February 2014 Implementation Progress Report

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1 Taskforce on Students with Learning Difficulties February 2014 Implementation Progress Report 1

2 Contents Implementation Progress Report and Next Steps Update 3 Executive Summary 3 Background 3 Key achievements 3 Recommendation progress update 5 Recommendation 1: A consistent systemic approach to maximise specific learning outcomes of students with Learning Difficulties 5 Recommendation 2: Building staff capacity to meet the needs of students with Learning Difficulties 7 Recommendation 3: Partnerships with families 10 Professional Learning Plan semester 1, Phase 1: 12 Understanding Learning Difficulties training 12 Phase 2: 12 Intervention strategies to support students with learning difficulties 12 Phase 3: 12 Evidence based studies: SPELD A.C.T. and University of Canberra 12 Phase 4: 12 Using inclusive technologies tools for students with learning difficulties 12 2

3 Implementation Progress Report and Next Steps Update Executive Summary Background The Taskforce on Students with Learning Difficulties was an advisory body established in 2012, to provide the Minister for Education and Training with recommendations for classroom level intervention and support of children and young people in ACT government schools with learning The Final Report from the Taskforce was presented to the Minister for Education and Training in July The report identified 14 strategies under the three key recommendations: A Consistent Systemic Approach, Building Staff Capacity and Building Partnerships with Families. The recommendations outline strategies for supporting students with learning difficulties who may be present in any P-12 classroom, and builds on the already high standard of professional practice in ACT government schools. Key achievements Principals and leadership teams have been informed of the Taskforce recommendations and the implementation of the recommendations as a 2014 system priority. Schools have identified their representative expert teacher/s to attend professional learning in semester The comprehensive professional learning package includes best practice and current research developments in learning difficulties from a range of expert presenters, from within the Directorate and externally. Parents and carers can attend some of the workshop sessions. The 2014 Gifted and Talented policy will reflect twice exceptional students. An analysis of the Response to Intervention model was completed term Next Steps The delivery of the professional learning to support staff, schools, students and families will commence in semester and Accreditation with the Teacher Quality Institute will be sought during this time. Schools will be provided with a publication on endorsed, evidence-based approaches to supporting the needs of students with learning difficulties by mid

4 Strategies to further enhance partnerships and communication with parents, carers and other professionals will be developed and communicated in semester

5 Recommendation progress update Taskforce Recommendations Progress Directorate s Response Recommendation 1: A consistent systemic approach to maximise specific learning outcomes of students with Learning Difficulties Strategy 1. Development of protocols that include identifying, supporting and making adjustments for students with learning The Directorate will develop processes to articulate the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for identifying, supporting and making reasonable adjustments for students with learning Schools have identified one staff member to be known as their representative expert who will attend an extensive professional learning package across semester 1. In line with the professional learning, the Directorate will develop a protocol document to support staff. This will complement the professional learning package. These staff will be provided with further professional learning at the launch of the protocols in semester to ensure a consistent approach across schools. Strategy 2. Addition of endorsed evidenced based approaches to the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy to support the needs of students with learning The Directorate will investigate evidence-based approaches to supporting the needs of students with learning difficulties and develop a mechanism for endorsing such approaches. In 2013, the Directorate launched its new strategic plan, Education Capital: Leading the Nation , which set priority directions for literacy and numeracy and ensuring that students are at the centre of key strategies, policies and practices. Aligned with these directions, the Directorate will produce a publication that provides advice to teachers on endorsed, evidence-based approaches to supporting the needs of students with learning The publication will be available to teachers by mid-2014, with scoping and procurement for its production to be finalised by the end of March

6 Strategy 3. Focus on learning difficulties and diversity in learning to be included as a key component in the Directorate s leadership program from The Directorate will include a focus on learning difficulties and diversity in future leadership programs from Status: Ongoing The Directorate has communicated the importance of the Taskforce recommendation to schools through identifying it as a priority in the Education Capital: Leading the Nation Action Plan (High Expectations, High Performance domain). ACT public school principals attended an information session in November 2013 where the recommendations were outlined and a copy of the report distributed. Principals have undertaken a staff audit to determine a representative expert teacher or teachers from their school to attend the professional learning that has been developed for semester Strategy 4. Inclusion of how to meet the needs of twice exceptional students in the Directorate s Gifted and Talented Policy. The Directorate has commenced the review of the Gifted and Talented Policy and will include provision for twice exceptional students. Status: Completed The Directorate s Gifted and Talented Student policy is anticipated to be launched in February The policy and supporting documentation will include advice and information about students who are twice exceptional or have dual exceptionality. A fact sheet for parents on dual exceptionality will form part of the series of parental guides that support the policy. Strategy 5. That the Directorate investigates models similar to Response to Intervention Models and what support would be needed to implement them within ACT government schools. The Directorate is currently investigating models similar to and including the Response to Intervention Model and will assess the appropriateness of such models in the ACT context including the identification of the support required for implementation. Status: Ongoing The Directorate has investigated the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework during term The professional learning package developed for teachers (see Strategy 6) includes a focus on the RTI framework to support students with a tiered response. Recommendations from the analysis include a series of pilot studies to ascertain how the RTI framework would work in the ACT government school context, the amount of resourcing needed per student, and how the interventions fit within the school schedule. A number of ACT government schools have expressed interest in being part of a pilot study. 6

