Mainstreaming

Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Teachers,

    Are the students who are enrolled in SDC (Special Day Class) mainstreamed to Gen Ed classes at some point throughout the day?

    We have 10 students in our 3rd-6th grade SDC class. For the last hour of the day, they're all mainstreamed. Many of the teachers are complaining, though, since the SDC students can't keep up with the Gen Ed kiddos. I keep reminding them that the goal is exposure to the curriculum.

    Are SDC students mainstreamed into your classrooms? If so, how do you handle this?

    Thanks!

    Side note: These students are mild/moderate--not moderate/severe.
     
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  3. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Our older students with mild/mod disabilities are mainstreamed for some of the day. They go to elective classes like music and PE with their grade level. Some also go to language arts and/or math. They go into the lower levels classes that have a push in EC teacher there for the resource students so that there is an extra person to support them.

    I have been the push in EC teacher for some of these classes and seen some mixed results. For some of our students it is wonderful because while they cannot keep up with the gen. ed students the do get some exposure to the curriculum and also get some valuable social skills practice. For others, it winds up being far more overwhelming for them than it is worth and they cannot make it through the class without me sitting right beside them and working with them individually and often just telling them what to do.

    We do try to limit the number in any one class- usually two or three. Any more than that and I think it would be way to difficult for both myself and the regular ed teacher.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    I work with deaf and hard of hearing kids. Some are able to learn specific concepts, so I will mainstream them for only those subjects. Whatever the students are not mainstreamed for, I teach in my own classroom. For most of my students, the goal is for them to learn socialization skills and to learn academic content with their peers.

    However, they do learn better in my classroom. Deaf people learn visually, and I am able to present information to them in a way that they can learn best. I generally don't support mainstreaming unless they are able to keep up without support (except for the interpreter). It's sometimes exhausting because I often ask them what their homework is, and they don't understand what they're doing. So I reteach the material and help them through the homework (since parents can't/won't). It's almost pointless to even mainstream them because they would learn much faster in my classroom. At the same time, if I kept all students in my classroom for all classes, I wouldn't be able to plan for twelve different classes.

    If a student needs extra help, I will send a para to go with them so that the teacher's time isn't spent answering my students' questions.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Our students are included in elective classes like Art and PE.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    It depended upon which way the wind was blowing at the elementary school wehre I worked.

    Have you considered having students mainstream earlier in the day? Sometimes frustrations can run higher towards the end of the school day.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Some of our SDC kids are mainstreamed, but it's based on their needs. We have kids who read at a 4th grade level, there's no point in having them in my English classes, but their strength can be in math, and then it could be beneficial to be in a gen. ed Math class.
    We have a kiddo who is behaviorally challenged, very low in most areas but English is his strength so at the IEP meeting it was determined to have him in English class. I was all for it and even suggested the class to be in (my best class).

    I think mainstreaming should consider a lot of aspects, what areas, which classes, what time of the day and it should benefit the student, not just being done for the sake of "mainstreaming".
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    At my last school, we didn't offer any fully self-contained classrooms. Some students were in sped almost the entire day, but everyone was included on a regular classroom roster and participated as part of the class at some point in the day, even if only for lunch, recess, and specials. Most were in the gen ed classroom for some academics as well.

    My new school is all inclusion and resource. We don't have any self-contained or even close to self-contained programs here.
     
  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    In my district, there's an unwritten rule that students are mainstreamed during the last hour of the school day so SDC teachers can get testing and IEPs done.

    It's definitely not what's best for kids! Unfortunately, though, I'm not going to approach the Director of SpEd about it. She's got one foot out the door and doesn't want to be bothered. Plus, we were just reminded in August that we (administrators) are "at-will" employees.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think special day class is a term unique to California, so I'm not really sure what type of students you're referring to. Mild/moderate students definitely spend more than one hour per day in gen ed here. If they were spending that much time in sped they'd be considered severe/profound (usually called SSN- significant support needs). Students in SSN attend specials and lunch/recess with their class as well as a small amount of time in gen ed rooms (60-90 minutes), and they have para support throughout their entire day. Students in moderate needs spend about half of their day in a resource/sped room and half in gen ed. They typically don't get para support. Like you said in the OP, the goal often becomes "exposure" to gen ed curriculum. They aren't really expected to master it but we have to give them access to it. Students who are in learning support programs (mild needs) typically spend most of their day in gen ed with somewhere between 30-60 minutes in a resource room daily. I'm guessing what you're calling a special day class is what we call moderate needs, so your kiddos are spending less time in gen ed than the kids in our district do. It sounds like you need to facilitate some collaboration between your gen ed and sped teachers so they can get ideas for modifying or accommodating for the SDC students. Honestly, unless the students are extremely disruptive in gen ed, I think it's pretty silly to complain that you have to have lower students for one hour a day! Especially since it sounds like you're not placing unrealistic expectations on the teachers (like telling them that the SDC students need to be on grade level or pass the state test or whatever).
     
