Recommendations and resources for special educators

The Minnesota Department of Education has issued eight primary recommendations for evaluating special education teachers under the teacher development and evaluation statute. The recommendations include the rationale and additional resources:

Because the TDE statute and state model include requirements that may be problematic in evaluating special education teachers, the MDE convened a group of special education teachers, low-incidence specialists and special education administrators to offer guidance.

The TDE requirements pose unique design and implementation challenges for special education teachers. Even the term “special education teacher” represents a diverse spectrum of instructional responsibilities and practices. For example, while some special education teachers work directly with students in a classroom environment, other special educators may not interact directly with children or may coordinate support systems for students with minimal student interaction.

The diversity of special educators’ roles led to several questions about model design and implementation, including the following:

  • How should student learning be measured for children with diverse needs?
  • What does student engagement look like in these settings?
  • What if a teacher does not have direct interactions with students?

The recommendations address these questions and more. They are designed to accompany the state model.

Resources

The state work group consulted the following resources as it prepared its recommendations: