Skip to content
A Maryland State Department of Education Resource

Research in Practice- Evidence Based Practices: Addressing IEP Goals

Young girl learning virtually

Spotlight – Stories from the Field

Patti Cuthbertson, Allegany County Public Schools

Patti’s Challenge: How can I (as an instructional coach) help teachers provide Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) on IEP goals embedded in ongoing general education instruction during hybrid, concurrent instruction? 

During virtual learning, Instructional Specialist Patti Cuthberston coached the middle and high school teachers who had become accustomed to using designated “asynchronous” times to meet individually with students and implement their SDI. As they prepared to transition to first hybrid and then fully in person instruction, they wondered how they could best continue to provide this focused instruction in the new schedule. 

Patti was familiar with the “IEP matrix:” tool that has been used to plan to embed supports and/or IEP goal instruction for students with severe disabilities. Patti decided to adapt this tool for her teachers, capitalizing on their increased comfort with technology to use Google Docs to create the tool. With Patti’s support, the teachers used the tool to identify natural opportunities to embed instruction on their IEP goals.  She shared matrices that fit the school schedule, along with examples.  She also shared the CEC’s high leverage practices to help them identify effective strategies to deliver instruction.

After being introduced to the tool, teachers found ways to adapt it to meet their needs.  Several found that in addition to planning, the matrix form was useful for recording service delivery, progress data, and/or other notes about student performance. Some preferred to print the form out and make notes on the hard copy while delivering services in the classroom.  

Implementation Plan

Time:   Initial planning time to develop a matrix based on the student(s) schedule and time with teachers to discuss how it will be implemented.

Materials/Resources: Google doc-based planning form, time to meet with individual teachers


  1. Develop a matrix with the student schedule on one side and IEP goals on the other
  2. Work with teachers to identify opportunities to embed instruction and practice on each IEP goal
  3. Plan with teachers HOW instruction will be delivered in each of the selected opportunities (e.g., through station teaching, a customized warm up, pull-aside during individual work time, etc)
  4. If naturally evident opportunities do not provide sufficient intensity of instruction and practice, help teachers decide how to create additional opportunities  

Implications for Practice/Conditions for Success

Coaches need time to meet with teachers and help them understand and implement the matrix.

Supporting Research and Resources* discusses strategies for teachers to use in the general ed setting to access curriculum. provides strategies for teaching students with disabilities within the general education setting

Student Planning Forms, including an IEP matrix, from the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (

*This pdf is not 100% accessible and is not a required resource.

Return to SDI Toolkit Home

Related content