Special Education Scenarios


The scenarios are available as a pdf file: Click HERE to register then download a copy of the Special Education Scenarios.

Extended examples of Levels of Performance in  Special Education

Since the initial publication of “Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching” (ASCD, 1996) Charlotte Danielson has fielded inquiries from teachers of students with special needs and the supervisors who support them. Many have maintained that because of the characteristics of the students they serve, the framework for teaching could not apply to them.

In an attempt to address these questions, and to support the professional practice of those working with students with special needs, the Danielson Group has crafted a set of scenarios—extended examples of practice for each component across all four levels of performance. These scenarios are by no means meant to be exhaustive. Indeed, the broad and diverse world of special education required us to select a subset of disability categories to include in our illustrations. We have chosen to highlight examples in Domains 2 and 3 that pertain to teaching students with 1) autism, 2) multiple disabilities, 3) behavioral disabilities and 4) mild/moderate disabilities. We recognize that terminology may differ from region to region, and we also recognize that there will be a need for periodic updates.

It is important to state that these scenarios are not a “rubric” for special educators. The concepts in the Framework for Teaching are embedded in each scenario.

A number of key concepts are interwoven throughout the scenarios;

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles with the goal of providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and action and expression in order to support learning and the inclusion of students with disabilities in the Least Restrictive Environment. A crosswalk between UDL and the Framework is available for free download from our Framework page.
  • Data-driven instructional practices and behavior management strategies.
  • Student self-management, choice-making and independence.
  • Collaborative observation cycles in which the teacher plays an important role in sharing specialized information around assistive and adaptive technology, strategies and techniques, and code-related requirements.
  • Active engagement of the entire educational community including co-teachers, therapists, counselors and child study team members.
  • Additional responsibilities for the teacher related to working with instructional and one-on-one assistants to ensure fidelity of instructional and behavioral practices as well as to ensure confidentiality of student and family information.

"Danielson’s Framework for Teaching has been a revelation to me; the best analogy I can offer is that the Framework is like having voice-guided GPS to direct you to a destination, when before you might have only had a destination name and an outdated road map."

Pre-Service Teacher, May 2016

“[The consultant] gave the best PD I have seen in 15 years of teaching, and was the first to explain [the] Danielson [Framework] in a human way. Bravo.”

A teacher, June 2015

“I am so impressed with the Danielson Group consultants. They are all so real. Your trainers helped make [proficient] teaching stronger and steered [basic teaching] toward increasing effectiveness.” 

A principal, June 2015

"Due to your consultant's seamless and meaningful transitions, knowledge of content, and rapport with the audience, the room was alive with energy and it made us all feel ready to begin the year off with success."

"Never before have I seen a group of seasoned educators like your consultants master the art of communicating with an audience with varied levels of expertise and interests. The two days that I spent with your team, I walked away with a desire to use the rubric to truly enhance my own practice."

"I left with a renewed look at the rubric, thinking that the rubric is the Great Equalizer! We can ALL enhance our practice by using it as a tool and a roadmap to produce students who think and are ready for college and careers. THANK YOU!"

"Your consultants' presence and organization of the day will not only impact the new teachers that attended, but will make the year alive for a vast number of students this year."

"Our workshop focused on calibration and inter-rater agreement training, so it was directly aligned to our individual and collective work with teacher performance evaluation.  With new administrators on the team, this type of training is critical."

"We were highly impressed with our Danielson Group consultant and the workshop. We have nothing but positive things to share. Staff have been emailing us, thanking us. This is the most worthwhile presentation we've been to in a while."

"The workshop you provided was hands-on, interesting, practical, and respectful of time limits. I heard more positive feedback about this workshop from staff than I have about any other."

"We wanted to let you know how much we appreciated the flexibility and professionalism that your consultant provided in our unique context. It helped us to keep on track with our schedule at a critical time. For that we are truly grateful."

"Your consultant presented a perfectly differentiated learning experience for all our principals. They were highly engaged, as demonstrated by on-topic conversations using academic language, completion of tasks requiring evidence identification, and note taking and 'grading' during classroom videos of teaching."

"Our school principals said the Framework observation training was the best training they had ever had, including the training provided when earning their Master’s degrees."

"I have a principal who was so excited about the breakthrough work with her staff in special education. I am already getting my money back!"

"My concern about the extra time it would take to implement the Framework successfully was not accurate. It took about the same amount of time as our prior evaluation system, and the benefits in professional growth and increased student achievement were more than worth it."

"I want to truly thank you for the brilliant job that you did with our training. I got such positive feedback from the team. They feel re-energized and like they have a direction and new tools to do the job."