Teachers Zoe Leverson and Lisa MacMiller talk about their work in the Resource Room at Adams
February 12, 2015
What (and where) is the Resource Room?
The resource room is a place for students with special needs who are fully included in the general education
environment. The special education teachers work with student in pull out (in Room 213) session as well in push in (in their general education class) session.
Who are the Resource Room Instructors?
We consist of 2 special education head teachers, Zoe Leverson and Lisa MacMiller. We presently have 4 instructional assistants: Anne Mitchell and Ellie Amerman (full time) and Barb Warbington and Tami Martinez (half time shared position).
Are you certified teachers with Special Education endorsements? Any other degrees/certifications you'd like to shout out? Toot your horns, please!
Both Lisa and Zoe have Masters in Education and they both just completed and passed their National Boards. Both teachers have been at Adams for 7 years and presently work 4 days a week. Lisa began at one day a week and has increased her position over time.
How many students do you serve?
In the resource room we have served anywhere from 30 to 40 students over the school year across Kindergarten through 5th grade. But in some capacity or other we serve the whole school, especially with the work we're doing in implementing Superflex, the all-school Social Thinking curriculum we implemented in 2014.
What kinds of services do you provide to students?
We support students who qualify for special education support through the educational evaluation process. Students will qualify for special education services in the areas of math, reading, writing, social/ behavior, adaptive/ life skills, and study organization.
Are Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) services separate? Who are the staff in these areas? How are services coordinated?
Speech and motor (occupational and physical therapy) supports are a part of special education but are provided by additional staff. Claire Ambrowiak is our speech therapist, Teresa Van Horn is our physical therapist, and Erin Carroll is our occupational therapist. We all work together to provide are various areas of support.
How do students qualify for Resource Room services?
- Existing IEP: students come to school with an existing IEP (Individualized Education Program)
- Teacher identified: if teachers, other staff, and/or family may have academic or social concerns about a student, then there is a process to follow at Adams(see below).
What's the difference between the resource room and Tutoring Services? Is there an overlap? Tutoring is determined by the classroom teacher and is based on student need and classroom data. Resource room support is determined by an educational evaluation and/or a diagnosis from a doctor or psychologist. The evaluation and/or diagnosis has to meet certain criteria to indicate qualification for special education supports.
My student is struggling academically/socially/in area(s). Can I have them evaluated for eligibility for services? Who should I talk to?
First stop would be your child's classroom teacher, through a system of reviewing classroom data, progress over time, SIT (Student Intervention Team) meetings. At Adams, we have a system to follow if teachers, other staff or families have concerns about a students struggling in academic or social areas. We always recommend a family/ teacher conference initially. Depending on what is occurring for the child, there are a variety of interventions to put in place (e.g. making accommodations, such as moving seats, extra practice, individual teacher instructions, etc.; tutor support in class or pull out; work with the school counselor, etc.).
This year we have a team that looks over the data of all students struggling in a variety of areas.
Next step depending on the severity of the need would be to meet with the family/ teacher and administrator OR a full SIT (Student Intervention Team).
How does your work interface with the self-contained special education classrooms at Adams (wait for a newsletter topic on this program sometime in the future!)?
We work closely with the amazing teachers in the self-contained classrooms (Tom Baisden and Lauren Willems). We support each other’s students in classrooms, recess and lunch. We may work with each other’s students in academic or social groups depending on the level of need of the student.
What does a typical day for you look like? Please tell us in plain language. J
This is difficult to answer as we are all over the place all the time (you may see us zooming through the building). J
We start off the school day checking in with various students to support them in having a successful day socially and academically. Over the past few years, we and our staff are in each of the highly supported math classes. Lisa and I both team teach with the general education math teachers to create a fluid teaching environment. The rest of the day is a combination of going into general education classrooms and pulling students in the resource room for specially designed instruction in the areas the students need support with. We run literacy, math, organizational and social groups throughout the day. We also are checking in with teachers throughout the day regarding these students to see if we need to adjust anything academically or socially for those students to increase their independence and success in the general education classrooms. We also work closely with the recess/ lunch staff, the office staff, and the PE/ Music/ Dance/ Library teachers regarding our students.
Last year we began going into all classrooms to teach students about the SuperFlex program with the school counselor and this year with a parent.