assistive and instructional technologies.

HLP 20 Provide intensive instruction.

Excerpts from © 2019 by the Council of Chief State School Officers, Ensuring an Equitable Opportunity: Providing a High-Quality Education for Students with Disabilities, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 (CC BY).

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 marked an historic win for civil rights when the doors to public education were opened for all students. For the first time, children with disabilities had access to a public education and the hope of a productive and fulfilling future. Today, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), the most recent iteration of that law, aims to deliver on that promise; namely, that all students with disabilities have equitable access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Along with the reauthorization of IDEA came a shift for states to move to a results-based accountability system and an emphasis on improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities and away from a strict compliance focus.

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESS A), the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, also aims to deliver on that promise; namely that all students, across all backgrounds and circumstances, are provided the opportunity to receive a high-quality education. While responding to the various federal laws has traditionally led to silos within state education agencies (SEA), under these two pieces of federal legislation the alignment between ESSA and IDEA is strengthened and provides an important opportunity to deliver on the promise of equitable and ambitious outcomes for students with disabilities. However, effectively preparing students with disabilities for life after high school remains a challenge for states as evidenced by the significant educational achievement and opportunity gaps that persist between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) prioritizes the needs of all students, meaning tha t every student with a disability is, first and foremost, a general education student.

This includes ensuring that all educators are prepared to provide all students, including students with disabilities, with excellent differentiated instruction, services, and supports. State leaders have an opportunity to develop clear terminology and definitions for what constitutes a high-quality individualized education program (IEP) and s trategies to ensure positive outcomes for students with disabilities mandated by IDEA

To deliver on that promise, students with disabilities are provided with an individualized education program (IEP). The IEP is developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law, requires special education, and is attending an elementary or secondary school receives specially-designed instruction and related services

In a landscape where students with IEPs are increasingly included in general education classrooms, states must ensure that all educators, teachers, leaders, and school staff, are prepared to provide these students with high quality instruction and appropriate individualized services and supports. What constitutes excellent instruction for a majority of students is not always effective for students with disabilities. However, when educators incorporate high-leverage and evidence-based practices, specialized instruction, and intensive interventions, students with disabilities can be successful and progress in the general education classroom.

Although an IEP is a vehicle for providing a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, it will only enable a student to receive that education insofar as the people responsible for its execution are prepared to respond effectively to students’ learning needs through effective instruction, the identification and provision of appropriate services and supports, the measurement and monitoring of student progress , and a clear expectation of family engagement throughout the process.

The IEP is developed to ensure that a child who has a disability … receives specially-designed instruction and related services.

  • incorporate high-leverage and evidence-based practices.
  • specialized instruction
  • intensive interventions
  • appropriate services and supports
  • measurement and monitoring of student progress
  • clear expectation of family engagement
  • implement a *multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) with a focus on the “whole child”

* A multi-tier system of supports is a proactive approach that has several common key elements: universal screening, systems of increasingly intensive supports and interventions, progress monitoring, team-based problem solving, and data-decision making. It uses evidence based practices and interventions and is generally a school or district-wide approach that emphasizes family engagement. Done well, MTSS serves as a comprehensive system of supports that provides for swift responses to student academic and behavioral needs by utilizing real-time data to monitor growth and make informed decisions for all students, including those with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Implementing a comprehensive MTSS meets both the requirements of ESSA and IDEA by aligning internal and external resources to meet the needs of the wide spectrum of students.

Progress monitoring- Assessment data obtained from benchmark assessments, progress monitoring tools, and universal screeners viewed by teachers at the student level are particularly useful in demonstrating individual progress over time.

Adapted from McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education . Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.  (Permission is granted to reproduce and adapt any portion of this publication with acknowledgement)

Teaching students with disabilities is a  strategic, flexible, and recursive process as effective special education teachers use content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge (including evidence-based practice), and data on student learning to design, deliver, and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. This process begins with well-designed instruction. This instruc­tion, when delivered with fidelity, is designed to maximize academic learning time, actively engage learners in meaning­ful activities, and emphasize proactive and positive approaches across tiers of instructional intensity.

Effective special education teachers base their instruction and support of students with disabilities on the best available evidence, combined with their professional judgment and knowledge of individual student needs. Teachers value diverse perspectives and incorporate knowledge about students’ backgrounds, culture, and language in their instructional decisions. Their decisions result in improved student outcomes across varied curriculum areas and in multiple educational settings. They use teacher-led, peer-assisted, student-regulated, and technology-assisted practices fluently, and know when and where to apply them. Analyzing instruction in this way allows teachers to improve student learning and their professional practice. (p. 69)

INSTRUCTION

Teachers prioritize what is most important for students to learn by providing meaningful access to and success in the general education and other contextually relevant curricula. Teachers use grade-level standards, assessment data and learning progressions, students’ prior knowledge, and IEP goals and benchmarks to make decisions about what is most crucial to emphasize, and develop long- and short-term goals accordingly. They understand essential curriculum components, identify essential prerequisites and foundations, and assess student performance in relation to these components.

Special education teachers develop learning goals for students on a long- and short-term basis; these goals determine the focus of instruction. Learning goals include those for students’ IEPs as well as for specific subjects (e.g., what to emphasize in math) or sub-areas (e.g., teaching particular concepts and skills in fractions, comprehension of expository text, linear measurement). In prioritizing these goals, teachers identify the most essential, powerful, equitable, and crucial learning outcomes.

All standards are not of equal importance (Chard, n.d.); the same can be said of conceptual understandings and skills. In addition, there is a need for out-of-level instruction for some students (L. S. Fuchs et al., 2015); teachers need to identify and prioritize students’ goals around critical content (Doabler et al., 2012) while linking to their present level of performance, strengths, and needs.

Teachers help students to develop important concepts and skills that provide the foundation for more complex learning. Teachers sequence lessons that build on each other and make connections explicit, in both planning and delivery.

They activate students’ prior knowledge and show how each lesson “fits” with previous ones. Planning involves careful consideration of learning goals, what is involved in reaching the goals, and allocating time accordingly. Ongoing changes (e.g., pacing, examples) occur throughout the sequence based on student performance.

Students with disabilities require more systematically designed instruction than their typically developing peers (Archer & Hughes, 2011). Researchers (e.g., Brophy & Good, 1986; Gersten, Schiller, & Vaughn, 2000; Marchand-Martella, Slocum, & Martella, 2004; Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986; Simmons, Fuchs, Fuchs, Mathes, & Hodge, 1995) have identified at least 16 elements of systematically designed instruction to include within and across lessons and units.

Three elements — clear instructional goals, logical sequencing of knowledge and skills, and teaching students to organize content —are essential core components of systematic instruction.

Teachers design instruction that will help students meet challenging yet attainable learning goals that are stated clearly, concisely, and in measurable terms (Hattie, 2008). Instructional content is selected and sequenced logically to support or scaffold student learning. Less complex knowledge and skills are taught before more complex outcomes, information that is used frequently in the curriculum is taught prior to content that appears less often, prerequisites are mastered before higher level knowledge and skills, unambiguous information is taught before less clear material, and content and skills similar in form or function are taught separately before students are required to make independent discriminations among them (Archer & Hughes, 2011). Teachers make explicit connections among content and skills within and across lessons to allow students to link prior and new knowledge; see relationships among facts, concepts, and principles; and organize content to maximize retention, deepen understanding, and facilitate application.

Teachers assess individual student needs and adapt curriculum materials and tasks so that students can meet instructional goals. Teachers select materials and tasks based on student needs; use relevant technology; and make modifications by highlighting relevant information, changing task directions, and decreasing amounts of material. Teachers make strategic decisions on content coverage (i.e., essential curriculum elements), meaningfulness of tasks to meet stated goals, and criteria for student success.

Special education teachers select and adapt curriculum materials and tasks so students with disabilities can meet their IEP goals. Special educators make modifications by highlighting relevant information, changing task directions, and adjusting content amount and depth (Vaughn & Bos, 2012). Material adaptations can include:

  • Making substitutions for text material (e.g., audiotaping content, reading content aloud, using other media, working individually with students),
  • Simplifying text (e.g., making abridged versions, providing outlines and summaries, using multilevel supports), and
  • Highlighting key concepts and information (e.g., previewing content, developing study guides, summarizing or reducing content).

Teachers may substitute text material when students are unable to read and extract information independently and simplify and highlight content to facilitate comprehension.

Special education teachers also use content enhancements , a range of strategies to augment the organization and delivery of curriculum content so that students can better access, interact with, understand, and retain information (Bulgren, 2006; Deshler et al., 2001). Three examples of specific enhancements are graphic organizers, guided notes, and mnemonics.

Graphic organizers are visual–spatial arrangements of information containing words or concepts connected graphically to help students see meaningful hierarchical, comparative, and sequential relationships (Dye, 2000; Ellis & Howard, 2007; Ives, 2007). There are numerous web-based resources teachers can use in developing and customizing graphic organizers for classroom use.

Guided notes are “teacher-prepared handouts that ‘guide’ a student through a lecture with standard cues and prepared space in which to write the key facts, concepts, and/or relationships” (Heward, 1994, p. 304). These are designed to actively engage students during teacher-led instruction and provide models of complete and accurate note-taking that can be used to prepare for academic assessments.

Mnemonics are memory-enhancing strategies that help students recall large amounts of unfamiliar information or make connections between two or more facts or concepts (Wolgemuth, Cobb, & Alwell, 2008). Three commonly used mnemonic techniques are letter strategies (Kleinheksel & Summy, 2003), the keyword method, and peg word strategies (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2010). Again, numerous web-based resources can help teachers create and customize mnemonics.

Teachers explicitly teach cognitive and metacognitive processing strategies to support memory, attention, and self-regulation of learning. Learning involves not only understanding content but also using cognitive processes to solve problems, regulate attention, organize thoughts and materials, and monitor one’s own thinking. Self-regulation and metacognitive strategy instruction is integrated into lessons on academic content through modeling and explicit instruction. Students learn to monitor and evaluate their performance in relation to explicit goals and make necessary adjustments to improve learning.

