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Stimulus beefs up special ed teaching here
School notes
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Thanks to stimulus funds from the federal government, the Division for Exceptional Learning was able to employ four instructional coaches to work with teachers to improve their teaching skills with the bigger intent, to improve the skills of our students with disabilities.
Today I want to introduce these folks and tell you what they are really doing.
We looked at teachers already employed in Liberty County who had the skills we see in master teachers and chose four of them to become instructional coaches.  Three of our coaches work in co-taught classrooms with special and general education teams.
They assist nearly 100 pairs of co-teachers to become strong teaching teams. Our fourth coach works in 20 classrooms within the district where our self-contained students receive instruction.  Her task is to assist these teachers in setting up a standards based classroom and compiling a portfolio assessment (in place of the required state mandated test) for each of their students.
Benjamin Ford, a 17-year veteran teacher with his master’s degree, was formerly a special education co-teacher at LFMS.  He works with co-teaching teams at our two high schools. He says that he loves being an instructional coach because he gets to see all the wonderful things that are happening at both of our high schools.
“Working with co-teaching teams allows me to meet my professional goal of positively impacting student achievement on a broader scale,” he said.
Christine Danser, a 22-year veteran teacher with her master’s degree, was formerly a special ed co-teacher at LES.  Danser works with teachers at our three middle schools.  She says she most enjoys conducting one-on-one or small group meetings with co-teachers to identify how best to help them address their most pressing concerns in the classroom.
Dr. Beverly Faircloth, a 17-year veteran with a doctorate, was formerly a special ed co-teacher and department chairwoman at TCE. Faircloth works with the co-teachers at six of our elementary schools and also in our Pre-K.
“I am looking forward to spreading the best of best practices around the county so that all teachers and students gain from the combined expertise of the 34 pairs of co-teachers at the elementary and pre-k level,” said Faircloth.
Angeline Malek, a 10-year veteran speech/language pathologist with her master’s degree, was formerly lead speech/language pathologist for the district as well as the SLP for JME. Malek assists teachers of our most cognitively impaired students to set up standards-based classrooms.  She is also a resource in helping them with the Georgia Alternative Assessment, a portfolio that takes the place of the state required tests such as the CRCT and GHSGT.
“I love going into teachers’ classrooms and seeing how they are teaching their children based on the students’ needs. A lot of the teachers are very creative in teaching their students,” states Malek.

School notes is an opinion piece written by staff members of the Liberty County School System covering areas of their expertise. Kelly is director of the Division for Exceptional Learning for Liberty County Schools
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