common core-students-special needs

New Common Core resource aids students with special needs

Free Common Core resource for educators emphasizes that special needs students can’t be left behind

common core-students-special needsOne of the best non-profits for the advancement of education technology has developed a new, free Common Core website for educators that offers customizable resources to improve teaching and learning for struggling students and those with disabilities.

The website’s–PowerUp WHAT WORKS–materials focus on four key areas, including evidence-based practices, Common Core State Standards, technology in schools and classrooms, and personalization of learning through Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and differentiated instruction. Read more about the four key areas.

“In schools across the country, administrators and teachers are concerned about students’ ability to successfully meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), especially struggling students and those with disabilities,” said the website. “Although the CCSS mention the value and potential benefit of technology for students with disabilities, there are few places to turn to for reliable information, curated resources, guidance, and support.”

(Next page: Resources available on PowerUp)

According to Tracy Gray, managing director of Education for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), PowerUp has been developed and field tested over the past four years by a team of educators and researchers with expertise in professional development, special education, curriculum development and research.

“Our goal is to provide evidence-based practices that support teachers, professional development coordinators, and school leaders in the delivery of high quality instruction, supported by technology to enhance teaching and learning for all students,” she explained.”

PowerUp is comprehensive, addressing both instructional issues within classrooms and broader organizational issues in schools. It provides valuable information for leaders and administrators to support effective school-wide technology implementation.

The website was developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts in education, technology, differentiated instruction, UDL, and special education at the Center for Technology Implementation, operated by AIR in collaboration with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST).

AIR is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. Its goal is to use the most effective ideas and approaches to enhance everyday life in the areas of education, assessment, human development, international development, and work development.

What you can find on the website

1. Instructional strategy guides: The Strategy Guides provide educators with information on how to use and differentiate evidence-based instructional strategies with technology aligned with the Common Core. At present, there are ten English Language Arts (ELA) topics and seven Math topics.

Navigation for the Strategy Guides allows educators to explore:

  • Overview: A brief introduction with an accompanying slide show
  • Common Core State Standards: Relevant standards that align to evidence-based practice in ELA or math
  • Teach With Tech: Evidence-based practices, recommendations for technology enhancements, and suggestions for differentiating instruction
  • Lessons in Action: Descriptions of classrooms where teaching and learning exemplifies the use of UDL and differentiated instruction
  • Multimedia: Slide shows and Quick Views
  • Supporting Research: Relevant research with citations and brief annotations
  • PD Support Materials: Includes directions and handouts to promote collaborative learning

2. Tech Matters—the PowerUp Blog: Return again and again to find frequently updated technology information about trends, free apps, school-wide initiatives, ways to personalize instruction, and how to be a technology leader. Educators can learn how to maximize limited technology funds and resources.

(Next page: How to integrate tech and the implementation process)

3. Make Tech Happen: Find additional information on innovative ways to integrate technology in the classroom and implement technology school-wide in this section:

  • In Your Classroom: Find grab-and-go resources and research briefs illustrating ways to enhance classroom teaching through technology.
  • In Your School: Explore the Technology Implementation Practice Guide. Aligned to the guide are leadership support materials to assist school-wide technology planning.

4. Technology Implementation Practice Guide: The Technology Implementation Practice Guide meets educators where they are in their school-wide implementation process. It addresses questions such as:

  • Who is involved in the implementation process?
  • Who else needs to be on your school Leadership Team?
  • How do you budget for everything related to technology and the ripple effect (e.g., Internet access, upgrades, funding for apps)?
  • How do you make decisions about launching initiatives such as BYOD; One-to-One Computing; and using Chromebooks, Tablets, and mobile devices?
  • How do you support your teachers as they strive to integrate technology in classrooms? What kind of professional learning really makes a difference for struggling students?

5. PD Facilitator’s Guide: The Guide provides step-by-step guidance for PD leaders to use and customize the materials across a range of settings (e.g., workshops, team meetings, coaching sessions), including:

To get started in the PowerUp WHAT WORKS, visit:

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Meris Stansbury

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.