  11. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Even kids without disabilities have trouble being successful the last hour of the day! Why not mainstream them earlier in the day?

    We have a moderate-severe class and they are not mainstreamed at any point. They can't even have recess with the other kids because, on the first day of school, one ran away and then wet himself. It took forever to find him!
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Why in the world would you mainstream a kid just for the sake of mainstreaming them? That makes no sense at all. If a kid is being mainstreamed, it should be done for their benefit, and for a specific, IEP-related reason. If a kid isn't benefiting from spending an hour in the general education classroom, then put them in a setting where they will benefit.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm not the biggest fan of standardized testing. However, our special education students do take the SBAC along with everyone else. Yes--they have accommodations, but they take the same exact test as gen ed kiddos.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    The last hour of the day is set aside for the SpEd teachers to work on testing and IEP writing.

    In fact, it's in the teachers' contracts that they (SpEd teachers) will not have students during the last 60 minutes of each school day (that's why they're mainstreamed at that time).

    I don't know how teachers' unions are in other states, but the CTA (California Teachers' Association) is CA's largest professional employee association!
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Ours do too, because it's required by the state, but most people don't have unrealistic expectations about it. If you as the admin were saying that you expected the kids to pass a state test years above their level, then I could see the teachers being extremely stressed about having these students in their classes. It sounds like you are being clear with the teachers that the time is meant to expose the kids to gen ed curriculum, so I'm not sure what they would be so worried about.
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'll be completely honest, waterfall: one of the gen ed teachers said, "Bottom line is I don't want those kids in my class."
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    That's what we get all the time when we try to mainstream our self-contained students. Heck, we get that from some teachers of our inclusion students!
     
  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    We don't have any self-contained programs in our school. In fact, we were discussing it last night. We're kind of in a bad way as far as special education, at least as far as how the SPED teacher organizes things. I haven't had any kids I felt needed to be self-contained, so I have no insight there.

    But... our SPED teacher just likes to do pull-outs and haggle over goals. Many kids with IEPs don't get help from her, yet she'll make time to help out a few kids with no IEPs who need a bit of math help. Sigh.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Did I just hear a boom? I think you just broke the education system grade3...nice job.
     
  20. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Common sense isn't so common is it?
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Ours join in for art and PE.

    I have taught at a school where high functioning autistic children joined into the regular subjects as well, and that was mostly okay. Sometimes something triggered a violent outburst though.
     
  22. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Wow. I'll admit to having thought that before about kids(ie I didn't really want the kid with dozens of referrals for things like throwing chairs or an ELL kid too low to succeed in a gened class), but to actually say it?! Besides, once they are yours, they are yours.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Wow. If a teacher said that at my school, they would lose their job. I hope you dealt with this in some way.
     
  24. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    I teach in California, primary, and yes, SPED kids are mainstreamed all the time into our classes. Those who are "severe" are supposed to come with an IA but mostly, the not-so-severe kids spend part of the day in a mainstream classroom. I actually like having SPED kids in my class...I like their energy and many I find are "out-of-the-box" thinkers!
     
  25. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Disclaimer - I'm in the northeast and I have worked in other mid-Atlantic states.

    The last district I worked in was fully inclusive. I was a paraprofessional with 3 students who I would consider "moderate". I adapted the curriculum so it was appropriate for them. I encouraged them to take notes but then they had a study guide that gen ed students did not get. We had another group of students who were mainstreamed only for certain subjects. They attended math and reading in small groups and worked on skills way below grade level. The third group was the life skills class, which was students who were severely intellectually disabled. These students were self contained but attended gym/art/family-consumer science/computers with aides.