 Because students with disabilities do not typically use learning strategies to improve academic performance like their typically developing peers do, they must be taught explicitly to use strategies. Strategies are not step-by-step instructions; instead a strategy “is a heuristic that supports or facilitates the learner” in using higher order thinking skills (Rosenshine & Meister, 1992, p. 26). Newell (1990) noted that there are two layers of problem solving when using strategies; applying a strategy to a problem, and selecting and monitoring the effects of that strategy. Cognitive strategies (e.g., making predictions, summarizing, apply grammar rules, making meaning from context) are representative of the former, whereas metacognitive strategies (e.g., self-management and self-regulation, planning and monitoring) depict the latter. Strategies help students become “proficient problem solvers” (Montague & Dietz, 2009, p. 286) by teaching them how to self-monitor learning or behavior, recognize problem areas, create and execute solutions, and evaluate success. In short, cognitive strategy instruction teaches students how to learn (Jitendra, Burgess, & Gajria, 2011).

Strategies go across content and skill areas. Some examples of common cognitive strategies include:

  • For reading comprehension , collabora­tive strategic reading (Vaughn et al., 2011) and text interaction strategies (e.g., summarizing, text structure, identifying the main idea; Jitendra et al., 2011);
  • For writing , the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) model (Harris & Graham, 2003; Santangelo, Harris, & Graham, 2008);
  • For mathematics , enhanced anchored instruction (Bottge et al., 2015), Solve It (Krawec, Huang, Montague, Kressler, & de Alba, 2013), and schema-based instruction (Jitendra & Star, 2011);
  • For retention and memory , keyword mnemonic strategies and letter strate­ Gies (Fontana, Scruggs, & Mastropieri, 2007); and
  • For self-management, self-monitoring (Bruhn, McDaniel, & Kreigh, 2015) and SLANT (Ellis, 1991).

These strategies are effectively taught through explicit instruction, including structured and organized lessons, modeling, guided practice, progress monitoring, and feedback (Archer & Hughes, 2011). In the modeling stage, students observe the teacher using the strategy while thinking aloud to demonstrate how skilled problem solvers approach tasks. Think-alouds also help students build their metacognitive ability (i.e., the ability to think about their thinking; Montague & Dietz, 2009).

These strategies, when taught explicitly with modeling and guided practice, have been proven effective in multiple studies across content areas and disability types.

Scaffolded supports provide temporary assistance to students so they can successfully complete tasks that they cannot yet do independently and with a high rate of success. Teachers select powerful visual, verbal, and written supports; carefully calibrate them to students’ performance and understanding in relation to learning tasks; use them flexibly; evaluate their effectiveness; and gradually remove them once they are no longer needed. Some supports are planned prior to lessons and some are provided responsively during instruction.

Scaffolded supports are supports provided to students that are either preplanned or provide  “on the spot” and then faded or removed once they are not needed (Rosenshine, 2012); teachers gradually release or transfer responsibility to students (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983) as they become more proficient. Scaffolded supports can be provided in multiple forms including dialogue (e.g., modeling, hints, questions, partial completion of the task, informative feedback; Englert, Tarrant, Mariage, & Oxer, 1994; Palincsar & Brown, 1984), materials (e.g., cue cards, anchor charts, checklists, models of completed tasks; Rosenshine, 2012; Rosenshine & Meister, 1992), and technology (Putambecker & Hübscher, 2005). The term scaffolded instruction was introduced by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) based on their study of parent– child interactions and defined by them as assistance from adults that “enables a child or novice to solve a problem, carry out a task or achieve a goal which would be beyond his unassisted efforts” (p. 90). Scaffolding occurs within Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (1978)—the distance between what a child can understand and do independently and what he or she can understand and do with assistance. Special education teachers use effective supports for student learning; to do so, the teacher must fully understand the task as well as students’ changing understanding and proficiency.

Teachers make content, skills, and concepts explicit by showing and telling students what to do or think while solving problems, enacting strategies, completing tasks, and classifying concepts. Teachers use explicit instruction when students are learning new material and complex concepts and skills. They strategically choose examples and non-examples and language to facilitate student understanding, anticipate common misconceptions, highlight essential content, and remove distracting information. They model and scaffold steps or processes needed to understand content and concepts, apply skills, and complete tasks successfully and independently.

Explicit instruction (EI) is a direct, structured, supportive, and systematic methodology for teaching academic skills (Archer & Hughes, 2011). When using EI, the teacher provides an explanation or model, guides students through application of the skill or concept, and provides opportunities for independent application of the skill or concept to ensure mastery (Mercer, Mercer, & Pullen, 2011).

Rosenshine (1983) developed a list of six fundamental teaching functions that incorporate principles of explicit instruction : r eview, presenting new content in small steps, using guided practice, providing corrective feedback, providing independent practice (both massed and distributed), and weekly/monthly cumulative reviews. When teachers use EI, academic learning time increases, which is strongly linked to student achievement (Archer & Hughes, 2011). In essence, explicit instruction is a set of teacher behaviors that have repeatedly shown to have a positive impact on student achievement, especially those who are struggling to learn.

When EI is used in the classroom, academic learning time is increased. Evidence supports the use of EI with all students (in both general and special education settings), across all ages and grade levels, and across content areas. EI can be used with all learners, but is essential for struggling learners.

Teachers assign students to homogeneous and heterogeneous groups based on explicit learning goals, monitor peer interactions, and provide positive and corrective feedback to support productive learning. Teachers use small learning groups to accommodate learning differences, promote in-depth academic-related interactions, and teach students to work collaboratively. They choose tasks that require collaboration, issue directives that promote productive and autonomous group interactions, and embed strategies that maximize learning opportunities and equalize participation. Teachers promote simultaneous interactions, use procedures to hold students accountable for collective and individual learning, and monitor and sustain group performance through proximity and positive feedback.

Grouping patterns change often depending on lesson goals and objectives and may include (a) homogeneous and heterogeneous small groups, (b) pairs, (c) whole class, and (d) individual instruction (Hoffman,2002;Vaughn & Bos, 2012). Varied grouping arrangements are used flexibly to accommodate learning differences, promote in-depth academic-related interactions, and teach students to work collaboratively. Special education teachers must be skilled in using both homogeneous (same-ability) and heterogeneous (mixed-ability) small groups to help students meet explicit learning goals.

Homogeneous groups are used to provide focused, intensive instruction for students with common instructional strengths and needs and are configured to meet short-term goals and objectives (Cohen & Lotan, 2014).

Heterogeneous groups include students of varied knowledge and skill levels and can serve multiple instructional purposes. Special education teachers use small, mixed-ability groups to engage all students in grade-level content-related conversations, facilitate student thinking and communication skills, and improve interpersonal relationships among students with and without disabilities (Hattie, 2008; Kagan & Kagan, 2009). Teachers monitor small-group interactions, provide positive and corrective feedback, hold students accountable individually and collectively, and sustain group interactions through proximity and feedback.

Teachers use a variety of instructional strategies that result in active student responding. Active student engagement is critical to academic success. Teachers must initially build positive student–teacher relationships to foster engagement and motivate reluctant learners. They promote engagement by connecting learning to students’ lives (e. g., knowing students’ academic and cultural backgrounds) and using a variety of teacher-led (e.g., choral responding and response cards), peer-assisted (e. g., cooperative learning and peer tutoring), student-regulated (e.g., self-management), and technology-supported strategies shown empirically to increase student engagement. They monitor student engagement and provide positive and constructive feedback to sustain performance.

Student engagement lies at the heart of positive academic outcomes. The correlation between student engagement and academic achievement is consistently strong and significant (Brophy, 1986; Rosenshine, 1976). Engagement strategies ensure students are active participants in the learning process and the school environment. Strategies may include group (i.e. cooperative learning groups, peer-assisted learning) or individually focused structures (e.g., personalized positive feedback, enlisting strategies). In addition to strategies to increase participation, teachers use strategies to connect learning to students’ lives and increase students’ value of and interest in the school and feelings of belonging. Marzano and Pickering’s (2011) model of engagement organizes the essential components of engaging students around four questions that reflect the student’s perspective:

How do I feel? Student enthusiasm, enjoyment, and pride (among other emotions) increase student engagement (Skinner, Kindermann, & Furrer, 2008). Students need an environment where they feel safe and supported in order to engage in academic tasks. Students’ feelings of acceptance also play a role in their level of engagement. To address this, teachers:

  • Ensure equity and fairness in academic opportunities, including responding to questions, receiving rigorous material, and playing games (Marzano & Pickering, 2011).
  • Design the learning environment to encourage active student participation and attention (e.g. table and desk arrangement, group size, location of instruction).
  • Build positive personal relationships with students (e.g., know students’ academic and cultural backgrounds; include students’ names in instruction, examples, and text such as word problems; connect instruction to students’ interests; Hattie, 2008).
  • Provide positive feedback for students who are actively engaged and attentive (Hattie, 2008).

Am I interested? Student interest and choice are needed for students to be motivated and have ownership in their learning. Teachers:

  • Incorporate student interest, choice, and physical movement (Dwyer, Blizzard & Dean, 1996; Dwyer, Sallis, Blizzard, Lazarus & Dean, 2001; Jensen, 2013).
  • Keep the momentum of instruction and lesson pace appropriate for the attentional needs of students, including smooth transitions, effective use of instructional time, and effectively preparing students for independent tasks and activities (Emmer & Gerwels, 2006; Kubesch et al., 2009).

Is this important? Students must feel that what they are learning is worthwhile. Teachers need to be explicit in their instructional objectives and relate new information to knowledge students currently have.

Can I do this? Self-efficacy is necessary for a student to put forth effort and persist through difficult tasks. Students need to feel challenged and supported in order to attend to and complete tasks. Teachers:

  • Have an awareness of students who are chronically disengaged and make an effort to build a relationship and use strategies to enlist students (e.g., teacher helper, mentoring, lunch buddies, encouragement; Archambault et al., 2009; Appleton et al., 2008; Christenson et al., 2001).
  • Develop mastery measures for students to work towards, which is particularly important for students with disabilities who often are functioning on a different academic level than their same-age peers.

Effective student engagement practices hinge on the presence of positive teacher– student relationships and a climate that fosters community, ownership, and identity (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010; Jensen, 2013). Through his meta-analysis, Hattie (2008) found that teacher–student relationships have a substantial (0.72) effect size related to student achievement . Many other researchers have supported this finding (see Jackson, 2015). Hamre and Pianta (2006) emphasized the developmental nature of student engagement, finding that strong student–teacher relationships in kindergarten have robust effects on students’ school outcomes lasting through eighth grade.

