Collaboration and Communication Action Plan

973 words | 4 page(s)

Having an emotional disorder which specifically affects the mood can disturb the learning process and social wellbeing of a student. Mark has the disorder, and at the same time, he is the only Hispanic student in his class. Mark is currently an eighth grader at an inclusion class. When he attended his recent annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, his test scores determined that he only qualified for the gifted program in ELA area. His participation in the inclusion class has been full of challenges. Mrs. Stone, his inclusion class teacher, who did not even attend the IEP, believes that the student requires the assistance of a para-educator. Mark himself is not comfortable in the inclusion class.

After assigning the para-educator, the principal found out that Mark was always isolated at the corner of the class. He rarely participated in class, and the teacher spoke to him in abrupt conversations. At one point, Mrs. Stone told him that he does not belong to the class. This statement made his parents to call the principal for intervention because the student no longer wanted to be part of that class. Just like other students, Mark has a right to acquire the best possible education. In his case, he requires specialized attention due to his ethnic background and mental status. For this reason, an action plan which focuses on collaboration and effective communication is necessary to help Mark’s case.

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The Action Plan
Mark’s action plan will involve both short-term and long-term interventions which include:
A regular meeting, preferably twice a month, between the parents, teachers, and the student should be established. The aim is to collectively deliberate on the best communication techniques that would benefit the student (Korpershoek, Harms, de Boer, Kuijk, & Doolaard, 2016)
The ELA teacher should receive collaborative coaching so that she can be able to handle Mark’s case in a more professional way (Reinke, Stormont, Herman, Wang, Newcomer, & King, 2014).
Mark should be placed at the center of the class to facilitate his interaction with the teacher and other students in the inclusion class.

Due to his mental status, Mark should be allowed to have extended time during tests and to type using a laptop if it is necessary. Also, he should be allowed to use multicultural resources which resonate with Hispanic culture.
His classmates should be educated on what is happening to Mark and the best ways to treat him so that he does not feel unwelcomed.
The school should create a collaborative environment which facilitates communication among the administration, general education teachers, gifted class teacher, and his parents to know the things that work in his favor and ones that does not.

Mark’s parents should always be updated over the phone or through notes on his class performances and general progress.
The principal should receive a regular weekly update on the student’s progress. Should any issue arise regarding the implementation of the action plan, he should be the first person to be informed (Korpershoek et al., 2016).

The rationale for the Action Plan
Special needs students should receive the necessary alternative activities, and expectations from them should always be flexible. According to Brown, 2015, Rodgers Memorial Hospital, an organization which supports students with special needs says that there are times when these students are not able to perform to the expectations of their teacher. Mark has a problem with his moods; there are times when he will not be able to participate in class or even write his exam well. Fixed expectations by his teachers will only worsen the situation.

Mark’s case requires a high level of collaborative communication in decision-making. Korpershoek et al. (2016), appreciates the fact that teachers perform best when they have autonomy and individualized decision-making. However, dealing with special needs students requires that teachers interact with one another to make the best decisions. Special and general education teachers must always consult with one another on the action plan and decide whether a change is necessary. From the case, it is evident that there is a lack of collaboration.

It is always important to maintain a dialogue with parents. Mark’s parents only learned about the issues from the student himself. Mrs. Stone only told Mark that he did not belong to the class but made no attempts to reach out to his parents. The principal too noticed that the student is always isolated at the classroom corner but did not involve the parents immediately until they called. There is a need for two-way information exchange between teachers and the parents (Espelage, Rose, & Polanin, 2015). While the teachers handle Mark when he is in school, the parents might know better ways of cheering him up. This collaborative relationship should be regular and limited to the conversation over the phone and notes.

Physical placement is another strategic intervention that benefits the special need students (Reinke et al., 2014). Mark’s main problem is with his changing moods. Therefore, he needs to feel socially welcome all the time to enhance his class participation. However, he is always isolated at the corner. He is also the only Hispanic student in the class. These are contributing factors to an ever dull mood in class. Furthermore, he does not show any sign of violence, and so, he should be at the middle or in front of the class.

Mark being the only Hispanic and mentally ill student in his class, he needs special treatments to perform in class. At the school where he goes, the teacher, Mrs. Stone has no special training and lacks collaborative communication skills. As a result, the student is always isolated and feels unwelcomed. An immediate action plan which spells out both short-term and long-term intervention goals is necessary. The action plan should aim at establishing a collaborative environment and effective communication between the teachers and the parents.

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