The Livingston Parish Public School system operates a study group for personnel serving students with significant disabilities and autism, and the group has been in operation for over five years. It grew out of the interest of several staff members who were involved in initial-level literacy workshops provided by Dr. Diane Browder and her cohorts from the University of North Carolina in 2006. The first group of teachers and paraprofessionals began with adapting materials and creating science kits for use with elementary, middle, and high school students with significant disabilities and autism. Each year, study group members have:
1) recommended, implemented, and reviewed materials and programs, methods, lesson plans, procedures, and policies that generalize to all of the classrooms in the district;
2) found ways to model for and encourage other staff serving this population, and
3) organized and presented three two-day Literacy Celebrations targeting a variety of special and regular education staff and administrators.
During the 2010-11 school year, the study group developed a proposed grading policy, curriculum format, and DIBELS process for these students. A spinoff group of teachers also met with related services staff regarding visual impairment issues in students with significant disabilities and autism. The study group has been largely responsible for the development of programming and effective staff-level implementation of state- and federally-mandated policies and procedures that ensure that all students, including those with the most significant disabilities, are provided an education equivalent to their nondisabled peers.
For further information about this study group effort, contact Jackie Abington of Livingston Parish at Jackie.Abington@lpsb.org