The Key to Successful Special Education.
The easy-to-administer Assessment links directly to the Curriculum, providing a comprehensive approach to teaching functional skills to students with moderate to severe disabilities.
DESIGNED BY TEACHERS FOR TEACHERS.
The Styer-Fitzgerald Program provides teachers with the most comprehensive special education program on the market enabling students to be as independent as possible while eliminating repetitive busy work.
MEET THE AUTHORSDr. Candice Styer and Suzanne Fitzgerald are co-authors of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics. They've worked hard to develop a widely usable assessment and curriculum that retain the teacher, student, and classroom focus that was the original basis for the work. Candice Styer, Ph.D.Candice Styer has worked in the field of special education for over 30 years. She received her teaching certification, M.Ed., and Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. She developed the life skills assessment and curriculum over the last 30 years while teaching middle school and high school students with moderate and severe disabilities.
She continues to train a number of school districts to administer the assessment and implement the curriculum. She has also trained teachers and paraprofessionals in the areas of Transition Planning, Behavior Management, and Curriculum Development. She has been an adjunct faculty member in teacher training programs at the University of Oregon, Western Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University.
In addition to her years in the classroom, she has worked as a consultant and trainer for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida. Dr. Styer was the Special Education Director for the Lopez Island School District, and she has worked as a case manager for the Developmental Disabilities Department.
Candice is the author of Life After School: Transition Planning and Preparation for Students with Disabilities.
Dr. Styer has been developing the practices and content in the Styer-Fitzgerald Functional Academics Program throughout her career with an emphasis on the vital mix of research supported best practices and classroom practitioner experience based wisdom. She continues to share her knowledge and experiences with other teachers in a variety of settings.Suzanne Fitzgerald, M.Ed. Suzanne Fitzgerald has worked with children and adults with developmental, physical, emotional, and behavioral disabilities in classroom, vocational, residential, and recreational settings for the past 21 years. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Western Washington University and her Teaching Certification and Masters in Special Education degree from the University of Washington. Suzanne was a middle and high school special education teacher for the Snohomish School District.
Suzanne is co-owner and educational consultant for Specially Designed Education Services (SDES) where she specializes in providing training and consultation related to programming for students with multiple disabilities. In addition, Suzanne serves as a Project Partner with Washington Sensory Disability Services where she assists children who have significant disabilities including deaf-blindness. In that role, she provides training and other support to families and service providers. She is also a Special Education Cadre Trainer with the Washington Education Association. As a cadre trainer, she is responsible for providing requested trainings in areas pertinent to the provision of special education services to students with disabilities.
Suzanne began collaborating with Dr. Styer on the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics as she entered the special education program at the University of Washington. Recognizing the unique value of the material, Suzanne collaborated with Candice to standardize and refine the Program's content and structure and has added complementary material from her own work in the field.
RESEARCH BASISThe instructional methodologies used throughout the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics are research based, however, the Styer-Fitzgerald Program itself has not yet undergone formal, large sample research. We do, however, have longitudinal data (Appendix A) that demonstrates gains in skill areas across a number of students in a variety of subject areas. The data clearly shows the impact of the intervention across different students in different content areas.
In addition, we have qualitative data from interviews of teachers, administrators, and families from both large urban and small rural school districts supporting the efficacy of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program. This document focuses on the research-based strategies, including curriculum-based assessments and teaching methodologies, which the authors used when developing this innovative Program. To review feedback from educators, please visit Success Stories.
The effectiveness of systematic instruction with students with learning challenges is well documented in the research (The National Institute of Direct Instruction 2017). The Styer-Fitzgerald Program is designed to maximize academic learning time, actively engage learners in meaningful activities, and emphasize proactive and positive approaches across tiers of instructional intensity.
The Styer-Fitzgerald Program integrates best practices using systematic instruction in the teaching of all skills presented in the Curriculum. The Direct Instruction (DI) format provides scripted, consistent procedures and lesson plans that are clearly outlined for teacher use. The research that supports the efficacy of the methods of DI specifically is extensive and clearly shows that these strategies significantly impact the rate at which students learn and maintain new behaviors and skills (The National Institute of Direct Instruction 2017). The Styer-Fitzgerald Program also incorporates strategies such as scaffolding and built-in supports that provide additional prompts for students when needed, as well as clear instructions for fading prompts over time so students do not become prompt dependent. The Curriculum further supports teachers with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-driven organizational and classroom management strategies (Alberto and Troutman 2009).
