District Curriculum Accommodation Plan

The Melrose Public Schools’ District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) is designed to assist administrators, teachers, and other staff in ensuring that all possible efforts have been made to meet students’ needs in general education classrooms and to support teachers in analyzing and accommodating diverse learning styles of all children that may be present in a school. Led by the building principal, staff at each school collaborates on best practices in order to ensure that adequate instructional strategies and supports are available for both student and staff. The DCAP is directly connected to procedures that are currently in place to strengthen and improve the general education program for the benefit of all students, not solely or specifically for special education.

The Melrose Public Schools’ DCAP is a comprehensive one that includes the following components:

  • Building based Massachusetts Tiered System of Support/Instructional Support Teams that meet on a regular basis and provides general education teachers the opportunity to collaboratively work together to find accommodations and interventions to meet the needs of students. Consult with specialists who can provide important information and expertise to the general education teacher are a common part of the MTSS/IST meeting. Parents are often an important part of the process as well. Establishing home/school connections is a strategy that is often implemented as a result of referral to the team.
  • Our schools employ the services of many specialists for the purpose of assisting students who need extra support. Careful assessment and remediation is planned. Collaboration with the general education teacher is an important component of the success of this collaboration.
  • Melrose Public Schools provides a Mentoring Program for all Year One and Year Two educators. Year One staff participates in a yearlong Induction Program as well as work with a veteran teacher on a one to one basis. Year Two educators work in small groups with a Mentor who provides more focused and personal guidance regarding instructional strategies and classroom management.
  • Professional Development is an important part of our district goals providing all staff with an opportunity to collaborate during the day and during early releases and to participate in workshops both within the district and at regional and statewide meetings and conferences. A wide array of topics ranging from instructional and behavioral strategies for special populations to current trends in curriculum and assessment to state regulations may be covered in these professional development offerings.
  • Ongoing academic support is available at the building level through before and after school programs and options. These opportunities are provided by Title I, METCO, grants to the individual schools, or by individual teachers. The goal of these programs is to increase the skills and confidence of our students so they can successfully apply their knowledge to classroom and real life situations.
  • All staff may provide individual accommodations to students on an as-needed basis and specific to the content or situation. This document includes curriculum accommodations for elementary, middle, and high school. The DCAP includes suggestions for accommodating concerns regarding academic progress as well as strategies and interventions designed to resolve social and behavioral issues. While it lists best practices, sample strategies and other actions from which the teachers and collaborating staff may select for appropriate accommodations for individual students, in no way does the DCAP limit the accommodations that staff may choose to implement in order to meet a student’s needs.

The DCAP is intended to address various strategies at each level that will help achieve that objective, including:

  • Accommodations to address various students’ learning needs, including students who are English Language Learners, At Risk, Title I, Special Education, or Gifted and Talented and to manage student’s behavior effectively.
  • Support services that are available to students through the general education program, including services to address the needs of students whose behavior may interfere with learning.
  • Direct and systematic reading and math instruction for all students.

Melrose High School

Resources, Structures, and Services

The following resources, structures, and services have been designed to meet the diverse learning needs of students at Melrose High School. Additionally, the building based Massachusetts Tiered System of Support/Instructional Support Team provides a systematic and collaborative approach to identifying and addressing individual student needs.

Academic

  • MCAS Support Program provides focused academic support for students identified as needing additional preparation or remediation for these tests.
  • All MCAS test administrations are untimed. Since any student may be given additional time beyond the scheduled test administration session, additional time is not considered an MCAS accommodation. However, no single test session may extend beyond the end of the regular school day, and any single test session must be completed on the same day in which it begins. Students taking the English language Arts (ELA) Composition test must complete two sessions (Session A and B) in one day.
  • Common student and organization skills are taught across the curriculum in Grade 9 classes where students frequently struggle with homework completion and organization. These classes also make frequent use of communication-with-home protocols.
  • Homework Center is available to all students after school.
  • Tutoring provided by National Honor Society students is available upon request.
  • Teachers are available regularly before school and after school.
  • The Athletic Department provides close support for athletes who fall below a C- average.
  • The district’s database, ASPEN, provides access for parents and students so that they may track student performance.
  • Teachers post work assignments via Aspen, Twitter, or websites.
  • An ELL teacher works with English Language Learners both in the classroom and in small group settings. • Selected classes participate in an inclusion model with a special education staff member present.
  • All students are provided with assignment planners.
  • Provide access to Advanced Placement courses in core academic areas as appropriate.
  • Use blended and other virtual courses to provide access to other content for both remediation and acceleration.

