Four tips of SMART goal setting for students with disabilities

Four tips of SMART goal setting for students with disabilities

SMART goal setting is an option for any competent teacher or school administrator.  It is to see his or her students graduate on time, and with the best honor possible. With a targeted curriculum, lesson-planning and standardized tests, the objective is to help students to graduate. So, what about those students with disabilities? In this modern age, the same should be true for students with disabilities, too. But when the goals and implementations are not compatible with the overall objective, not only will students with disabilities fall off the train. They will also be morally depressed and start doubting their ability to perform. Consider the following tips and reminders with me.

First-degree stakeholder involvement. While the achievement of the goals is largely dependent on lots of factors, one factor that underwrites success or failure is the degree of buy-in from students with disadvantages. The first beneficiary of SMART goal setting can be called “ the first-degree stakeholder,” and their buy-in is necessary. In fact, having students with disabilities to buy the SMART goal setting and the overall direction is needlessly inevitable. The idea is to put these first-degree stakeholders in a position to be in charge of their own destiny.

Calendar-based milestones. Well, putting an extremely disadvantaged child into a classroom and expecting him or her to compete and perform extraordinarily could be daunting for any disabled student. This is particularly true when expectations do not match the level of input. That is why it is necessary to salami slice the SMART goal setting, the process of taking small steps toward the greater goal. Such a salami slicing should happen around measurable milestones (e.g., weeks and months). For example, reading could be tied to a specific date when the student completes the reading assignment not only on time but with satisfactory results.

Small celebrations. Once the student reaches a milestone, it is time to celebrate the small win. Though resources may be an issue for some school districts, a small achievement celebrated intentionally will quantumleap more successes that would follow. The idea here is that small celebrations will spark energy and fire in the belly of those students.

All-out endeavor. Left unchecked, these small celebrations may lead to complacency and smugness, keeping students of all types off direction. An all-out endeavor can help the balance of small celebrations and the intense hungry for further celebrations intact. In this way, an all-out endeavor to reaching SMART goals is a blessing approach. Smart schools employ strategies that repeat this step for every grade, and all the way to college and beyond.


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