• Mystery Motivator Intervention

    Posted by Leon Clinch on 1/2/2020
    Author: Pamela Terilli, Behavior Program Specialist, Exceptional Student Learning Support

    Are you in need of a new idea for a simple, easy to implement behavior management system for your class? Consider implementing the Mystery Motivator intervention! Mystery Motivator is a simple, class-wide behavioral intervention that capitalizes on the element of surprise to motivate students to display expected behaviors during an instructional activity. It is a class-wide system because all students work collectively towards a behavioral goal and the reward (when earned) is delivered to the whole class, making it easy for teachers to use rewards that are hard to deliver to just one student (e.g., extra recess, popcorn party, etc.) For more information on how to implement this easy, yet evidence-based intervention, check out the following websites which include a more detailed description of the intervention as well as short videos of teachers describing how they use Mystery Motivator in their classrooms.



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  • Down Syndrome Exceptional Educator Training

    Posted by Leon Clinch on 12/3/2019

    Author: Andrea Ciotti, InD Curriculum Supervisor, ESLS Division

    This year we celebrated our students with Down syndrome across the district by hosting our 3rd annual Educator training on September 27th for teachers and para educators who work with students with Down syndrome.

    The training was an amazing collaborative event of bringing together educators, parents from our DS Parent Committee, the Broward Gold Coast Down Syndrome organization and our community partners to host a fabulous training day that provided practical solutions for our staff in instructional and behavioral strategies that work to support learners with Down Syndrome as well as providing staff with an understanding of some of the medical and physical needs that our students have.  This year we had approximately 100 educators in attendance. 

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  • The Physical Therapist's Role in the School-Based Setting

    Posted by Leon Clinch on 11/25/2019
    Author: Debra Harrington, District Coordinator, Related Services, ESLS Division
    Physical therapy is considered a related service within a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). If your child is determined eligible for educational-based physical therapy services, a physical therapist will be a member of the IEP team and will attend IEP meetings, unless excused from them (for example, if the meeting is not discussing physical therapy goals). The goals of therapy will be decided based on family and teacher input and by testing indicating particular weaknesses related the child’s access to and participation in the educational environment.
    In addition to providing direct physical therapy (or instead of), a physical therapist may provide consultation to a child’s educational team (for example: teachers, aides, other therapists, and parents).
    The main goals of school-based physical therapy are to improve strength, balance, coordination, and/or mobility. Some examples of activities that a physical therapist targets for improvement include:
    • Maintaining sitting balance in a classroom chair, on the floor during circle time, in the cafeteria, on the school bus, and/or while swinging on the playground
    • Moving from class to class and throughout the school – walking, using walker or wheelchair (if unable to walk unassisted), walking up and down stairs (in school, on/off bus)
    • Navigating playground equipment, riding tricycle/bike, maneuvering on a balance beam, jumping, skipping, throwing/catching a ball, and other activities related to recess or gym class
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  • Rolland J. Van Hattum Award for Contribution in the Schools

    Posted by Leon Clinch on 11/25/2019

    Author: Kimberly Diluzio, Child Find Program Specialist, Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System

    Lisa A. Keane, a Speech-Language Pathologist on the BCPS Preschool Assessment Team, a is recognized as an advocate for school-based speech-language pathologists, evidenced in her service to students with communication disorders and her support of professional peers. She has provided school-district literacy trainings, led efforts to enhance work force conditions, promoted the value and improvement of speech-language pathology services, and launched grassroots advocacy efforts to increase service-delivery funding. As coordinator of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Group 16, School-Based Issues, she has extended the impact of her contributions to advance school-based speech-language services at the national level.

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  • National Dyslexia Awareness Month

    Posted by Janice Koblick, SLD Curriculum Supervisor, ESLS Division on 10/28/2019

    Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and affects 80 to 90 percent of all individuals with a learning disability. It is defined as an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader. Dyslexia is due to difficulty in getting to the individual sounds of spoken language, which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, spell, and often, learn a language.