7 Recommendation 2: Building staff capacity to meet the needs of students with Learning Difficulties Strategy 6. A comprehensive professional learning pathway with increasing levels of specialist knowledge to support a consistent systematic approach to learning The Directorate will identify professional learning strategies and pathways to strengthen a consistent and systematic approach to supporting students with learning Status: Ongoing A professional learning package has been developed and will be delivered in semester Schools have identified their representative expert teacher/s who will attend the training and build capacity within their schools. Teachers and staff from the Directorate s Central Office such as school psychologists, literacy and numeracy officers, disability education staff and student wellbeing and behaviour support staff will support the representative expert teachers in building capacity within their school and across networks. The professional learning package includes: workshops with school senior psychologists in Understanding Learning Difficulties, Intervention Strategies to Support Students with Learning Difficulties with external experts, Evidence Based Studies with Dyslexia SPELD ACT and University of Canberra, Using Inclusive Technologies Tools for Students with Learning Difficulties with assistance from external presenters. Follow up sessions will look at how schools are using the assessment tools, collecting data and building capacity within the network. The sessions will be delivered in school networks to provide the opportunity for schools to share, make connections and support each other during the implementation phase. A professional learning community online page called LIFE will be developed to provide teaching staff across the Directorate a place to share teaching and learning interventions and evidence-based resources for students with learning These strategies will be stored on the Digital Backpack Online Learning ACT Directorate Page with a link called Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties. The page will build communities of practice, digitally captured teaching practices and discussions and create a community of learners who add to this over time and share their practice continually using online forums. An introduction to the protocol document workshop to support the professional learning package will take place late semester

8 Strategy 7. Targets for completion of training to ensure that a pathway of expertise is established to embed knowledge in all sectors and across leadership. The Directorate will develop targets for participation in training in the area of learning difficulties across the system with initial targets to be identified for primary, high school and college settings.. The training package is to be accredited with the Teacher Quality Institute. The professional learning package has set targets for completion where data will be collected to monitor attendance and the quality and value of the professional learning workshops. Targets include: Level 1 Pathway (basic course) In five years 90% of all staff trained (Online modules, forums) Between each school commits to online Learning Difficulties training for all staff Level 2 Pathway (Intermediate course) In five years 60% of all staff trained (i.e. Online modules, Inclusive Technologies) Level 3 Pathway (Advanced course) Staff across school networks trained in specialist courses and completed each level of training (Online modules, scholarships, cross network forums, specialist courses) Targeted scholarships will be offered as a professional learning opportunity between All participants in the workshops will receive an online survey to gain feedback on the presentations to guide further professional learning requirements and collect attendance figures. A further online survey will compare pre and post feedback after the professional learning package has been delivered. Strategy 8. Each School Network to be supported by officers with specialist skills in learning The Directorate will further strengthen the specialist expertise to support students including those with learning difficulties and will establish processes for access to network support. As capacity builds, specialist teachers, those who have completed all three levels of the professional learning pathway (as outlined above) or have post graduate qualifications in learning difficulties will be a resource for other teachers in their schools and across networks. Networks will have a clear and documented process for teachers to access the support of their own specialist teachers. Teachers from the Directorate s Central Office, such as school psychologists, literacy and numeracy officers, disability education staff and student wellbeing and behaviour support staff will provide additional support to school staff and across networks. 8

9 Strategy 9. Systemic professional learning for Learning Support Assistants working in the area of learning As part of the implementation plan work on Strategy 9 and Strategy 10 will commence in March 2014, once the data collection and feedback from Phase 1 professional learning is completed. The Directorate will identify and provide appropriate professional learning opportunities for learning support assistants in the area of learning Strategy 10. Clarification of the role of Learning Support Assistants working in the area of learning The Directorate will clarify the roles and responsibilities of school staff in providing support for students with learning As part of the implementation plan work on Strategy 9 and Strategy 10 will commence in March 2014, once the data collection and feedback from Phase 1 professional learning is completed. Strategy 11. Investigate and determine a system wide approach to assessment of students with learning The Directorate will investigate leading practice options for assessment of students with learning difficulties to develop a system wide approach. Initial discussions with the University of Canberra and Dyslexia SPELD ACT were undertaken in November Dyslexia Screener Assessment will be presented to ETD staff in March 2014 as the first phase of Strategy 11. Data collected will inform the intervention strategies. 9

