Maximizing Access and Learning for Students with Complex Instructional Needs
In July of 2014, the Bucks County Intermediate unit #22 was awarded a grant by the Pennsylvania Department of education to participate in Project Max, an exciting initiative designed to increase the IU's ability to provide all students, including those with complex instructional needs, with maximum access to the general education curriculum.
Project Max is coordinated by a diverse team of IU stakeholders, including supervisors, teachers, instructional coaches, and parents. The team participates in monthly professional development sessions focused on developing a culture of shared ownership, having high expectations for all students, visionary leadership, effective skillful educators, and engaged families and communities.
The IU's Project Max instructional coach, Karen Zuccaro, provides support in two IU classrooms in the Bensalem School District. Sandra Derrico-Saletnik in the Robert K. Shaffer Middle School teaches an Autistic Support classroom comprised of seven students in grades seven and eight. The second classroom, taught by Virginia Bevilacqua and located in Belmont Hills Elementary School, is also an Autistic Support classroom with eight students in grades four through six. The teachers in both classrooms, with the support of the internal coach and the Project Max team, have implemented new instructional strategies and utilized evidenced-based instructional materials and resource to increase learning opportunities for all students. These learning opportunities are cnetered on providing exemplary instruction to students with complex instructional needs through meaningful assessment and rigorous curriculum that aligns with the Pennsylvania Core Standards. This is our first year in Project Max and we are delighted to be part of such a successful program. Our teachers, students, support staff and supervisors are all benefiting from the thoughtful training and practice involved in making the philosophy of Project Max come to life in our Bensalem IU classrooms. We look forward to expanding the project's reach over the next two years by expanding IU's participation in the project.