WUFT News

School Known for Inclusion Uses Technology in Special Education

By on April 18th, 2014
Special ed teacher with quadriplegic student

Courtesy of Morgan Martin

Special education teacher Teri Jones teaches a quadriplegic first-grade student how to use an iPad.

Pam Hickox no longer worries about whether her son is included at school.

Her third-grader, born with Down syndrome, is placed in classes with students who don’t have disabilities. Normally, students with disabilities are pulled out.

Newberry Elementary School has been trying new technology to ease interaction between special education students and their peers and teachers.

A couple of months ago, the school started using iPads with some of its special needs students.

Other assistive technology may include a special pencil grip, a slant board and a device allowing nonverbal students to push buttons and play prerecorded messages, such as “yes” and “no.”

“We’re always looking for new things — things that we can incorporate into our education plan that help meet those kids’ needs,” Principal Lacy Redd said.

Redd started the school’s inclusion model seven years ago. With help from special education teachers and assistive technology, the inclusion model changes and improves to best fit the needs of its students.

First-grade teacher Morgan Martin was unfamiliar with some of the technology when the school started using it.

“I was like, the only Big Mac I know comes from McDonald’s, and I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Martin said.

Now, she uses the devices to help give a quadriplegic student in her class a way to communicate.

Including the special needs students in the regular classroom is positive for those without disabilities too, she said.

“Other kids don’t see him as just this person who floats in our room and leaves,” Martin said. “They see him as their friend.”

Students with disabilities performance comparison

Courtesy of Teri Jones

The graph shows the percentage of students with disabilities passing the FCAT. It compares how Newberry's students did versus the district and the state.

Susan Ling and her family moved to the Newberry area before her daughter started kindergarten.

Her daughter, now in fifth grade, was diagnosed with apraxia, making it difficult for her form sounds and words.

“I am blessed that there are wonderful teachers who go above and beyond to come up with ways to help my daughter succeed,” Ling said.

In Florida, all students, disability or not, are expected to pass the FCAT. Redd said Newberry has seen better test scores since the school integrated the inclusive teaching style.

According to the most recent data, Newberry has had the highest percentage of third and fourth grade students with disabilities pass the FCAT compared to the rest of the state.

As recently as 2010, about 85 percent of Newberry’s third graders and 65 percent of its fourth graders with disabilities passed the FCAT. The state average that year was around 40 percent.

This time next year, the FCAT will be replaced by a test aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. This could present new challenges for Newberry’s students with disabilities.

Special education teacher Teri Jones said the school would respond as it always does. It will adapt and keep the needs of the students at the forefront.

“We will make sure we are teaching the students the strategies they need to be as successful as possible on whatever test is the flavor of the year,” Jones said.


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Joann Roxbury

    Except in rare instances, such as military bravery in defense of liberty, merit is incompatible with liberty because merit requires that each of us be subjectively judged by those who hold coercive power over us.

  • Plow Comms

    Confusion regarding the term liberty may also arise from the observation that people can be “slaves to their emotions” and thus unable to make smart decisions.

 

More Stories in Education

CFX8zb6WAAAbh3T

Alachua County Schools Receive $1.2 Million

Gov. Rick Scott awarded a $1,277,312 check to 20 Alachua County schools Tuesday at Stephen Foster Elementary School. The money is part of the Florida School Recognition Program which is giving $124 million to schools statewide.


A file photograph showing textbooks and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Community Leaders Sign Education Compact

Community, business, government and education leaders signed a compact aiming to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for students in Alachua County through collaborative efforts. The compact was signed on Monday by 21 people.


Debbie Powell consoles her grandchildren in wake of the decision.

Alachua County School Board Passes Rezoning Plan That Will Dissolve Waldo Community School

The Alachua County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to consolidate Waldo Community School with Shell Elementary School. The decision marks the end of a hard fought battle for Waldo to keep its school.


Bees

Beekeeping Certification Gives Florida Inmates Skills For A Second Chance

Seventeen inmates in Lake Butler will be the latest class of certified beekeepers from the the Reception and Medical Center’s Beekeeping Program. The Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Agriculture created the re-entry program for inmates who were about to be released.


Waiting for author to email caption w/ names

Eastside High School Culinary Team Wins Sixth Place In National Competition

Students of Eastside High School’s Institute of Culinary Arts competed in the National Prostart Invitational in Anaheim, California, hosted by the National Restaurant Association. The team came in sixth place.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments