Havre schools special ed goes to remote learning
April 7, 2020
Along with holding its regular classes through distanced learning, special education classes in Havre Public Schools also began working remotely last week.
“Our number one concern with our students at Havre Public Schools is their overall safety, health and wellness,” Havre Public Schools Director of Special Education and Federal Projects Karla Geda said. “We certainly don’t want to put anyone at risk at any time, and so that was the one thing that was an overall arching thing that we needed to make sure that was at the forefront of everything that we did.”
She said for the special education realm, she requested all the special education teachers reach out to their students on their caseload and make that communication.
With that communication, specific things needed to be identified, she said, that includes what is the best means of communication for that student, do they have a device or do they need a device and what are some of things they need to gain access to the materials, resources and the sites of the instruction during this time.
“Initially, we were making those contacts and I can honestly say to you now, I believe that we have 98 percent overall at the school of contacts with every student, and I’m not speaking just of special education, I believe that’s kind of overall at Havre Public Schools,” she said.
For the special education students, communication with their parents was also requested, Geda said, as to what the best means in supporting the special education students in resources and instruction moving forward.
She said the special education students have an individualized education program and with that program, goals set up that are in continuation, and the education worked on is toward proficiency of those goals.
“That’s been my directive of the special education staff, to reach to out to all the parents, have that communication, to find the means of instruction whether it’s going to be on a device such as using Google Classroom, whether it’s going to be ClassDojo, that’s another means that they are reaching out, and they are doing instruction and assigning assignments, and also the assignments given to them need to be geared toward their specific goal,” she added, “so that’s the one thing that we are always looking at. The work that the special education teachers are giving out is specific to the goals, and with that, then, the teachers are touching base regularly with communication with the parent and or with the student.”
For example, she said a student might need other resources to better access their educational environment, whether it is through the remote learning program, being home with their parents or in the classroom.
She said these resources could include a magnifier if the student has a vision issue, a slant board to write on to meet with an occupational therapy service and other instructional tools.
If a parent needs an instructional tool for their child, she said, they can reach out to their special education teacher.
She added that speech services have also been provided for students at home through teletherapy.
“A lot of our students are doing the teletherapy services via Zoom with their speech pathologist, so that just continued on as usual. The difference is they’re at home. I was a little bit thankful that we were in that position that we could just kind of jump right into that and move forward,” Geda said. “Our occupational therapist is in the same boat, she has made contact with us, the parents and gotten the resources or tools as well as provided packets with parents and she is able to do that via Zoom as well through teletherapy.”
The school district’s physical therapist is doing the same type of service, Geda said.
“We discussed how do we implement the instruction schedules. Our teachers have set that out for parents. They also have set out office hours, so that they can be available for parents and for students,” she added. “... It’s a work in progress all the time. I think that’s something people need to keep in mind. I think it’s so imperative that the students continue their learning, so, just food for thought for everyone out there, is it’s really best for the kiddos to establish a schedule with them.”