The goal of the Special Services program is to attempt to meet our student’s entire individual learning needs and help students reach their utmost potential by providing them with the necessary tools.
In order to help every student in the classroom, differentiated instruction has been implemented. The special services coordinator helps by providing ideas on how to reach every students needs, especially those who are in the special services program.
Since teachers are aware that every child learns in different ways, multisensory presentation of information is done in every classroom. At the same time, when students need to express what they have learned, they are sometimes given options on how to present it. When doing projects, many teachers give students options on how to do their work. For example, those that are verbal, can give an oral presentation, those that are good with computer skills might do a power point presentation, while others might decide to do a hands on activity. Although this is not always the case because in order to improve their weak skills, students need to practice them, if they need to work on an assignment that is not particularly their strength, teachers will still differentiate by grading them different.
The Middle School counts with an office for the special services coordinator and a working area for students. In order to help every student succeed, some students go to the office and work one on one with the coordinator, whether it is an assignment or organization skills. They also use the office as an area with reduced distractions for taking tests or completing classroom assignments when they can’t concentrate. Those that need to take oral exams are sent to the office and the special services coordinator will test them.
Special Services works closely with counselors and the TLC director. The three of them meet to discuss students that might benefit in being placed in a smaller class setting, in this case, our TLC program. The same is done when a student already attends TLC and the possibility of mainstreaming him/her exists.
In Middle School, there is a Child Study Team meeting every week. The team is conformed by the student’s teachers, their counselor and the special services coordinator. In these meetings students individual cases are discussed and everyone determines who needs monitoring on a continuous basis.
At the beginning of the school year, the special services coordinator gives each teacher a list of students who have previously been in the special services program. The list includes information about their strengths and weaknesses in their learning process and accommodations given to each one.
In some cases, the child’s counselor suggests getting a psychometric evaluation to pin point the exact area of difficulty of a student. Based on their evaluation, special services come up with classroom accommodations to help the student perform at his level in a regular classroom setting. Although not all students have an evaluation, accommodations are implemented on every student that is having difficulty. These accommodations are made by observing the student and what he/she struggles with.