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Be Exceptional!

Dr. Kara A. Loftin Writings

As educators of students with exceptionalities, The Craig School celebrates students’ strengths and competencies, acknowledges that students sometimes learn differently than their peers, and provides a thorough, well-rounded, robust educational program suited to their unique challenges and strengths. This blog is both a celebration of students with exceptionalities as well as a resource for parents, educators, and maybe even our students themselves, to learn a bit more about programs, services, and research specific to students in grades 2-12 with language-based learning disabilities. Be Exceptional!
Exceptional
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  • General (8)
  • Social Emotional Learning (7)
  • Learning Disabilities (5)
  • Dyslexia (3)
Bridging the Gap between Capability and Environment: Empowering Learners of All Abilities
Throughout the year, I have written about strengths-based education for students with exceptionalities, the importance of developing a strong sense of self-efficacy and creating safe, nurturing, positive spaces for learning. Each is related to the broader educational implications of our mindset around disability. Something I think about often is how schools would function if rather […]
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Our Exceptional Teachers
“Teachers motivate minds, guide learning, share achievements, inspire a love of knowledge, and lead our youth to a brighter future.”    In this week of celebration and recognition of the extraordinary teachers at The Craig School, it is most fitting to honor them in the words of our students themselves. This letter, written to one […]
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Summer Programming at The Craig School
Today, I wanted to bring attention to our extended school year (ESY), Summer Academy, for students in grades 2-12, and Summer Enrichment programs. Last year, we successfully provided a meaningful extended school year experience for our students. For students with exceptionalities, having extra time to learn, engage, process, and cement learning is incredibly important to […]
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Student-Directed Learning: Teacher-Student Relationships and Autonomy-Supported Classrooms
Speaking with a language-arts teacher in our lower and middle school, I was reminded of the importance of responsive and student-focused teaching and learning. She spoke about tapping into students’ interests, watching for how students are connecting to their learning, and finding meaningful moments for cross-curricular teaching all while sharing the bigger picture of learning. […]
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The Benefits of Explicit Instruction: Rethinking the Student v. Teacher-Directed Learning Debate
Over the past decade or so, a divide has widened in educational circles over the impact of teacher-directed versus student-directed learning based on the idea that teacher-directed learning is passive, rather than active and engaged learning, and therefore, not as effective for student achievement and learning. However, viewing the two approaches as distinct and separate […]
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Reduce Conflict in Individualized Education Progam (IEP) Team Meetings with Facilitated IEPs
After many years of working with students with exceptionalities, a common concern raised among parents is feeling excluded from Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meetings. This could be due to many variables, such as overuse of jargon or a focus on compliance and paperwork, rather than on the student’s needs. Parents may struggle to have […]
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Play, Move, & Learn! 
School physical education and sports programming are intended to contribute positively to the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of young people. However, many students, including those with exceptionalities, may be reluctant to participate in these programs for a variety of reasons (e.g. low self-confidence, fear of making mistakes, difficulty following the rules of the game). […]
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Assessment Vocabulary for Teachers and Parents
Have you ever found yourself in a parent-teacher conference or an IEP/ISP meeting confused about some of the language used? As educators, we (and I include myself!) are guilty of using educational jargon, acronyms, and technical words that mean something to us yet may leave parents scratching their heads. Over the past few weeks, several […]
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