Supporting Special Education Students During Distance Learning
Beginning March 30th, FCPS will begin distance learning training for all teachers, including special education teachers and related services providers, to give them the opportunity to plan and prepare for distance instruction and reconnect with their students. Continuity of Learning resources have been developed for special education students from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and are posted in Blackboard as well as on the FCPS public web located at https://www.fcps.edu/news/coronavirus-update-academics-distance.
In addition, an Accommodations Toolbox was developed that includes strategies and resources on how students may be able to access accommodations at home. Many disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online. These may include extensions of time for assignments, modifications to assignments, videos with accurate captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and speech or language services through video conferencing. A special thanks to the Fairfax County Special Education Parent-Teacher Association (SEPTA) for creating a “how to” video on how to navigate the Toolbox located at this link: https://youtu.be/RlHKjSWIgr8.
When teachers return to work remotely, schools will begin to be able to use teleconferencing and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra as a platform to conduct special education meetings with parents. This will include formal special education screening, eligibility and IEP meetings as necessary. Special education case managers will be setting up methods for delivering the individualized services to students.
Federal, State and FCPS leaders acknowledge that, during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner they were typically provided due to health and safety concerns. Our teachers are professionals who are adjusting, adapting and learning to do whatever is necessary to create meaningful learning experiences for your students. We also have heard questions from you and our special education partners. While we don’t have all the answers at this time, we are working on answering (and posting) frequently asked questions in the coming weeks. Across the district and in our communities, we are being challenged in ways that we didn’t imagine just a few weeks ago.