KEYS Academy SPED Teacher

General Statement of Responsibilities: The KEYS Academy Teacher demonstrates an understanding of curriculum, subject content, and the developmental needs of students by providing relevant learning experiences and effectively engaging students in learning using a variety of instructional strategies. The KEYS Academy Teacher plans using the Virginia Standards of Learning, the school’s curriculum, effective strategies, resources, and data to meet the needs of all students and systematically gathers, analyzes, and uses relevant data to plan instruction, measure student academic progress, and provide feedback to students and parents.

The KEYS Academy Teacher uses resources, routines, and procedures to provide a respectful, positive, safe, student- centered environment that is conducive to learning and demonstrates knowledge and integration of the KEYS Curriculum and the Social Thinking Program into their classroom daily. The KEYS Academy Teacher maintains a commitment to professional ethics, and effective communication and takes responsibility for and participates in professional growth that results in enhanced student learning and acceptable, measurable, and appropriate student academic progress. The KEYS Academy Teacher performs all duties in a manner that supports a sense of well-being, availability for learning and safety, dignity and direction for all

Position Duties

Professional Knowledge:

  • Effectively addresses appropriate curriculum standards based on students’ individual needs
  • Bases instruction on goals that reflect high expectations and are based on the students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
  • Demonstrates accurate knowledge of evidence based teaching practices (reinforcement, prompting, visual schedules, antecedent based intervention, etc.)
  • Demonstrates accurate knowledge of the learning and behavioral characteristics of the disabilities of the students with whom they work
  • Understands the sensory needs of students and is knowledgeable about ways to use sensory strategies proactively
  • Demonstrates understanding of functions of behavior and is knowledgeable of interventions matched to each
  • Demonstrates knowledge of content curriculum and matches appropriate evidence-based practices
  • Understands the importance of communication and its day-to-day impact for students
  • Understands the importance of social skill development and its day to day impact for students

Instructional Planning:

  • Prepares classroom for class activities
  • Clearly defines classroom environment to allow students to understand boundaries
  • Develops a classroom management plan and individual behavior plans as needed
  • Develops lesson plans 
  • Uses student learning data to guide planning
  • Identifies and selects instructional resources and methods that support and expand the on-line curriculum and support the Virginia SOLs
  • Plans instruction by embedding communication and social skill development
  • Aligns IEP goals to instructional plans
  • Aligns instructional plans to the SOLs and school curriculum
  • Develops plans based on evidence-based practices
  • Plans for student transition while encouraging self-determination
  • Creates and ensures use of master schedule by all staff in the classroom
  • Clearly communicates staff roles and responsibilities with all team members (including paraprofessionals)
  • Organizes instructional materials and ensures accessibility of materials to staff prior to instructional delivery
  • Keeps up to date with developments in on-line learning program, teaching resources, and methods and makes relevant changes to instructional plans and activities
  • Plans, prepares and delivers daily group instruction utilizing Social Thinking and KEYS philosophies and curriculum

Instructional Delivery:

  • Implements classroom management and behavior intervention plans
  • Engages and maintains students in active learning
  • Plans, prepares and delivers instructional activities that facilitate active learning experiences and support the Virginia SOLs
  • Differentiates instruction to meet students’ needs
  • Implements instruction based on the students’ needs in the areas of communication and social skills
  • Uses a variety of effective instructional strategies and resources individualized to meet students’ needs to promote independence
  • Uses instructional language that is clear and concise for the individual learner
  • Implements accommodations and modifications defined in the IEP
  • Implements evidence-based practices during instructional delivery 
  • Provides reinforcement for students based upon their individual needs
  • Effectively uses and fades prompts to support students and to promote independence

Assessment of and for Student Learning:

  • Obtains present levels/baselines 
  • Conducts and documents formal and informal student assessments
  • Uses pre-assessment data to develop expectations for students, to differentiate instruction, and to document learning
  • Gives constructive and frequent feedback to students on their learning
  • Uses assessment tools for both formative and summative purposes to inform, guide, and adjust students’ learning
  • Uses a variety of assessment strategies and Instruments that are valid and appropriate for the content and for the individual student; Uses accommodations and modifications as determined by the IEP to implement assessments
  • Collects data related to student’s IEP goals and objectives
  • Uses permanent products and graphic displays of data to assess and demonstrate student progress
  • Analyzes data to assess student progress and make data driven decisions

Learning Environment:

  • Arranges the classroom to maximize learning while providing a safe structured environment and considering students’ individual needs
  • Establishes a climate centered around the student that promotes dignity and respect
  • Uses routines and procedures to promote a structured and predictable environment.
  • Maximizes instructional time and minimizes disruptions
  • Plans for and provides a classroom layout that allows for multiple instructional activities to occur simultaneously
  • Uses visual supports including classroom and individual visual schedules to promote independence
  • Provides classroom instruction and activities that promote language development
  • Oversees use of technology and related equipment in the classroom; resolves issues; reports ongoing concerns through communication with appropriate individuals
  • Provides supervision and support to students during lunch, recreational periods, and other activities as assigned 
  • Provides supervision and support to students during community involvement activities (field trips, volunteer opportunities, etc.)
  • Provides supervision and support to students during Summer Program activities


  • Adheres to federal and state laws, school policies, and ethical guidelines (including updating all necessary recordsaccurately and completely as required by school regulation and Virginia law)
  • Collaborates and communicates effectively within the school community to promote inclusion and student success
  • Maintains student confidentiality
  • Works in a collegial and collaborative manner with administrators, related services personnel, para-professionals, other school personnel, and the community
  • Builds positive and professional relationships with parents/guardians through frequent and effective communication concerning students’ progress
  • At the discretion of the Director, follows up with parent / LEA concerns
  • Avoids the use of seclusion and restraint and follows all KEYS Academy policies and procedures
  • Models appropriate social and communication skills with students and adults
  • Demonstrates consistent mastery of standard oral and written English in all communication
  • Follow KEYS Academy policy on use of technology including use of personal cell phones
  • Maintains regular attendance and attends school trainings and meetings as directed
  • Follows KEYS Academy dress code