Teachers select and implement assistive and instructional technologies to support the needs of students with disabilities. They select and use augmentative and alternative communication devices and assistive and instructional technology products to promote student learning and independence. They evaluate new technology options given student needs; make informed instructional decisions grounded in evidence, professional wisdom, and students’ IEP goals; and advocate for administrative support in technology implementation. Teachers use the universal design for learning (UDL) framework to select, design, implement, and evaluate important student outcomes.

Students with disabilities benefit when they have access to assistive technology devices and services, and when teachers use instructional technology to support their unique needs.

When discussing the role of technology for supporting individualized needs of students with disabilities, it is appropriate to consider the promise of universal design for learning (UDL ) for designing and delivering high quality instruction. (Basham & Marino, 2013; Rao, Ok, & Bryant, 2014). More recently, ESSA referenced universal design for learning (UDL) as a framework that should be considered when designing and delivering instruction and assessments for all students (see CAST, 2016). UDL is a broad framework that guides a teacher to consider multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression when writing lesson plans, delivering instruction, and evaluating learning (Rose, Meyer, & Hitchcock, 2005).

Teachers match the intensity of instruction to the intensity of the student’s learning and behavioral challenges. Intensive instruction involves working with students with similar needs on a small number of high priority, clearly defined skills or concepts critical to academic success. Teachers group students based on common learning needs; clearly define learning goals; and use systematic, explicit, and well-paced instruction. They frequently monitor students’ progress and adjust their instruction accordingly. Within intensive instruction, students have many opportunities to respond and receive immediate, corrective feedback with teachers and peers to practice what they are learning.

In a schoolwide tiered system of support, the highest level of support is intensive intervention . Typically, this level of inter­vention, commonly referred to as Tier 3 , is delivered by special educators, whereas supplemental intervention (Tier 2) is typically delivered by highly trained general educators. Tier 3 instruction is delivered through a process of data-based individualization (DBI) . Through DBI, teachers start with a validated supplemental intervention and use diagnostic and ongoing progress monitoring data to design highly individualized instruction and continually adapt the intervention and instruction in response to student performance (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2013). These instructional adaptations comprise intensive instruction . Tier 2 supplemental instruction also uses a research-based intervention to address skill gaps for students below grade level and not making progress with differentiated core instruction. Tier 2 instruction is delivered to small, homogeneous groups of students (approximately four to seven students) and aims to address skills that are foundational to accessing grade-level content, in order to prevent further academic failure.

Tier 3 intensive instruction is highly individualized for students with severe and persistent learning needs who, according to the data, have not responded to evidence-based core instruction and supplemental intervention. Teachers incorporate evidence-based practices that have been proven effective for students with disabilities across all content areas including math, reading, writing and behavior. Intensive instruction integrates cognitive processing strategies; is explicit; integrates opportunities for feedback; and is responsive to student performance data (Baker, Gersten, & Lee, 2002; Santangelo, Harris, & Graham, 2007). Instruction is delivered to a small number of students (no more than three) with similar learning or behavioral needs (WWC, 2009a). Teachers group students based on common learning needs; clearly define learning goals; and use systematic, explicit, and well-paced instruction to address skill gaps.

Teachers use data to identify skills gaps and deliver instruction that is highly focused. Students are taught a small number of high priority, clearly defined skills or con­cepts crucial to their academic success (WWC, 2009a). Within intensive instruction, students have many opportunities to respond and receive immediate, corrective feedback with teachers and peers to practice what they are learning. Their progress is continuously monitored to determine the effectiveness of instruction, and teachers adjust instruction accordingly.

Through the DBI framework, special education teachers closely monitor the effectiveness of a supplementary intervention. When students are not making adequate progress with research-validated supplementary interventions, special educators first intensify instruction by decreasing the group size or increasing the instructional time (Vaughn, et. al., 2012). If these quantitative changes are not sufficient, teachers can intensify instruction by modifying instructional delivery. This includes integrating qualitative strategies to support cognitive processing such as making instruction more explicit and systematic and integrating strategies to support self-regulation, memory, and self-monitoring (Vaughn, et. al., 2012).  For example, special educators may model a math problem-solving strategy using think-alouds and visuals and then introduce a mnemonic to help students remember the strategy.

Research suggests that it takes students with disabilities at least 10 to 30 times more trials to master a skill than it does students without disabilities (WWC, 2009a).

  • Intensity can be increased by providing longer instructional sessions or having more frequent sessions.
  • One-to-one or small group instruction allows students more opportunities to practice, respond, and receive individualized feedback.

Many students with intensive needs have depressed executive functioning abilities and thus struggle to plan, regulate their performance and emotions, think flexibly about a problem, and manipulate information so that it can be stored in memory. To overcome limitations in this area, students need to learn planning, problem-solving, and self-monitoring approach in both social and academic areas.

 National Center on Intensive Intervention. (2013). Data-based individualization: A framework for intensive intervention . Washington, DC: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.

The IRIS Center. (2015).  Intensive intervention (part 1): Using data-based individualization to intensify instruction . Retrieved from  https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/dbi1/

The IRIS Center. (2015).  Intensive intervention (part 2): Collecting and analyzing data for data-based individualization . Retrieved from  https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/dbi2/

HLP 21 Teach students to maintain and generalize new learning across time and settings.

Effective teachers use specific techniques to teach students to generalize and maintain newly acquired knowledge and skills . Using numerous examples in designing and delivering instruction requires students to apply what they have learned in other settings. Educators promote maintenance by systematically using schedules of reinforcement, providing frequent material reviews, and teaching skills that are reinforced by the natural environment beyond the classroom. Students learn to use new knowledge and skills in places and situations other than the original learning environment and maintain their use in the absence of ongoing instruction.

Generalization and maintenance of newly acquired knowledge and skills by learners is a pervasive problem for students with disabilities, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (Brown & Bebko, 2012; Phillips & Vollmer, 2012). Generalization involves performing a behavior in environments that differ from the teaching environment (Lee & Axelrod, 2005). Haring and Eaton (1978) suggested that skill development progresses in an orderly sequence: initial accuracy (acquisition), followed by fluency and maintenance, which are followed by generalization. Effective teachers must therefore have the knowledge and skills to incorporate generalization when designing and implementing instruction. Generalization of skills must be systematically programmed instead of assuming it will automatically occur (Alberto & Troutman, 2013; Schindler & Horner, 2005). In order to generalize academic and social learning to settings other than where learning takes place, students need the opportunity to use skills in a variety of settings, with a variety of instructors. Specific instructional techniques include teaching behaviors that can be used in many different situations, teaching the behavior in several different settings with several different instructors, varying instructions and reinforcers, and programming for common stimuli between the natural and teaching settings.

Maintenance of behavior is also essential to the process of learning. Maintenance occurs when newly acquired skills are used in the absence of ongoing instruction . Effective teachers use schedules of reinforcement, systematic reviews of material, and other techniques to promote maintenance of behavior in novel settings, thereby lessening dependence on the teacher (Lee & Axelrod, 2005). They thoughtfully and carefully choose strategies for maintenance and generalization at the onset of teaching new academic or social behaviors and build these strategies into the instructional program.

HLP 22 Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior

The purpose of feedback is to guide student learning and behavior and increase student motivation, engagement, and independence, leading to improved student learning and behavior. Effective feedback must be strategically delivered, and goal directed; feedback is most effective when the learner has a goal and the feedback informs the learner regarding areas needing improvement and ways to improve performance. Feedback may be verbal, nonverbal, or written, and should be timely, contingent, genuine, meaningful, age appropriate, and at rates commensurate with task and phase of learning (i.e., acquisition, fluency, maintenance). Teachers should provide ongoing feedback until learners reach their established learning goals.

Feedback is used to elicit what students know related to academic content, and to provide direct support regarding what students need to do to learn.

Feedback should be timely, meaningful, genuine, specific but succinct, and age-appropriate, and takes many forms including questioning, scaffolding instruction, providing written comments, and providing computer-mediated feedback (Brookhart, 2008; Doabler, Nelson, & Clarke, 2016; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Thurlings, Vermeulen, Bastiaens, & Stijnen, 2013). Feedback using programmed instruction or the use of extrinsic rewards is not highly effective in improving achievement (Hattie, 2008).  Moreover, rewards are not a central feature of effective instructional feedback, which should be designed to provide information regarding the student’s performance relative to a task.

Feedback should be goal directed; that is, it is most effective when the learner has a goal and the feedback informs the learner regarding how he or she is doing relative to the goal, and what needs to be done to improve progress (Doabler et al., 2016; Hattie, 2008).

Feedback should be clear and tangible, providing the learner with an action that may be taken in response to the feedback that leads toward learning content (Thurlings et al., 2013).

Teachers should also use appropriate and meaningful language , make connections to prior learning, and remind students what they already know (Doabler et al., 2016).

Different forms of feedback may be provided, including feedback about whether content was correct or incorrect, discussing strategies that were used or could be used for more effective learning, and addressing students’ self-regulation (e.g., whether a useful strategy is being applied to solve a problem; Hattie & Timperley, 2007). These types of feedback vary depending on the student’s knowledge regarding the content. For example, providing a student with error-correction feedback when initially learning content or a skill chain improve learning rate, whereas providing error correction when building fluency relative to content can negatively influence learning (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).

Feedback is most effective when addressing faulty interpretations of information (e.g., an inefficient or ineffective strategy to solve a problem), and providing cues to guide the learner toward the use of a more efficient or effective strategy or clearer understanding (Hattie, 2008; Thurlings et al., 2013).

Feedback should be used to engage a student in self evaluation, too, helping students to develop error identification skills and increase their self-regulation, independence, and confidence in learning academic content (Hattie &Timperley, 2007).

Feedback is among the most powerful influences on student achievement (Hattie, 2008). Using feedback effectively requires that teachers have substantial expertise in monitoring what the student knows about a skill or particular content area, and using this information to provide feedback that supports student learning. When feedback is used consistently and well, student educational achievement is significantly enhanced (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).

References cited within this chapter can be found in the original text.

Adapted from McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education . Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.

 Council of Chief State School Officers,  Ensuring an Equitable Opportunity: Providing a High-Quality Education for Students with Disabilities,

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What Is the Goal of a Special Education Teacher?

