Revolutionize Instruction for Students with Disabilities

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Center for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) announce the creation and release of a set of high-leverage practices (HLPs) for special educators and teacher candidates. HLPs are educational practices that all special educators must master before they begin teaching. The selected practices―in the areas of collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavioral, and instruction―are used frequently in classrooms and have been shown to improve student outcomes. “This is really going to reform how teacher candidates are prepared,” says CEC President Mikki Garcia.

Teacher preparation programs recently have struggled to keep up with increased demands for instructional content, an evolving understanding of the complexity of why learners struggle, and new research surrounding evidence-based practices. CEEDAR Director Mary Brownell explains that, in light of these changes, teacher preparation programs needed guidance regarding which practices are most effective. “Programs have only so much time to educate new teachers,” she says. “As a profession, we needed to establish a baseline for what every teacher must know and be able to do.”

There is general agreement in the field of special education that teacher preparation should focus more explicitly on instructional practice, Brownell says. “Colleges and state departments of education know they need to reform how they prepare and license teachers. We need to be sure we have capable teachers in every classroom who have had consistent and adequate training and practice.” She also noted the relevance of the HLPs for general education teachers as well as special educators. “We hope the HLPs can help to reform practice in general education in ways that will better prepare…

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