Implementing IDEA 2004: T/TAC Can Help!

by Denyse Doerries, Ph.D., and Sue Land, M.Ed.

The intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA, 2004) is to improve educational results for students with disabilities. Four of the aims of this act, as delineated by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidance document (May 2005), are to:

  • Ensure that teachers are highly qualified
  • Provide early intervening programs that prevent overidentification and overrepresentation of minority students in special education
  • Provide incentives for whole-school approaches, scientifically based early reading programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervention services
  • Support high-quality, intensive professional development in the use of scientifically based instructional practices.

Readers are referred to the Guidance Document on the Implementation of IDEA 2004-Part B Requirements, available from the Virginia Department of Education web site at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/regulations/federal/guidance_implementation_idea2004.pdf, for more specific information. The VDOE Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) at The College of William and Mary supports these requirements through a number of services, professional development opportunities, and the work of the state priority projects as described below.

Highly Qualified Teachers

To address the emphasis on the special educator as a highly qualified consultative teacher, T/TAC W&M provides the following resources:

  • Professional development opportunities on effective inclusive practices at the W&M Symposium on Professional Collaboration and Inclusive Education (October 31-November 1, 2005) and The Colonial Institute (June, 2006)
  • Technical assistance to teachers and staff on effective inclusive practices
  • T/TAC web site (www.wm.edu/ttac) that offers an on-line discussion board on effective inclusive practices
  • Consideration packets on Strategies for Creating Inclusive Schools, Co-Teaching, Differentiating in Inclusive Classrooms, Grading in Inclusive Classrooms, and An Administrators Guide to Creating Inclusive Schools downloadable from the T/TAC web site (www.wm.edu/ttac)
  • Library materials, including books, videos, and DVDs (such as The Power of 2)
Prevention/Early Intervention

To address early intervening programs and whole-school approaches T/TAC W&M provides the following assistance:

  • Professional development and technical assistance on the Instructional Support Team (IST) model
  • Professional development and technical assistance on the Effective Schoolwide Discipline (ESD) model
  • Long-term technical assistance for schools needing improvement
  • SOL Enhanced Scope and Sequence Plus lesson plans available at T/TAC Online (www.ttaconline.org) providing differentiated lessons based on the SOL
  • T/TAC web site (www.wm.edu/ttac) that offers an on-line discussion board on effective behavioral strategies
  • Consideration packets on Instructional Assessment, Positive Behavioral Supports, Unlocking Reading Comprehension: Reading is the Key, Inferential Reading Comprehension, The Bilingual Special Education Crossroad: Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Special Needs, and A "Word" About Vocabulary downloadable from the T/TAC web site (www.wm.edu/ttac)
  • Professional development opportunities on effective inclusive practices at the W&M Symposium on Professional Collaboration and Inclusive Education (October 31-November 1, 2005) and The Colonial Institute (June, 2006)
Scientifically Based Instructional Practices

To address scientifically based instructional practices T/TAC W&M provides the following assistance:

  • Professional development and technical assistance in the University of Kansas Content Enhancement Routines and Learning Strategies
  • Consideration Packets on Geometry Strategies for Middle School, Algebra Strategies for Middle School, Graphic Organizers: Guiding Principles and Effective Practices, Practice and Homework: Effective Teaching Strategies, Science Strategies, Planning for a Brighter Future: Writing Secondary IEPs Infused with Transition Services, Collaborative Secondary Transition Planning, and Techniques for Active Learners downloadable from the T/TAC web site (www.wm.edu/ttac)
  • Professional development opportunities on effective inclusive practices at the W&M Symposium on Professional Collaboration and Inclusive Education (October 31-November 1, 2005) and The Colonial Institute (June, 2006)
  • Link Lines newsletter articles on scientifically based instructional practices
  • Professional development and technical assistance on the Virginia Transition Outcomes Project (VTOP)
  • Communities of Practice (CoP) in IST, ESD, VTOP, and Content Enhancement Routines provided to schools as follow-up

As schools attempt to meet the challenges of implementing IDEA 2004, T/TAC W&M continues to respond to individual schools, professionals, and staff members, as well as to parent requests for assistance.

Date: September/October 2005