Educators who work with special needs students play a crucial role in our society. They put in countless hours to ensure that students with special needs have the help they need to excel in the classroom. But what, exactly, does a teacher of special education hope to accomplish? In this article, we’ll discuss what it means to be a special education teacher , what obstacles they confront, and the success they hope their pupils will attain. So, keep reading this post about “What Is the Goal of a Special Education Teacher?”

The role of a special education teacher is complex, from facilitating the growth of students’ talents and confidence to fostering an accepting and welcoming classroom climate. If you have a child with special needs, are enrolled in a special education program, or are simply interested in learning more about the topic, this post is for you!

Let’s look at the special education field and discover the fantastic contributions special education teachers make to their pupils and the educational system.

What Is a Special Education Teacher?

A  qualified educator  with additional training to work with pupils with unique requirements is referred to as a special education teacher. These educators work in various settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and public and private educational institutions . They are accountable for developing individualized education programs , often known as IEPs, for their pupils, which are intended to assist those children in realizing their full potential and achieving that potential.

Teachers of students in special education work with a  diverse group of pupils , including those who have cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as learning difficulties, behavioral and emotional issues, and so on. They tutor students in all academic areas, and in some cases, they also teach life skills and how to care for oneself. They may also work with other experts in the field of education, such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers, to deliver a complete and consistent educational strategy.

The work of a teacher of students with special needs might be difficult at times, but it can also be highly gratifying. Teachers who specialize in special education have the unique potential to significantly impact their pupils’ lives by assisting them in overcoming challenges and accomplishing their objectives. They have a genuine passion for teaching and are fully committed to giving their students the best education and support they can offer. Indeed, the demand for SPED teachers continues to grow due to their invaluable contributions.

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How To Become a Special Education Teacher

To become a special education teacher, one must have  education, certification, and experience .

  • Education:  A bachelor’s degree in special education or a similar discipline is required to become a special education teacher. Typical coursework in these programs includes child development, instructional strategies , and special education law.
  • Certification :  After earning your degree, you will be required to receive special education certification. Each state has its certification standards, but you must generally pass a certification exam and satisfy specific experience criteria.
  • Experience:  Some states may also require prospective special education teachers to complete a specified number of student teaching or practicum hours before licensure.
  • Ongoing Professional Development:  Special education teachers must be familiar with the most current rules and regulations to provide their kids with the finest education possible, as well as current innovative teaching tactics and learning methodologies.

As you gain experience as a special education teacher, you may have the opportunity to move into more specialized roles, such as department head, instructional coach, or administrator. If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge and experience, obtaining a master’s degree in special education could be an excellent next step.

It is also important to realize that certification and licensing requirements may differ based on your country or location. Check the relevant state or country’s standards and the local education board or government agency for further information.

What Does a Special Education Teacher Do on a Daily Basis?

Depending on the school or program, the age of the children, and the student’s individual needs, a special education teacher’s daily responsibilities might range widely. However, there are some recurring tasks, such as:

  • Developing and implementing individualized education plans (IEPs):  Special education instructors develop and implement individualized education programs (IEPs) in collaboration with other experts. These plans describe the student’s abilities and challenges, identify goals for improvement, and specify the adjustments that will be made to the curriculum.
  • Delivering instruction:  Special education teachers try to modify lessons for their students in the classroom. Teachers may use alternative materials, tools, and methods to engage further and assist these children.
  • Assessing student progress:  The law requires educators in special needs classrooms to conduct regular, formal, and informal assessments of their student’s progress toward the goals set in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Data guides instruction and determines the best ways to help students.
  • Collaborating with other professionals:  Teachers of students with special needs frequently collaborate with other specialists in the field, including speech therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers. Working together can provide students with a consistent and thorough set of services.
  • Supporting families:  Special education teachers are also crucial in assisting families. They keep parents and guardians in the loop about their kid’s progress and help them locate community-based programs and resources that can supplement what their child is learning in the classroom.
  • Maintaining records and documents:  Educators in special education have the added responsibility of keeping track of student paperwork, such as individual education plans (IEPs), test scores, and report cards.
  • Professional development and staying informed:  Teachers in special education have several responsibilities, including continuing their professional development and keeping up with developments in the field’s legislation, regulations, and pedagogical approaches. To hone their craft, they participate in regular training and study.

Teachers in special education have an important role as guides and champions for their students, going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their students’ health, success in school, and personal growth.

Examples of SMART Goals for Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers establish goals for their pupils to assist them in making development and achieving academic achievement. These objectives are often SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Here are some examples of SMART objectives for instructors of special education:

  • Increase the reading fluency of a student with dyslexia by 20 percent over the next six months using a multimodal instructional method and additional help during reading instruction.
  • Help a student with autism enhance social interactions by 25% at the end of the school year by giving training, practice, and positive reinforcement in social skills .
  • Improve a student’s fine motor abilities by offering additional occupational therapy and adaptive equipment, such as a pencil grip, and ensuring that the student has access to play-based activities that improve fine motor skills regularly.
  • Reduce by 50% over the following three months the number of outbursts a student with an emotional problem experiences per week by offering lessons in emotional regulation and using a token economy system to promote positive conduct.
  • Over the next nine months, boost a student’s arithmetic results by 30 percent by offering extra assistance during math instruction, employing manipulatives, and providing one-on-one coaching.
  • Assist a student with limited mobility to move independently inside the classroom through adaptive equipment and physical therapy. Set a daily objective to increase the number of times the student carries independently by fifty percent.
  • Over the next semester, increase a student’s participation in class discussions by 30% by giving opportunities for the student to voice their opinions, responding positively to the student’s contributions, and providing accommodations to aid the student in communicating.
  • Help a kid with speech difficulties improve their speech intelligibility by 50 percent over the next six months through speech therapy and visual aids such as graphics.

These are a few examples, but special education teachers should work closely with their students, families, and other professionals to establish goals suited to each student’s unique requirements. Remember that SMART goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound and that they should be routinely evaluated and modified following the student’s progress. So, those are some of the goals of special education teachers.

T-Tess Goals for Special Education Teachers Examples

A teacher assessment system in Texas is known as T-TESS, which stands for the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System. Teachers in Texas, including those specializing in special education, are assessed using the T-TESS, which requires them to create learning objectives for themselves and their students. T-TESS objectives are a common name for these targets. 

Goals that teachers of students with exceptional needs could set using T-TESS include the following:

  • By the school year’s conclusion, you should have created and implemented at least two instructional techniques based on evidence to help children with learning disabilities improve their reading fluency and comprehension.
  • By the end of the next nine months, we will have doubled the percentage of students with behavioral issues behaving appropriately in the classroom through a positive behavior support system.
  • Involve parents in creating their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and increase collaboration through regular contact and parent-teacher conferences.
  • By making adjustments and modifying activities and equipment, we can encourage more physically-impaired students to participate in physical education classes.
  • Educate your peers continuously about how they can use technology better to serve their children with special needs in the classroom, and at least two of them will eventually adopt such a practice.
  • Creating and implementing a system for collecting and analyzing student development, and using the data to inform instruction and amend IEPs, will improve data-driven education and assessment.
  • Set up a method to check in on the progress of children with special needs frequently, ensure everyone is making headway toward their IEP goals, and aid kids suffering when needed.
  • Involving parents in their child’s education in meaningful ways, such as by providing regular updates on their child’s development, including them in goal-setting, and actively soliciting their advice on their child’s education, has been shown to increase parent satisfaction.

Remember that the examples mentioned above of T-Tess goals for Special Education Teachers only apply in Texas. Other states and countries may have different systems for defining goals and evaluating teachers. So, those are some of the teacher’s professional goals examples.

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Professional Goals for Special Education Teachers

In addition to the T-TESS goals, special education instructors are encouraged to develop their professional goals to enhance their teaching abilities, move forward in their careers, and provide enhanced student support. 

The following is a list of some examples of professional goals for teachers of special education:

  • Read professional journals regularly, attend conferences and workshops, and take part in other opportunities for ongoing professional development to ensure that you are up to date on the most recent findings from research and the rules and regulations about special education.
  • Develop your knowledge in a particular field of special education, such as autism, by attending classes, reading relevant material, and taking part in specialized training; as a result, you will be able to offer pupils help that is more targeted and effective.
  • Implementing effective behavior management strategies, promoting positive student-teacher interactions, and cultivating a sense of community among students are great ways to improve classroom management skills and create a more positive and welcoming environment for all students.
  • Increase the use of technology in the classroom by investigating and experimenting with various tools and resources to enhance the education of children with special needs. Some examples of these tools and resources are online learning platforms and assistive technology.
  • Create a method for routinely tracking the development of kids with unique requirements, conducting data analysis, and using this information to guide classroom instruction and modify individualized education programs (IEPs).
  • Enhance your ability to collaborate with other professionals by attending meetings, participating in case conferences, and actively seeking opportunities to work together on behalf of students with special needs.
  • Reading different types of literature, attending additional training, and participating in various cultural exchange events are great ways to expand on cultural competency and deliver culturally responsive instruction to students from multiple backgrounds.
  • You can advance your professional standing by earning additional certificates and degrees, such as a master’s degree in special education, to work up to the position of department head, instructional coach, or administrator.

It is essential to remember that those above are merely examples and that every special education instructor will have their own one-of-a-kind goals depending on the skills they possess, the areas in which they may improve, and the requirements of their pupils. Establishing and accomplishing professional goals can be difficult; however, it is imperative to remember that the pursuit of progress, and not perfection, is most important.

Is an Individualized Education for All Students?

When students receive an individualized education, they receive lessons specifically designed for them based on their strengths and weaknesses. This is a cornerstone of special education theory and practice, and it is crucial to ensure that all students are given the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.

An IEP is a document that details the exact goals, adjustments, and modifications to the curriculum that will be made to help a student with special needs succeed in school. The student’s special education teacher works with the student, parents/guardians, and other appropriate experts to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP). As a group, the individualized education program (IEP) members discuss the student’s progress and collaborate to determine their areas of strength and growth.

As every student has their own set of skills, interests, and requirements, the individualized education approach can be used with any group of kids, not just those with special needs. Individualizing learning allows students to progress at their own pace, grasp concepts in ways that resonate with them, and stay interested and motivated throughout the learning process.

