As an educator I find that more students are coming with to me with unique situations filled with roadblocks that challenge their learning. Whether it be a learning disability, sexual identity, language roadblock, or socio-economic disparity, It seems like when I was growing up there were two kinds of students – general education students and special education students – and these two populations of students rarely mixed. Nowadays, students with all kinds of classifications come together in a classroom and sit before a teacher, some vested in learning, others completely disinterested and others desperate to learn but can’t for one reason or another.
The more I talk to other educators, the more I find that they have to consider so many factors when planning a lesson, not just the standards that their given districts are expecting their students to master by the end of the school year.
FInd resources to support the diverse needs of these special populations has become a focus of mine this summer as I begin to plan PD for the upcoming school year. In the past, I have simply picked a topic to focus on, like engagement or assessment. And while that has served me fairly well, I have come to realize that it has not met the needs of all the students that walk into my school each day. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate a new page to following special populations which will include links to the resources I have found. Hopefully others out there will be able to use these resources to support their own individual learners within their classrooms and schools as more and more of these students continue to need our attention and support.
So please feel free to click on a picture above, it will take you to one of the pages under my new tab on special populations and will have more links, websites, videos, and strategies to support students that are classified in these special populations. As I come across more resources I will continue to update these pages, so check back often.
I do believe every child is unique. Every child wants to learn. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to help them overcome their roadblocks so they can. Sometimes we need to learn from them, we need to have our own teachable moment so we can give them successful teachable ones each and every day!
On an aside: As make sure you check with your local district or state for their most current policies regarding protected classes. In New York Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) went into effect December 31, 2013. DASA training is now mandated for all educators. Many districts now publish their policies under DASA or laws similar for their protected classes. For example, NYC policy for transgender youth can be found here.