Board mulls changes to special education - Titusville Herald: News

Board mulls changes to special education

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Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:00 am

Titusville Area School District Special Education Director Michael McGaughey presented a plan to the school board to change the special education program across the district over the course of 2018 to 2022.

The plan calls on the district to perform more special education programs in house, rather than sending students to classes outside of the district. Specifically, McGaughey wants to move several special education platforms from the Riverview Intermediate Unit #6 (RIU), which provides special education services to multiple schools in the area, and instead have them performed in Titusville schools themselves.

The classes that the school district would adopt are; elementary, middle school, and high school life services; the multiple disability support program; and the middle and high school emotional support.

McGaughey told the Herald that by bringing these services in house, the school would be better prepared to customize the learning environment for special education students, and have a greater degree of oversight in their development.

Accepting these classes would require the hiring of more teachers and paraprofessionals, which are classroom and personal care assistants to special education students, for some of the TASD schools. McGaughey said that the hope is that staff from the RIU would be interested in moving their employment to the Titusville School District as students are moved over.

The school board will vote at next week’s meeting whether to begin implementing the plan in the 2018-19 school year. The full plan is viewable at school district offices by the public.

Public shows support for MCL expansion

At the same school board meeting, parent Dana Fratus spoke in favor of expanding the mass customized learning (MCL) program to all TASD schools.

Fratus spoke at length of her personal experience of seeing her daughter, who attended Hydetown Elementary School, become more engaged and excited about school once the MCL program was implemented.

“I feel the MCL has provided these students with endless possibilities,” Fratus said. “The overall frustration and boredom that used to cause these students to be divided is no longer there.”

Fratus brought with her a petition with 75 signatures supporting the expansion.

“What concerns me and other parents is, where do our kids go from here,” She said. “This year, another group of 5th graders will be graduating and moving on to the middle school. We do not want to see our children thrown back into what we will call ‘the standard school system.’”

Fratus said that the signees plan to attend future school board meetings to discuss their concerns.

Hydetown Elementary Learning Facilitator Beth Butryn also spoke in favor of the expansion.

“We have seen a tremendous change in all our students,” Butryn said. “Not only educationally, but more importantly I think, behaviorally.”

Hydetown Middle School Principal Jessica Stover, while not opposing the idea explicitly, said that mass customized learning at the middle school level would look differently than at the elementary.

“It never looks the same,” Stover said. “It’s going to look different, and my teachers are trying new things.”

Stover went on to say that the middle school teachers have been adapting to the MCL program in their own way, teaching multiple levels of subjects within the same class, while still preparing students for high school.

Ray can be reached, by email, at sray@titusvilleherald.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Jahoba posted at 12:00 pm on Tue, Jan 9, 2018.

    Jahoba Posts: 49

    This is a great decision. This should save tax payers money in the long run.

     

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