It occurred to me that with the start of a new school year it might be wise for me to offer a basic introduction to “Toolbox Tuesday.” What’s this about?
I’ve been conducting Toolbox workshops for several years now. I call it the Toolbox because we introduce ten specific actions that districts can take to deal with students with disabilities who engage in serious misconduct. Schools are not powerless to deal with such situations, but their choices are limited and constrained by the law. So it’s important to understand what is allowed and what is not.
We begin the day with a bit of background. Why is it this way? How did this come about? So we talk about the development of the law, the evolution of our standards in serving students with disabilities and the one and only Supreme Court case that has addressed the discipline of students with disabilities.
Then we identify the ten tools, and walk through each one of them with written materials in a Q and A format that is easy to read. Along the way we offer some specific suggestions for language to be incorporated into your Code of Conduct, your BIPs and some of your forms. The Toolbox includes some hypothetical situations that we work on as small groups.
I started doing the Toolbox after years and years of conducting workshops on this very complicated area of the law. I grew frustrated at how confusing the law was, and how much ambiguity it contains. So I decided to try to simplify by identifying ten specific things that can be done, and giving each one of them a name. That kind of organization helps me understand things, and I’m sure it has helped those who have gone through Toolbox training.
Participants get a book that includes all of the Q and A, the sample language, the forms and some important appendices. We generally go from about 9 to somewhere between 3 and 3:30 and leave exhausted, but better informed.
I enjoy doing these presentations because I believe they address a real problem in a positive way. The idea is to serve kids who are hard to serve, while maintaining safety and good order at the same time. It can be done.
Let me know if you are interested.
DAWG BONE: GOT THE TOOLBELT ON. READY TO TRAVEL.
Tomorrow: I’m filing a grievance over something that happened 11 years ago. Am I late?