High Quality Work: Claim 2

Channel View School for Research exceptional learners with special needs continue to demonstrate growth over time in the complexity of their writing.

All of our students at Channel View School for Research (CVSR) produce high quality work but we are especially proud of our exceptional learners. The majority of these students graduate with a Regents diploma, some even achieving mastery on their New York State (NYS) exams. They produce well-crafted, authentic writing that demonstrates their understanding of the key concepts of their course work and the connection to real-world issues. They revise their work, proofreading and typing final drafts, which demonstrates craftsmanship.

Exceptional learners receive additional support in Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes, where they have the continued support of more than one teacher. Co-Teachers also modify lessons and work with students as needed to ensure their success. Channel View teachers continue to go for professional development to support their exceptional learners in the classroom. In addition, all teachers of these exceptional learners meet to discuss their successes and struggles in order for these exceptional learners to achieve success. Teachers across the disciplines coordinate to develop the writing ability of our exceptional learners with disabilities. By the end of their high school careers, Channel View’s exceptional learners with special needs have spent four years with teachers who challenged them to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. These students may enter 9th grade with poor organizational and analysis skills, but by the time they graduate, they have developed into confident writers, able to clearly and effectively express their ideas.

“If children do not learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way they learn.”
- Dr. Kenneth Dunn

Channel View School for Research is also the home to two Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Programs: the ASD Nest and ASD Horizon Programs that work in collaboration with New York University (NYU). The ASD Nest Program serves students with autism in a classroom with general education students. Related service providers use Socially Development Intervention (SDI) to help students improve social functioning. Because of their hard work, combined with teacher support, all of our ASD Nest students have graduated with Regents diplomas. The ASD Horizon Program serves a maximum of eight students with autism. Related service providers work together with classroom teachers using Rethink lessons to address students’ communication and socialization challenges.

Our exceptional learners have shown growth over time in the complexity of their writing skills across the content areas, especially in social studies and English. The following case studies illustrate the progress made by two of our exceptional learners with disabilities over the course of their high school careers.


Exceptional Learner 1

Our first learner was a reluctant writer and needed a lot of prompting to complete more than a 4-5 sentence paragraph. He simplified ideas and did not use proper academic vocabulary. He had problems analyzing literature and writing 8-10 sentences responding to a prompt about a piece of literature. In the first piece, in the 10th grade, he is supposed to respond to a literary question from the play Antigone stating a claim and responding with two pieces of evidence from the text. You can see that he simply summarized events, writing four sentences, without a proper claim.

10th-Grade Writing Sample

In a team meeting, teachers met to discuss his writing and lack of analysis. In their discussion, the teachers decided to provide him with sentence starters and questions to help guide him in answering the prompt. His second piece, which was written in the 11th grade, shows his progression. He analyzes the short story “Fish Cheeks.” Here you can see how he has typed his final product and increased the amount he has written, but still fails to use academic vocabulary and relies on simplistic evidence.

11th-Grade Writing Sample

Although his analysis has greatly improved, he still had further to progress. During another team meeting, this time in 11th grade, teachers noticed he had the ability to answer the prompt, but still lacked analysis and evidence. At this point, teachers across the disciplines provided him with the acronym ICE-T (Introduce, Cite evidence, Explain evidence, Tie back to claim) in order to get more details, evidence, and analysis in his writing.

He improved his writing enough to get a 72 on his United States History exam, which includes two essays. Although he failed the English Regents in January and again in June, teachers were able to see the improvement in his writing, even though they knew he still needed further gains. The final piece of evidence is from 12th grade, where he had to analyze the short story “To Build a Fire.” Again, although only four paragraphs, his analysis is much stronger and incorporates academic vocabulary. He includes paraphrased evidence and is able to tie it back to his original claim.

12th-Grade Writing Sample

During a 12th grade team meeting, teachers again discussed the progress that he has made since the 10th grade and what the next steps for him could be. The team then decided to have him write two lines of explanation for every piece of evidence he uses as well as vary the way he incorporates evidence, such as to paraphrase in addition to using direct quotes. By the middle of 12th grade, this student was able to complete well-organized essays, on his own, with proper organization, that address the prompt with the use of text evidence. Although his language remained simplistic for the most part, he was able to incorporate academic vocabulary and became aware of the audience he was writing for.

This time, with all of these skills combined, he retook the English Regents in January and obtained an 80. His growth in his writing and complexity of ideas over time has vastly improved and has allowed him to gain success. His achievement is due to his perseverance, teacher and peer feedback, and revisions. His accomplishment shows a transfer of understanding based on use of complex texts as well as higher-level thinking.


Exceptional Learner 2

Our second exceptional learner is a student in our ASD Nest Program who had issues with staying focused, organization, and sentence structure. As a 9th-grader, he had a hard time figuring out how to even begin and would get frustrated easily. With the help of graphic organizers, a paraprofessional, plus peer and teacher feedback, this student went from short, hand-written, poorly organized essays to producing typed, well-organized essays. Although he has improved in his complexity of writing, he struggles with sentence variety and often sticks to short, simplistic sentences. However, his writing does contain higher-level vocabulary.

In the 9th grade during team meetings, teachers noticed his inability to stay focused and his socialization issues, which sometimes led to inappropriate comments. Channel View felt he would have better success staying on task with the support of a paraprofessional.  In the 10th grade, his work improved as well as his focus. The paraprofessional helped him organize his notebook and maintain a schedule so assignments were turned in on time. During 10th-grade team meetings, teachers worked together to find a way to help him organize his writing. They implemented the utilization of graphic organizers as well as having him underline information from the texts that he planned to use in his writing.  

Example 1: Grade 10 Graphic Organizer

The first writing sample was a persuasive speech, in which students were supposed to argue for or against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Although he had good ideas that were supported with facts and citations from non-fiction articles, his essay was not well-organized and lacks a persuasive format.

Example 2: Grade 10 Writing Sample (ASD Nest)

In 11th grade, with further use of graphic organizers, he had to prepare for the English Regents, which requires two different types of writing: argument and rhetorical.  Here, he was introduced to a number of acronyms to format his essays, such as “CRACC”ing (Claim, Reasoning, Acknowledge Counterclaim) the code, to create a focused introduction paragraph and draw the proper information. This student’s progression was accomplished with the use of peer and teacher feedback, acronyms, graphic organizers, and a paraprofessional to keep him on task. The student achieved an 84 on his English Regents.

When his teachers met as a team in 12th grade, we concluded that he no longer needed a paraprofessional to stay on task and that he had shown major progression in his writing. As a senior, he has demonstrated higher-ordered thinking by executing a more precise piece of writing. His Grade 12 sample essay is well organized, incorporates evidence, and utilizes proper academic vocabulary.

Example 3: Grade 12 Writing Sample (ASD Nest)