What is SDI? 

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is adapting as appropriate the content, methodology or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of a child that result from the child’s disability; and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the same educational standards of the public agency that apply to all children.

The SDI framework and professional learning initiative is aimed to develop and implement tools and processes to support teachers in delivering high-impact, effective specially designed instruction to improve the literacy outcomes for  learners with disabilities.  This work is taking place through strands focused on Significant Disabilities, Preschool, and K-6.

What does SDI look like? 

  • Professional Learning
  • Coaching
  • Science of Reading and  Intervention Guide content

What is the outcome of SDI? 

  • Improve outcomes for PK-6 students with disabilities.
  • Increase the percentage of students making sufficient progress to reduce the gap.  Develop teachers’ skills in implementing key SDI practices for Diagnose, Design and Delivery of effective SDI through professional learning, coaching and collaborative feedback. 
  • Develop teachers’ knowledge and skills in effective instructional practices for persistently struggling readers.
  • Support schools in targeting/intensifying supports for students with disabilities who are not making sufficient progress to decrease the instructional gap (e.g., using tools such as the C4K Intervention System Guide, UPAR, etc.)
  •  Support schools/Districts in developing a system of supports for ongoing and sustained model for effective SDI delivery including:
  • Supporting schools in developing an SDI Leadership Team which will lead implementation efforts at the school/district level. 
  • Aid SDI Leadership Teams in using self-assessment data to develop an SDI Literacy action plan for school/district implementation.
  • Guide schools in analyzing building literacy outcomes to consider ongoing universal instruction needs.
  • Aid schools and AEAs in developing structures to support teacher implementation of SDI practices including ongoing coaching, collaborative learning and feedback.

How does SDI fit with MTSS? 

Districts within Northwest AEA participating in SDI: 

George-Little Rock

Central Lyon

Rock Valley


Sergeant Bluff-Luton 


Galva Holstein



Interested in learning more about SDI?

Please contact any member of NWAEA’s SDI Team for more information. 

Amy Legg alegg@nwaea.org

Cindy Munn cmunn@nwaea.org

Kathleen Schroeder  kschroeder@nwaea.org

Lisa Hofmeister lhofmeister@nwaea.org

Melinda DeLeeuw mdeleeuw@nwaea.org

Patricia Kann pkann@nwaea.org

Paula Harding pharding@nwaea.org

Sara Klingensmith sklingensmith@nwaea.org

Teresa Murray tmurray@nwaea.org