How to Make Standards Mastery Accessible to All

Allison Vice

Allison Vice

Chief Innovation Officer

n2y was founded on the belief that everyone can learn. Before many states adopted extended (accessible) educational standards for students with unique needs, we began developing differentiated materials to provide students with the ability to learn skills, demonstrate knowledge and raise the bar for educational expectations. Now, federal and state mandates, such as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), require each state to have grade-specific challenging academic standards. These standards outline, by grade level, what a student should know. In many states, students with the most complex needs master this knowledge through extended standards. Developed to help teachers provide unique learners with meaningful access to their state’s academic content standards, extended standards are adapted with reduced levels of complexity to ensure students receive multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate knowledge while meeting the expectations of the general education standards.

Differentiation to
ensure access and compliance

At n2y, we develop materials to address and assess targeted skills in grade-level extended standards from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our comprehensive solutions—including News‑2‑You and Unique Learning System—address grade-specific extended standards using differentiated activities. With News‑2‑You we target grade-level standards for Listening and Speaking and Informational Text daily using four levels of accessible text.

Unique Learning System provides comprehensive access to the general education curriculum through extended standards for each student’s chronological grade level. Keeping in mind that classes may consist of students in various grades, Unique Learning System develops lesson activities in grade bands. The lesson activities allow you to teach one activity and hit critical extended standards for three grade levels simultaneously. Teaching all lessons in a Unique Learning System monthly unit provides access to a majority of your state’s ELA and math extended standards every month.

Monthly ELA Lessons

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Word Recognition
  • Fluency
  • Key Ideas and Details
  • Craft and Structure
  • Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • Range and Text Complexity
  • Print Concepts
  • Production and Distribution of Writing

Monthly Math Lessons

  • Number Sense
  • Base Ten
  • Place Value
  • Number System
  • Measurement and Data
  • Time
  • Money
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Geometry
  • Ratios
  • Algebra
  • Functions

Instructional targets that bridge to general education standards

Consistent access to grade-level extended standards allows:

Students to keep pace with their peers in regular education.
If you want students to keep pace with the general education curriculum, simply use alignment documents or the Skills Tracking area of Unique Learning System to identify which lessons address the targeted standard and focus on the identified lessons for the matching time frame.

Skills to be targeted when the student is ready to learn.
In a classroom with students of various chronological grade levels, not all students will be prepared at the same time to work on the same skills.

Teachers and students to set the educational pace while maintaining access to students’ chronological grade level.

Teachers to target skills for standards-based goals on a student’s IEP.
Address targeted skills each month using identified differentiation and modifications. Use Benchmark Assessments, Student Daily Performance, and Checkpoints to measure progress.

A consistent, monthly focus that effectively targets skills

Monthly units also explore a science or social studies standard for an entire month, providing in-depth instruction of the majority of standards for a grade band
in a three-year cycle. Each lesson activity has three levels of differentiated expectations and materials to accommodate student needs, supports and learning styles, so every student has access to chronological general education skills. We also realize that students may be ready to learn vital skills at a different pace. Opportunities to address a spectrum of important skills such as choice making, letter-sound correspondence, and counting are available monthly in each grade band, along with important transition and life skills practice.

Science and social studies course content

In addition to monthly units that use a science and social studies theme to address all standards within a grade band in a three-year cycle, Unique Learning System provides weeklong, differentiated instruction in major science and social studies subject areas. The science and social studies courses provide access to a majority of extended standards for each grade band within one year and allow students to pace with general education and meet requirements for accessible courses.

Monthly Science Lessons

  • Earth and Space Science
  • Life Science (Biology)
  • Physical Science

Monthly Social Studies Lessons

  • U.S. History
  • World History
  • Civics/Government
  • Geography
  • Economics

n2y is dedicated to maintaining state standards alignment for all states, actively monitoring and updating materials as needed to ensure students with unique learning needs receive proper access to the general education curriculum and acquire vital academic and transition skills.

About the Author

Alli Vice is a certified speech-language pathologist who previously served as a school coordinator, consultant, developer and presenter. She is seasoned in the areas of communication disorders, behavior, curriculum and assistive technology. She is the author of <em>Practical AAC: A Guide to Functional Communication</em> and the developer of the Smart/Ease series of augmentative communication page sets. Alli holds a Master of Education degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Southern University.