Support of Student Progress in Learning & Using the KEYS Curriculum:

  • Actively teaches, supports, and reinforces the KEYS Curriculum during interactions with students, parents, co-workers, and members of the community.
  • Assists students in using their Life Rings to identify people who can support them across a variety of settings 
  • Supports students in forming positive connections with people on the Life Rings 
  • Encourages students to "Take a Good Look" and to recognize and utilize their personal strengths.
  • Encourages students to utilize their resources and to learn from past successful experiences.
  • Develops and maintains BIKs for all students on his / her caseload per school policy; ensures maintenance of and necessary revisions to BIKs on an ongoing basis
  • Encourages students to utilize the BIK to communicate their sense of well-being and responds to students with appropriate support
  • Helps students to articulate and visualize their goals
  • Encourages students to engage in social interactions with others who can positively influence success in meeting their goals
  • Assists students in identifying obstacles they may encounter in reaching their goals
  • Helps students approach obstacles in a constructive manner (choosing change or choosing to trade)
  • Provides support to students in brainstorming ideas to overcome obstacles
  • Helps students distinguish between Constructive and Destructive Can Dos and make positive choices
  • Encourages students to check for Safety, Dignity, and Direction before acting 

Support of Student Progress in Learning & Using the Social Thinking Curriculum:

  • Provides daily (and as needed) feedback to students regarding expected vs unexpected behaviors in the school environment and conducts student conferences to discuss progress.
  • Monitors Your Body is in the Group/Your Body is Out of the group behavior of students
  • Monitors Your Brain is in the Group/Your Brain is Out of the group behavior of students
  • Monitors and sets expectations for Being a “Thinking of You” kid versus a “Just Me” kid
  • Demonstrates and reminds students on a regular basis that all people have Good Thoughts/Weird Thoughts about others
  • Incorporates into classroom management system and daily language expected and unexpected behavior vocabulary
  • Engages the group to elicit age appropriate communication skills through direct instruction of Social Thinking Program from every student.
  • Gathers data to develop specific lessons designed to strengthen student weaknesses in the communication process through repeated relevant activities 
  • Identifies behaviors in students that illustrate their ability to create or modify the feelings of others about them in a specific area or environment 
  • Demonstrates understanding of approximated social group participation recognizing progress in incremental steps

Student Progress:

  • Performs Special Education Case Management duties for assigned students
  • Sets specific, observable, measurable, and appropriate achievement goals for student learning progress based on baseline data and the students’ IEPs
  • Writes student IEPs and / or addendums
  • Observes and evaluates student’s performance and development
  • Attends IEP meetings and gives input
  • At the discretion of the Director, schedules and / or conducts IEP Meetings
  • Monitors and documents the progress of each student per their IEP within federal, state, and KA timelines
  • Keeps accurate attendance and grade records for all students in every subject
  • As instructed by the Director, prepares SOL test materials and proctors SOL testing
  • Demonstrates ability to adapt teaching materials and strategies based on student data
  • Prepares for and attends all scheduled parent-teacher conferences
  • Communicates student progress to the Educational team including the parents/guardians of the student
  • Accurately and timely completes incident and accident reports 
  • Completes Safety, Dignity, Direction Incident reports as required.
  • Completes Power Action Report on each student on caseload every 3 weeks


The KEYS Academy Teacher must possess the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Required Education & Experience Credential:

Holds a valid teaching license from an accredited College or University, licensed in Special Education with endorsements in Special Education with endorsements in Emotional Disabilities (ED), Special Education General Curriculum K-12 or another Special Education Degree with sufficient time, training, and ability to carry out the duties involved. Maintains qualifications necessary to perform the duties of KEYS Academy Teacher. Completion of competency based universal precautions training. Completion of competency based de-escalation and physical restraint crisis intervention techniques training. Completion of competency based training in safe transportation of students. Completion of competency based medication administration training. Completion of competency based Confidentiality training. Completion of competency based Ethics training. Proof of maintaining CPR/First Aid certification. Completion of APEX, ODYSSEY, and LEXIA training (on-line learning programs).

Knowledge of:

  • Knowledge and understanding of curriculum, subject content, and developmental needs of students
  • Knowledge of varied instructional strategies and the ability to modify assignments to address the needs of students with varied learning styles 
  • Knowledge and skills in behavioral strategies for interventions with children and adolescents 
  • Knowledge and skills in crisis intervention
  • Knowledge of positive behavioral supports 
  • Knowledge of community services and resources

Skills and Abilities in:

  • Ability to relate to children and adolescents with emotional and developmental disabilities
  • Ability to develop and implement instruction that incorporates the Virginia Standards of Learning and the KEYS Academy curriculum coupled with effective strategies, resources, and data to meet the needs of all students
  • Ability to work well with students, parents, school staff, LEA representatives and other community service providers
  • Ability to access and utilize resources, routines and procedures to provide a respectful, positive, safe, student-centered environment
  • Ability to Demonstrates consistent mastery of standard oral and written English in all communication
  • Expertise in organization and planning 
  • Proficiency in APEX, ODYSSEY, and LEXIA (on-line learning programs)
  • Proficiency in computer use / technology
  • Access to, willingness and ability to utilize privately owned vehicle to provide transportation to students during planned off-campus events (field trips, summer program activities, etc.)

Necessary Physical Abilities

The physical demands described herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands and fingers, feel objects, tools or controls; operate a vehicle; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; and smell. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.

*Note: The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of employees so classified.