Teachers should also use assessment results to determine their students’ strengths and weaknesses, offer pupils a range of options for how and what to study, and tailor their level of assistance to each student. They need to be willing to attempt new things to provide their pupils with the best possible individualized education experience.

In addition to being ready to work with other professionals, families, and students to create a student-centered approach, flexibility in modifying curriculum and techniques is essential when they aren’t working.

Overall, customized education is a method that gives every student a chance to thrive and develop to their fullest potential by catering to their specific needs and strengths.

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What Is the Goal of a Special Education Teacher? How To Be Successful

Special education teachers play a crucial role in their student’s lives and are essential to the functioning of the unique education system. But what makes a teacher of special education genuinely successful?

Here are a few attributes that can help the success of a special education teacher:

  • Patience and understanding:  Special education kids often confront unique obstacles and require extra time, assistance, and patience. Successful special education teachers have a firm grasp of their student’s needs and are patient and empathetic in their interactions.
  • Creativity and flexibility:  Special education teachers must be creative and adaptable in their teaching approach to fulfill each student’s needs. They must be open to new techniques and ideas and willing to modify their lesson when impractical.
  • Strong communication skills:  Special education teachers must communicate effectively with various stakeholders, including children, families, and other professionals. They must convey complex concepts and procedures in a simple and intelligible manner.
  • Strong organizational skills:  Special education teachers generally have many paperwork, records, and assessments to keep track of. To monitor student progress and make informed judgments, they must be highly organized and able to maintain precise records and data.
  • Strong assessment skills:  Special education instructors must use various assessment tools and procedures to establish student strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities and use the findings to inform instruction and modify IEPs.
  • Empathy and understanding:  Teachers in special education must be sensitive and understand their student’s circumstances to provide advice and assistance in the academic, social, and emotional domains.
  • Strong teamwork:  Special education instructors typically work in partnership with other professions and must work well as a team. They should be able to communicate well and appreciate different opinions while also being strong advocates for their kids.
  • Continuous improvement mindset:  Competent special education teachers are dedicated to their professional development and stay abreast of the most recent research, policies, and best practices in the field. They are receptive to feedback, willing to grow from their mistakes, and continually seek to enhance their profession.

These are some of the attributes that can contribute to a special education teacher’s success. These attributes are a helpful beginning point for teachers and administrators to evaluate and support the performance of special education teachers.

Jennifer Hanson  is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.

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How to Track and Monitor IEP goals: A Resource for IEP and Special Education Teams

special education teacher goals

Why IEP Management is Important

An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is necessary for students with disabilities and differences because they ensure individualized instruction and support, access to education, accommodations and services, progress monitoring, and collaboration among education professionals and families.

Proper IEP management is crucial for ensuring that students with disabilities and learning differences receive the education and support they need to succeed. It promotes compliance, collaboration, accountability, and student success.

Tracking IEP SMART Goals

One of the best ways to develop a strong, well-implemented IEP is by making sure that each IEP follows the SMART model. The SMART model ensures that IEP goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that are developed for students with disabilities and differences.

Tracking and monitoring IEP goals is essential for several reasons:

  • To ensure progress : By tracking and monitoring IEP goals, educators can determine if students are making progress towards their goals. If not, they can modify instruction and intervention strategies to better support students in achieving their goals.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of instruction : Monitoring IEP goals can help educators evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction and intervention strategies. They can identify which strategies are working and which ones are not, making necessary adjustments to ensure the best possible outcomes for students.
  • To promote accountability : Tracking and monitoring IEP goals promotes accountability for educators, students, and parents. It helps everyone involved in the education process to stay on track, focus on the objectives, and ensure that students are meeting their goals.
  • To comply with legal requirements : Federal and state laws require schools to develop and implement IEPs for students with disabilities. Tracking and monitoring IEP goals is a crucial aspect of complying with these legal requirements and ensuring that students receive the education and support they need.

Overall, tracking and monitoring IEP goals is essential for ensuring that students with disabilities and learning differences receive the support and instruction they need to succeed academically and in life.

Ways to Track and Monitor IEP Goals

Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals can be tracked in several ways, depending on the specific goals and needs of the student. Here are some common methods for tracking IEP goals:

1. Data collection

2. Progress Reports

3. Goal- Setting Conferences

4. Technology-Based Tracking

Data Collection

One of the most common ways to track IEP goals is to collect data on the student's progress. This can be done by and in collaboration with the classroom teacher, a special education teacher, or another school staff member. Data collection may involve recording observations of the student's behavior, performance on specific tasks or assignments, or the results of assessments.

There are several data collection tools that can be used to track progress toward Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. Here are some common data collection tools used for IEPs:

  • Anecdotal records : These are brief, narrative descriptions of a student's behavior or performance. Anecdotal records are often used to track progress on social or behavioral goals, and can be helpful in identifying patterns and trends over time.
  • Checklists : Checklists are useful for tracking progress on specific skills or behaviors. They can be used by teachers or paraprofessionals to record the frequency or quality of a student's behavior, such as completing a task or participating in a classroom discussion.
  • Rubrics : Rubrics are scoring guides that outline specific criteria for evaluating a student's performance. They can be used to track progress on academic or behavioral goals, and provide a more detailed assessment of a student's strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Standardized assessments : Standardized assessments are formal tests that measure a student's performance in a particular subject or skill area. They can be useful for tracking progress on academic goals, and can provide objective data on a student's performance relative to their peers.
  • Technology-based tracking systems : Schools may also use technology-based tracking systems to monitor student progress toward IEP goals. These systems may include online progress monitoring tools or specialized software programs designed specifically for tracking IEP goals. We will discuss these tracking systems in more depth later.

Ultimately, the best data collection tool(s) for IEPs will depend on the specific goals and needs of the student, as well as the resources available to the school. It is important to regularly review progress toward IEP goals and make adjustments as needed to ensure that students are making meaningful progress toward their educational goals.

Progress reports

IEP and Special Education teams may also use progress reports to track IEP goals. These reports can be sent home to parents or guardians on a regular basis to keep them informed of their child's progress. The reports should clearly outline the specific goals, the progress made toward those goals, and any additional supports or interventions that may be needed.

Progress reports can play an important role in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process for students with disabilities and learning differences. Here are some ways that educators can use progress reports in the IEP process:

  • Tracking progress toward IEP goals : Progress reports can be used to track a student's progress toward their IEP goals. They can provide concrete data on how the student is doing in specific areas, such as academic performance, social skills, or behavior.
  • Identifying areas of strength and weakness : Progress reports can help educators identify areas of strength and weakness for the student. This information can be used to adjust the student's IEP goals or to provide additional support or interventions to help the student succeed.
  • Communicating with parents and other team members : Progress reports can be shared with parents and other members of the IEP team to keep everyone informed of the student's progress. This can help ensure that everyone is working together to support the student's needs and to make adjustments to the IEP goals or services as needed.
  • Informing the annual review process : Progress reports can provide valuable information for the annual review process, where the IEP team reviews and updates the student's IEP. By reviewing progress reports, the team can assess whether the current goals and services are appropriate, and make any necessary adjustments for the coming year.

It is important for educators and special education teams to regularly collect and review progress reports to ensure that the student is making meaningful progress toward their IEP goals. This information can help guide decision-making and support the student's success.

Goal-setting conferences

It is highly encouraged that schools hold goal-setting conferences with the student, parents, and teachers to discuss progress toward IEP goals. During these meetings, the team can review the goals, discuss any challenges or barriers to progress, and come up with a plan to address any issues.

A successful goal-setting conference for and IEP should involve collaboration and communication among all members of the IEP team, including the student, parents or guardians, teachers, and any other support personnel. Here are some key elements that can contribute to a successful goal-setting conference:

  • Preparation : The IEP team should come prepared to the conference with information about the student's progress, strengths, and needs. This might include data on the student's academic performance, behavior, social skills, and any other relevant information.
  • Clear goals : The goals should be specific, measurable, and achievable, and should address the student's unique needs and strengths (SMART). They should also be aligned with state and district standards and the student's long-term goals.
  • Collaboration : The goal-setting conference should involve collaboration and input from all members of the IEP team, including the student, parents or guardians, and any relevant support personnel. This can help ensure that everyone is working together to support the student's success.
  • Individualized supports and interventions : The IEP team should discuss and agree upon individualized supports and interventions that will be put in place to help the student achieve their goals. These may include accommodations, modifications, specialized instruction, or other interventions.
  • Follow-up : The IEP team should establish a plan for follow-up and regular progress monitoring. This might include setting up regular meetings to review progress toward the goals and make any necessary adjustments.

By incorporating these elements, the IEP team can work together to create a comprehensive, individualized plan that supports the student's academic, social, and behavioral success.

Technology-Based Tracking

Schools may also use technology-based tracking systems to monitor student progress toward IEP goals. These systems may include online progress monitoring tools or specialized software programs designed specifically for tracking IEP goals.

Technology, along with qualitative and anecdotal data, can be a powerful tool for tracking and monitoring progress toward Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. Here are some ways that schools can use technology to support the IEP process:

  • Online progress monitoring tools : Many online progress monitoring tools are available that can help educators track and monitor student progress toward their IEP goals. These tools can be used to input data on student performance, generate reports, and share progress with parents and other members of the IEP team.
  • Learning management systems : Learning management systems (LMS) can be used to track student progress in academic courses and monitor their progress toward IEP goals. LMS systems may include features like grade books, assignment tracking, and progress monitoring tools.
  • Specialized software : There are a number of specialized software programs available that are designed specifically to support the IEP process. These programs may include features like goal tracking, progress monitoring, and automated reporting.
  • Communication and collaboration tools : Technology can be used to facilitate communication and collaboration among members of the IEP team. This might include tools like video conferencing, shared document editing, or discussion boards.

By using technology to track and monitor progress toward IEP goals, schools can improve their ability to support students with disabilities and learning differences while ensuring that they are making meaningful progress toward their educational goals. It is important to guarantee that any technology used is accessible and appropriate for the individual needs of the student. Many school systems might already have preferred tracking systems and technology in place. Check with your district to see what might already be available for you and your special education team.

Ultimately, the most effective method for tracking IEP SMART goals will depend on the specific needs of the student and the resources available to the school. It is important to regularly review progress toward IEP goals and make adjustments as needed to ensure that students are making meaningful progress toward their educational goals.

