Technical Assistance Manual

Behavioral Support Root Cause Analysis Workbook

Research over the past three decades has identified a variety of educational equity issues such as discipline. Specifically, discipline along with other outcomes (e.g., attendance, credit accumulation) appears to operate as predictors of high school graduation and involvement with juvenile justice systems. Thus, Metro Center has developed this workbook as a means to assist school districts to conduct a root cause analysis of their discipline outcomes in relation to behavioral support systems. The core analysis framework is to examine disproportionate representation. In other words, the over-representation of a specific groups in behavioral areas relative to the presence of this group in the overall student population.

 An Equity Lens for Early Warning Systems: Monthly Calendar for Data Teams

The purpose of this monthly calendar is to provide a starting point for asking equity questions during the data analysis process. Schools and districts are in need to develop data systems as well as conduct analyses of this data. However there is little guidance as to what questions to ask of data as well as what to do with the answers. Our intent with this monthly calendar is to ensure equity questions are non-negotiables in this process. Additionally our perspective within this monthly calendar includes an understanding that there are various points in the educational process in which racial/ethnic minority, low-income and linguistically diverse populations are not receiving an equitable opportunity, thus the analysis questions that are posed are not only to monitor academic and behavioral outcomes early enough but also as an early warning or monitoring as to whether the educational process is equitable and accessible.

Equity in Education: Addressing racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education

The Equity in Education manual is intended to provide school districts with detailed data-driven processes for identifying the root causes of disproportionality in their district and ensure equitable outcomes. This manual is the culmination of over 1,000 hours of training with over 900 practitioners throughout New York State from 2004 to 2008. A major premise of the modules involves understanding disproportionality as an outcome of policies, practices, and beliefs. At the end of this data-driven process, school districts will be able to identify policies, practices, and beliefs implicated in their disproportionality patterns and, more importantly, develop systemwide buy-in and perspective of this equity issue.

Promising Practice Briefs

RTI, Disproportionality and Promising Practices: A Three-Part Article

The TAC-D staff recently published with the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) a three-part series on RTI and Urban Schools. The first article provides a landscape of the challenges faced by urban schools that complicate the effective implementation of RTI. The second article considers the cultural dimensions that are pivotal in RTI implementation in urban school environments. And finally, the third article provides examples of promising practice occurring in urban schools.

Article 1: Framing Urban School Challenges: The Problems to Examine When Implementing RTI
Article 2: Cultural Adaptations When Implementing RTI in Urban Settings
Article 3: Promising Examples of RTI Practices for Urban Schools

Addressing Disproportionality Through the Creation of Culturally Responsive Problem-Solving Teams

Questions about structures that support equitable outcomes for students are answered differently from district to district given the specific local context. One consistent theme, however, in our work with districts related to our technical assistance is the effort to identify methods for schools to support and develop culturally responsive problem-solving teams. 

Identifying the Root Causes of Disproportionality

A citation for disproportionality does not necessarily mean a district is intentionally producing inequitable outcomes. Oftentimes, as the root causes of a district's disproportionality are explored, it becomes clear that existing beliefs, policies, and practices have unintentionally created the environment for inequity to thrive. One theory that explains this occurrence is fragmented harm (Payne, 1984), which implies that inequality is sustained because either opportunities that can be provided are not or systems of inequality go unchallenged or unquestioned (Pollock, 2010). Thus, a key first step in understanding a district's root causes of disproportionality is questioning how practitioners either contribute to or help sustain disparate outcomes in practice. While exploring the root causes of disproportionality, it is important to be mindful of the tensions you may feel when trying to understand and address racialized outcomes in practice.

Racial Disproportionality and Legal Compliance in Special Education

There are three important laws that shape the delivery of special education in the United States. Collectively, the three laws dictate a nondiscrimination framework for students with disabilities in attempts to provide equitable outcomes for all students, both non-classified and classified. Despite the presence of these laws, inequities persist.

Racial disproportionality in special education is pervasive in the American educational system and has persisted for decades (Skiba et al., 2008). It is characterized by a racialized disparate impact in access to educational opportunity, high-quality interventions, and educational services in special education. 

Distinguishing Difference from Disability: The Common Causes of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education

This Equity In Action is intended to provide educators and researchers with the most comprehensive, praxis-oriented information on identifying and reducing disproportionality in schools. Over the course of developing and piloting a data-driven process (2004-2010) for identifying root causes, we’ve gained insight into not only the root causes but also the driving forces (internal and external to district) of these root causes. Our data driven root cause process focused on examining various areas of the schooling process in order to understand the interaction of school practice (inputs) and student outcomes.

 Academic Interventions for Struggling Learners

Academic Interventions for Struggling Learners brief addresses the purpose of instructional support teams, elements of culturally responsive instruction and provide resources for response to interventions.


Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Strategies

Culturally Responsive Classroom Management Strategiesbrief addresses the essential elements of creating culturally responsive context and ways in which teachers can implement strategies in their classrooms.

 Culturally Responsive Differientiated Instruction Strategies  
Culturally Responsive Differentiated Instruction brief addresses what is differientiated instruction and how it applies teaching and learning for diverse learners. Not all students are alike and they learn on multiple levels. Differentiated Instruction recognizes student's varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning, and interests, and assists teachers in knowing how to differentiate instruction given these various learning areas. This brief provides information on the principles of differentiated instruction and resources.  

Data Analysis Workbook

  Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education provides basic quantitative methods used to explore disproportionality. It demonstrates how to use a set of district data with the most common formulas for uncovering possible instances of disproportionality as well as examine and interpret the results of the formulas. Download the Powerpoint, Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education to use with the workbook.

Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education
The Powerpoint provides a clear defination of disproportionality, how it's measured, as well as an overview of how to use the data analysis workbook. To use the powerpoint you must download the Data Analysis Workbook.