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Starting the School Year Off
Building Self-Determination Skills

2016 Self Determination Youth Summit
2016 Self Determination Youth Summit

The start of the new school year is a time filled with promise and dreams of the best school year for all.  But what makes a great school year? Which students will be the most successful in school and beyond? How can you, as a teacher or parent, help your student(s) figure out what they need to have a good day, week, year? Building the teaching of self-determination skills is a way to answer these questions. Providing opportunities for students to learn about and demonstrate self-determination skills such as incorporating goal setting, choice making, problem solving and decision-making have proven to have success in and out of the classroom.
The I 'm Determined Project has resources that are just a click away to help promote self-determination in youth from elementary to post-secondary.  The newest resource found on is the Toolbox for Self-Determination, a resource booklet to help build self-determination skills in students. This click and print resource for teachers and families is a free, downloadable PDF file filled with links and resources to guide students towards increased self-determination.  The booklet gives an introduction to self-determination and information on how to use the three main I 'm Determined tools to empower students with and without disabilities to become more self-determined individuals.  

Teaching self-determination skills to students with disabilities improves how they see their future and the steps they need to achieve their goals.  The video above demonstrates the power that self determination can have in a successful outcomes for students.
It's Game Time
Preschool classrooms are fun and exciting places! But without planning for the diverse needs of all children, a classroom pace that feels hectic and chaotic is created. One way to set everyone up for success is to use  Zoning . An easy way to imagine what this looks like is to think about a basketball game. Similar to playing zone defense, this strategy divides the areas of the preschool classroom into designated zones. When implemented, child engagement and on-task behavior increase by effectively using all adults in the roles of facilitator, set-up person and support staff. It reduces wait-time during activities and transitions because materials are readily available. So, as the school year begins, consider adding a new strategy to your toolbox.  

To learn more about Zoning, visit The Head Start Center for Inclusion to watch a video on Zoning and to access planning tools for this strategy.  Additional resources in our library available for checkout include :  Engagement of every child in the preschool classroom by Robin McWilliam.

Spotlight on Library Materials: Book Study Kits
A book study is a great way to learn new information and share knowledge and strategies. Our Program Specialists have developed many book kits for checkout. These book kits include 8-10 copies of the book and discussion questions for your book group.
Book study topics include teaching reading comprehension, functional behavior assessment for people with autism, mindsets in the classroom, planning for child-centered curriculum, teaching text structures, and teaching academic vocabulary.

Stop by our library to check out these book study kits , as well as other instructional resources.  Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30pm.  Can't make it into the office? Some library items can be placed in the mail or delivered to your school.  Call us for more information.

VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081