    In the mainstreamed classes, either the special education teacher or the caseload para attended class with the students on the caseload. Then the students have a resource period in which they do homework or do IEP testing/documentation. Because there's always a second adult in the room, they can deal with behavior problems fairly easily. I think it works pretty well but it requires a lot of manpower and every person on the same page.


    Currently I work at a small school. Almost every one of my classes has a student with special needs in it. We have a learning support teacher this year but she has students in grades 1-8. She can't be everywhere at once. Most of them do not have behavior issues and if they do, I can call the learning support teacher or principal to assist.
     
  26. FourSquare

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    "self-contained" here means out for lunch/recess/specials. I see 13 children who are SC between 6th-8th. I service 2 more who are with me for just a couple subjects.

    My school has made very slow progress with inclusion. Most of our teachers aren't trained on co-teaching and don't want to do it.
     
  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I handled it to the extent that the Union would allow.

    Disclaimer: The CTA (California Teachers' Association) is the largest professional employee association in our state. We (administrators) have to be incredibly careful about how we address issues.
     
  28. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Mild/mod kids are served in a co-taught class with pull out resource time, 30 min-2 hours is the general range.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Perhaps the sped teachers can meet with gen Ed teacher to find out what content is being covered and send related work the mainstreamed students can do?
     
  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Two other notes... as a classroom teacher, I'd be incredibly resentful if somebody put a student in my room just to "expose" them to the material. It should be the expectation that students will learn material, not be in the room while other students are learning material. In most cases, a kid who doesn't know what is going on is a very short trip away from a kid who is disruptive. Again... if a kid isn't benefiting from a situation, it's a situation that needs to be fixed. It's not that I wouldn't want a special education student in my room. I have had many special education students in my room during my time in a classroom. It IS the case that I wouldn't want a kid dumped into my classroom, without support, and with the full knowledge of everyone involved that they aren't actually going to get anything out of my class other than having stuff go in one ear and out the other.

    And my second note... I really hope no parent ever finds out that special education teachers are guaranteed to have that final hour of the day free from kids, because that seems like a definite case of pre-determination.
     
  31. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Our students are all included. Mild/moderate/severe... Doesn't matter. I have issues with some of the more severe cases, but it works well for some of our more mild/moderate kids. I teach grade four and have a student working at a grade one level. It involves extra thinking in terms of planning, and including her in group activities/read-alouds and scaffolding where possible.
     
  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm with gr3. The basic IEP laws are to benefit the student. Mere exposure without support seems backwards thinking and an euphemism for just dumping a kid in some random class.
     
  33. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Our resource kids are included in our science/ss classes. This year I have 5 in one class. One has a child specific aide, but this is the first time I've had that. Usually it's just the kids and me. Some days are better than others. It's hard, because for the other two teachers, my class is the smallest, so the office considers my class the "pullout class". That's means, most years I have the most kids. The secretary said that to me this summer after telling me a new student would come to me instead of a coworker who had one less than me. I explained about me having those kids to teach and that it would help if they didn't stack my class with higher numbers. My two coworkers now have 26 and I have 29. :rolleyes: as you can tell, she didn't listen.
    The resource kids take part in activities. If my kids are taking notes or filling out a page, I give them copies that are complete, or almost complete. While my other kids test, I give them something semi-related to do. I have to come up with those activities myself. The resource kids don't receive a regular grade, just an S,N, or U.
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But this IS how sped works in my district and I would bet most of CA.
     
  35. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    SpEd needs an overhaul here in CA. Something needs to change.

    The description Backroads provided explains how we currently do things in CA.
     
  36. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly. Grade3 has broken our education system twice in 1 thread.
     
  37. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    That's so bizarre to me. Don't the parents complain about the failed accommodations? Or are accommodations sufficiently met that way?
     
  38. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    They are usually only mainstreamed into the elective classes. If a kid has a relative strength in a certain subject, he/she may be mainstreamed on a case by case basis.
     
  39. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    How do parents know if accomodations are met or not? The school is framing it. Also, parents in CA, imo, have been brainwashed into least restrictive environment, which ONLY means...gen ed classroom. Also, many parents do have advocates, some have lawyers, they want the kid in gen ed classes, whar lezrning and how is not really significant.
     
  40. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    On behalf of special ed teachers everywhere, I'd like to say THANK YOU!!!!:wub::wub::wub::wub:

    I know it can be frustrating because you have such strict standards, and guidelines to follow for the content you teach.
     

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