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AISD Standards for Life Skills

Guiding Principles for Life Skills:

The mission of Life Skills is to support the unique needs of students and provide a positive environment which prepares
students to live, work, and enjoy life in their community. We believe that by providing meaningful educational opportunities
and instruction that meets individual student need, while ensuring that all students are an integral part of their school
community, students will:
Increase skills
Improve self-esteem
Experience a greater quality of life

Program Expectations
All Life Skills professionals in the Austin Independent School District should implement the following procedures. The
case manager assigned to Life Skills will be responsible for the direct implementation and supervision of services.
Administrative review of each Life Skills program will require data, schedules, documentation, and other evidence of
implementation of the expectations below. Specific training to support the implementation of these procedures will be
scheduled at regular intervals (prior to grading periods, monthly, every three weeks, etc.) throughout the school year. Please
contact your Life Skills Specialist if you need additional training or consultation regarding the implementation of these
A) Curriculum/Academics

Lesson planning must reflect the display of a detailed daily schedule.

All students must be actively engaged throughout the instructional day as evidenced by classroom schedule and data

Lessons will reflect rigor, changing to meet the learners needs on a regular basis.

Curriculum activities are functional and age appropriate while serving a purpose in the learners life.

Prompts are used on a continuum from least intrusive to most supportive (see Life Skills Handbook, Instructional

All classrooms should include the following types of instruction: individual, small group, large group, and community based

Group instruction must reflect the inclusion of all students, limiting extensive down-time or limiting time that any one
student would be unengaged.

Instruction and assessment are guided by Enrolled Grade Level (EGL) curriculum (TEKS)

Accommodations and/or modifications are provided per the individual students IEP

For students with significant cognitive disabilities, a specialized program is provided that allows for TEKS instruction with
supports and structures that maximize student success and real-life application of skills


Inclusion/Least Restrictive Environment

Students will access all activities and environments available to non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Examples
include grade level field trips, assemblies, lunch, and recess with grade level class/peers.

All elementary LS students will have a general education, age-appropriate classroom assignment.

Secondary: IEP objectives must be carried out in the context of academic subject areas and Locally Developed Courses (see
Life Skills Handbook).

Life Skills students must be included in general education field trip opportunities with general education population, as


Behavior Support/Social Skills

All student Behavior Intervention Plans will be followed and reviewed every 6 weeks to analyze data collection and continued
appropriateness of the plans current strategies.

Data on student behavior, including antecedents, will be maintained.

Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) will be updated and used to develop or revise BIP as needed.

An individualized reinforcement system may be designed and utilized; dependent upon individual student needs (see Life Skills

General classroom rules are posted and taught; classroom structure will include positive behavior supports.

All teachers and teaching assistants are required to obtain SAMA and TBSI training.


Data Collection

Data collection/portfolio system must be in place for each student on all IEP goals/objectives, and documented at least twice a
week or as specified in the IEP (as appropriate to goals and objective instructional sequence).

Annual assessment to guide IEP development should be conducted (see district recommended tools in Life Skills Handbook).

Teachers may designate paraprofessionals to collect data as needed.


Roles and Responsibilities

1) Special Education and General Education Teachers

Advancement from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school must be coordinated between sending and
receiving campuses and related support staff, i.e. sharing instructional and behavioral strategies, materials, equipment and
miscellaneous pointers.

All required paperwork must be completed within timelines.

Staff will seek training needed to support Life Skills instruction (see Life Skills Specialist for training opportunities).

Staff schedules are developed around student needs; staff breaks must be staggered so that appropriate student/staff ratios
are maintained (see Duty Day in Life Skills Handbook).

Teachers are the instructional leaders and are responsible for developing lesson plans; teaching assistants help implement
teacher developed plans.

Teachers are responsible for supporting/training staff in understanding student IEP, BIP and other needs.

2) Team Communication

Evidence of weekly home/school communication related to instructional programming will be maintained. Methods include
phone, SEEDS communication log, email and handwritten communication notebook.

Case-manager will collaborate/communicate with support staff on a regular basis throughout school year to address progress,
needs, lesson planning, behavior, etc.


Student Communication

All students must have a communication system and access to adapted equipment and devices as appropriate.

Staff will honor the students use of a variety of modalities to communicate such as facial expressions, gestures, vocalizing, eye
gaze, body language, bio-behavioral states and behavior.


Cultural Considerations

ESL Instruction is aligned to the AISD Bilingual/ESL framework and is a part of the daily schedule

Special education, bilingual, and ESL professionals share information about effective strategies for working with English
Language Learners (ELL)

Training on bilingual/ESL best practices is accessed through district professional development resources

Respect and appreciation for all students native languages and cultures is evident in the classroom and school community

A collaborative and supportive relationship between parents and the school is maintained, such as all communication between
home and school delivered in parents native language wherever possible

Curriculum of academic rigor that is culturally responsive (i.e., recognizing strengths and experiences of individual cultures and
using them as tools to achieve academic mastery) is implemented in all classrooms

Effective teaching methodologies and strategies for the ELL students with special needs are utilized according to each
students individual needs and strengths

The Bilingual/ESL section of the Special Education Operational Guidelines is used as a resource for program information

Placement decisions for ELL students are made in conjunction with the ARD/LPAC process.

State and federal regulations for both English Language Learners and students with disabilities are followed

Opportunities for students to experience cultures represented in the classroom and campus community are accessed or



The classroom schedule(s) and /or calendar(s) are posted.

Each student has an individual calendar/schedule that is easily accessible to the student (see Life Skills Handbook).

Individual schedules will reflect the classroom schedule.

Determine the type and format of schedule based on students cognitive functioning level (objects, photographs, picture
symbols, and print).


Physical Environment

Classroom must be arranged with clearly defined instructional areas.

Evidence of student work must be displayed.

Access to the following is suggested for LS classrooms: Boardmaker, computer, color printer, camera, kitchen materials,
laundry, Velcro, laminator.

Materials are organized and accessible to promote learning and reduce visual clutter.




Transition planning is required by age 13 and continues throughout the students school career.
Provide families with information regarding waiting lists and community service agencies. Contact Parent School support Team
for more information, 414-0955.
A scope and sequence chart (4.1) regarding transition activities is found in the LS Handbook.
Vocational Instruction


Vocational instruction should begin in elementary school with age appropriate tasks that become the foundation of skills
needed to work. The scope and sequence increases as the student ages and work tasks occur more frequently and in varied
settings. (See Vocational Scope and Sequence chart in LS Handbook for detailed information).
Community Based Instruction (CBI)

Community Based Instruction is an integral component of Life Skills programming and must begin at the elementary level on a
regularly scheduled basis and continue throughout the students public education as related to student IEP goals (see Life
Skills handbook).

Community Based Instruction is a planned, meaningful and structured lesson. It incorporates IEP goals and objectives that
reinforce and complement content taught in academic subjects.