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10 Main Examples Of Special Education Teacher Goals

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Editorial Team

REVIEWED BY  NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT PANEL  ON AUGUST 31, 2022

Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of all students. Children spend half of their day for years in school and are highly influenced by their educators. In the case of special education , in order to meet the individualistic needs of the students, it is essential for teachers to consciously set goals that help them with fulfilling their responsibilities with utmost care.

Not just for individual sessions, but also in inclusive classrooms where special students are placed with their other peers, it becomes quite crucial to follow and maintain the development path as required. 

special education teacher goals

Being accountable for the learning progress of special students, special education teachers must set goals as these goals will give both the teacher and student a sense of direction as well as a track to follow in their journey of learning. 

Below in this post, there are some examples of the goals to help special educators in designing their own considering the different requirements and needs of the child.

Special education teacher goals

Special education teacher goals are basically targets set for the teacher and child to reach a certain point, resolve a certain issue, or cater to a certain challenge being faced by the child. These are also centered around the child’s learning and growth based on academic, behavioral, technical, social, and functional aspects and so on. Some examples of goals for special education teachers are given below. 

1. Meeting Individual Needs and challenges

The teacher aims to meet the individual and specific needs of a child facing difficulties in learning. For instance, for a child with deficits in speech, the goal is to deliver speech and language therapy sessions once a week to reach a point where the child shows improvement in the same.

2. Enhance functional skills

Often children with special needs struggle with most basic functional skills. The goal here focuses on working to make the child independent to perform their daily chores. These could include letting the child walk up to their classroom themselves and identifying it, or buttoning their own shirt.

3. Facilitating and providing Accommodations

Special education teachers aim to ensure that students with special needs are provided enough and appropriate accommodations in classrooms such as modified work and assignments, allowance of needed devices, extra time on tests, and so on.

4. Foster Relationships

Building a warm and wholesome relationship with the child is necessary as it helps students find confidence, support, and comfort. It also motivates students to try their best to work on themselves and seek help with minimum hesitation. Special education teachers also build good working relationships with parents as they contribute as well. For instance, goals to engage in fun activities once a month outside the work environment with the child can be included.

5. Track Progress

The progress of students with special needs should be tracked on a regular basis. Students and their skills developed during providing special services should be assessed and feedback about the student’s performance shall be laid out. This is important for knowing whether or not the interventions work and what should be modified in the same. Checks every third week, roadmaps, and review cycles can be examples of these. 

special education teacher goals

6. Improve classroom adjustment

For children with special needs placed in a general or inclusive classroom, it can be challenging to adjust to the environment and cope with other students. For this, special educators must develop adjustment and coping mechanisms for the students to adapt to their classroom environment.

7. Enhance social skills

Due to challenges faced by students in learning, their confidence may take a toll and restrict them from reaching out or making friends in their classrooms. Inability to learn and certain things may also bring down their mood significantly leading to avoidance of any social relationships.

8. Focus on emotion regulation

Emotion regulation is as important as making interventions in academics and other challenges faced because they are affected significantly by other factors. Special Educators should include emotion regulation works such as self-esteem building, coping mechanisms, life skills, decision-making, and so on.

9. Collaborate with General Educator

It is important for the special educator and general educator to collaborate and work closely for the beneficial development of the student, contributing to their growth. Here, the goal is to meet, plan, and come up with strategies together every now and then. A cycle can be maintained for the same. 

10. Maintain Paperwork

Maintaining legal work and formalities is another goal of special educators to ensure that their education is hassle-free and even the transition is smooth. 

The Purpose

To reach any desirable target, goal setting is the first step. Setting goals by special education teachers is a vital step for providing students with the special services and resources they need to prosper and grow with their difficulties. Goals are helpful in many ways, for one, they provide direction. Setting goals specific to the difficulties faced by the student paves the way for catering to those particular challenges and eventually helping them improve. If there is no set idea of where to reach, and how to reach, then it would lead to challenges in fulfilling and meeting the requirements of parents, students, and other school authorities.

These goals are also important as they help the teacher track the progress and improvement of students. By setting a goal and reviewing the journey taken to accomplish it, teachers can understand the shortcomings or challenges faced and work on the same in a better manner. Monitoring the progress of students becomes easier if a particular goal is set. 

It has also been found that participation in goal setting improves self-efficacy and also promotes motivation. When there is a goal, teachers and students are both motivated to achieve it and are inspired by what they see and imagine as having accomplished it. 

Teacher goals vs. special education teacher goals: What’s the difference?

General education teachers and special education teachers often collaborate and work on parallel aspects and share similar duties. Children with identified special needs spend a significant amount of their time in a general classroom and so, the teamwork of both educators is what makes their learning process fruitful. One goal that stands to be the same for the general teacher and special education teacher is the growth, wellness, and success of each child. However, specific goals can be different for them. 

A general education teacher’s goal can center around the completion of a lesson plan around a particular time in the month, enhancing class engagement and participation, setting assignments and tests, delivering comprehensive material, and maximizing knowledge and skill for the students in class. 

On the other hand, the goals of special education teachers center around catering to the individual’s special needs of the child facing learning difficulties. These may look like working on functional, behavioral, and social skills, emotional regulation, specific speech therapy, accommodations, class adjustment, and so on. These goals only focus on the holistic development of the child, interventions to target the specific challenges being faced and not merely its academic success. 

Special education teachers and general education teachers, both play an important role in special and inclusive education. They influence not only academics and education but also their crucial and initial years of development. It is important for special education teachers to formulate their goals appropriately and specific to the individual needs of the students. These goals help teachers and students to follow a directed path of learning and growth for developing skills, knowledge, and interventions for the challenges faced by the students.

Manpreet Singh

An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having  just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of  Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’, 

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What does a special education teacher do?

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What is a Special Education Teacher?

A special education teacher works with students who have a wide range of disabilities and special needs. Their primary role is to provide specialized instruction and support to help students with disabilities overcome learning barriers and achieve academic, social, and emotional success. Special education teachers assess students' individual needs, develop tailored education plans, and implement effective teaching strategies and accommodations to meet each student's unique learning goals.

In addition to academic instruction, special education teachers also foster a supportive and inclusive learning environment for their students. They collaborate closely with other educators, administrators, parents, and support staff to create Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and ensure that students with disabilities receive the necessary accommodations, services, and resources to thrive in school.

What does a Special Education Teacher do?

A special education teacher working with a child with disabilities.

Duties and Responsibilities Special education teachers have a range of duties and responsibilities that are vital in ensuring that students with disabilities receive the support they need to succeed. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Assessment and Individualized Education Planning: Special education teachers assess students' individual needs, strengths, and challenges to determine eligibility for special education services. They collaborate with other professionals, such as psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists, to conduct evaluations and develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) tailored to each student's unique learning goals and needs.
  • Instruction and Differentiated Teaching: Special education teachers design and implement specialized instruction and teaching strategies to accommodate diverse learning styles and abilities. They adapt curriculum materials, modify instructional approaches, and provide individualized support to help students with disabilities access the general education curriculum and make academic progress. Special education teachers may also provide small-group instruction, one-on-one tutoring, or co-teaching support in inclusive classroom settings.
  • Behavior Management and Support: Special education teachers help students develop social skills, self-regulation, and positive behavior management strategies to succeed in school and community settings. They establish clear expectations, reinforce positive behaviors, and provide targeted interventions and supports to address challenging behaviors and promote a positive learning environment. Special education teachers collaborate with behavior specialists, counselors, and support staff to implement behavior intervention plans and support students' social-emotional development.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Special education teachers collaborate closely with general education teachers, administrators, parents, and other professionals to support students' academic and developmental needs. They attend team meetings, participate in IEP meetings, and communicate regularly with parents to discuss students' progress, set goals, and coordinate services. Special education teachers advocate for students with disabilities, ensuring that they receive appropriate accommodations, services, and resources to succeed in school and beyond.
  • Professional Development and Continued Learning: Special education teachers engage in ongoing professional development and training to stay updated on best practices, research-based interventions, and legal requirements related to special education. They participate in workshops, conferences, and seminars, pursue advanced degrees or certifications, and collaborate with colleagues to share expertise and resources. Special education teachers continuously strive to improve their teaching practices and support the diverse needs of students with disabilities.

Types of Special Education Teachers There are various types of special education teachers, each specializing in a specific area of need or disability. Some of the most common types of special education teachers include:

  • Autism Teacher: These teachers work with students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They may use specialized techniques such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) to help students develop social skills, communication skills, and independence.
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Teacher: These teachers work with students who have emotional or behavioral disorders that may impact their ability to learn and interact with others. They may help students develop coping skills, build positive relationships, and manage their behavior in the classroom.
  • Learning Disabilities Teacher: These teachers specialize in working with students who have difficulties with reading, writing, or math. They may use specialized techniques to help students overcome these challenges and develop their skills in these areas.
  • Occupational Therapist : Occupational therapists work with students who have physical disabilities or challenges with fine motor skills. They may help students develop skills such as handwriting, dressing, or eating independently.
  • Physical Therapist : Physical therapists work with students who have physical disabilities or challenges with gross motor skills. They may help students develop skills such as walking, climbing stairs, or participating in physical education activities.
  • Speech and Language Pathologist : These professionals work with students who have communication disorders such as stuttering, language delays, or articulation disorders. They may work with students one-on-one or in small groups to help them develop their communication skills.

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Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if special education teacher is one of your top career matches.

What is the workplace of a Special Education Teacher like?

Special education teachers may work in a variety of environments, including public and private schools, specialized special education schools, inclusive classrooms, resource rooms, or self-contained classrooms dedicated to students with disabilities. These settings may range from elementary, middle, or high schools to specialized programs or alternative education centers.

Inclusive classrooms, where students with disabilities are integrated into general education classrooms alongside their peers without disabilities, are becoming increasingly common. In these settings, special education teachers collaborate closely with general education teachers to provide differentiated instruction, accommodations, and support to meet the diverse learning needs of all students. They may co-teach with general education teachers, provide push-in or pull-out support, or work in small groups to provide targeted interventions and assistance to students with disabilities.