Behavior/Social/Emotional

  • An alternative program within the high school is designed for students who struggle with attending school or attending class regularly.
  • Use of Naviance by the Guidance department helps students better understand individual learning styles.
  • The Melrose High School anti-bullying curriculum is embedded into all curricula and enforced across all settings.

Teacher Teaming/ Support

  • Structured and informal interdepartmental collaboration enables staff to share strategies, curricula materials, and other resources.
  • On-going professional development regularly addresses issues that support student learning, such as backward planning, use of student centered technology and strategies for differentiated and tiered instruction.
  • Teachers use the collaboration time to discuss best practices, curriculum and assessment,
  • and student needs.

Routinely Used Instructional Strategies

In addition to the options for individual accommodations that are available to all Melrose students, teachers make routine use of the following strategies as part of their commitment to good instruction. It should be noted that the strategies listed below might not be appropriate for all instructional ages.

Design Lessons for Clarity

  • Share lesson goals with students each day.
  • Check for student progress in relation to lesson goals during or at the end of lesson/unit.
  • Provide a daily agenda to students.
  • Plan lessons with student performance and enduring understandings as objectives.
  • Identify essential questions students should be able to answer at the end of the lesson or unit.
  • Identify key vocabulary and repeat that vocabulary often during a lesson.
  • Provide students with regular opportunities to engage actively in instruction.
  • Check for understanding frequently.
  • Incorporate opportunities for student movement into lessons when appropriate.
  • Incorporate “wait time” into lessons.
  • Preview new concepts.

Address Assessment Issues

  • Clarify directions or questions.
  • Provide visual and auditory directions.
  • Evaluate student understanding using multiple formats.
  • Teach and practice test-taking strategies when deemed appropriate by the teacher.
  • Grant short breaks during testing and lessons (when the integrity of the lesson or test is not in jeopardy).

Build a Context for Material

  • Make content relevant to students.
  • Make available examples of finished products.
  • Use a familiar context when introducing concepts.
  • Have student identify key information and main ideas.
  • Relate lesson parts to the whole.

Model Strategies

  • Use schematics and/or graphic organizers to highlight relationships.
  • Provide study tools and/or teach students to make study tools when deemed appropriate by teacher.

Provide Added Supports

  • Teach note-taking strategies when deemed appropriate by teacher.
  • Provide a word bank with key vocabulary, words and visuals when deemed appropriate by teacher.
  • Provide varied opportunities for student practice.
  • Provide uncluttered workspaces. Allow scrap paper with lines and ample room, especially on tests, for uncluttered computation.
  • Provide timely feedback (when not constrained by external factors).
  • Allow checklists for multi-step tasks.
  • Provide opportunities for student revision when deemed appropriate by teacher.
  • Provide technological accommodations when possible, such as word processors and computer accessibility features.

Establish Routines that Support Learning

  • Provide preferential seating for students who appear distracted.
  • Develop a system of non-verbal cues for class attention.
  • Use consistent and familiar routines.
  • Provide students with opportunities to problem solve individually or in small teams and share their thinking out loud with others.
  • Communicate regularly with special education personnel.
  • Explicitly tie the lesson to main idea of previous lesson and/or to the overall unit.

Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School

Resources, Structures, and Services

The following resources, structures, and services have been designed to meet the diverse learning needs of students at MVMMS. Additionally, the building based MTSS/ Instructional Support Team provides a systematic and collaborative approach to identifying and addressing individual student needs.

Academic

  • An ELL teacher works with English Language Learners both in the classroom and in small group settings.
  • Selected classes participate in an inclusion model with a special education staff member present.
  • Skills Plus provides academic tutorials, homework support and study skills development for regular education students in need of services.
  • MCAS Remediation is provided periodically and as needed during the school year.
  • Teacher supervised Homework Club is open after school on a regular basis for students needing additional support.
  • Student organizational issues are addressed by instructional teams within the class as well as on a pullout basis when needed.
  • The Middle School schedule incorporates planned opportunities for enrichment, enhancement, and extension.
  • All students are provided with an academic planner.
  • Provide “Challenge” course as part of students’ schedule for those identified as gifted and talented. Use instructional strategies such as literature circle, deepening quality of writing assignments, independent assignments, and opportunities for extensive problem solving that meet the needs of the students.
  • Use blended and other virtual courses to provide access to other content for both remediation and acceleration.

