“Over the past 37 years, special education has taken great strides from being a parallel system that operated outside of general education and toward a more inclusive system that incorporates a collaborative approach to the education of all students with disabilities across the continuum. The journey began with legislation, progressed through important new and reauthorized law, and is currently gaining momentum through the Common Core State Standards ” (Donavon, Frank. Special EDge, Summer 2012).

Promoting a culture of high expectations for all students is a fundamental goal of the Common Core State Standards. While the Common Core State Standards do not define a full range of supports for students with disabilities, the CCSS do clearly define that all students must have an opportunity to access the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers. The CCSS establish the base for high expectations for all students with districts, schools, and teachers providing the support students need to reach those expectations.

The Common Core State Standards are the standards for all students, regardless of identified disability, from mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe. Meeting the needs of all learners while addressing the rigor and challenges of CCSS requires the members of the Individualized Education Program Team to thoughtfully analyze the tasks required of each standard and provide adaptations and support for each student. The CCSS will also be referenced in the design of IEP academic, behavioral, communication, transition, social/emotional and functional goals, thus providing the foundation for ALL students to become college, career and community ready.

States, districts, school sites, and classroom teachers are embarking on the challenge to raise expectations for all students, including students with disabilities, and are re-thinking and re-creating not just what is taught, but how it is taught.  The CCSS document, the “Applications to Students with Disabilities” recommends the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the instructional design for diverse range of learners. The principles of UDL include providing multiple means of representation providing multiple means of action and expression; and providing multiple means of engagement. 

Meeting the needs of students with disabilities in successfully accessing and meeting the expectations of the CCSS will ensure that students are equipped to think critically, contribute thoughtfully to academic discussions, and be engaged in their own learning and future goals.

Resources              

Common Core State Standards Application to Students With Disabilities

College Ready AND Career Ready:  What Does It Mean?

What does College and Career Ready Mean for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities?

Fewer, Clearer, Higher Common Core State Standards: Implications for Students Receiving Special Education Services

National Center on Universal Design for Learning

Center for Applied Science Technology

EGUSD’s Special Education Website

Assessments

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Accessibility for ALL Students

The National Center and State Collaborative Alternative Assessments