14 Mar Addressing the Needs of Diverse Learners
The School Success Project (SSP) was created in 2004 to respond to the increasingly diverse population of students enrolled at the Education Laboratory School (ELS). All students at ELS are educated with their peers in the general education setting, with access to all curriculum and activities. An early focus of the project is to examine the existing supports within ELS and use the findings to develop a coordinated and structured support system to meet the specific needs of each child. Important components of this support system include early intervention strategies, structured monitoring systems for children with identified needs, and effective collaboration within the student’s support team.
In addition to this basic system of support, SSP is working to create professional development to help teachers understand the challenges that arise from various challenging conditions and their implications for learning. Existing collaborations amongst teachers are becoming models of how curriculum modifications, accommodations, and teaching strategies can positively impact special needs students in regular classrooms. These will become stepping stones for school-wide professional development for teachers and curriculum developers, and will eventually lead to the design and implementation of a professional research agenda on the affects of ELS programs on student learning. The resulting research and models will then be used to help others to more appropriately address the needs of diverse learners.