Special Education

Federal Center Aids Special Education Practices

By Christina A. Samuels — August 06, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A federal center is trying to help states incubate and spread good special education practices that are already taking place in their districts.

The State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-based Practices Center, has been working with Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon since September. The center intentionally picked states that have made a substantial investment in evidence-based practices; starting new programs from scratch offers a different set of challenges.

Dean L. Fixsen, a principal director of SISEP, as the center, located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is known, likens good education practices to a medical vaccine: Without the equipment to inoculate children and a medical establishment that can reach lots of children, vaccines do little good.

“Until we develop the infrastructure, we’re going to be stuck,” Mr. Fixsen said.

Among the practices the SISEP states are trying to spread are the use of positive behavior supports and interventions, dropout-prevention programs, and tiered instructional models. One key ingredient to scaling up programs is creating teams of engaged, “overqualified” school personnel, Mr. Fixsen said. That keeps a promising practice from dying on the vine.

School teams also have to push past the awkwardness of trying new practices while still working within the old system. “It’s very easy to slip back into the old ways,” Mr. Fixsen said.

The states that he and the SISEP team are working with are eager to get started with some of the techniques that they’ve learned through the center because they’ve already had some experience trying to grow their own programs.

“They know the cost of going down the wrong path,” he said. “All of what we’re saying makes immediate sense to these people.”

A version of this article appeared in the August 12, 2009 edition of Education Week as Federal Center Aids Special Education Practices

Events

Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Tech Is Everywhere. But Is It Making Schools Better?
Join us for a lively discussion about the ways that technology is being used to improve schools and how it is falling short.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Quiz How Does Special Education Funding Work? Test Your Knowledge
What is IDEA? How much can the federal government contribute to special education funding? Take our quiz.
1 min read
Image of a student working with a teacher.
Canva
Special Education How Teachers Can Help Students With Dyslexia: What Our Readers Say
EdWeek's social-media followers weigh in on how to support students with dyslexia, a learning disability that interferes with reading.
5 min read
Young school boy writing in a notebook while sitting in a library with an educator.
iStock/Getty
Special Education Explainer How Special Education Funding Actually Works
Special education is among the most complicated and misunderstood facets of America’s sprawling K-12 school landscape.
6 min read
Illustration of a desk with a calculator and budget sheet.
vladwel/iStock/Getty
Special Education Spotlight Spotlight on Special Education Compliance
This Spotlight will help you examine implementation of universal screening for dyslexia and more.