Resource Teacher Toolbox

Welcome Resource Program Teachers!

The Wayne RESA's Resource Program Toolbox is designed to guide the special education teacher's role in creating effective instructional services and supports that will promote student learning within the general education setting and beyond. The following information can be utilized to support the design of building level resource programs and/or improving the effectiveness of current programs and services.

The certified special education teacher whom is assigned to a resource program has the task of meeting the individual needs of the students on their assigned caseload. The teacher will support their caseload students by monitoring the delivery of programs, services, progress of academic and behavior goals and objectives, and instructional needs of each student according to their individualized education plans (IEPs). The special education teacher will wear many proverbial hats that may range from individual to group direct instruction, supplemental instruction, skill remediation and tutorial supports, teach required core subjects that they are qualified to teach, and/or provide consultation to the general education instructional and administrative staff on behalf of their assigned caseload. By Michigan Rule, the Role of the Resource Program teacher is defined as...

MARSE R 340.1749a Elementary level resource program

(1) (a) Provide direct instruction to students on the resource teacher's caseload and may assign grades or other evaluative measures for this instruction. (b) Provide support to the general education classroom teachers to whom special education students on the resource teacher's caseload have been assigned. Time shall be allocated to the resource teacher to carry out this responsibility. 3) The elementary resource program teacher may provide supplemental instruction to students on his or her caseload. (4) The elementary resource teacher may evaluate general education students within the same building who are suspected of having a disability and, therefore, may serve on the initial multidisciplinary evaluation team.

MARSE R 340.1749b Secondary level resource program

(1) (a) Provide direct instruction for special education courses approved for graduation by the local educational agency. The teacher may assign grades or other evaluative measures for this instruction. (b) Provide support to the general education classroom teachers to whom special education students on the resource program teacher's caseload have been assigned. Time shall be allocated to the resource teacher to carry out this responsibility. (3) The secondary resource teacher may provide supplemental instruction to students on his or her caseload who are enrolled in general education classes. The teacher shall not teach a class and offer tutorial assistance at the same time.

LawsIDEA 300.115 Continuum of alternative placements 


The Duties of the Resource Program Teacher

The workload of the special education teacher assigned to the resource program is massive. Due to the multiple range of students' needs that this specialist must manipulate, it's the intent of this guidance to provide assistance in multiple ways by outlining a framework to support designing and delivering intensive and effective direct, indirect, and supplemental instruction and services. The resource program teacher's primary task is to meet the individual needs of the students on their assigned caseload, the following is a list of duties that the special education teacher maybe responsible for:

  • Monitoring the student's entire educational program, both within and outside of special education.
  • Initiating and maintaining regular contact with each of the student's general education teachers and ancillary staff.
  • Arranging/ scheduling meetings such as IEPT and REEDs.
  • Inviting relevant and required personnel including, but not limited to parent, general education teachers, principal (or designee), and related service staff who are assigned to the student's IEP.
  • Assisting the IEP team in developing an appropriate program, including transition services.
  • Continuously collect data documenting progress toward IEP goals. This data must be kept in the provider's working file and must be available at the IEP and at the request of administrators for monitoring purposes.
  • Provide direct instruction relating to each student's deficit (skill building).
  • Completing monthly Medicaid billing if appropriate.
  • Serving as a liaison between the parent(s) and the school.
  • Contacting the parent of each student on his/her caseload at the beginning of the school year to identify their role, purpose, and provide information on how s/he can be reached when questions arise.
  • Distributing progress reports to parents as stated in the IEP and beyond if needed.
  • Monitoring confidential special education files and official district files to assure all appropriate paperwork is accurate, current, and in compliance.
  • Informing appropriate personnel of all medical related information for students who have medical conditions.