Behavioral/Social/Emotional

  • Behavior plans are coordinated with teachers, adjustment counselors and Instructional Support Team members.
  • Individual/dyad counseling sessions target individual issues.
  • An Anti-bullying Task Force has been established to address issues of bullying and cyber-bullying and anti-bullying curricula is in place at all three grade levels.

Teacher Teaming/Support

  • The middle school is structured using grade level teams to facilitate collaboration around student issues and curriculum development. Periodic time is allotted for teacher collaboration and planning.
  • On-going professional development frequently addresses issues that support student performance in academic, social, and emotional areas.
  • Teachers make frequent use of professional learning networks both within and outside of the district to share ideas, strategies, and curriculum.

Routinely Used Instructional Strategies

In addition to the pre-referral options open to Melrose students, teachers throughout the district make routine use of the following strategies as part of their commitment to good instruction. It should be noted that the strategies listed below might not be appropriate for all instructional ages.

Design Lessons for Clarity

  • Share lesson goals with students each day and check on progress towards those goals at the end of the lesson.
  • Provide a daily agenda to students.
  • Plan lessons with student performance and enduring understandings as objectives.
  • Check for understanding frequently.
  • Incorporate opportunities for student movement into lessons.
  • Incorporate “wait time” into lessons.
  • Preview new concepts.

Address Assessment Issues

  • Teach and practice test-taking strategies and anticipate test formats when appropriate.
  • Clarify directions or questions.
  • Have student paraphrase directions and questions as needed.
  • Provide visual and auditory directions.
  • Use timers/time reminders to help students pace themselves if timing is an issue.
  • Allow extended time for assessments when appropriate, up to time and a half.
  • All MCAS test administrations are untimed. Since any student may be given additional time beyond the scheduled test administration session, additional time is not considered an MCAS accommodation. However, no single test session may extend beyond the end of the regular school day, and any single test session must be completed on the same day in which it begins. Students taking the English Language Arts (ELA) Composition test must complete two sessions (Session A and B) in one day.
  • Evaluate student understanding using multiple formats.
  • Allow credit or time extension on incomplete nightly homework if time spent exceeds grade level maximum; parents must note and sign homework when the maximum time expectation has been reached.

Build a Context for Material

  • Make content relevant to students.
  • Show examples of the finished product (exemplars).
  • Use a familiar context when introducing concepts.
  • Preview vocabulary.
  • Have student identify key information and main ideas.
  • Relate lesson parts to the whole.

Model Strategies

  • Use graphic organizers to highlight relationship.
  • Model use of highlighting and color coding to help retention (visual memory) and to accentuate patterns.
  • Use “think alouds” and other metacognitive strategies.
  • Provide study tools and/or teach students to make study tools.

Provide Added Supports

  • Teach note-taking strategies when appropriate.
  • Provide templates/graphic organizers when appropriate.
  • Provide a word bank with key vocabulary, words and visuals when appropriate.
  • Reformat handouts to provide space for students to write when appropriate.
  • Provide checklists for multi-step tasks, when appropriate.
  • Provide opportunities for learning and study strategies that incorporate the use of highlighters and post-it notes, etc. for class use.
  • Provide varied opportunities for student practice. • Provide graph paper and encourage students to use it in order to keep the numbers or letters in line when appropriate.
  • Provide uncluttered workspaces. Allow scrap paper with lines and ample room, especially on tests, for uncluttered computation.
  • Provide timely feedback with opportunities for student revision.
  • Access to a second set of notes when needed as determined by teacher and student.
  • Provide technological accommodations when possible, such as word processors and computer accessibility features.
  • Students will be granted short breaks during lessons and testing as long as the integrity of the lesson or test is not compromised.

Establish Routines that Support Learning

  • Provide preferential seating for students who appear distracted.
  • Develop a system of non-verbal cues for redirecting and refocusing students.
  • Use consistent and familiar routines.
  • Provide students with opportunities to problem solve individually or in small teams and to share their thinking out loud with others.

Melrose Elementary Schools

Resources, Structures, and Services

The following resources, structures, and services have been designed to meet the diverse learning needs of students at the five elementary schools. Additionally, the building based Instructional Support Team in each building provides a systematic and collaborative approach to identifying and addressing individual student academic and behavioral needs.

