Reflections for #radicalrecovery

We are at a critical moment in time – the COVID-19 crisis has forced us to take a close look at the inequities created by our current educational systems. With historically inertia-driven policies at a standstill, we have an extraordinary opportunity to think radically and re-design those systems to ensure our schools foster growth and potential for all learners, such as students with disabilities and other diverse learning needs.

On May 29, 2020, The Ability Challenge brought together educators from across the country to (1) to examine some of the most pressing issues related to ensuring the needs of diverse learners are met as schools resume this fall and (2) generate radical ideas for what school could look like when we address those challenges.

Our expert speakers/facilitators included:
– Sivan Tuchman, Research Analyst, Center on Reinventing Public Education
– Caroline Hill, Founder, 228 Accelerator
– Brooke Allen, Founder/Director, Diverse Learners Cooperative
– Tanya Johnson, Founder, Impact Strategy Group

Learn more below…

Overview Video

Session Excerpts

Slides and Presenter Contact Info

Full List of Ideas Generated

ProblemWhat if…ProblemWe need to better understand…
Low Expectations for Some StudentsStudents were able to see all of their work being valued, and progress being celebrated?Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningThe range of needs even among students of a particular disability category.
Low Expectations for Some StudentsSchools designed instruction around students with disabilities first and then worked out from there?Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningWe need to better understand the whole child effectively prior to having them dive right into distance learning.
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe taught students how to be self-guided learners?Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningExplore how transition plans could be revamped to incorportate Pk-12
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe asked policy makers what they thought special education looked like at the various levels.Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningThe profound digital divide, and maybe more importantly, the gap that exists between some families who can stay home and support their children’s learning compared to the families that are on the front lines working.
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe celebrated every success and truly followed a 3:1 ratio (positive:negative)Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningAre wrap-around services that many of our families usually take advantage of to help with some of these issues still accessible?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe had materials that were easily adaptable for any learner to access?Lack of Access to High Quality Instruction
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWhat if every student had both internet and a computer to use?Lack of Access to High Quality InstructionHow to make time for teachers to engage all participants in instruction?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsTeachers fully understood their content and could take content courses to further their own knowledge?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat are the different reasons why families don’t trust the school?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe eliminated all barriers to access for all studentsBarriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat are the small things we can do to help build trust?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsClassrooms were designed so that teachers could meet every learner where they’re at rather than where they are expected to be?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat are different types of things that may work for different families
Low Expectations for Some StudentsTeachers had a support team to help solve any barriers to access for all of their students?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWe need to see parents as invididual. There needs to be DEI training and I also wonder where and how we find the time to do the 1:1 conversations.
Low Expectations for Some StudentsSpecial education students have to prove why they didn’t belong in the general education classes instead of the other way around?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesPeople who are different and see them as human.
Low Expectations for Some StudentsEvery teacher had to have a special education certification?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ Families
Low Expectations for Some StudentsWe measured student engagement as much as we do test scores?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesHow the parents are perceiving it? Are they frustrated? Is it valued?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsThere were enough people to support each classroom with effective instruction, not just the teacher?Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesHow do they see themselves…and the community?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsParents had as much insight into what school was like for their students as they have right now?
Low Expectations for Some StudentsModifications were provided classroom wide instead of just student by student?
Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningWe considered parent support + training as part of the IEP service.
Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningWhat if students were not intimidated by distance learning applications?
Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningWhat if we considered the need for transition support between settings (home learning vs. school learning) in our accommodations or goals?
Limited Provision of “Appropriate Education” During Remote LearningHow do we incorporate both virtual + in-real-life service into the IEP? Should we?
Lack of Access to High Quality Instructionteachers were trained in research-based best practices for the diverse learners?
Lack of Access to High Quality InstructionPartnerships with local universities?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if parents and schools trusted each other
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if there wasn’t the fear of lawsuits?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we started conversations about student needs and not compliance?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if time wasn’t a factor in meetings?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if there was mastery and content expertise that was shared between home and school?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if there there was an expectation for those with normalized learning habits to learn with whose who have different habits?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if all staff members who work with a child were heard?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we could provide support to parents outside the school setting?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if difference was valued and a virtue?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if every parent had a trusted partner at the school that they knew they could share their personal challenges with without judgement?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we could do IEP meetings on WhatsApp?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we didn’t judge each other?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if it was about supporting the student and not what adults felt?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we could give parents the supports They need?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if all educators were held accountable for the achievement of diverse learners?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if we focused on strengths?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if every school-parent contact started with “how are you doing” and we were able to get to how they are actually doing, not just a surface level?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if educators knew what was going on with families outside of the young person having an IEP?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if staff were trained to probe deeper beyond the surface and truly listen to parents and families?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if there was enough mental health support?
Barriers to Building Effective Relationships with Parents/ FamiliesWhat if conversations happened with parents when they weren’t exhausted and overwhelmed?

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