The Organization of the Resource Program

The special education teacher assigned to the resource program will need to consider how their students' services and supports will be delivered in accordance with each individualized education plan. It's important for the resource program teacher to be mindful in reviewing the needs and requirements of their students through the lens of specially designed instruction (§ 300.39 Special education). Specially designed instruction takes in account the requirements of the IEP by outlining and describing the types of unique instructional services needed for each student with a disability to accomplish specific individual IEP goals and objectives, accommodations, modifications, along with other educational needs such as adaptations in instructional approaches, materials, strategies, mode of communication, and physical environment.

The overall design of the resource program setting must be based on the academic and behavioral needs of your current student population. In general, most resource programs maybe designated to a space within a building that mimics the same setup of any general or special education self-contain classroom, meaning having a teacher's desk/chair with desks for students to complete their academic chores. The resource program's setting need to be multi-faceted that supports the learning and instructional needs of the students it will serve. Below are a few common best practices used by many special education teachers to promote student achievement in the least restrictive environment:

  1. Station oriented model: in this model, the room arrangement is divided into stations that contain specific content area materials. For example, there might be a reading center, math center, computer center, and writing center etc. in which specific children go to work on their specific IEP goals.
  2. Whole-Group Area: For whole-class lessons -- this includes informal discussion, direct instruction, and student presentations.
  3. Small-Group Area: Here you can give small-group instruction or allow groups of students to gather for peer-led discussions or collaborative learning experiences/projects.
  4. Reading & Writing Area: This is a place for students to read independently or with a partner. It should provide comfortable seating, a variety of books, and a quiet, secluded atmosphere.
  5. Testing Area: Many of our student's IEPs require extended time on test and other reading/writing activities, this area will provide the quiet space needed to fulfil this obligation.

Once areas for learning have been created, the setting must also include materials to support the learner's access the general education curriculum. The following are items that effective resource program settings arrange/display:

  • Textbooks in access forms (CD, Web base, Large-print, Braille, etc.)
  • Posted visuals of test taking strategies
  • Posted procedures for obtaining supplemental supports from the teacher
  • Design an accessible area for supplementary materials such dictionaries, calculators, rulers, etc.
  • Procedures for monitoring attendance and service from the resource teacher
  • Obtain and maintain copies of each general education teacher's ‘class syllabi that outlines pacing of required tasks and expectations for participation, homework, projects, etc.

Maintenance of student records assigned to the Resource Program

Another area that must be a center of focus is the maintenance of student records. Special education educations teachers need to establish a record keeping system that honors confidentiality, but accessible to other relevant staff (administrators and related staff) that will be responsible for the delivery of service that is required via the student's IEP. The following is a starters list of what needs to be keep in the official file:

  • Current IEP
  • Most recent evaluation
  • Most recent REED
  • Service Logs
  • Current class schedule
  • Current grades
  • Current Progress Reports

Note: Resource program staff may also include in their student files logs of parent communications, general education staff correspondence, and classroom observations notes for academic or behavioral planning.

Communication, Collaboration & Consultation (the C3 system): Tips for the Resource Program Teacher

Communication, collaboration, and consultation (the C3 system) between special and general education teachers are the strongest features of the resource program. The resource program that embraces the C3 system will create an optimal academic, social, and behavioral supportive atmosphere that will translate into successful educational experiences for both students with disabilities and their general education teachers. Parent involvement and communication is a valued component of the resource program. When parent/teacher relationships are established and fostered, students benefit via improve academic and behavioral success. Start the relationship building with parent on the right track by providing them with the answer to these eight essential questions:

  1. What are the expectations for studying and learning this year?
  2. What will their child's daily schedule look like?
  3. How much and what kinds of homework will their child have from general/special education classes?
  4. What can parents do to support their child's learning at home?
  5. How can parents help at school?
  6. What's the best way for us to communicate?
  7. What information can parents share with you to help you better understand their child?

Defining the Supportive Role of the Resource Program in a General Education Setting

One factor that may need to be explored is defining the role of the resource program at the building level..."the resource program is a service and not a place" phrase will need to be explained to many. The following is an illustration that defines the role of the resource program as a place for services and not a placement.

Service not place