The curriculum chosen for this analysis is the Functional Skills Special Day Class (SDC) offered by the Clovis Unified School District. It will be analyzed using the principles of Universal Design instruction (UDI). The program is offered for students with disabilities whose needs cannot be accommodated by the general curriculum utilized in the school district. It serves as a special education program that allows students to attend and progress through an educational institution following an adapted curriculum (Clovis Unified School District, n.d.). In this report, I will use UDI principles to investigate the curriculum in its application.
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The SDC program is adapted in every school in the district, starting from kindergarten. It is meant to accommodate students with various physical and mental disabilities, which cannot fulfill the general school curriculum. The program takes an individual approach to each student in order to encompass their specific learning needs. The district views this program as an integral part of its special education curriculum, which, unlike other programs, is an encompassing daily experience for students with disabilities.
Flexibility in Use
The program is flexible and adaptable in all its aspects. In elementary schools is designed for small groups and individualized instruction. Meanwhile, in later years, it is adapted so that students are able to complete the required number of credits for graduation. The program focuses on student development and fulfilling objectives in the areas of Functional Academics, Occupational Guidance, Daily Living, and Personal Social Skills (Clovis Unified District, n.d.). In addition, the program offers an alternative curriculum that seeks to prepare students for the real world through the acquisition of social skills and knowledge to be able to function freely.
Simple and Intuitive Use
The SDC program is not simple to understand and has its complexities. That is because it inherently shifts in approach as the student transitions from the elementary school level to the intermediate classes. In addition, the divide which seeks to offer an alternative curriculum with a separate certificate of completion may be confusing to students and parents involved in the program. It emphasizes the progression of students to achieve curriculum targets at a rate comfortable to them, which may create dysfunction in the SDC classrooms as the instructors would be torn attempting to accommodate individual student needs.
Unfortunately, not much information is available to the public about the instructional methodology of the program. However, it is known that the students’ learning process regarding their progress on individual objectives, and the general curriculum is closely monitored. The information is consistently communicated and coordinated with proper administration and oversight departments. There is also frequent communication with parents to discuss the academic and social progress of the students with disabilities in order to find an adaptable approach to instruction.
Tolerance for Error
There is very little tolerance for error in the implementation of the program since the students are disabled. There are strict guidelines and laws which must be followed in all aspects of instruction, from the introduction to the program to educational material to evaluation. It is a complicated process since each student’s individualized education program must be considered in the formulation of activities and instructional material. If proper guidelines are not followed, there may be detrimental effects on the students’ safety or development, which leaves the instructor and district liable for damages.
Low Physical Effort
The program requires a lot of effort from the district and instructors to accommodate. Instructors must be prepared to adopt the state curriculum used by the district to a classroom environment in a manner that would be appropriate for handicapped students. The focus of the program on skill sets and some vocational training requires significant physical effort to make the learning environment appropriate and safe for this type of instruction.
Size and Space for Approach and Use
The size of this program is considerably large, considering it is present in most schools in the district. As any education program expands, it requires more structure and management of the curriculum in order to accommodate the unique circumstances, students, and resources that each school has. Therefore, classroom space also comes into play as the program requires separate facilities to accommodate students with disabilities and alternative skills training that it offers.
The SDC curriculum program only covers a portion of the UDI principles. While it is a step in the right direction for the school district, it is unclear whether the program is able to serve the function it should for special education students. As a curriculum, it should continuously grow and develop based on these principles in order to evolve its instructional capabilities, strategies, or facilities (Burgstahler, n.d.). There are no established standards for educational aspects such as the class climate, interaction with students, and delivery methods of instruction. It is also unclear whether the program can accommodate students with severe disabilities or integrate them into a group or social activity. Overall, the SDC program requires more structure to its instructional approach.
Burgstahler, S. (n.d.). Universal Design of Instruction (UDI): Definition, principles, guidelines, and examples. Web.
Clovis Unified School District. (n.d.). Secondary programs. Web.