A question came up at Region 6 when I was doing a Toolbox Training recently. The question was: do these “tools” have any application to non-disciplinary situations? They do! Specifically, Tool #2 and Tool #3 can be applied outside of the disciplinary context.
Let me explain. The Toolbox consists of ten “tools” designed to assist schools to serve students appropriately while maintaining safety and a healthy school environment. The main focus of The Toolbox is to help you serve the particularly violent or seriously disruptive student. Two of the tools involve an educational change of placement. Tool #2 involves a change to a more restrictive environment, done with full parental agreement. Tool #3 is also an educational change of placement, but this time done the hard way—without parental agreement.
Those two tools can also be used in cases that have nothing to do with discipline or improper behavior. After all, they are both educational changes of placement, designed to improve educational services to the student.
Consider Melissa, a 4th grader with an intellectual disability. Suppose that you began the year by serving Melissa in the mainstream, general education classroom all day. The teacher implemented some classroom accommodations, and the inclusion teacher came by for 30 minutes a day. But now it is late October, and the staff has reported that the arrangement is not working very well. Melissa is as sweet as they come, a soft spoken, polite and quiet child who never causes a disruption in the classroom. But she is just a lot lower in her functioning than we realized. We fear that she is not learning anything in this classroom, and needs a lot more focused attention to make meaningful educational progress.
You could consider a change of placement for educational reasons. In fact, you should consider doing something different. If she is not making progress, it’s time to do something. You could, of course, find ways to beef up services to her in the mainstream setting. In fact, that is the preferred option. But there are other options. You could propose a change to a more focused, more intensive, and more restrictive environment. If you get parental approval of this change of placement, we call that Tool #2. If you proceed forward with your plan even when the parent disagrees with you, that is Tool #3.
If you want to know more about The Toolbox, let me know. It’s a one-day program designed for campus administrators and special ed staff together. Have Toolbox. Will Travel.
DAWG BONE: CHANGING PLACEMENT IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT BEHAVIOR
File this one under: SPECIAL EDUCATION