Teachers in self contained classrooms face real challenges when writing lesson plans. We need to be conscious of our obligations to the IEP's and also, at the same time align our objectives to state standards. That is doubly true, if your students are going to participate in your state's high stakes tests.
Here in Nevada, we are among the 48 states and territories who have adopted the Common Core State Standards. We have adopted English Language Art this year and Math through grade 5. Special Educators are also responsible for providing students with FAPE, a free and appropriate public education. This legal requirement implies that students who are best served in a self contained special education classroom need to be given as much access as possible to the general education curriculum. State standards are the minimum curricular requirements of the state, and as teachers of record in special education classrooms, we are required to provide access to the general education curriculum.
The challenge is that many of our students aren't able to succeed on grade level, especially those students who are placed even part of the day in a self contained setting. With children on the autism spectrum that is complicated by the fact that some children actually can be successful on the high stakes test, and with the right kind of support, get a regular diploma from high school.
In many settings, such as mine, students may have fallen behind academically because their teachers have not been able teach the general education curriculum, either because of student's behavior or because the teachers does not have enough experience with the breadth of the general education curriculum. We are obligated to give them as much of the general education curriculum as possible.