Southwest Colorado eSchool Learning Supports
The eSchool independently provides the services below to our students, and we partner with the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) for additional support. The San Juan BOCES serves as our administrative unit (AU), which is defined as a school district, board of cooperative services, or the State Charter School Institute, that is providing educational services to exceptional children and that is responsible for the local administration of these Rules.
Southwest Colorado eSchool has the following supports for the learning and development of all students:
- Response to Intervention (RtI) model
- Special Education, Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
- 504 Plan
- Individualized Career and Academic Plan (ICAP)
Response to Intervention (RTI)
This is a multi-step process that provides early and effective assistance to children who learn differently. When students have not met the teacher’s learning goals, the teacher and others identify what changes they need to make in instruction, and then closely monitor student progress and each stage of the intervention. Teachers use this progress data to make decisions about the need for additional evidence-based instruction or intervention in general education, special education, or both.
Levels of Intervention and Educational Support
Southwest Colorado eSchool students receive a core curriculum that research has demonstrated to be effective for the majority of students. When students struggle (either because they are having difficulty learning, or because they already know a concept), teachers shift their instruction to address each student’s needs or with small groups of students.
Teachers, along with the Southwest Colorado eSchool Advisory Team, will closely monitor student progress resulting from these educational changes to be sure that they are effective for each student. Teachers will share those results with the student’s parents/guardians regularly. The results again will be used to determine whether a strategy or intervention needs to be changed to better support student learning.
The RtI process is often represented as a circle: teach, assess, intervene; teach, assess, intervene. As student learning challenges become more serious, teachers provide students with more intensive instruction and support. (See Colorado Department of Education’s Multi-Tiered Model of Instruction and Intervention).
Tiered supports within an RTL process are available for all areas of instruction, including academics, behavior/emotional development, and advanced learning.
Tier 1 – Continuum of interventions available to all students
Southwest Colorado eSchool checks for overall academic and behavioral achievement through regularly administered universal screening, state assessments, attendance, and grades. We use these assessment results to identify those students who need more or different opportunities to address either an area of weakness or an area of exceptional strength.
Differentiated instruction and various evidence-based teaching strategies are used in the general education classroom to address differences in student learning and student needs. Staff monitors each student’s response to these educational changes to make sure the strategies are working.
Some students have needs that are too great to be addressed effectively through differentiation and ‘whole classroom’ strategies. For these students, teachers and other staff work together to select targeted interventions that are put in place within general education. Student progress is monitored to be sure that the intervention is working.
Examples of Tier 2 interventions are:
- Additional tutoring within the Southwest Colorado eSchool center
- Individualized instruction with teachers through office hours
- Additional online support English or math program or class
Students who need even more individualized support move to Tier 3 interventions. At this point, it is likely that a “problem-analysis” meeting will be held with school staff, parents, and the student (as appropriate). The problem-analysis meeting will identify the cause(s) of the academic or behavioral difficulty, so that a more appropriate and effective individualized intervention can be used.
Interventions put in place at Tier 3 are typically more intense and show stronger evidence of their effectiveness with students who are struggling. They may be implemented more frequently, in smaller groups and for longer periods of time during the school day.
Special Education, Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
Southwest Colorado eSchool provides additional support through an IEP. An IEP is a written summary that defines activities and goals to meet the student’s educational needs. It is a collaborative effort to create the best instructional program for the student who has an identified disability. It identifies the educational supports that a student needs to ensure his or her educational success. We review students’ IEPs annually to ensure that they’re making progress toward their goals and to set new learning goals for the following year.
Southwest Colorado eSchool online learning has various universal educational opportunities that provide accommodation for all students. However, at times students need additional support that a 504 Plan provides for students with a disability. Section 504 focuses on ensuring a level of access to educational services and the learning process for qualified disabled students that is equal to that given non-disabled students.
Students eligible for Section 504 accommodation plans must meet three criteria. The three criteria are (I) A mental or physical impairment, (II) which substantially limits, (III) one or more major life activities. It is important to understand that all three criteria must be present for a student to be eligible for a Section 504 accommodation plan. Equally important, this disability must be why the student cannot equally access or receive benefit from the school’s programs and services.
If the eligibility team determines that a student has a Section 504 disability, the team’s second responsibility is to identify the specific accommodations or services that will support equal access. Documentation of these accommodations is done in a Section 504 Accommodation Plan. This plan provides a summary of the accommodations that a student requires to gain equal access to the learning process and/or school programs, activities, and services.
Section 504 requires that a student with an eligible disability be educated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate. This is referred to as educating the student in the least restrictive environment. Implementation of most Section 504 Plans occurs in the regular classroom. Accommodations generally are those minor adjustments to things lesson presentation, assignments, and other facets of the learning environment that provide the student with equal access to learning opportunities. Accommodations might involve the use of such things as special visual aids, large print, or using video recordings. Allowing a student additional time to complete a specific kind of task is also an accommodation.
Individualized Career and Academic Plan (ICAP)
ICAP assists students in developing and maintaining a personalized postsecondary plan that ensures readiness for postsecondary and workforce success. An ICAP will be designed to assist a student and his or her parent or legal guardian in exploring the postsecondary career and educational opportunities available to the student, aligning course work and curriculum, applying to postsecondary education institutions, securing financial aid, and ultimately entering the workforce. Students will be assisted through their advisor and will meet regularly through advisory team meetings.