Additionally, special education teachers may also spend time outside of the classroom attending meetings, collaborating with other professionals, and conducting assessments and evaluations. They work closely with parents, administrators, counselors, therapists, and support staff to develop and implement Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), monitor student progress, and ensure that students with disabilities receive the necessary services and supports to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

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Five Tools and Resources for Special Education Teachers and Administrators

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As educators, it has become increasingly important to meet the needs of every learner . But practically speaking, what does that look like? Understanding how to create a supportive classroom and utilizing special education teaching methods are key to developing an environment that breeds success. Here are five tools and resources for special education teachers and administrators:  

1: Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction in special education is essential to ensuring student success. It’s a teaching method that steers all students toward the same learning objectives while giving them the freedom to determine how they get there. Recognizing that not all students learn the same way means teachers can organize students into groups based on how they prefer to learn. When deployed correctly, it can bring struggling students up to speed, allow gifted students to learn at a pace that suits them, and integrate a student’s individual accommodations. Despite perceptions that differentiation adds to teachers’ workload, differentiation doesn’t have to require a lot of extra planning.

2: Assistive Technology

Assistive technology refers to devices or services that help students with disabilities learn, communicate, or function more effectively. Thanks to advances in technology, these are a great complement to special education teaching methods. They can encompass voice-to-text tools, graphic organizers, screen readers, personal amplification devices, communication boards, pencil grips, and much more to support the needs of all learners. When it comes to assistive technology in special education, the options can be limitless!

3: Positive Behavior Supports

Positive behavior support (PBS), also known as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), can lead to social emotional competence, academic success, and a healthy school climate for all students, enhancing their overall performance and long-term outcomes. PBS is a key behavioral intervention in special education as it teaches students new skills and alternative responses to less desirable behavior. An evidence-based framework, PBS focuses on creating positive, consistent, and safe learning environments that promote students' academic and social growth while preventing challenging behaviors rather than punishing them.

4: Co-Teaching Models

Co-teaching involves two or more certified professionals working together to share instructional responsibility for a single group of students. With six strategies to choose from, it is geared toward enhancing individualized instruction in the general education setting while providing additional support for students with special needs. This model prioritizes collaboration between co-teachers to ensure students with diverse learning needs are able to increase their understanding of the subject matter at hand. It can be especially effective for special education students, because it provides opportunities for instruction tailored to their specific needs.

5: Universal Design for Learning

Another area in which special education administrators and educators can make a difference is by applying universal design for learning (UDL) concepts to the school environment. Rooted from the idea that all architecture must be designed to accommodate diverse individual needs, UDL says that we should anticipate diversity in the classroom. This means considering how students process information, how students engage within the learning environment, and how students convey their learned knowledge. This also means considering cultural barriers, language barriers, and physical, emotional, and mental abilities and how they may impact a student’s approach to learning. When the focus is on ensuring students reach the same goal while providing flexibility in how they reach that goal, it inherently becomes an inclusive classroom conducive to learning and growth.

All of these tools and resources can work together to provide optimal support for students and educators alike. The methodology and research behind these different approaches can also be examined further in a special education graduate degree program — along with ways to measure the efficacy of such approaches to ensure that students are achieving academically and behaviorally.

If you’re interested in furthering your understanding and capabilities within the field of special education, a special education masters or doctoral program could be the right next step for you. At the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), the curriculum prioritizes disability studies, diversity, and inclusion in special education to create classroom environments that meet the needs of every learner. You can also choose from one of four graduate certificate programs. To learn more about our programs, request information from a GSEHD admissions coach  to learn more today.

A Guide to Special Education Terms

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The number of students in special education has increased steadily in the last four decades , with parents more readily seeking additional support and more students being diagnosed with conditions, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

In the wake of the pandemic, though, districts struggle to hire and—more importantly—keep their special education teachers, who are often beleaguered by stressful working conditions and a lack of resources.

Even as the field shifts to address workforce shortages, with some states considering extra pay for special education and others eyeing how artificial intelligence could lessen the burden of increased workloads, students with disabilities make up roughly 13 percent of the school population, said Natasha Strassfeld, an assistant professor in the department of special education at the University of Texas at Austin.

Student standing in front of a school that's distorted, hinting at changing realities.

These are key terms educators should know.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , or IDEA , is a federal law that establishes the rights of students with disabilities and their families.

First passed in 1975 and most recently reauthorized in 2004, the act provides grant funding to states that agree to the federal government’s vision for educating students with disabilities, said Strassfeld.

Students must be identified, evaluated, and deemed as IDEA eligible for the state to use federal money to educate that child. There are 13 categories under which a student could be eligible, including physical and intellectual disabilities.

There are about seven million students served under IDEA, said Strassfeld.

An Individualized Education Program , or IEP , is a legally binding contract between a school district and a family with a child with a disability. Under IDEA, students are afforded an IEP, said Dia Jackson, senior researcher for special education, equity, and tiered systems of support at the American Institutes of Research.

IEPs spell out what area a student has a disability in, how it impacts learning, and what the school will do to address those needs, such as providing speech or occupational therapy, more intensive instructional supports, and accommodations, including for standardized tests and other learning goals.

The number of IEPs is increasing in schools as conditions, like autism spectrum disorder, or ADHD, are being diagnosed more readily.

All students with disabilities are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires schools to make “reasonable accommodation” for students with disabilities.

Educators don’t have to make specially designed instruction plans under a 504, but students can get certain accommodations, like elevator passes if a student is in a wheelchair, Jackson said.

“It’s a slightly different focus, but both play out in schools,” Jackson said.

Individualized family services plans , or IFSPs, are developed for children up to age 3 who need help with communication, social-emotional skills, and physical needs, Strassfeld said.

Like an IEP, the plan is made in collaboration with a parent or guardian, along with professionals such as a child care provider, religious leaders, or doctors. The document outlines a plan for families to help seek services—such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, medical services, and more—but is focused more on the family’s goals rather than strictly educational goals, Strassfeld said.

“While they’re focusing on pre-education goals, primarily at that age, we’re thinking about that child as being a part of a component of a family,” she said.

The right to a Free Appropriate Public Education , or FAPE , means that for every IDEA-eligible student, services must be provided at no cost to the student or their family, must be appropriate for the needs of the child, and have to be education oriented, Strassfeld said.

With FAPE, there is also the concept of least restrictive environment, or LRE, Jackson said. Students should be included to the fullest extent possible in mainstream classrooms and be challenged but appropriately supported, alongside their general education peers.

That’s not without its challenges, however, Strassfeld said.

“IDEA essentially is premised on the philosophical notion that it is that easy. It’s a real challenge for school districts,” she said, adding that as parents and advocates examine special education through disability justice and disability studies lenses, there are more critiques of the model.

Jackson said that she’s heard criticism along these lines: When students with disabilities aren’t prepared for a general education environment, or when general education teachers don’t have training on special education.

Response to intervention , or RTI , came as an amendment to IDEA in 2004 to help earlier identify students who are struggling before they begin failing, Jackson said, and begin giving them additional support through a tiered process. Generally, all students receive “tier I” instruction on grade-level standards. Then, students who need additional help get more intensive supports. That could look like a teacher working one-on-one, or in small groups, helping target specific areas to improve learning.

Intervention is an evidence-based program meant to address a specific learning or social-emotional need. It can be done in a general education classroom, and looks like regular teaching, Jackson said, but it uses particular materials and involves collecting data on progress.

The term RTI has evolved into multitiered system of supports , or MTSS , which is also a preventative framework, but goes beyond academics to consider the infrastructure districts need to implement MTSS, Jackson said.

“The shift to MTSS is meant to be more inclusive of the infrastructure as well as inclusive of social-emotional learning as well as academics,” she said.

A functional behavior assessment , or FBA , is a way for educators to collect data on student behavior, and what is triggering certain unwanted behavior, Jackson said.

For instance, she said, if a teacher has a student who has autism and, when they get upset, they throw a chair, an FBA could be conducted.

Once that analysis is collected, a behavior intervention plan , or BIP , is developed, describing what the behavior is, how often it happens, and what will be done to address it.

FBAs and BIPs are not without concerns, however, as students with disabilities—especially students of color—are more likely to face exclusionary discipline, such as suspension and expulsion.

“A lot of times, it is a subjective judgment call if a student is exhibiting ‘appropriate behavior’ or not,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of potential bias that goes into discipline of students and behavior management.”

It’s one example of disproportionality , where an ethnic or racial group is over- or under-represented in certain areas. For instance, Jackson said, students of color with disabilities are over-represented in discipline, on being identified as having a disability, and being placed in more restrictive environments.

Restraint and seclusion are practices used in public schools as a response to student behavior that limits their movement and aims to deescalate them, by either physically limiting their movement (restraint) or isolating them from others (seclusion), according to previous EdWeek reporting .

The practice of physically restraining students with disabilities or placing them in isolation has been heavily scrutinized, but is still used in some states.

It should only be used in extreme cases when a student is at risk to harm themselves or others, Jackson said, but never as a behavior management technique, or as punishment. Students have been harmed, or even killed, as a result of restraints , Jackson said. Students of color are over-represented in the population who are restrained and isolated, Jackson added.

Even still, there are educators who don’t want to see the practices completely banned, Jackson said.

“Teachers have been hurt by students or they’ve been hurt in the midst of a restraint so they still want to have the option available,” she said. “It’s an issue of not having training in another alternative, so they feel like: ‘This is the only way I can handle this particular student, or type of student, because I don’t know anything else.’”

Strassfeld said that there’s been more focus on the practice alongside excessive force in law enforcement.

“There’s been discussion that disability advocates have had about criminalization of behaviors that a person has no control over, and this type of force seems to deny the humanity of people who perhaps are exhibiting behaviors they are not able to control,” she said.

Education Issues, Explained

Vanessa Solis, Associate Design Director contributed to this article.

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Communication skills.