Early diagnosis of dyslexia is critical for ensuring that individuals with dyslexia receive focused, evidence-based interventions that leads to the promotion of self-awareness and self-empowerment and the provision of necessary accommodations so as to ensure school and life success.

    You can learn more at https://dyslexiaida.org/.

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  • Behavioral Threat Assessment Updates by Psychological Services

    Posted by Maria Soong, School Psychologist & Team Leader at Psychological Services on 10/28/2019

    Psychological Services had a busy start to the 2019-2020 school year! On July 30, 2019 the department released new district-wide procedures for Behavioral Threat Assessment (BTA), an updated BTA manual, and an innovative EdPlan module for electronic record keeping. We are excited to announce that the 2019 revision of Broward Schools’ BTA process incorporates the most updated recommendations from national leaders in threat assessment, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Secret Service, and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) and is in compliance with new state legislation (SB 7026, SB 7030) and district policy (SBBC 2130). 

    With this release came an urgent need to train stakeholders prior to the first day of school. Between July 30, 2019 and July 31, 2019, we trained a total of 686 traditional school administrators. On August 5th, 55 charter school administrators were also trained. And on August 12th, 165 school resource officers and other law enforcement officers received training. By the first day of school, a total of 906 participants across Broward County were trained and ready to implement up-to-date and research-based best practice procedures in violence prevention and threat assessment! And this is just the beginning of our new BTA training schedule, with sessions available on Learning Across Broward (LAB) throughout the school year. This phenomenal accomplishment highlights our commitment to maintaining safe and secure schools through continuous improvement, accountability, and on-going professional development. We extend our sincere gratitude to the number of professionals who contributed countless hours of planning and collaboration to this project. For the most current version of the BTA Procedures Manual, please visit http://bcps-mentalhealth.com/threatAssessment.php.

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  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month

    Posted by Andrea Ciotti, InD Curriculum Supervisor, ESLS Division on 10/28/2019

    Approximately one in every 691 children is born in the United States with Down Syndrome.  Students with Down syndrome should have equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential, be included in their school communities, take pride in their achievements and aspire to fulfill their hopes and dreams.
    Since the 1980s, the President of the United States has proclaimed the month of October to be “National Down Syndrome Awareness Month” to promote respect and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome.  The establishment of the National Down Syndrome Awareness Month for the month of October across all Broward County Schools provides the opportunity to raise awareness about Down Syndrome and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of our students with Down Syndrome.

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  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness

    Posted by Leon Clinch on 10/25/2019

    Author: Essa Kennedy, Technology Specialist, Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System

    October is an internationally recognized as AAC Awareness Month! This offers an opportunity for sharing information about AAC and how to support students with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a range of strategies and tools to help people who struggle with communicating. These may be simple letter or picture boards or sophisticated computer-based systems. A competent AAC user is to be able to say whatever they want to say, whenever they want to say it. Communication is a basic human right! Teaching a student to become an effective communicator using AAC can be a challenge, fortunately, there are an abundance of resources to help accomplish this goal! Here are 10 important tips to remember when working with a student who uses AAC.

    1. The AAC Device is the student’s voice!
    2. Presume competence by providing the student with a robust vocabulary.
    3. The student’s device must be with them at ALL Times. This means in the classroom, in the cafeteria, and the playground. Everywhere!
    4. Create thoughtfully planned opportunities for the student to use their AAC.
    5. Using AAC effectively is NOT simply responding to questions and labeling.
    6. Communication is SOCIAL! Teach students how to use their AAC in SOCIAL situations
    7. Use a Least to Most Prompt Hierarchy……. Never use Hand over Hand!!
    8. Wait Time is Key – Pause, allow extended time for the AAC user to generate their thoughts.
    9. Model, Model, Model, using the student’s device so they learn the power of AAC!
    10. When in doubt, reach out to your AT Program Specialist!

