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Understanding the NEW Moderate Needs Special Education Model

Sped Model Phase In
Parents of students in Douglas County School District have reached out for more information about a new model of providing service to special education students in the district who require support through moderate needs programming.  Part of the work of the DCSEAC is to gather feedback from parents and collaborate with the DCSD Personalized Learning team to influence and support programming for students in special education in DCSD.  With this being our intent, we thought it was important to find out more about this model. So, we went to the source and met with Personalized Learning (PL) Leadership to learn more about the strategic vision for special education in DCSD. What we learned was the moderate needs portion of this strategic vision has been designed to better serve students by affording teachers an opportunity to specialize in their role.
The model was developed in collaboration with DCSD special educators, specialists, professional leads, special education coordinators, and PL directors beginning in 2013.  Together they confronted the facts of the current state (Fall, 2013) and developed a desired state for all aspects of special education programming.
Currently in the State of Colorado special education teachers are licensed as special education generalists.  This means they are not trained in University programs as specialists in the various areas within special education.  One vital component of the model is to provide professional development that allows special educators to gain a much deeper level of expertise in targeted areas of instruction.  The model splits the role of the the moderate needs teacher into two separate jobs; Moderate Needs Interventionist (MNI) and IEP and Assessment Specialist (IAS) with both still requiring CDE teaching licenses in special education.  

Moderate Needs Interventionists (MNI), take on the role of interventionist. They collaborate with the general education teachers, specialists, support staff, and parents to deliver specialized instruction and interventions aligned to student needs.  IEP and Assessment Specialists (IAS) are responsible for the facilitation of the IEP process and conducting academic assessments and observation to inform the development of the IEP. Essentially, the differentiated roles provide the opportunity for special education teachers to have more time to support students on an IEP by alleviating  the very time consuming task of IEP development from the MNI’s responsibility.  This allows the MNI to do what they do best -- teach and support children.  Also, this model creates the opportunity for more attention to be given in the development of an IEP that very accurately reflects the unique needs of the student.
Lastly, the need for specialized training is met because the new model creates the opportunity for differentiated and individualized professional development.   
The district continues to allocate moderate needs teacher staffing at 1:25 across all schools, including those who have implemented the moderate needs service delivery model.
The first phase of the model began in August 2015 and is currently being implemented in the Castle View and Legend feeder areas. The staff in these feeder areas are receiving regular training, feedback, and support from the district as the model is in the beginning stages of implementation.
We asked if the new program would affect SSN or SED programming in the district. It was stressed that this model was designed for moderate needs programming only.
If parents have questions they should contact their special education coordinator. If you are seeking more information and involvement with regard to Douglas County School District Special Education, please visit the Douglas County Special Education Advoisory Committee website.
December 14, 2015 | By SKBrown | Category: parent resources
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