0501 Non-verbal Communication 0502 Speechreading 0503 Amplification 0504 Multisound 0505 Articulation 0506 Fluency 0507 Voice 0508 Phonology 0509 Auditory Training 0510 Social Communication

Health and Safety Skills

1201 Personal Welfare 1202 Family Living

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0801 Language Arts Concepts and Processes 0802 Manuscript Writing   0803 Cursive Writing 0804 Spelling 0805 Grammar and Mechanics 0806 Composition and Writing 0807 Literature

Language Development Skills

0301 Early Language 0302 Language Syntax 0303 Language Content 0304 Receptive Language 0305 Expressive Language

Leisure Time Activity Skills

1401 Physical Activities 1402 Leisure Time

Life Skills

1501 Phone 1502 Mail 1503 Consumer Skills 1504 Public Dining 1505 Personal Mobility 1506 Cooking 1507 Home Maintenance 1508 Clothing Care 1509 Computer Applications

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0901 Math Readiness 0902 Basic Number Systems 0903 Advanced Number Systems 0904 Processes and Concepts 0905 Time 0906 Money 0907 Basic Measurement 0908 Advanced Measurement

Perceptual Motor Skills

0201 Basic Gross Motor 0202 Advanced Gross Motor 0203 Fine Motor 0204 Visual Perceptual Motor 0205 Sensory Awareness

Reading Skills

0701 Reading Readiness 0702 Vocabulary and Word Analysis 0703 Comprehension and Appreciation 0704 Functional Reading 0705 Study and Reference Skills

Self Help Skills

0101 Basic Eating 0102 Advanced Eating 0103 Drinking 0104 Toileting 0105 Dressing 0106 Grooming 0107 Assistive Devices

Social Skills

0401 Self-related Behaviors 0402 Interpersonal Behaviors 0403 Task-related Behaviors

Visual Sensory Skills

0601 Visual Awareness 0602 Low Vision 0603 Basic Orientation and Mobility 0604 Advanced Orientation and Mobility 0605 Touch Typing 0606 Braille Readiness 0607 Braille Reading and Writing 0608 Basic Special Equipment Utilization 0609 Advanced Special Equipment

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COMMENTS

  1. 13 SMART Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

    Attainable: This goal is doable if the teacher provides interventions to reduce stress levels. Relevant: The goal applies to a special education classroom environment because it focuses on improving student mental health. Time-based: There is a time limit of one month for meeting this certain goal. 10.

  2. Free IEP Goal Bank With 110+ Goals and Free Tracking Sheets

    A lot of thought goes into each IEP goal, so here are more than 100 goals that every special education teacher should have in their bank. Reading Comprehension IEP Goal Bank. Reading comprehension is a skill that many students struggle with it. Choose a goal that helps students reach the next level of reading comprehension so they can ...

  3. 11 SMART Goals Examples for Special Education Teachers

    Teachers start by taking attendance daily. A - An increase of 10% is attainable and realistic. R - This smart goal is relevant to the special education classroom, as all students should be present and able to access the materials being taught. T - This smart goal should be accomplished within the next four months.

  4. Professional Goals for Special Education Teachers

    Improve IEP implementation. One goal that many special education teachers have is to improve the IEP (individualized education program) process. Short term objectives may include steps you'll take to involve more general education teachers, communicate next steps with families, and providing more support in the general education curriculum.

  5. Professional Goals for Special Education Teachers

    Here are four examples of general goals that special education teachers should strive for when working with special needs students: 1. To develop positive relationships with students and families. 2. To foster academic success for every student. 3. To ensure social and emotional growth for every student. 4.

  6. National Association of Special Education Teachers: IEP Development

    Step I - Identify the specific Subject Area (s) listed in the IEP Goals and Objectives you will need to use to develop objectives in which the student may need remediation or assistance. There are 12 separate Subject Area categories. Step II - After choosing a specific Subject Area i.e. Reading you should then go to a list of Short Term ...

  7. 2024 Career Goals for Special Education Teachers

    Leadership and advocacy goals are vital for Special Education Teachers who aspire to influence educational policy and practice on a larger scale. These goals might include taking on mentorship roles, leading professional development workshops, or advocating for policy changes that benefit students with special needs.

  8. National Association of Special Education Teachers: Determining

    The term `individualized education program' or `IEP' means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with this section and that includes. (II) a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to--. (aa) meet the child's needs that result ...

  9. Spedhelper

    Resources for Special Education Teachers. As a special education teacher, your focus should be on your students-- not the paperwork. Our goal at Spedhelper is to be your IEP helper and make the paperwork both easier and more useful to you and students' families. The website has free resources for quickly writing high-quality IEPs, from IEP ...

  10. National Association of Special Education Teachers: PDP

    IEP Goals and Objectives. NASET provides an extensive database of material to develop an entire IEP Goals and Objectives or an individual IEP [Individual Education Program] to all it's members, free of charge. The IEP Goals and Objectives is an excellent tool for creating IEPs and curricula. It consists of the following components: 2,719 ...

  11. Instruction

    Special education teachers develop learning goals for students on a long- and short-term basis; these goals determine the focus of instruction. Learning goals include those for students' IEPs as well as for specific subjects (e.g., what to emphasize in math) or sub-areas (e.g., teaching particular concepts and skills in fractions ...

  12. SMART IEPs (Step 2): Create Goals and Objectives

    Measurable academic and functional goals. IEP goals should enable the child to learn the basic skills that are necessary for thechild to be independent and self-sufficient. These basic skills include: Communication skills. Social skills and the ability to interact with others. Reading skills.

  13. Special Education Teacher Goals: What to Know

    Examples of SMART Goals for Special Education Teachers. Special education teachers establish goals for their pupils to assist them in making development and achieving academic achievement. These objectives are often SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here are some examples of SMART objectives for instructors of ...

  14. Special education teachers: A guide for families

    That goes for kids who are and aren't identified with learning and thinking differences. Here are some other ways a special education teacher might work with students: Giving support in the general education setting. Providing "pull-out" services in small groups or one-on-one. Keeping track of progress toward IEP goals.

  15. How to Track and Monitor IEP goals: A Resource for IEP and Special

    Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals can be tracked in several ways, depending on the specific goals and needs of the student. ... This can be done by and in collaboration with the classroom teacher, a special education teacher, or another school staff member. Data collection may involve recording observations of the student's behavior ...

  16. 10 Main Examples Of Special Education Teacher Goals

    Some examples of goals for special education teachers are given below. 1. Meeting Individual Needs and challenges. The teacher aims to meet the individual and specific needs of a child facing difficulties in learning. For instance, for a child with deficits in speech, the goal is to deliver speech and language therapy sessions once a week to ...

  17. What does a special education teacher do?

    A special education teacher works with students who have a wide range of disabilities and special needs. Their primary role is to provide specialized instruction and support to help students with disabilities overcome learning barriers and achieve academic, social, and emotional success. Special education teachers assess students' individual needs, develop tailored education plans, and ...

  18. Five Tools/Resources for Special Education Teachers & Admins

    By utilizing these 5 special education teaching methods and resources, you can help create a supportive and inclusive classroom to reach all learners. ... When the focus is on ensuring students reach the same goal while providing flexibility in how they reach that goal, it inherently becomes an inclusive classroom conducive to learning and ...

  19. A Guide to Special Education Terms

    An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a legally binding contract between a school district and a family with a child with a disability. Under IDEA, students are afforded an IEP, said Dia ...

  20. National Association of Special Education Teachers: Examples of IEP

    When writing goals for children with Autism it is crucial to be as specific as possible. IEP's need to be individualized but do not always show all of the actual goals and interventions that are being done. As a skill is acquired - new objectives are to be added, it is not to be stagnant. As skills become easier the difficulty is increased.

  21. Special Education

    The General Education Teacher to Special Education Teacher (GETSET) ... Creating Goals that Are Easy to Monitor and a Stress-Free Companion Monitoring Tool, with Carlo Vialu, PT, MBA, and Peggy Morris, OTD, OTR/L, BCP. This workshop is designed for Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists and will convey ...

  22. PDF Title: Special Education Teacher

    TITLE: SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER. QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Valid New Jersey Instructional Certificate and appropriate Special Education Endorsement or eligibility. ... JOB GOAL: To provide an approved special education program and establish a class environment that fosters learning and personal growth; to help pupils to develop

  23. Elementary Education/Exceptional Needs (Teaching All Learners) Program

    The Teaching All Learners program requires 39-43 credits of content coursework and 85 credits of professional education coursework, for a total of at least 120 credits. The professional education incorporates courses in special education methods and strategies as well as basic teaching strategies appropriate to the elementary classroom.

  24. Belgorod State University

    On September 26, 1876 in the district town of Belgorod, the Teacher's Training Institute was founded by the order of the Russian Ministry of Public Education. On June 4, 1919 Belgorod Teacher's Training Institute was reorganized into Belgorod Pedagogical Institute by the order of the People's Commissariat for Education of the RSFSR, and in 1920 ...

  25. Stary Oskol

    Education. One of the oldest kids music schools in the city is located in the city center, on Lenina Street. Notable people. Vasili Eroshenko, writer, translator, esperantist, linguist, poet and teacher. Alexander Emelianenko, mixed martial artist; Fedor Emelianenko, mixed martial artist; Denis Lebedev, boxer; Twin towns - sister cities

  26. Figures at a glance

    How many refugees are there around the world? At least 108.4 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 35.3 million refugees, around 41 per cent of whom are under the age of 18.. There are also millions of stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and lack access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom ...

  27. Stary Oskol

    Stary Oskol. An old house on Lenina Street. Stary Oskol ( Russian: Старый Оскол, IPA: [ˈstarɨj ɐˈskol]) is a city in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, located 618 kilometers (384618 kilometers (384 mi) south of Moscow, on the Oskol River. Population: 221,085 ( 2010 Census ); [1] 215,898 ( 2002 Census); [2] 173,917 ( 1989 Census).

  28. National Association of Special Education Teachers: Long Term Goals

    Table of Contents Communication Skills. 0501 Non-verbal Communication 0502 Speechreading 0503 Amplification 0504 Multisound 0505 Articulation 0506 Fluency

  29. Global report reveals major gaps in menstrual health and hygiene in schools

    NEW YORK, GENEVA, 28 May 2024 - Around the world, menstrual health and hygiene needs are being overlooked due to limited access to information, education, products and services, as well as inadequate facilities and inequalities. A new report, Progress on drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools 2015-2023: special focus on menstrual health, launched by UNICEF and WHO on Menstrual ...

  30. Stary Oskol

    Stary Oskol is the Belgorod Region's second city by population and today consists of two main parts: the historical centre on the hill and the new centre made up of blocks of housing estates (mikroraiony). It is named after the river on which it stands on; the word stary (old) was added to distinguish it from the new settlement of Novy Oskol ...