    In addition to contacting your Assistive Technology Program Specialist and joining the AT Canvas Course (Broward AT Canvas Course ), consider attending an AT district training. These trainings occur throughout the year and include device specific instruction, Introduction to Core Vocabulary, and Implementation of Core Vocabulary. There is a plethora of information online that can be easily accessed. Some great AAC resources include:

    ISAAC International Conference 2020

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  • Suicide Prevention; The Basics

    Posted by Charlene M. Grecsek on 9/10/2019 8:30:00 AM

    September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people age 10-24. Someone dies by suicide in Florida on average every three hours. Suicide crosses all members of society; it does not discriminate. In the most recent Broward County Youth Risk Behavior Survey 7.4% of students (1 out of every 14) reported that they attempted suicide and 17.2% of students (1 out of every 6) seriously considered suicide during the past 12 months.

    Many want to know the answer to several questions like: “What causes suicide? What can I do to prevent it? Are members of my family at risk? Risk factors and warning signs: what’s the difference and why does it matter? Why is it so high now?” These questions are so challenging and unlike a math equation, there is not one correct answer, but there are some areas to understand that may help. First, what can every person do to prevent suicide? Listen, get connected and know where the help is. If there is one major protective factor for suicide, it is connection. Connection, not just at the moment a person is in distress, but before so they know where to go when they are in distress. Every person can do this. In addition, get educated on the risk factors, warning signs, learn where supports are in your community, and never be afraid to ask a person if they are thinking about suicide.

    Risk factors are those events in a young person’s life that impacts them over time. Some examples might be abuse/neglect, domestic violence, traumatic events and many more. Trauma is another large topic, but know that one in four students in a classroom have a trauma background and 23.4% of students who have an individual education plan (IEP) have a trauma history.

    Warning signs are those things that tell us that something may happen in the next hours, minutes or days. Some warning signs are: making statements about how others would be better off without them, statements or actions reflecting a sense that they can’t see a way out of the situations they are in, talking about being a burden to others, not being afraid of dying, giving away something that was very valuable to the person, stopping doing things they loved doing, drastic all of the sudden change in behavior, maybe more happy than ever, seems to be investigating methods of killing oneself, and/or increased risk taking behaviors (extreme all of sudden increase).

    No one thing or set of experiences causes suicide, but the combination of events and past experiences brings a person to that place. If there are some things all people can do, it is to help people have a sense of hope in their lives, decrease the pressure to achieve at all cost, encourage people to take a moment to just be, model to others that “it is ok to not be ok sometimes.” Understand that asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength, and finally help others to know that even if they fail at something, they are still valuable and not a burden. In other words, they have a sense of purpose even when they are not as good as they want to be. All people need to feel connected, have a sense of value, purpose and hope. When those things are lost, we may lose a sense of being.

    Take a moment today to tell a young person you are necessary, you are important, you are valuable… not because of the grades you get or don’t get, or the sports you participate in or don’t participate in, money you make or don’t make, or the classes you are in or the supports you may need. If they say, “I don’t feel valuable” be there to connect them to the resources and support because there is help, there is hope, and there is healing.

    Free Crisis text line 24/7 Text: FL to 741741; Suicide Prevention hotline 1-800-273-TALK; Local 2-1-1

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  • Facts About Deaf Culture to Honor Deaf Awareness Month

    Posted by Naomi Church on 9/10/2019 8:00:00 AM
    1. People who are deaf can drive cars, make music, play sports, and earn a higher education. They can do everything hearing people can do. People who are deaf just do it a little differently.
    2. People who are deaf may also communicate in different ways. Some prefer sign language; while others can speak for themselves and lip read. When in doubt, it's best to just ask.
    3. American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a "foreign" language in the United States (US), even though it was created in the US! ASL is not simply a signed version of English, which is why it is "interpreted" and not "translated." ASL has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax; and like spoken language, there are even regional dialects!
    4. There are more than 200 signed languages in use around the globe! Anywhere deaf people exist, non-verbal languages develop and evolve. In the US, there are an estimated 48 million people with some degree of hearing loss, and 500,000 individuals who identify ASL as their primary language.


    Adapted from https://www.buzzfeed.com/lydiacallis/didyouknow-deaf-culture-cheat-sheet-k8ro

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