Special Education

Core Curriculum: The Utah Core Standards establish a framework for high quality instruction. They help Utah teachers ensure academic achievement for Utah students by defining the essential knowledge, concepts and skills to be mastered at each grade level or within critical content areas. They define what students should know and be able to do to as they move on to post-secondary training, college, or a career.

 

Response To Intervention: Response to intervention integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavioral problems. With RTI, Spectrum Academy uses data to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities.

Screening includes brief assessments that are valid, reliable, and demonstrate diagnostic accuracy for predicting which students will develop learning or behavioral problems. They are conducted with all students to identify those who are at risk of academic failure and, therefore, need more intensive intervention to supplement primary prevention.

 

Spectrum Academy employs a multi-level prevention system that provides for the early identification of learning and behavioral challenges and timely intervention for students who are at risk for long-term learning problems. This system includes three levels of intensity or three levels of prevention, which represent a continuum of supports. Spectrum Academy may use more than one intervention within a given level of prevention.

 

  • Primary prevention: high quality core instruction that meets the needs of most students

 

  • Secondary prevention: evidence-based intervention(s) of moderate intensity

 

  • Tertiary prevention: individualized intervention(s) of increased intensity for students who show minimal response to secondary prevention. At all levels, attention is on fidelity of implementation, with consideration for cultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student strengths.

Student Progress Monitoring is used to assess students’ performance over time, to quantify student rates of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, to evaluate instructional effectiveness, and for students who are least responsive to effective instruction, to formulate effective individualized programs. Progress monitoring tools must accurately represent students’ academic development and must be useful for instructional planning and assessing student learning. In addition, in tertiary prevention, Spectrum Academy use progress monitoring to compare a student’s expected and actual rates of learning. If a student is not achieving the expected rate of learning, the educator experiments with instructional components in an attempt to improve the rate of learning.

Differentiated Course of Study

In accordance with students’ IEPs, Spectrum offers a range of placement options that best meet the individualized needs of students who perform on varying levels. Each track provides research-based instruction on core content while adhering to the specific educational outline of each student’s IEP.  There are three programming tracks at Spectrum:

  • Traditional Course of Study - designed for student who are performing academically on or above grade level in reading and math. Students who are less than two years below grade level will also benefit from participation in this course of study with explicit academic supports and leveled instruction on grade-level content. The Common Core State Standards and the Utah State Standards serve as the foundation for instruction on the Traditional track as students make progress toward a high school diploma.

  • Core Strategies/Occupational Course of Study - designed for students who have been identified as participating on the Alternative Assessment. Classes within this course of study offer students instruction on their performance level as well as smaller class sizes. In the middle school there is a reduction in the number of transitions throughout the school day to allow for flexibility and more instructional time in a given class setting on the Essential Elements and the Utah State Standards.

  • Functional Skills Course of Study - designed for students who are performing significantly below grade level for academics and below development level for adaptive skills. This program focuses on instruction of basic reading and math using the Essential Elements, as well as instruction for the development of communication, social and adaptive life skills. Functional Skills staff provide direct instruction using Applied Behavior Analysis across all grades through the development of individualized programs based upon each student’s IEP.

Leveled Placement

To meet the unique needs of our student population and to satisfy the requirements of the Common Core State Standards and the Utah State Core Curriculum, Spectrum Academy employs a differentiated instruction method on grade-level core subjects. Each of our students is assessed in the areas of reading and math prior to the first day of classes in order for the student to be assigned to classes that are on their academic performance level. Other factors that are considered when determining these leveled placements include age, grade, developmental level, social needs, class size, and appropriate student - teacher match.

By utilizing a differentiated instruction method, or leveled placement, a student who may be by age in seventh grade, but is performing on a fifth grade level in reading, will receive reading instruction presented on a fifth grade learning level with tailored instruction to expose them to grade-level content using the Essential Elements. The target goal for students who perform below grade level is to increase their performance levels so that they may near grade-level. Additionally, a student who may be by age in seventh grade but is performing on a tenth grade level in math is placed in a class commensurate with his academic abilities.

IEPs

Partnering with Parents to support students with Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) is something we take very seriously and pride ourselves in. Our IEP meetings are unlike any you have ever attended. We work together as a Team with Teachers, Related Services, Parents and other outside agencies when appropriate to develop the best educational program for our students. For more information about the Spectrum IEP Process or for questions about your students IEP please contact your Special Education Coordinator.

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Assessments

Assessments provide a roadmap to determine what to teach, give evidence of what students have learned, and when used effectively, can even give students the satisfaction that they have made progress and the motivation to continue to learn. Creating and implementing an effective assessment system is beneficial to educators, administrators, parents, and students.