10 Recommendation 3: Partnerships with families Strategy 12. The Directorate to develop multiple communication mechanisms to support families of students with learning The Directorate will develop a range of communication mechanisms that support families of students and schools meeting the needs of students with learning A communication strategy for schools will be developed to include strategies to support parents or carers such as invitations to individual learning plan meetings, links to the Directorate website for information, brochures and links to agencies/support services. This information will be included in the protocol document. Parents and carers have opportunities to attend a number of workshops by expert presenters that run parallel to the teacher workshops in the professional learning package. Strategy 13. The Directorate to investigate enhancement of partnerships with therapists and other professionals working with teachers, parents, carers and directly with students. Status: Ongoing The Directorate is currently working with Therapy ACT speech pathologists to determine effective strategies to support students with language disorders and learning difficulties as an adjustment to existing practice in schools. The information will be included in the protocol document. The Directorate will build on and enhance the current partnerships that support students with learning difficulties particularly those across ACT Health and the Community Services Directorates. 10

11 Strategy 14. Promote the provision for adjustment to assessment tools (Board of Senior Secondary Studies, Australian Scaling test, NAPLAN) to parents, carers, students and staff. The Directorate will promote the availability and nature of provision for adjustment to assessment tools for students with learning difficulties to parents, carers, students and staff. The protocol document will include links to information for schools to inform parents, carers, students and staff on the availability and nature of provision for adjustment to assessment tools use to support students, including links to the Board of Senior Secondary Studies and NAPLAN sites. This information will be also be communicated via the Directorate s website. 11

12 Phase 1: Understanding Learning Difficulties training Venue: HBCTL Mezzanine Time: 9-12pm Dates for small group training are provided below Presenter: Narelle Smart and Senior Psychologist Audience: School Representative Expert, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators, School Psychologists, Network Student Engagement Team (Senior Psychologist, Disability Education Support Partners, Behaviour Support Partners). Content: Definition and terms Causal considerations Neuroscience Importance of intervention and early identification Types of learning difficulties Case examples from different school year levels Intervention and evidence based programs Response to Intervention Resources and tips Action School psychologist and School Representative Expert will present the Understanding Learning Difficulties training with staff at their school. Phase 2: Intervention strategies to support students with learning difficulties Phase 3: Evidence based studies: SPELD A.C.T. and University of Canberra Phase 4: Using inclusive technologies tools for students with learning difficulties Time: pm (Wk.4) HBCTL Mezzanine Time: pm (Wk.5) HBCTL HALL Time: pm (Wk.7) HBCTL HALL Presenter: Karen Starkiss (Accredited Dyslexia Trainer, Victoria) Audience: School Representative Expert, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators, School Psychologists, Network Student Engagement Team (Senior Psychologist, Disability Education Support Partners, Behaviour Support Partners). Content: How to recognise that a child is dyslexic How to gather evidence and informally assess individually students in class How to create a dyslexia friendly school Identifying individual learning styles and creating multi-sensory environments Specific support for reading, writing and spelling Meeting individual needs how to put together individual programmes for students Access to evidence based resources Presenters: Jo Whithear (SPELD A.C.T.), Louise Dalglish Smith (SPELD A.C.T.), Doctor Pam Connor (University of Canberra)(ACT Disability Ed) Audience: School Representative Expert, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators, School Psychologists, Network Student Engagement Team (Senior Psychologist, Disability Education Support Partners, Behaviour Support Partners). Content: Introduction to Dyslexia SPELD ACT Services for schools and communities Resource Kit Evidence Based Programs University of Canberra - dyslexia screening process for kindergarten to secondary school 1.30pm to 3.00pm session Introduction to Significant Reading Difficulties and Dyslexia online course Presenter: Greg O Connor (Spectronics) Audience: School Representative Expert, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators, School Psychologists, Network Student Engagement Team (Senior Psychologist, Disability Education Support Partners, Behaviour Support Partners). Content: ipad master class: using ipads to support older students struggling with literacy. Practical applications of how to use inclusive technology tools to increase access, participation and engagement for students with learning 12

13 Group Day and date Group Day and date Group Day and date Group Day and date Network Student Engagement Teams and Literacy, Numeracy and English as an Additional Language or Dialect team. North Canberra/ Gungahlin and Belconnen network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Tuggeranong and South/Weston network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Tuesday 4 February 2014 Tuesday 18 February 2014 Wednesday 19 February 2014 North Canberra/ Gungahlin and Belconnen network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Tuggeranong and South/Weston network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Network Student Engagement Teams, and Literacy, Numeracy and English as an Additional Language or Dialect team, and School Psychologists. Project Manager and Learning Difficulties Working Groups Tuesday 25 February 2014 North Canberra/ Gungahlin and Belconnen network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Monday 3 March 2014 Network Student Engagement Teams, and Literacy, Numeracy and English as an Additional Language or Dialect team, and School Psychologists. Parents and community and Wednesday pm 26 February 2014 Network Student Engagement Teams, and Literacy, Numeracy and English as an Additional Language or Dialect team, and School Psychologists. North Canberra/ Gungahlin and Belconnen network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Thursday 27 February 2014 Friday 28 February 2014 Tuggeranong and South/Weston network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers and Network Student Engagement Teams, and Literacy, Numeracy and English as an Additional Language or Dialect team, and School Psychologists. Tuesday 4 March 2014 Officers. Tuggeranong and South/Weston network School Representative Experts, Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators and Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers. Tuesday 8 April 2014 Tuesday 8 April 2014 Wednesday 9 April 2014 Thursday 10 April

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