The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics utilizes curriculum-based measurements combined with ongoing progress data in order to monitor student progression. Assessment plays a foundational role in special education as teachers need tools to establish baseline for each student in order to place him or her at an appropriate level within each content area. Once students are placed in lessons, it is critical teachers have the means for monitoring progress over time. Each Styer-Fitzgerald Program lesson comes with a corresponding data sheet. This type of built-in formative assessment allows teachers to determine when students have mastered lessons and are ready to move to the next level of instruction, or need additional interventions. The Program’s progress monitoring is also helpful for parents as it provides current, week-by-week information on how their child is progressing.
There is an abundance of recent research on High-Leverage Practices as they pertain to assessment and instruction (McLeskey, J. et al. 2017). The Styer-Fitzgerald Program embodies many, if not all, of these practices. To provide evidence of how the Styer-Fitzgerald Program is aligned with these evidence-based practices, we have included a section taken directly out of the Styer-Fitzgerald Curriculum Teaching Guide (Appendix B) and included samples of one of our discrete trial and task analysis (Appendix C) lesson plans (both follow previously mentioned research-based strategies). This evidence is found in The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics Curriculum manual, both Elementary and Secondary.
If you have a Review Set: Locate the Elementary and Secondary Curriculum manuals. Both have the #4 in the upper right-hand corner. The excerpt included in Appendix B can be found behind the Teaching Guide tab on page 4 in both manuals. In addition to what’s included here, you will also find a detailed explanation of the specific direct and systematic strategies incorporated throughout the Program. In Appendix C, the discrete trial lesson plan is found behind the Functional Reading tab on page 43 in the Elementary Level Curriculum manual. The task analysis lesson plan is found behind the Independent Skills tab on page 279 in the Secondary Level Curriculum manual.
Alberto, P.A., & A.C. Troutman. (2009). Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers (8th Edition). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill/Pearson.
McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.
Snell, M. E. & F. Brown. (2011). Instruction of STUDENTS with Severe Disabilities (7th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
The National Institute of Direct Instruction. (2017, Spring). Writings on Direct Instruction: A Bibliography. Eugene, OR.
Functional Academics with Applicability to the State StandardsAddressing State StandardsThe Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics helps teachers create rigorous and challenging learning opportunities for students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities, including autism. And at the same time, the Program incorporates strategies within the Instructional Guidelines for adjusting the level of complexity in order to reach students of all ability levels. The primary focus of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program is to provide individualized, meaningful instruction for each student. This will differ depending on the needs of each child. This type of learning structure makes it possible for students to achieve ability-appropriate success in meeting relevant standards.
Due to the nature of the Program and the uniquely diverse group of students it is intended to serve, we have opted to take a less traditional approach to directly meeting relevant federal and state standards. Rather than changing the content of the Program, which addresses critical real-world skills that will significantly benefit students once leaving the school system, we have hired consultants to work with school districts in order to make simple modifications to lessons that will fulfill the requirements of alternate assessments and/or address alternate standards specific to each state. We find this approach maintains the fidelity of The Styer-Fitzgerald Program and is much more practical and useful for educators, making it a better use of everyone’s time and energy.
The initial consultation, including a completed, modifiable alignment document will be provided to customers at no further cost to the district (upon request). Subsequent alignment as standards change is subject to additional fees.
See the attached samples of how our consultants aligned the Essential Elements to the lessons provided in Styer-Fitzgerald. This model is generally much more useful for special education teachers as opposed to aligning lessons to the general standards. It allows us to ensure the work we do is meaningful and useful for teachers rather than simply fulfilling a requirement. We have provided samples from each of the following content areas: ELA, Math, and Science, and a sample from the North Carolina Extended Content Standards for Social Studies so you are able to see specific examples of how the Styer-Fitzgerald lessons align with all standard content areas.
WHY STYER-FITZGERALD AND WHY NOW?
The top 10 reasons why school districts around the world choose the Styer-Fitzgerald Program to support special education needs.
Be sure you are asking the right questions each step of the way.
In addition to the Program, we provide hundreds of enhanced resources as well as free Educator training.
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