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Specially Designed Education Services | The Importance of Listening to Special Education Teachers: SDES Leads the Way to a Foundation for Effective Programs

The Importance of Listening to Special Education Teachers: SDES Leads the Way to a Foundation for Effective Programs

In special education, teachers play a pivotal role in the success of students and their families. As the first point of contact and primary support for our community of families and guardians, special education teachers bring an in-depth understanding of their students’ needs, strengths, and areas for growth. For a curriculum development company like Specially Designed Education Services (SDES), it is crucial to prioritize listening to teachers and asking insightful questions that lead to quality, effective, and meaningful programs. By doing so, SDES ensures its programs align with the needs of teachers and their students, ultimately fostering positive outcomes.

SDES, a woman-owned company, is committed to special education materials “created by teachers FOR teachers.” This focus allows them to stay responsive to the ever-evolving landscape of special education. Here are three major ways SDES listens to teachers and integrates their feedback into their work:

🧑‍🏫 Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development is essential for special education teachers to stay updated on the latest teaching strategies through their programs, methodologies, and best practices. SDES understands this need and offers a range of professional development opportunities that empower teachers to enhance their teaching skills and knowledge. These opportunities include workshops, webinars, and training sessions that focus on teaching functional academics, progress monitoring, and more.

By engaging with teachers during these sessions, SDES gains valuable insights into the challenges and successes teachers encounter in their classrooms. This two-way communication allows SDES to refine their programs based on real-world feedback, ensuring that their materials remain relevant and effective. For a real-life display of how this is actually accomplished, consider listening to our FAST 15 podcast where Suzanne Fitzgerald talks about the importance of data collection and progress monitoring. Take a listen to the great conversations that we have had recently by clicking HERE to listen to The FAST 15. 

📞 Personal Commitment to Responsive Customer Service

At SDES, customer service goes beyond simply providing products; it involves building lasting relationships with teachers and listening to their needs. SDES’s commitment to responsive customer service ensures teachers have access to timely support and resources. This includes addressing teachers’ questions and concerns promptly, offering guidance on how to use SDES materials effectively, and providing ongoing assistance to ensure successful implementation.

By fostering open lines of communication with teachers, SDES can gather feedback and suggestions that directly inform the development of their programs. This customer-centric approach enables SDES to create teaching materials that truly meet the unique needs of special education teachers and their students.  If you have some comments, questions or feedback, please share them!  We’re listening.

✅ Piloting Programs and Running Field Tests

To ensure their programs are practical and beneficial for teachers, SDES conducts pilot programs and field tests with selected groups of educators. This process allows SDES to gather firsthand feedback from teachers using their materials in real classroom settings. By collaborating with teachers during these trials, SDES can assess the effectiveness of their programs and identify areas for improvement.

The insights gained from piloting and field testing are invaluable in refining SDES’s offerings. By involving teachers in this process, SDES ensures their programs are not only innovative and evidence-based but also tailored to the specific needs of educators and their students.

📊 Progress Monitoring in Functional Academics

In special education, progress monitoring plays a crucial role in assessing student growth and adjusting teaching strategies accordingly. SDES’s focus on progress monitoring in functional academics demonstrates their dedication to providing teachers with tools that support data-driven instruction.

With a comprehensive approach to progress monitoring, SDES equips teachers with the resources they need to track student progress, set achievable goals, and make informed decisions about their students’ education. This focus on functional academics empowers teachers to provide targeted instruction that addresses the individual needs of each student.

Building a Strong Foundation

Listening to the needs of special education teachers is the foundation for developing quality programs that drive positive outcomes for students. SDES’s commitment to professional development, responsive customer service, and program piloting demonstrates their dedication to supporting teachers in their crucial role. By prioritizing the voices of educators, SDES ensures their materials are not only effective but also aligned with the real-world needs of special education classrooms.

As SDES continues to innovate and expand its offerings, teachers can trust they have a partner in their journey to empower students with functional academics. By working together, SDES and teachers can create meaningful learning experiences that pave the way for student success.

Be sure to reach out to us and let us know how we can continue to support you, Champions!  

We’re listening to you,

Barb Beck

Creative Content Director, SDES

©2024 Specially Designed Education Services


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SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

Virtual Teaching Materials Pricing 1st year: $1000 non-recurring configuration fee plus 12 x monthly charge.

Per Month
Per Year*


































Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.

Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
Play Video
Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Per Month
Per Year*
Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.