You are the assistant principal overseeing the counseling and special education departments of a large, K-8 elementary school. The counseling department documents students on 504 plans, and the special education staff monitors students with IEPs. There are 4.5 counselors, four special education resource teachers, and 79 regular education teachers assigned to the school. There are two additional educators assigned to the special education department in addition to the resource teachers.
In a school of 2,400 students, 100 students have 504 plans and 180 students have IEPs. The accommodations for both range from copies of notes to preferential seating to test taking. For test taking, the accommodations can include verbal tests, scribes, chunked questions, alternate testing site (testing center), and use of notes. Currently, both types of students are served in the classroom or the testing center. The classroom accommodations are the responsibility of the student and teacher and the testing center accommodations are the responsibility of the student and the testing center coordinator.
At the end of the last school year, staffing was cut. Special education support staff was reduced by one employee. The employee surplussed was the testing center coordinator. Special education teachers will continue to accommodate their students through their programs and with their current staff. Special education class sizes are 17 or lower.
The issue for regular classroom teachers ishow to provide the testing accommodation for the504 students.Regular classroom teachers can have 40 students in a class and total contacts that donot exceed 185. They are also responsible for English as a second language learners and their ILLPs. They can have multiple students with 504s, IEPs for inclusion, ILLPs, and gifted students. They are responsible for all levels of learning in their classroom. Many do this through differentiated learning, cooperative groups, project-based learning, and peer work. These do not address the alternate testing site for 504 students.
Teachers are upset because they feel they cannot meet everyone’s needs. They are uncomfortable with students sitting in the halls to take a test. Parents are not happy with the change in the testing center and want an employee assigned to monitor the testing center. They donot understand why the district would cut this very important position. Special education teachers feel bad they cannot continue to help. Students are frustrated because the routines they have had established for so long are changing. They feel deserted and are now worried about their success.
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