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Observing Special Education Teaching Toolkit


A digital resource to support principals and other administrators to help students with disabilities



My Role​

Web Developer 


Client from Wheelock College of Education & Human Development; Supervisor: Jonathan Surmacz


Wordpress, HTML, CSS, Javascript

Documentation for Client

Project Size

Team of 4 for 8 months​​

  • Nafira Waili - UX Designer

  • Nora (Zixuan) Fan - UX Designer

  • Zhishan (Rae) Lin - Developer

Github Link

"When your own background is not in special education, it can be challenging to evaluate special education teachers! Even for administrators who do have special education experience, it is challenging to keep up with the field’s best practices.

With this in mind, we developed the Observing Special Education Toolkit, a digital resource to support principals and other administrators. Our hope is that you find these tools helpful for evaluating your special educators and for planning targeted professional development."

Key Practices for Special Education: 

This tool introduces five evidence-based instructional practices for students with disabilities. We recognize that teachers have many goals in their instruction, including meeting students’ academic, social, and emotional needs in culturally responsive ways. In this library, we highlight five practices that specifically support students with disabilities.

Resources for Observers:

These resources are designed to support you in observing your special education teachers. They include: a Pre-Observation Conference Guide, an Observation Guide outlining look-fors based on the 5 key practices, a Research Library supporting each of our 5 key practices, and a video library showcasing examples of effective special education teaching.

Our Team:

Our team is formed by Professor Surmacz, who recommended us to the research team at the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.  As the website will be a Boston University website, we used Wordpress as our platform and wrote custom HTML, CSS, and Javascript to create the website based on the UX designers' wireframes.



5 Key Practices


Resources for Observers


About OSET


Process & Reflection

Throughout the process, we made a lot of iterations based on client and supervisor feedback, hence the duration of the project. We also made sure the website was responsive so it would look good on computer, mobile, iPad and any other kind of devices.


At the end, my developer teammate and I created a documentation for the client so that they would know how to add and edit text, videos, and files.

Through this project, I learned to communicate with the client and our supervisor. It was rewarding knowing that the website will be used to help students with disabilities. I also learned more about web accessibility and best practices for responsive web development through my supervisor.  

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