"Level Systems"

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Zelda~*, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2011

    I wanted to see what everyone's thoughts on Level Systems for ED students are.

    If you are unfamiliar with the term, a Level System is based upon a student's behavior. The better their behavior, the more privileges they earn. (Such as eating lunch with peers, and attending "out classes" in a general education classroom.)

    I'm asking because my first and second yearsof teaching ED---this is what we used. It worked well, the kids liked knowing what level they were on, discussed how many more days they needed until the next level, etc. The downside was---they missed a lot of curriculum.

    This year we had to do away with the Level System. My supervisor decided they were awful and harmful to the students. They had us putting the kiddos in General Education classes from Day 1 (with aide or my support). No matter what.

    It's seems to have worked---I'm thrilled with the student's academic progress, but.....I miss out on having all that time to lay a foundation for success for these kids.

    What are your thoughts? :)
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2011

    I always used a level system with my ED students. However, if it is working without having a level system, then why not.

    Or, could they still have a modified level system but they earn privileges in the classroom. Level 1-in the regular classroom with support, Level 2-ability to move around classroom, etc.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2011

    Hey Zelda - what do you mean by:
    Specifically referring to the bolded part - is there something that the level system offered that is no longer available?
     
  5. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2011

    My boss is death on level systems now. So...basically we work on percentages on task, and what color they end on, on our behavior wheel.

    EdEd--before I felt as if I was better able to build students up for success, and better show students "This is how we act in a classroom." We had more time to work on, the little things like hand-raising, how to follow a schedule, etc. I'm really referring to newly referred students. I teach K-2 so some of this---I felt was kind of critical, and I do miss the time I had to do such. (We are all out for most of the morning. Afternoons are quickly eaten up with Specials, Lunch, and Recess.)

    I like the new program, don't get me wrong, but I was just curious to see if Level Systems are being done away with in general, or if my boss just doesn't like them for some reason. :)
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2011

    Do you mean a level system like where they start out all in the ED room and slowly add time to their mainstreamed classroom? Basically giving you a few weeks to get to know the kid and work on skills before the student earns level 1.
     
  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2011

    Ah, good question mopar! I was assuming Zelda was referring to behavioral level systems?
     
  8. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2011

    Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. :)

    A child start out basically at Level 0, and works their way up, earning time in the Out Class as their behavior improves.
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I personally would be against this as placement should be based on need. It suggests that the special education/intervention setting is a punishment, or otherwise not as good as the regular classroom, essentially reinforcing stigma.

    It also assumes that behavior is the only IEP goal needing work in a special ed room. To the extent that a child has good behavior, but still needs supplemental support outside the classroom, the child would not be able to "earn" time in regular ed because s/he would still need to spend time in the separate room.

    I see your desire, Zelda, for having separate time with kids for social skills development, etc., but I think that could be written into the IEP in terms of service delivery, or otherwise be accommodated, without having to set up regular ed as a reward.

    Do you see other advantages to the level system? Have others seen this commonly used?
     
  10. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Apr 27, 2011

    I agree with older kids, there can be a lot of stigma. Luckily, we haven't had that with our K-2 kiddos. But--I'm blessed to work at a school that's warm, welcoming, and accepting of my students.

    Unfortunately---we have a lack of man power. :( If I had more paras, I could rotate groups in and out for behavior lessons, etc. As it is, we're all out for most of the morning. As I've said---I'm thrilled academics wise! They are progressing in leaps and bounds.

    But, behavior wise---I felt like we made more progress there with the level system. If that makes sense.

    I guess there is no perfect solution. :)
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2011

    Yeah, I hear you about lack of manpower :). I guess the good news is that at least some good has come from it, and that's cool that your school is so accepting. That makes sense about improved behavior with the other system.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2011

    The level system is commonly used, especially in alternate schools for students earning their way back to their district. I have also seen this in schools with just one or two ED classrooms, but it isn't as common. Students who qualify for ED, qualify for different placements along the continuum. If a student needs a separate classroom (because behaviors are so severe), then that's when I've seen the level system used. But not for every student with ED qualifications.
     
  13. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Apr 27, 2011

    We used a level system in my k-5 EBD classroom, but the levels only gave the kids privileges in my room, and did not have anything to do with their participation in gen ed. I thought it worked well, as the year went on and the kids had more intrinsic motivation, they usually just remained at the highest level and it was no big deal. It was crucial for the newcomers to hammer the expectations home. They were generally coming to us after blowing out of their last placement, or after being discharged from a residential facility.
     

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