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Supporting the Unique Needs of All Learners

Key Resources:          STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES HANDBOOK        |       P.R.I.S.M. PRESENTATION to BOE 9-30-15

Every classroom in every school is characterized by some degree of academic diversity. Learners bring varied experiences, strengths, and needs to a lesson.  They also learn in different ways and at different rates.  Such academic diversity places a great demand on teachers who face the challenge of meeting the needs of all learners at all times.  While this may not be realistic, there are methods that can bring teachers closer to this goal.  In recent years differentiated instruction has proven to be an effective way to address the range of academic diversity in each classroom.

Supporting Students with Learning Challenges
Not all students can be fully supported via differentiation. Some students with academic challenges may need additional time and alternative kinds of support.  Determining the degree and frequency of these alternative forms of support happens through a process called response to intervention (RTI- see more below). These interventions happen in every classroom with a variety of students, guided by our Response to Intervention Plan.  This plan provides comprehensive services for students at all levels.  In addition to RTI support, the district is also required by law to provide special education services.  These services are described on our special education webpage.

Response to Intervention (RTI)
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.

Ensuring that All Students are Challenged
Teachers in Bedford recognize that all students have different needs, strengths, and abilities and learn in different ways.  The district’s philosophy statement on gifted education states that every student, including those considered “average,” as well as those with strong academic abilities or gifts, have hidden or untapped talents.  In its effort to help students achieve their potential, the BCSD has an evolving continuum of enrichment experiences for students. For more information, visit http://www.bcsdny.org/enrich

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