Middle School Services: LEVELS Program
Grade(s): 6, 7, and 8Overview
The LEVELS program provides a highly-structured setting for students who have found it difficult to adapt successfully to the general education program. Most often, these students have significant learning issues coupled with behavioral and emotional issues that impact them in both the home and school community. This program develops highly individualized contracts between the student, special education teacher and parents allowing for greater success in the general education classroom. Students spend the majority of their day in the general education classroom supported by a special education teacher or tutor with the exception of one period for academic support, two daily meeting periods, and the option for a change of setting for the day as situations arise.
The LEVELS program seeks to accomplish three goals. First, it establishes a strong sense of community or caring among students, staff, teachers and parents. Second, it enables students to develop a strong sense of competency and helps them discover that they have the responsibility and inherent power to make positive choices. Third, it provides academic challenges and high expectations for students, grounded on unconditional positive regard for them as individuals.Staffing
The LEVELS program is staffed by a full-time Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education certified special education teacher with a background in behavioral modification and issues surrounding adolescence. The program is supervised by an on-site special education administrator who works closely with the faculty to ensure student achievement. Professional development and training are provided for all staff on an ongoing basis. Curriculum
Although LEVELS is highly structured and supervised, it provides for individualized programming. The core of the program is a daily meeting period usually scheduled in the morning. This meeting addresses issues concerning students, school activities, and conflicts about rules and academic assignments. Individual contracts are assessed and monitored on a daily basis.
In addition to the daily meeting, one period each day is scheduled to enable students participating in the inclusion classrooms to start or work on homework, long-term projects, or to discuss social/behavioral issues. This class reinforces the behavioral structures and contracts provided in the morning meeting as well as focuses on academic assignments.
The third structured meeting time is at the end of the day. During this meeting, the daily contract is checked and individualized reinforcers are provided for those whose contracts stipulate that level of intervention.
A student's individual progress or issues may warrant a change in the structure and support for that student for that day. For example, a student may have an environmental problem (e.g., home based, bus incident) or a physical problem (e.g., missed medications, seizures) that requires the student to remain in the assigned LEVELS classroom with an assigned staff member until the issue can be resolved. In these situations, academic instruction is provided in the LEVELS classroom. Services
In addition to the direct services described, there are indirect, transition, and specialist services available to students in the LEVELS program. The range of services varies widely depending on a student's individualized needs. The type and frequency of service are decided at the Team meeting.
- Monitoring and consultation to parents and general education teachers
- Consultation may be provided by a special educator, speech and language pathologist, occupational or physical therapist, social worker, or psychologist
- Coordination of instructional services
- Development of behavioral modifications and accommodations
- Co-planning with the general education teachers
- Participation in collaborative team meetings
- IEP preparation
Related services assist a child with a disability in benefiting from special education and to reach their IEP goals and objectives. The related services that students may receive include:
- Adaptive Physical Education
- Assistive Technology
- Behavior Therapy
- Hearing/Audiology Services
- Health Services
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Social Skills/Pragmatics Instruction
- Specialized Transportation
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Vision/Orientation and Mobility Services
The special education faculty is extensively involved in the transition process between receiving and sending teachers. There is particular attention paid to the transition from middle to high school. The IEP team works with the family and the student to address common concerns about going to high school. These often include: "getting lost in the system," formulating a new team, feeling part of the high school, communicating effectively with teachers, choosing classes, accessing supports and social concerns regarding driving, dating, and making new friends. Members of the high school receiving team play a critical role in the process and accordingly, attend transition meetings.