In summer 2009, the OERI Advisory Council (comprised of superintendents of the member districts and the Director of the Institute for School Improvement) decided that a high priority for collaboration was the continuous improvement of student learning and development in special education. The OERI-Special Education (OERI-SPED) project was launched in fall 2009 with monthly meetings of district participants in the project along with a needs assessment survey of the member districts to identify key areas for improvement. Among other survey findings, two areas consistently identified by districts for improving special education were differentiated instruction and co-teaching.
Following a careful analysis of MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) results in communication arts and mathematics, along with the needs assessment findings, the consensus decision among the OERI member districts was to focus the OERI-SPED project on the continuous improvement of learning in communication arts for middle school students with learning disabilities. Along with monthly meetings in spring 2010, each OERI district prepared an “action plan” to address this target population with specific objectives and coordinated activities within the district. Individual district meetings were held with project staff members in the Institute for School Improvement during summer 2010, resulting in more refined and tightly organized district action plans for implementation during 2010-11. Also during summer 2010, OERI member districts were provided with the opportunity to send a team of district and school-level educators to a co-teaching workshop sponsored by the Southwest Regional Professional Development Center. The Final Report in the menu to the left discusses the findings.