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Special Education: A Systematic Approach to Efficiency and Effectiveness.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness and the efficacy of regional special education programs. Focus groups were conducted in an independent school district and two special education cooperatives. Focus groups were conducted with general education teachers, special education teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, superintendents and related services professionals. Fifteen focus groups were conducted. The questions asked were (a) what should be maintained in the delivery of special education and yet streamlined, (b) what roles should general education assume in an RTI model, (c) how can regular and special education be more collaborative in an RTI model, (d) what are some of the managerial components that need to be maintained or changed, (e) what role should special education and support staff take with a RTI model, and (f) what are some of the other issues regarding delivery of special education. Results from the study indicate that RTI has the potential to address delivery of special education services in a more effective and efficient manner. Concerns expressed include (a) the need for staff development and training on interventions, the difficulty of implementation at the secondary level, and the difficulty of implementation in rural schools. In general, RTI is viewed as an opportunity for school systems to move from a dual system (general education and special education) into a unified system that can more effectively meet the needs of all students. Recommendations for school districts include (a) involving general education teachers in data collection; (b) using special education teachers as consultants and resource people; (c) allocating resources to fully implement suggested interventions; and (d) implementing a staff development program for regular and special education teachers. Recommendations for higher education programs include providing students with (a) teaching and intervention strategies, (b) collaboration skills, (c) data collection skills, (d) special education processes, and (e) assessment skills. In addition, preparation programs need to establish partnerships with PK-12 schools to not only observe and stay attuned to the application of RTI but to also provide support and professional development to assure the full implementation of RTI strategies.

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Author:Haar, Jean M.; Robicheau, Jerry W.; Palladino, John
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 7, 2008
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