Academic

  • General Education staff, special education staff, and academic intervention specialists provide tiered support in reading and math.
  • Selected classes participate in an inclusion model with a special education staff member present.
  • All literacy blocks include task centers and flexible, small groups for instruction.
  • Before school and after school assistance is offered when possible.
  • Special Education liaisons consult frequently with regular classroom teachers regarding curricula delivery and individual student needs.
  • An ELL teacher works with English Language Learners both in the classroom and on a pull-out basis. This teacher also works to support regular education teachers in lesson design and delivery.
  • Pre-testing and post-testing is used to inform flexible grouping.
  • Use of instructional strategies such as reciprocal teaching, deepening quality of writing assignments, and opportunities for extensive problem solving that meet the needs of the students identified as gifted and talented.

Behavioral/Social/Emotional

  • Counseling/Social Skills Groups focus on developmental topics.
  • Consultative services regarding challenging behaviors at school are provided to the classroom teacher by the BCBA.
  • Individual behavior intervention plans are coordinated with teachers, adjustment counselors, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and the Instructional Support Team members.
  • Individual/small group counseling sessions target individual student issues.

Routinely Used Instructional Strategies

In addition to the pre-referral options open to Melrose students, teachers throughout the district make routine use of the following strategies as part of their commitment to good instruction. It should be noted that the strategies listed below may not be appropriate for all instructional settings or for all learning objectives.

Design Lessons for Clarity

  • Share lesson goals with students each day and check on progress towards those goals at the end of the lesson.
  • Provide a daily agenda to students.
  • Identify key vocabulary and repeat that vocabulary often during a lesson.
  • Provide students with regular opportunities to engage actively in instruction.
  • Check for understanding frequently.
  • Incorporate opportunities for student movement into lessons.
  • Incorporate “wait time” into lessons.
  • Preview new concepts.

Address Assessment Issues

  • Teach and practice test-taking strategies and anticipate test formats when appropriate.
  • Clarify directions or questions.
  • Have student paraphrase directions and questions as needed.
  • Provide visual and auditory directions.
  • Use timers/time reminders to help students pace themselves if timing is an issue.
  • Allow extended time for assessments when appropriate.
  • All MCAS test administrations are untimed. Since any student may be given additional time beyond the scheduled test administration session, additional time is not considered an MCAS accommodation. However, no single test session may extend beyond the end of the regular school day, and any single test session must be completed on the same day in which it begins. Students taking the English
  • Language Arts (ELA) Composition test must complete two sessions (Session A and B) in one day.
  • Evaluate student understanding using multiple formats.

Build a Context for Material

  • Make content relevant to students.
  • Show examples of the finished product (exemplars).
  • Use a familiar context when introducing concepts.
  • Preview vocabulary.
  • Have student identify key information and main ideas.
  • Relate lesson parts to the whole.

Model Strategies

  • Use graphic organizers to highlight relationships.
  • Model use of highlighting and color coding to help retention (visual memory) and to accentuate patterns when appropriate.
  • Use “think alouds” and other metacognitive strategies.
  • Provide study tools and/or teach students to make study tools.

Provide Added Supports

  • Teach note-taking strategies when appropriate.
  • Provide templates/graphic organizers when appropriate.
  • Provide a word bank with key vocabulary, words and visuals when appropriate.
  • Reformat handouts to provide space for students to write when appropriate.
  • Provide checklists for multi-step tasks when appropriate.
  • Provide opportunities for learning and study strategies that incorporate the use of highlighters and post-it notes, etc. for class use.
  • Provide varied opportunities for student practice.
  • Provide graph paper and encourage students to use it in order to keep the numbers or letters in line when appropriate.
  • Provide uncluttered workspaces. Allow scrap paper with lines and ample room, especially on tests, for uncluttered computation.
  • Provide timely feedback with opportunities for student revision.
  • Provide technological accommodations when possible, such as word processors, computer accessibility features, and Kurzweil.

Establish Routines that Support Learning

  • Provide preferential seating for students who appear distracted.
  • Develop a system of non-verbal cues for class attention.
  • Use consistent and familiar routines.
  • Provide students with opportunities to problem solve individually or in small groups.

Components of this document were adapted from “Mitigative Strategies” http://www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dyscalcula.html and from publications by Education Development Center, Inc. 2007